Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Saturday Survey - November 17th

11-16-68 - CKXL - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

With 50 states and 52 weeks in a year, we had two weeks of "play" time which we gave to Washington, D.C. last week and, with all our FH Canadian friends, we give Canada this week's 1968 tribute survey.  

Instead of featuring an Eastern city, we go to Calgary, a city of over one million people today!  

CKXL was more than a station PLAYING the hits ... it was attempting to CREATE the hits!  

At #1 this week in 1968 were the "CKXL Happy Feeling" with their giant local hit, "Happy Feeling."  What was this all about?  Earlier in the month, Billboard magazine explained how CKXL was deciding to designate certain local groups as "CKXL bands" that the station would help to promote!  These bands were winners of the CKXL Battle of the Bands contests and winners were promoted by the station.  Promotion is one thing, but to #1????  They started this band battle thing 18 months earlier when there "were no Calgary bands but the Irish Rovers."  As of the article, CKXL claimed 100 bands working in the city and a dozen groups recording. 

You will find several OTHER Canadian artists on this chart, but I particularly like a song that was top 10 the week previously in the American Everly Brothers song "Milk Train."  The Everlies had some tremendous songs in the mid and late 60's that failed in the US charts, but made it in other countries.  They were passé in the US but this hit on CKXL was almost like a new "Sugar Shack" song, IMO.  I love it.  They had a #2 song in the UK in '65 with the incredible "Price of Love," which was almost stolen completely for Shocking Blue's "Mighty Joe" a few years later.  

-- Clark Besch

How cool for The Happy Feeling to be able to tell their friends and family that they were "Bigger Than The Beatles" this week in '68?!?!  (Of course, you've REALLY got to be careful with that sort of thing ... John Lennon made the mistake of saying that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus a couple of years earlier and there was all kinds of hell to pay!!!  lol)

Canadian airplay policy dictated that a certain percentage of ALL music featured had to be of Canadian origin.  As such, several artists had hits there that were never even heard of here in The States just south of the border.  (You'll see these tracks noted on the survey above with a little (C) after the artist's name.) 

Leapy Lee's got a Top Three hit again this week with "Little Arrows" ... I still don't understand why this wasn't a bigger hit nationally based on some of the recent charts we've seen.  

And "Fire" by Five By Five, a song we featured last week, makes the biggest move of the week on the CKXL Chart, jumping from #34 to #19.  (kk)


11/10/68 – Jefferson Airplane cause headlines the following day after Grace Slick appears in black face make-up during an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and gives the black fist power salute at the end of their performance of “Crown Of Creation.”

11/13/68 – Rolling Stones Guitarist Brian  Jones buys Cotchford Farms in Sussex, England.  Author A.A. Milne wrote “Winnie The Pooh” here and there were still statues of Pool characters on the grounds at the time of Brian’s purchase.

11/15/68 - 500,000 anti-war demonstrators march on Pentagon

Also on 11/15, John Lennon and Yoko Ono release the “Two Virgins” LP on Apple

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Friday Flash

Fred Winston fans (and I happen to be a huge one!) can hear this radio icon this evening when he guests on Fred Lange’s “All Over The Planet” radio program from 6:30 – 8:30 pm (eastern time) on Radio Harbor Country, WRHZ 93.5-FM and WRHC 106.7-FM, broadcast out of Three Oaks, Michigan. 

Fred (who lives on a farm in Michigan and has been an occasional Forgotten Hits contributor over the years) says that he’ll be telling stories about some of the famous recording artists he met while working at WLS 890-AM here in Chicago.  (Winston first signed on with the station in 1971 … incredibly 47 years ago!!!) 

Winston told columnist Robert Feder, “I haven’t been on the air in any shape or form for awhile, so I’m really looking forward to dusting off the cobwebs and firing up the bilge pump.” 

