Posts Tagged ‘The Beach Boys’

Cygnus Radio playlist 7/19/13: The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sound

July 20, 2013

sunFranorama 2.0 airs live every Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT on Cygnus Radio, and in semi-perpetuity in the archives. To access the archives, click here.

No, for the record, I did NOT play “A Horse With No Name” on my latest Franorama 2.0 show. But it was, indeed, a hot one — in a heatwave of a week here in Connecticut. The projected high here was 96 degrees — in or out of the shade — with the humidity around 70 percent. And so, the show responded accordingly.

(And yes, Fresno friends, the heat is a lot different back here, as someone who knows. The mid-to-upper 90s out there are bearable. The low-to-mid-90s here are brutal when you throw in that humidity.)

Lots of songs about heat, and coping with it, on this latest show. But some detours as well:

  • “In the City,” “In the City”: Decided to throw two totally different songs with the songs back-to-back in the opening set, which I tend to do sometimes. The first was by The Jam, of course. The second was by the Big Boys, one of Texas’ first hardcore bands — a group that really was too eclectic and experimental and way-before-their-time to be categorized so rigidly.
  • Supporting the loosely based tribe: Laura Jane Grace fronts the pop-punk band Against Me!, and she, like your hostess, has gone through gender transition. (I don’t talk about this much on the radio because 1) Many listeners are friends who know my story already; and 2) It often has no bearing on what I play.) But her transition has been a little harder than mine in two regards: 1) She’s the singer for a nationally known band; and 2) She came out in Florida, that clusterfuck of radical right-wing gooberism and intolerance. Anyway, she released a free download online of her new single, “True Trans Soul Rebel,” so that triggered a set.
  • “Mi Sento Felice”: The Box Tops in Italian! From 1969, set to “Cry Like a Baby.” The only American recording I’ve seen that includes it is Rhino’s Best of The Box Tops compilation LP in the early ’80s. And now you’ve heard it — or can if you click the link to the second hour …
  • “Long Blond Hair”: Bookended my final set with two versions of this rockabilly classic (which I used to sing occasionally with New Haven rockabilly trio Gone Native in the ’90s). The opener was a 1997 version by an artsy, atmospheric Los Angeles combo called The Hyperions, from their album Howl. Saw them play this at the Continental Club in Austin when I was at South X Southwest in ’98. The latter was Johnny Powers’ 1957 original. (Powers was a Detroit native who was the only artist ever signed to both Sun and Motown, and the first male artist signed to Motown. And he did the foot stompin’ on The Supremes’ “Baby Love.”)

Okay, that’s enough. Off to have an iced tea. Please drop in live or in the archives. And tell your friends — we’ve got a thing going on. Ciao …

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Cygnus Radio playlist 6/28/13: The week that was the last wek of June

July 2, 2013

June calendarFranorama 2.0 airs live on Cygnus Radio from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT Fridays (9 a.m.-noon CDT, 7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-4 p.m. GMT) and in the archive in perpetuity. To get to the archives, click here.

Well, for the first time in a long time, there was no planned theme to the most recent episode of Franorama 2.0 on Cygnus Radio. But, as usually happens, some mini-themes begin to sprout from the fertile little garden that is my brain (and, by extension, my wife the laptop, upon which I write this here blog and do this here radio show):

Game Theory and Big Star: Two cult-following groups that were honored with tribute shows in Manhattan this past weekend. Actually went to the Scott Miller benefit tribute show Saturday night at the Cake Shop, thanks to Ms. Marice, who had an extra ticket. (The quick backstory: Scott, a fine pop singer/songwriter who led Game Theory in the ’80s and The Loud Family in the ’90s, died unexpectedly in April. The benefit was to raise money for his family.) The 18-song show was kinda sloppy and (especially early on) disorganized, but got better as the night went on, highlighted by a couple songs performed by Ted Leo. I didn’t get to the free show at Central Park’s Summerstage the next night — a performance of Big Star’s Third in its entirety (if not in order), headed by Mitch Easter, along with Big Star’s Jody Stephens and Ken Stringfellow, and including the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, Mike Mills and Richard Lloyd. But I noted both events on my show.