You can listen live here: 

Greetings Again Kent,
Just heard from Bruce Belland.  After 64 Years, (Yes, That's Not A Typo!) THE FOUR PREPS are calling it quits. 
The date of their final appearances will December 5, 2018.
Thought you'd like to know.
Keep up with the great work here on the blog.
Take Care -
John Eckert 
Wow!  64 years!!!  Amazing!
The Four Preps enjoyed their first real chart success in 1958 with the #2 Hit “26 Miles.”  They followed that up with a #3 record, “Big Man,” but never hit The Top Ten again.
They were often lumped into the Folk Rock boom of the early ‘60’s but really predated that era by a few years, as did The Kingston Trio, who became sort of the Poster Children of that genre.
The Four Preps also had some fun with their contemporaries, recording novelty hits like the “More Money For You And Me” medley (#14, 1961) and “A Letter To The Beatles.” (#76, 1964)  In all, they enjoyed six Top 40 National Hits.  We wish Bruce the very best in his “retirement” (although I’m sure he’d be the first to agree that he’s been living and enjoying the best life possible, making all this wonderful music and bringing joy to so many fans over the years.)  kk 

>>> My main memories were of Dusty Rhodes on WLW Cincinnati doing his long shows on Sunday nights at Christmas.  We would attempt to drive my mom around looking at the lights of the city while Dusty set the mood.  (Clark Besch)
Rhodes, who may or may not have retired from the county government job he got elected to multiple times, is still chugging along with weekly oldies shows on listener-supported FM stations in his local area in Ohio, and, unless we hear otherwise, is presumably working on his 36-hour marathon (12 noon Christmas Eve Day to midnight Christmas Night) of holiday cheer heard on a mess of stations and IHeart.  
Bob Frable

Hi Kent:
I wanted to share a Christmas novelty tune I wrote that seems to be catching on! I wrote is a tribute to Joey Dee and the Starlighters and he is thrilled! It is called "Santa Does the Peppermint Twist (Down Candy Cane Lane)" and is about Santa dancing to that classic along with his elves! Just thought you might enjoy sharing it as a Christmas novelty dance tune! 

Here is what Joey had to say about it! 

Well we got a new dance and it goes like this!  
Hi everybody! This is Joey Dee from the Starlighters, the originator and writer of the Peppermint Twist song and dance.  
I’d like to tell you about a new song and dance that’s coming out. It’s called Santa Does the Peppermint Twist (Down Candy Cane Lane). Now, I’ve heard the music and it's fantastic and man, it revives the Peppermint Twist all over again! The guys that wrote it (Bill Dann and Jack Servello) are from our era and they love the Peppermint Twist as much as I do. So don’t forget, Santa Does the Peppermint Twist (Down Candy Cane Lane). Be there or be square! 
By the way, you don’t stop twisting because you get old; you get old because you stop twisting!  
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year everyone!  
Joey Dee signing off ...

Anyway, I would be honored to have you share it with the group and I thank you for all that you do to promote those long forgotten favorites!
P.S. If you know of any radio stations who may be interested in airing it, I will gladly send along an MP3!
Let's put it out there and see if we get any deejay response.  Thanks, Bill!  (And GREAT to hear from Joey Dee!!!)  kk 

And then this from Joey Dee ...


>>>Peter & Gordon had a release in 1968, "You've Had Better Times," that we played a lot at AFKN in Korea.  It was a bit edgy, but had a good sound, though quite outside their normal presentation.  Don't know how it did stateside.  (Carl Mann)  
I do remember the record by Peter & Gordon with the tune YOU'VE HAD BETTER TIMES. Locally here in OKC, it made it's initial survey appearance for the week of August 1, 1968. It was on the survey for seven weeks, peaking at #20. Hadn't heard it in a very long time and had to get it out to remember what it sounded like. 
Larry Neal 
I vaguely remember the tune, too … but not well enough to hum a single note … so I had to do the very same thing!  (kk)

It really doesn’t sound anything at all like them, does it???  (By the way, Gordon Waller wrote this one!)  kk 

Saw this on posted on ... 