Gettysburg: Yesterday (July 1) was the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the most pivotal event in the most pivotal period of American history. The three bloodiest days ever encountered on American soil. And so I called up the two Civil War rock songs I knew of — David Kincaid (who is a Civil War re-enactor and has carved a career singing period songs in authentic replica Union uniforms) leading The Brandos through “Gettysburg,” and Richard X. Heyman’s “Civil War Buff.” (Well, five songs, but I wasn’t gonna play Iced Earth’s 31-minute “Gettysburg” Trilogy …)

That was the week that was: The Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act, a filibuster in Texas that turned a heretofore-unknown state senator from Fort Worth into a national political figure (and unwitting Mizuno running shoe pitchwoman), the Supremes striking two huge blows for marriage equality, and the (still-continuing as of now) Nelson Mandela death watch. A heavy news week that made its way, in a way, into the show.

Anyway, catch you this Friday. Stay tuned. And please tell your friends to tune in while they while away at their desks or loaf or do the housework …

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Cygnus Radio playlist 6/21/13: ‘Cause it’s summer

June 25, 2013

SummerSolstice7Franorama 2.0 airs live from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (9 a.m.-noon CDT/7-10 a.m. PDT/2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio, and in the archives in perpetuity. For the link to the archives, click here.

The summer solstice took place at 1:04 a.m. Friday, while most of you were sleeping. But not here at Franorama 2.0 World Domination Headquarters, where the staff (okay, it’s just me, but please do pay attention to the woman behind the curtain) worked feverishly rounding up songs that screamed summer. Well, maybe not all of them screamed, but emoted it melodically. And it did serve to launch your summer — and mine — in a fun way.

And not all of it was The Beach Boys. In fact, very little of it had to do with The Beach Boys — though the summer tribute show did dovetail nicely into acknowledgements of both Brian Wilson’s 71st birthday, and the 69th birthday of another of my faves, Ray Davies  of The Kinks.

Get SlimBut there were also a couple of small tributes to people who left the mortal coil ahead of the show. The musical bed for most of the show was A3’s “Woke Up This Morning” — aka the theme to The Sopranos — as my small nod to that acting giant, James Gandolfini. (And as an aside, one of the bands I played actually did appear on The Sopranos — The Swingin’ Neckbreakers once performed in a scene in Adriana’s nightclub.) And a singer who died earlier Wednesday, who was part of my late-night TV repertoire for years — the man who sold more records on late-night TV than Elvis or The Beatles, the man who saved the planet from a Martian invasion! — Slim Whitman.

Anyway, no theme, rhyme or reason planned for this Friday’s show — and hopefully, no tributes to the dearly departed for once. Pass the sunscreen …

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Cygnus Radio playlist 6/14/13: The rain, Newtown and other things

June 17, 2013

Franorama 2.0 airs live from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT Fridays (7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio, and forever and ever in the archives. To listen to the archived link to this and all other Cygnus shows, click here.

Last Friday’s episode of Franorama 2.0 on Cygnus Radio revolved around three spheres

The Rain. It had rained heavily the two previous days, and Friday began just as dark and wet until the sky cleared considerably just around lunchtime. In fact, as I sat here in the cellar home studio, I would leave the laptop aside every half-hour or so and turn on the wet-vac and suck another buckets of water from the carpet near the cellar door. (Yes, multitasking.)

The spring here in Connecticut has been full of weather stops-starts like this, with intermittent storms and sharp temperature drops

Anyway, I had a lot more songs about rain , both literally and metaphorically, than I realized, but I kept it to two sets’ worth. Notables: ending one set with the Dead (“Box of Rain”) and beginning the next with the Dead, from their earliest recording session as The Warlocks (“Early Morning Rain”). And, of course, I had to play The Cowsills.