ROCKERS DELIGHT — The sight of Pete Townshend, alone on stage, with an acoustic guitar performing, was as strong an image as I’ve ever seen. A sight to behold. To me, that was and is what rock ‘n roll is all about. Definitely one of the highlights of the year.
Last night was Rockers On Broadway 25th anniversary
Rockers was an idea that creator Donnie Kehr came up with, with Townshend, when Kehr was on Broadway with The Who’s Tommy. They’ve had everybody from Debbie Gibson to Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, to Gene Cornish and Cousin Bruce Morrow involved. I think the first one I attended was at the late, great B. B. King’s, where they saluted the music of MotownMotown-wizard Berry Gordy attended and I remember at one point being backstage, surrounded by Dolenz, Gibson, Will Lee and Gordy himself. True magic. Last night, at NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge, Free / Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, along with actor Michael Cerveris were the honorees. Kirke gave one of the most eloquent speeches I’ve heard in far too long and even announced that the Democrats have taken Arizona! He is a supporter of several programs promoting the arts in school for kids and spoke passionately of the need for it. He played drums for a riveting version of “Shooting Star” and Free’s “All Right Now.”
I’d never seen him play live – and, sing - but he was tremendous; not losing a beat. I see him often at Steve Walter’s The Cutting Room; he lives in NYC and is a terrific gentleman.

Constantine Maroulis and David Salidor (Photo): Bobby Bank

The performances were especially good this year, opening with a terrific medley of songs by The Jackson 5 from the kids from School of Rock. J. Robert Spencer followed with a great take on “Woodstock” and then “River Deep, Mountain High” from Eric Michael Krop. 
Rocktopia’s Tony Vincent followed with a great take on Bowie’s “Suffragette City.”
Max Sangerman and Tommy Burnett (Modern English) followed with English’s classic “I Melt With You.” Constantine Maroulis, just a terrific vocalist and performer, followed with Gun N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle.” And that was followed by a terrific performance of “Because The Night” from Alice Ripley.
Then, Kehr came on and introduced a video from Cerveris, who could not attend due to filming (Netflix’s Mindhunter), and Pete Townshend came on to accept the award. He told a funny story about Cerveris’ audition for Tommy and how dreadful it was. He said that he took Cerveris to every pub and club possible to get him into the role and that at the late, great China Club, he finally succumbed.

(Photo): Jeff Smith

Townshend then performed “Drowned” (from The Who’s sixth album Quadrophenia; 1973) and “Let My Love Open The Door” and was simply marvelous. For the record, Townshend was completely approachable and in exquisite form. I was backstage for a time and could not take my eyes off him, sitting on the couch going over the music. A piece of rock-history for sure.
Then the cast of the play The Who’s Tommy (also celebrating their 25th anniversary) came onstage and performed a terrific medley from the show – Townshend stood off stage smiling. I’m moved to say that the material from Tommy (originally released in 1969) sounded as fresh and as relevant as ever!
Simon Kirke and Pete Townshend ...  

Also seen at the event were Maureen Van Zandt; Dina Regine; Rockers-PR-man David Salidor, who handled the media for the event; May Pang; photographers Bobby Bank and Jeff Smith.
The band, assembled by Kehr, was as vibrant as ever. Sensational.
Said Kehr:, “It was a historic night for Rockers; terrific in every way.” Absolutely, one of the best ever. 
by G. H. HARDING  

FH Reader Bob Merlis reminds us that the brand new Roy Orbison CD with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra comes out today.  This is the SECOND volume in this series to feature Roy's music.  (Bob sent me a copy last week but I've yet to have the chance to listen ... the new 6-CD White Album has been occupying all of my disc time the past several days!!!) 
So, we'll let HIM tell you more about it right here ...  

Just a quick reminder that the second collaboration between Roy Orbison and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Unchained Melodies, is officially out today from Roy’s Boys and Legacy Recordings.  
Here’s a link to a video for “Heartbreak Radio,” one of the album’s 15 tracks.  
The song originally came out in 1992 on Roy’s King of Hearts album. As you’ll see in the video, this new version includes the participation of all of his surviving sons -- Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex —  their wives, Roy’s grandkids (and RPO).  Also of note is the fact that Rick Vito (former Fleetwood Mac) plays slide on this version.  He was asked to do the same on the original but he had to beg off since he wasn’t in town at the time Roy asked him — a major regret of his for years — so that circle is now complete.  The baby with the tambourine is Bo Orbison (Roy Jr and Åsa's younger son) and the toddler on Alex's lap behind the drums is Roy III, Bo’s older brother. The female voice you hear is that of country star Cam, by the way. 
In the attached screen shot you will see “The Orbison Women” who are, left to right: Åsa Orbison (Roy Jr's wife), Jen Hicks (Wesley's fiancee), Emily Orbison (Wesley's daughter and Roy’s only grandchild until the recent arrivals of Bo and Roy III)  and Erika Orbison (Alex's wife, then pregnant with their daughter Eden)

1)     Unchained Melody
2)     Blue Bayou
3)     She’s a Mystery To Me
4)     Heartbreak Radio
5)     Falling
6)     Walk On
7)     The Great Pretender
8)     The Crowd
9)     The Comedians
10)    Crawling Back
11)    Danny Boy
12)    Too Soon To Know
13)    Careless Heart
14)    California Blue
   15)    Heartbreak Radio (Duet with Cam)

Harvey Kubernik talks more about the definitive 50th Anniversary Elvis Presley Comeback Special box we told you about the other day here ...    

Let's not forget this coming Saturday is a special one:
Singer/songwriter/ minstrel Gordon Lightfoot turns 80 ... that day.
Tal Hartsfeld 
87.7 / Me-TV-FM will be saluting the music of Ol' Gordo throughout the day.  (Head honco Neal Sabin is a big fan.)  Hmm ... I wonder if I could get them to play Burton Cummings' incredible tribute to this Canadian troubadour???

And we should also pay a quick tribute to Roy Clark, who passed away yesterday at the age of 85.
Clark had a lengthy career in country music ... but we all got to know him when he teamed up with another country legend, Buck Owens, and came into our living rooms every week on the hit television series "Hee Haw."
His biggest pop hit came in 1969 while that series was on the air ... "Yesterday When I Was Young" climbed to #16 on the Record World Chart that year.  (It peaked at #19 in both Billboard and Cash Box.)  kk

Limited postings the next ten days ... so please check back when you can.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sharing Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments To Break-Up The Week

The Queen snowball keeps rolling … 

Taking a quick look at this past weekend’s box office receipts, “Bohemian Rhapsody” took in another $31 Million, a drop-off of $20 million from the film’s opening weekend but still an impressive $82 million tally thus far.  (It was no match for “The Grinch,” which topped $66 million for the weekend.)  

And, speaking of "Bohemian Rhapsody," 24 minutes were cut from the film before it could be shown in Malaysia, which has a VERY strict ban on anything to do with gay activity.    

Meanwhile Queen, the movie and the title track are popping up everywhere!  Even this past week’s episode of “The Goldbergs” was titled “Bohemian Rap City” as Barry Goldberg (aka Big Tasty) created what he thought in HIS mind was a rap improvement to the Queen classic.  

YouTube is reporting Queen watching (of the rock variety) at an all-time high … both film clips and behind the scenes footage from the hot new film as well as vintage clips of the original band from back in the day, be it many of their classic videos, live performances or television specials.  (I watched a 30-minute news documentary the other night about Freddie Mercury’s last days that was quite interesting.)  

And, in answer to Frank B’s question from the other day, “Bohemian Rhapsody” DID, in fact, return to Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart this week, premiering at #33!  Amazing!  (This is the THIRD time this song has made Billboard’s Top 40 … it hit #9 in 1976 when it was first released, shot back up to #2 in 1992 after it was used in “Wayne’s World” and now premiers at #33 on the heels of the release of the Freddie Mercury / Queen biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”)  And, by the way, the soundtrack album to that film now sits at #3 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart!  (In other chart news, watch for The Beatles’ White Album to leapfrog into the #1 spot next week, thus topping the chart exactly fifty years apart.)  Incredible!  (It’s like everything old is new again!!!  I love it!  (kk)

Now this, too, from Harvey Kubernik, regarding a Queen documentary from 2012 which is seeing a re-release in light of the film’s success … 

With the box office success of the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," a May, 2014, Queen Productions authorized documentary on the band, "Queen: Days Of Our Lives" is now broadcasting globally and being viewed by millions.  