Sandy Hook SchoolNewtown. It was six months to the very hour — also on a Friday morning — that the news crawls on local TVs began running the news that there were reports of a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown. And as morning progressed into lunchtime into afternoon into mourning, the disbelief that usually goes with such horrific events — and Newtown, as well as most of western Connecticut really IS a sleepy town where little ever happens — was countered by the wretched enormity of what had happened.

And living a half-hour away, and having the privilege of having a microphone on this milestone day — and having known a couple whose daughter was one of the murdered teachers — I couldn’t let the day pass unnoticed. But how to commemorate it? The TV stations were gonna milk it for all they could — the maudlin piano chords, the “Tragedy at Sandy Hook” graphics, all of which I find pretty damn offensive.

I didn’t want to get bogged down in the politics of it, but I read aloud the eloquent-but-angry op-ed piece in the morning;s Newtown Bee. It came from Tucson — from Gabby Giffords and Roxanna Green. (Green’s young daughter, Christina-Taylor Green, was killed in the shooting that critically wounded Giffords.) The words speak for themselves.

I don’t have a lot of kid-related music. But I do have parts of They Might Be Giants’ album NO! It was a children’s album, and my favorite song on the album was a Lovin’ Spoonful-style tune written about one of the great many questions a curious kid would ask about the world. And it sounded as if it were something that a first-grader would ask. Where do they make balloons? So that’s what I led with.

I also played one of Marvin Gaye’s most poignant songs from one of his most troubled and brilliant times, along with some of the childlike innocence from Brian Wilson at his most vulnerable and troubled period, and finished the set with Judy Garland. It was all I could do to not lose it. Had I played the version of “Over the Rainbow” that the surviving Sandy Hook students recorded (at Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s home studio in Fairfield), I most definitely would never have made it through the song.

And other things. Well, some of the other threads:

Arturo Vega. The Saturday before, Arturo Vega died. Technically, there were eight men who were Ramones at one point or another — Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy, Marky, Richie, the short-stinted Clem Burke (aka Elvis Ramone) and C.J. But in reality, Arturo was the fifth Ramone. He designed their iconic logo; he was a confidant; the band rehearsed and recorded demos at his East Village loft; and Joey and Dee Dee lived with him at various points. I remembered him by playing some better-known songs and some early and little-heard demos as well.

Jet-setting. Saw Los Straitjackets a few nights before at Cafe Nine in New Haven, and since their latest album is Jet Set, I put together the three songs I have with those words in the title — them, Joe Jackson and The Fleshtones.

Dock Ellis. Last Wednesday was the 43rd anniversary of one of the greatest feats in baseball history — Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates throwing a no-hitter against the Padres in San Diego while tripping his brains out. Barbara Manning and her group, The SF Seals (named after San Francisco’s legendary pre-Giants minor league team, whose most famous alum was hometown boy Joe DiMaggio), recorded a three-song 7-inch Baseball Trilogy single for Matador 20 years ago already. A wild trip of a song called “Dock Ellis” was part of it.

The Style Council: It was 30 summers ago already, about this time, that Paul Weller’s post-Jam group made its American vinyl debut with the EP Introducing … The Style Council, a compilation of songs already released as singles in England. Still a favorite piece of my library. Played three SC songs — a killer instrumental called “Mick’s Up” from the EP, plus two of my favorite later tunes. From 1983-85, Weller, Mick Talbot and Dee C. Lee were the shit.

So that’s it. On to this Friday’s show, the first show of summer. Get your sunscreen ready …

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Cygnus Radio Playlist 5/31/13: A childhood regression of sorts

June 3, 2013
Dom-in-i-nique-a-nique-a-nique-a ...

Dom-i-nique-a-nique-a-nique-a …

June 3, 2013

Franorama 2.0 airs live from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT Fridays (7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio, and in the archives in perpetuity. For the link this all all other previous shows, click here.

I had never done this before: recaptured my childhood in the context of a radio show. But that’s what I did last Friday: rounded up every single song I remembered from the radio from my toddler years in Brooklyn in the early-to-mid-’60s (yep, I lived in Greenpoint 40 years before it was hip) and played them at the top of the 11 a.m. hour. (That would be the third set in the playlist below.)