Director Matthew O'Casey filmed author and music historian Harvey Kubernik for the original BBC Television airing, "Queen at 40," which is now released as a DVD via Universal Music Enterprises. 

Kubernik appears in the program four times alongside group members Brian May, Roger Taylor, record producer Roy Thomas Baker and David Bowie. 

In the late seventies Kubernik interviewed Queen's Freddie Mercury twice. Once in Hollywood and then in London.    


Meanwhile, the Harvey Train keeps on chugging along, too … check this out … 

This item is on the internet, culled from a display from one of my book publishers.  

NEVER underestimate the power of television, especially when a music documentary airs globally about one of the most iconic bands of all-time. 

Here I am going to two markets on a sunny afternoon in Southern California. Two different people behind the counter ask if I was “the guy they saw last night on a Queen documentary." 

I had no idea it has been running, obviously coinciding with the theatrical release of "Bohemian Rhapsody." I did this appearance in 2012 for BBC-TV, and now it's out on a DVD from Universal Music and connecting with a whole new and different demographic. 

Besides answering some deep Queen queries, I was politely asked about Herb Alpert, The Go-Go's,  the music of Laurel Canyon and the Eagles. 

It was a regional flash. 

One dude went home on his lunch break and brought back a slew of my books to sign.  He even added a free side of guacamole on my sandwich! 

I then returned to the market later that evening with a friend of mine, entertainment publicist Hal Lifson ... you might know his book about year 1966 music book.  

I was in the process of writing a story on The Doors and the 50th anniversary of their "Waiting For The Sun" album. Taking a break, I kid you not, as we were existing the store, Robby Krieger of The Doors walks right into us. I've known him for many years … saw the band in 1968. 

I initially looked at this magical encounter as a signal. But the telephone rang and it was Andrew Loog Oldham who, once again, indicated to me that "there are no accidents." 

I am blessed. We all are. 


By the way, now has the Doors story spotlighted. 

Some of us more than others, Harvey … some of us more than others!!!  (kk)

And last week we told you about Harvey's latest book, "The Story Of The Band" ... 

>>>I've got to tell you ... I am SO proud to be a member of The Harvey Kubernik Book Of The Month Club!!!  (I swear this guy writes a new book every single month!!!  I don't know HOW he does it!)  His latest looks like an absolute gem ... "The Story Of The Band" is yet another BEAUTIFUL, coffee-table type book, beautifully written and illustrated from start to finish.  I can't wait to dig into this it!  (kk)  

Thank you, Kent. 
I look forward to you devouring the pages and absorbing the text and visuals. Might take you days to discover and recover! 
This book took 50 years to live and I know you and many others will feel it. 
You will delight in the dozens of revealing new facts, unheard voices and familiar musicians. 
In a 1977 interview Freddie Mercury of Queen reinforced to me it's about taking risks. That's been my job and expedition goal for many decades.    
On Tuesday you and your viewers / readers might really enjoy the 9,000 word essay I've done on the '68 Elvis Comeback Special that will be displayed on
Feel free to let the universe know about this expanded format product re-release, set for November 30th. 

Harvey Kubernik

And how 'bout this acetate label copy of "If I Can Dream" courtesy of Bob Say!  

I’m guessing this is the “tv version” that aired as the grand finale in his 1968 NBC Singer Television Special (?)
I just finished the Steve Binder book about a month ago … and have SO many bootlegs, deluxe reissue CDs and DVDs on this I can’t even IMAGINE there being even MORE material available now!!!  (But how do I live without it?!?!)
Looking forward to checking it out real soon.  Thanks, Harvey!  (kk)

A quick check of the leaders in this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Fan Ballot this morning shows Def Leppard still on top with a pretty commanding lead and approximately 400,000 votes, followed by Stevie Nicks with 325,000, Todd Rundgren with 245,000, The Zombies with 210,000, The Cure right behind them with 200,000 and Janet Jackson in sixth place with 155,000 votes.  Votes will continue to be tabulated thru midnight, December 9th.  (kk) 

Have YOU voted yet?  I finally cast my votes for Todd Rundgren and The Zombies.  (Although you’re allowed up to five choices, I literally couldn’t find five deserving artists on this year’s ballot!)  You can cast YOUR votes here: 

Hi Kent, 
With all the recent discussion about Chad & Jeremy and Peter & Gordon, a couple of thoughts come to mind that might be worth sharing.
Peter & Gordon had a release in 1968, "You've Had Better Times," that we played a lot at AFKN in Korea.  It was a bit edgy, but had a good sound, though quite outside their normal presentation.  Don't know how it did stateside.
Chad & Jeremy live on today in the Zits comic strip (A top two favorite of mine).  The teen character is Jeremy, and his seldom-seen brother is Chad.  Apparently one of the cartoonists is a 60s buff like us.
Best wishes,
“You’ve Had Better Times” got some airplay here in The States in ’68 … but never enough to break into The Top 100.  (It bubbled under on all three national charts, peaking at #112 in Record World … and that was during a nine week run!!!)  kk

Not being familiar with the Zits Comic Strip, I found this description of Chad on their Wikipedia Page …

Chad Duncan is Jeremy's older brother by four years. He attends college (the college has been identified in the strip as the University of Notre Dame) and is an overachiever and the object of much jealousy by Jeremy.  In his first few appearances, Chad was said to be the perfect child, having his face slightly obscured, and having a more muscular build. He was later re-drawn as looking like an older version of Jeremy with a goatee.  Chad is an occasional character and rarely appears, typically showing up during the holiday seasons and leaving abruptly. In one strip, he told Jeremy he had been there for two weeks already. After Jeremy said he needed to pay more attention, Chad replied, "That's what I keep telling your sister." Chad is a business major, "with a minor in uncommunication", according to Walt, as he almost never calls home.      

First, I appreciate the suggestion you made to Mike Stineman as I have had the same problem of these audio clips not opening on my computer. Thanks for mentioning the refreshing of the page. Last weekend, I was not able to play all of the audio clips you had since most of them didn't open.
One final thing, if I may.
I was curious about something. On October 30th, I sent you an email asking or wondering if recent new reader Carl Mann was the same Carl Mann that worked here in OKC in the 60's - early 70's.  I also sent a copy of station KOOK’s survey for the first week in 1967, I believe.
Again, just curious if he was the same Carl Mann who worked here in OKC years ago. Don't know if you had heard back from him or not. I believe it is the same Carl Mann but I am not sure.
Larry Neal
I believe that we established that THIS Carl Mann did indeed work in Oklahoma City in the late ‘60’s … but that he is NOT the same Carl Mann who had a 1959 Top 40 Hit with his version of “Mona Lisa.”  That’s him commenting above on our recent Peter and Gordon / Chad and Jeremy coverage.  (kk) 

We just got this from FH Reader Tim Kiley regarding an interesting Beatles documentary …

Hi Kent, 
Ran across this special of music and a band that will never be again.  Like, Buddy Holly, you just don't know at the time, the degree of greatness you are witnessing. 
Tim Kiley                          

Tim also sent along this interview with Randy Bachman …

Hi Kent, 
This interview with Randy Bachman is as fine of an interview as I have ever heard. 
Tim Kiley                     

kk …
Another award for Cousin Brucie.

Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow receives his award, November 8, 2018, at The Long Island Music Hall of Fame 7th Awards Ceremony and Induction Gala. Photo: Arnie Goodman Photography — at The Space at Westbury Theater 

I know we’ve had this debate before in Forgotten Hits … but I just don’t get him!!! I tried to listen again the other day on Sirius XM, the ‘60’s Channel, and he couldn’t have sounded more disengaged with what was going on.  (Not to mention the fact that at least HALF of the music he played wasn’t from the ‘60’s at all!)  He completely lost his way a couple of times and it got to the point where I just had to turn him off … it was literally unlistenable!
Many will argue that he was one of the original greats … but in this case it may have been wiser to rest on your laurels and leave your audience with nothing but fond memories than to go out like this.  His fans will forgive him anything, I guess … but those of us who are trying to listen in the here and now are finding it increasingly difficult to do so.  (kk) 

Making Spirits Bright: 
Hi Kent:
Thank you for your mention of the station in conjunction with the Christmas special.   We start at 8:00 am on Christmas Eve and send it through four consecutive cycles all the way up to Midnight on Christmas night.

Rick O’Dell
We’ll definitely be listening when we can!  Thanks, Rick!  (kk) 

We’re thinking of going to the Ides Xmas show this year … worth going to see?
Definitely!  We’ve gone the last three or four years now and it’s always been a great show.  (We’ll miss it this year because we’ll be down in Nashville that weekend seeing Vince Gill and Amy Grant’s Christmas Show at The Ryman Theater.)  kk 

Memphis Ukulele Band: Mark Edgar Stuart, Logan Hanna, Kyndle McMahan, 
Jon Hornyak and Jason Freeman (photo credit: Karen Foch) 

We’d like to tell you about The Memphis Ukulele Band’s forthcoming 7-track EP, Holidays Ain’t The Same.
Let’s be honest:  nobody wants to think about, much less hear, Christmas music before Halloween.  OK, now that Halloween -- and the midterm elections -- have come and gone, we figured it would be worth the effort to remind you about it. There are only 41, going on 40, days left until you know what.  
Plus there’s a bonus to share this time around: the good people at Memphis International Records have posted a sweet little lyric video of the first track launched from the mini album.  It’s MUB’s take on “Gee Whiz It’s Christmas.” The original Carla Thomas version was released in 1963 and became a seasonal standard in the Mid-South.  Overtly inspired by Carla’s breakthrough “Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes),” the song was written by Carla along with Steve Cropper and Memphis composer-arranger Vincent Trauth.  Instrumentation of the new Memphis Ukulele Band version, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording, is radically different in terms of production approach but shares the same guileless innocence as the original. Instrumentation is four ukuleles: a baritone, two tenors and a bass, plus vocalist Kyndle McMahan on sleigh bells.  Says band co-founder Jon Hornyak, “We are referencing the original recording in a very minimalistic but soulful and respectful way.”
This very unique holiday EP was recorded earlier this fall, “live on the floor,” at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis with Halley Phillips, granddaughter of the studio’s founder and namesake, producing.
The group was founded four years ago and has gone on to well-earned notoriety within in the ukulele community and beyond with acceptance among aficionados of Americana and roots music in general. They’ve played Folk Alliance and AmericanaFest and opened for uke legend Jake Shimabukuro at the Memphis In May Festival. They even toured in Hawaii and actually headlined the Kauai Farm Bureau County Fair on Kauai.  Their approach to the ukulele, as one might imagine in light of their roots in Memphis, is unorthodox with elements of gospel, folk, Hill Country blues, pop and that certain something they call “ukulele soul.”  
Staying within the musical parameters of the city from which their name is derived, the group also tackles “Blue Christmas,” the holiday song most associated with Elvis Presley.  Other holiday standards in the set include “Merry Christmas Baby,” dating from 1947 when it became a huge R&B hit for Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers with the legendary Charles Brown singing lead.  There’s also the Hawaiian holiday standard, “Mele Kalikimaka” that was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1949 and which the MUB crew sourced from Liz and Jim Beloff’s The Daily Ukulele songbook. Another non-standard standard in the set is Paul Williams’ “When The River Meets The Sea.”  The EP’s new songs include “Merry Christmas Broken Hearts,” written by the producer and Jerry Phillips, her dad. Another standard-in-the-making is the title song, written by Mark Edgar Stuart, who sings and handles bass uke for the group. On “Holidays Ain’t The Same (Without You),” he’s heard playing “guitarlele,” a hybrid that’s a perfect counterpoint for his poignant Americana ballad.  
The band’s current lineup includes founder Jon Hornyak, a veteran of the Mid-South music scene who was primarily a keyboard player. That all changed after a visit to Kauai and Larry’s Music Center in Kapaa.  He came back to Memphis not only with Kamoa custom ukuleles but also a passion to spread the good uke word.  He was soon joined by the aforementioned Mark Edgar Stuart, a singer-songwriter of renown whose “day job” finds him at Sun Studio – it just doesn’t get any more Memphis than that.  Jason Freeman, a roots rocker, has been providing music for such films as Hustle & FlowBlack Snake Moan and MTV’s Savage Country.  He not only plays tenor and banjo ukulele but also harmonica and kazoo.  Logan Hanna handles guitarlele and baritone ukulele for MUB and, in his “other” life, is an in-demand session player and tours with the “Elvis Live In Concert” touring band.  Lastly, there’s MUB’s newest member Kyndle McMahan, a singer’s singer whether she’s fronting a horn-driven R&B band or in a gentle folk or Americana mode.  With MUB, her acoustic intimacy of performing at low volume allows her brilliant voice full expression and dynamic control. 
Holidays Ain’t The Same is just that: not the same but something very different, very innovative, very fresh, very “uke” and very Memphis.  It’s a unique blend of “uked-out” seasonal music to be served at your next Christmas luau or holiday barbeque.
Click here for “Gee Whiz It’s Christmas” 
(submitted by Bob Merlis)
I thoroughly enjoyed this track ... give it a listen!  (kk)