My folks listened to WMCA, now a right-ring talk station but then a top-40 station, home of The Good Guys, with Joe O’Brien as the morning-drive host (accompanied by an obnixious occasional “sidekick” named Benny, who would burst out with “Hey! O’Brien!”). That’s what we listened to until we moved to Connecticut in the fall of ’65.

My folks gravitated to the old-folks’ stuff, but of course, MCA, and their Good Guys, were the ones who broke The Beatles to the masses in NYC when I was 2 1/2. So I got some Beatles, but also a lot of other diverse sounds. Maybe that’s why I’ve always had diverse musical tastes, which is why you see The Singing Nun and Louis Armstrong and the robotic novelty hit “Mechanical Man” among the set list.

The lights are much brighter there ...

The lights are much brighter there …

But my favorite song from childhood was from a pretty English singer named Petula Clark, singing about a mythical place called “Downtown.” Except I lived just across the Queens-Midtown Tunnel from midtown Manhattan,and there really was a Downtown, and, as she painted it for me, it sounded like this wonderful place full of life and activity. And there was one evening when we visited my mom’s cousin in Chelsea. It was my first time through the tunnel, all gleaming yellow brick, and when we exited among the dark gray clouds above, I remember shouting “Go downtown, Daddy! Go downtown!” And, of course, to my thrill, he did.

But yeah, all that probably had something to do with this deejay’s musical tastes.

Anyway, other random items from this past show: The chicken or the egg — did Little Richard begat Esquerita or vice versa? Played them back-to-back … Sister Sledge’s original 1973 version of “Mama Never Told Me,” redone in the early ’80s by Paul Weller protege Tracie Young with The Questions, and Boffalongo’s original 1970 recording of “Dancing in the Moonlight” … the first time I played a mashup — a tasty mix of Stevie Wonder singing “Uptight” over the remix of The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” … and recent releases by The Outta Sites (whose frontman, Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague, come to Cafe Nine on Monday (June 10) playing drums with Los Straitjackets; Texas singer/songwriter Eric Hisaw, who’ll play in Zoe Muth’s group when she comes to the Nine this Wednesday (June 5); Albany-based garage fiends The Mysteios; a couple things from the new She & Him album; an d a selection from a new country-laced EP by one of my favorite singers, Boston’s Jenny Dee (Jen D’Angora) & Several Men of Mystery.

I had so much fun that, what the hell, might as well do it again this Friday. Catch you then …

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Cygnus Radio Playlist 5/24/13: So many directions, so little time

May 28, 2013
The man, the myth, the legend, the Tiur de Force. With Brute Force after his show at Two Boots in Bridgeport, 5/23/13.

The man, the myth, the legend, the Tour de Force. With Brute Force after his show at Two Boots in Bridgeport, 5/23/13. Bethany Appleby photo.

Franorama 2.0 airs live Fridays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio, and in the archives in perpetuity. For the archived links to this and all other shows, click here.

I came into this latest episode of Franorama 2.0 with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of territory to cover in three hours.

I was coming off a show where my audience quadrupled, thanks to a mention on iTunes as a must-listen. I was also coming off a very active week musically:

The death of Ray Manzarek that Monday. It’s one thing to play The Doors everyone does it. (And rightfully so; Ray’s keyboard playing stands up there along with Felix Cavaliere and Al Kooper as the best of the ’60s.) But there was more. In addition to the three obligatory Doors songs (my favorite, “Soul Kitchen”; “Peace Frog,” because you can’t live in or near New Haven without a little blood in the streets in the town of New Haven; and “Light My Fire,” a classic use or organ in a rock song), I played two 1965 songs from his pre-Doors band, Rick & the Ravens, and two songs from X’s first album, Los Angeles, which he produced.

Brute Force the night before in Bridgeport. Back in the late ’80s, an old friend let me borrow his copy of the damndest album in the history of Columbia Records: the 1967 release I, Brute Force: Confections of Love. Well-measured abdurdity of a time and place. Anyway, Mr, Force — who later recorded for Apple, having been championed by George Harrison and John Lennon, no strangers to absurd humor — is still plying his musical trade, and in an I-never-thought-I’d-see-the-day moment, he and his eyebrows and his band (including his daughter, Lilah, on backing vocals) came to Two Boots Pizza in downtown Bridgeport the night before the show. the audience was way too small (about 15) but enthusiastic. And rightfully so.

Bob Dylan’s 72nd birthday. I was kinda Bobbed out, having played three hours of him the previous day as part of a WPKN fundraiser. But since it was his actual birthday, I couldn’t let it slide. So I didn’t. Bob got a set of tunes from you actually could understand what he was singing.

She & Him. The new third album by She & Him, cleverly titled Volume 3, is out, and Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward raised the bar here, a difficult task since Volume Two was such a gem. Played three killer originals, plus a mini-battle of the bands: three songs remade by Zooey and M., alongside the original versions. The real revelation was “Baby,” a rare side of vinyl from 1965 by someone much better known for her songwriting, Ellie Greenwich. She wrote the song with her then-husband/songwriting partner, Jeff Barry, and the recently deceased Shadow Morton, the man who shaped The Shangri-Las’ sound. Both versions here were excellent, but Ellie’s was a revelation.

New sounds: I’ve been soliciting new sounds from musicians all across my Facebook spectrum. And musicians have been responding, and I played two new-to-me performers on the show for the first time last Friday. From Albany, N.Y., came The Mysteios, latter-day garage featuring Johnny Mystery on guitar and his daughter, Tambourine Girl, on vocals. They’ve been getting play on the Underground Garage channel on Sirius XM, and I’m glad to have them aboard this show as well. From Austin, Texas, came the reflective sounds of singer/songwriter Eric Hisaw, who’ll be coming this way for the first time, playing at Cane Nine in New Haven June 5.

Anyway, the only downer was that the audience was back to its original numbers last week; the bounce the week before didn’t hold. Hoping the algorithms line up again at some point and that I end up on iTunes’ radar again and get a huge chunk of new listeners, and that they’ll stick around.

Anyway, if you like what you hear, listen on Fridays or click on the archives and tune in at your leisure. Also, please like my Facebook page and get your friends to do the same. And if you’re a musician who wants to get played on my show, go to my Facebook page and message me, and I’ll send you my snail and email addresses. Anyway, let’s do this again this Friday:

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Cygnus Radio and WPKN playlists, 5/17/13: I got (algo)rithm

May 20, 2013
Ernie Banks was right -- it was a wonderful day to play two.

Ernie Banks was right — it was a wonderful day to play two.

For the links to this and all other Franorama 2.0 shows on Cygnus Radio, click here. For the link to this episode of Franorama 2.0 on WPKN, click here. Franorama 2.0 can be heard live on Cygnus Radio from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT) Fridays; WPKN shows are on a fill-in basis for now; keep posted on the station’s Facebook page.

Well, this past Friday, for the first time, I did radio shows on two different stations on the same day — the Franorama 2.0 Double-Duty Day-Night Doubleheader. First, my regular 10 a.m.-1 p.m. shift from the comfort of home on Cygnus Radio, then down to Bridgeport for a 4-7 p.m. fill-in on WPKN. Howard Thompson, the host of the regularly scheduled show, Pure — and a longtime big-label record executive — trusted my musical tastes (thanks for the endorsement), to let me take the reins.

Anyway, it was exhausting but fun. I think I swept both ends of the doubleheader. And the day wasn’t just fun, it left me feeling a little optimistic at a time when I desperately need optimism.

The Cygnus show, now on the air three months, is still a fledging show on an upstart station, and understandably, the audience is small for now. But a funny thing happened just past the first half hour — the number of listeners jumped 2 1/2 times, then it tripled, and withing five minutes, it had quadrupled. (I have the analytics right there on the screen as I play.) And I kept about two-thirds of that audience for the rest of the show.