One of my favorite "lost" Christmas tunes was played often here locally upon the original release time (late 1975) but I never, ever hear it played anymore, not even on oldies stations: "The Christmas Song" by Gilbert O' Sullivan.  It's not the same song as the Nat King Cole holiday chestnut. The melody and hook grabs you (well, me) I can even hum it in my head decades later.
Mike Markesich
I honestly don’t think I’m familiar with that one – so I had to visit iTunes and check it out. 
Here it is for the benefit of anyone else who may not know this one …

Gary has a nice mix of Christmas songs for sure.  I'm sure these things have gone on radio forever, but in the past were limited to the 45s and LPs stations had available to them (60's, 70's, 80's etc).  My main memories were of Dusty Rhodes on WLW Cincinnati doing his long shows on Sunday nights at Christmas.  We would attempt to drive my mom around looking at the lights of the city while Dusty set the mood. 
I did not see MY fave Christmas songs in his list, but they are more obscure, I guess.  The Three Wise Men's "Thanks For Christmas" was a 1980's song that is actually XTC. The Gene Cotton one may have too much political commentary for many these days, but it never seemed to matter before, as it is nearly 40 years old now.  It is extra cool because it was NOT meant for sale when sent to stations and it said play freely but not for sale on the 45.  How cool was that?  ANYWAY, good show, Gary and hope these two tracks make the FH list.
Clark Besch

We used to devote Twelve Days To Christmas back in the old days … so I don’t mind sharing a few here today (even though it’s still a bit early … it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!!!)
Nice to see Paul Evans on Gary’s list … who knows, maybe some day even “Lonely Christmas” (by yours truly) will make the cut!!! (kk)

We never made it to The Arcada Tuesday Night to see Gladys Knight (another worked too late night) … so if any of our reader were there at the show, we would LOVE to hear from you so we can share your review online.

And I just heard that Boz Scaggs will be one of the artists performing as part of the Elk Grove Village Tuesday Night Free Concert In The Park Series next year.    

FH Reader Ken Voss sent us the complete schedule below …
Thursday, July 4 - Melissa Etheridge (fireworks)
Tuesday, July 9 - Boz Scaggs
Tuesday, July 16 - The Commodores
Tuesday, July 23 - Wynonna & The Big Noise
Tuesday, July 30 - Night Ranger 

If you weren’t a Michael Buble fan before, maybe this clip will win you over.
It’s another Carpool Karaoke with James Corden … but this one is killer good … check it out!  (kk)