This had to be a glitch, right? A spam attack or something? An undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese? Well, no. I texted our fearless leader, Gary Gone, to ask about this, and he explained: However the Apple algorithems work — and who knows how these damn things work? — someone at iTunes apparently labeled my show as a must-listen, which prompted huge the jump in listeners all of a sudden.

Coolness! I’m hoping this is the door opening just a crack enough for the flood to start rushing in. I need something to happen! I’m hoping the people who came and stayed will tell their friends, who, in turn, will tell their friends, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera …

Anyway, a couple musical highlights of the day:

The Outta Sites (both shows): Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague, who made a sideways appearance in a blog post here a couple weeks ago, is one of the hardest-working musicians I know: longtime drummer/second guitarist for

Chris Sprague (second from left) fronting The Outta Sites.

Chris Sprague (second from left) fronting The Outta Sites.

Deke Dickerson … has been playing drums for Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys (who came to Cafe Nine in New Haven the previous weekend) … behind the kit for Los Straitjackets (who come to Cafe Nine June 10) … and now, he fronts his own band, The Outta Sites. Their newly released debut album, Up All Night, is a killer. Think one part Dave Clark Five, one part That Thing You Do, one part Nuggets and Pebbles collections, throw in the atmosphere of the mid-’60s L.A. club scene, and you get the picture.

Jonathan Richman and The Velvet Underground (WPKN): An old friend, Lauren, who lives and works around Hartford, messaged me on the Book of Faces the night before to ask if I could play the Velvets. I started, at long last, pulling boxes of CDs from my storage space to rip into this laptop that serves as my radio station and traveling music library. But I haven’t found my Velvets box set yet. Anyway, I did find one VU song, but not until after I steered her to Jonathan Richman, the onetime VU groupie, singing “Velvet Underground” … and one of our mutual faves, “Double Chocolate Malted” (No nuts! No nuts!), and, for good measure, The Groovie Ghoulies playing a Jonathan song.

Well, that’s enough for now. Back to a single Cygnus shift this Friday, leading into the holiday weekend. Please drop in and give a listen. And if you like what you hear, tell your friends, and tell your friends to tell their friends. And “like” my Franorama 2.0/Franorama World Facebook page. And if you’re so inclined to help out financially, there’s a PayPal button at the end of each blog post.  Anyway, catch you this Friday!

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Cygnus Radio playlist, 3/15/13: Chasing away winter

March 18, 2013

cygnusNewlgMarch 19, 2013

For the links to this and all my other archived Cygnus Radio shows, click here.

So, now that my broadcasting software is going full guns with no glitches, Franorama 2.0 on Cygnus Radio is starting to find its place. I’m getting more comfortable with the software, with the voice levels, and I’m able to turn the show on a dime if and when I have to — to get reacquainted with the thousands of songs in the music folders of my laptop.

And I devoted this show to chasing away winter. And I didn’t want to get wrapped up with  March 17th, so I settled for two songs by my pal Larry Kirwan, of New York by way of Wexford — one with Black 47 near the top of the show and the show-ending single that he put out my senior year of college with Major Thinkers (and which I heard plenty on WLIR back then).

“Avenue B” was one of the tunes I dredged up from the online world thanks the the magic of mp3 downloads.  Been finding some really cool things to share on the show there. One was one of Connecticut’s greatest gems from the days of ’70s FM rock, The Dirty Angels’ “Tell Me.”

Another was a segue I’ve had kicking around in my head since my early 20s. One of the many singles my father brought up from the cellar when I was eight years old — along with a ’50s RCA 45 layer — was “Love My Lady,” Bobby Helms’ obscure 1958 follow-up to “Jingle Bell Rock.” I always thought it was a song Stevie Ray Vaughan would’ve had a field day with had he known about it and/or lived to record it. So I found Helms on the download and ran it right into “Pride and Joy.” You can hear for yourself.

I also took advantage of another musical care package — this one from old friend Craig Bell. Craig was on the ground floor of two cities’ alt-music scenes in the ’70s — Cleveland, with Rocket From the Tombs (where he wrote “Final Solution” with the pre-Pere Ubu David Thomas, a song later cut by Bauhaus), and New Haven (The Saucers, with a pre-Miracle Legion Mark Mulcahy). My first night as part of the New Haven scene, as it were,  was the night before Easter 1982, at Brothers in West Haven, seeing Craig’s band at the time, then called Future Plan (later The Plan, later The Bell System).

Anyway, Craig and wonderful wife Claude live in Indianapolis these days, where he leads The Down-Fi, also goes on the road occasionally for Rocket From the Tombs reunion shows, and recorded an EP two years ago as Second Saucer with all the Saucers except Mulcahy. And he sent me a little of all the above, as well as the enhanced, 2000s double-CD version of It Happened but Nobody Noticed,” his compilation of early New Haven bands (including The Excerpts and The Bats, two groups that featured the young Jon Brion before he moved to L.A. and became king of the pop scene there).

I also read my recent blog post of Lou Reed stories and played the two songs that accompanied it.

There was also the incongruous segue that only made sense to me — the dark moodiness of Mary Gauthier (from her recently released Live at Blue Rock album) into a raucous early, garagey gem by The Guess Who.

Thanks to the kindness of my friends Sascha and Jim, I saw Mary perform the night before at Cafe Nine in New Haven (a most excellent show), and her backing musicians, keyboardist/guitarist Scott Nolan and drummer Joanna Miller, were also the opening act. I was talking to Scott outside while he was having a smoke break; he and Joanna are from Winnipeg (and how they hooked up with a Louisiana woman is beyond me), and I was asking  about the scene there. He told me how thriving it is, and how on any given night, anyone can come walking in, and he mentioned Burton Cummings. Hence, the connection from Mary to The Guess Who, because most anything goes on this show.

And what would March 15 have been without The Ides of March?

Anyway, drop on in, even archivally. I love company. The show airs live on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET (7-10 a.m. PT, 3-6 p.m. GMT). And if you like what you hear, please tell your friends and other wonderful people. I want this thing to turn into a monster. And if, like Craig, you want to get your CDs played on the show — well, if I like it, I’ll play it. Message me here on the Cygnus Radio Facebook page and I’ll get back to you with a mailing address.

Well, this should have chased away the winter. See you in the spring!

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My Pride parade

June 2, 2012

Just another of the thousands of Beach Boys fanatics at the Greek Theatre at UC-Berkeley last night. My own little unintentional Pride parade.

The spirit was willing but the flesh was very weak. And maybe I’m just not as young as I used to be.

Last night, I went to see one of my all-time concerts — probably the final time I’ll see my beloved Beach Boys, on their 50th-anniversary tour, from the third row center at the University of California’s Hearst Greek Theatre in Berkeley.(They played 46 songs in about 2 1/2 hours — no way are they gonna “Do It Again” after this tour, all of them nearing 70.)

With a couple-hour stop for a nap on the way back to Fresno, I got back to the house-that-I-refuse-to-call-a-home at 5 a.m. The adrenaline was flowing, so I posted the playlist on Facebook and answered a couple of responses. Finally was ready to sleep at 6:30 this morning. I set the alarm for 8:30, fully expecting to jump up and hit the shower and head to the Tower District for the Pride parade at 10, as usual on the first Saturday of June.

“Uh-UHHHHH,” my body said, wagging its finger at me. “Girlfriend, you get your ass back to bed!” So since my body has been fighting me of late, with problems with allergies and breathing and a lot of restless sleep — and because I have to work tonight — I gave in and settled in for some more unsettled sleep. (more…)

Five Songs, Part 82 (Beach Boys edition)

June 1, 2012

Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and David Marks — together again for the first time for the last time.

Five Songs this week comes out the day I head to Berkeley to see The Beach Boys at the Greek Theatre, a gift from a friend (thanks again, kid!).

The Beach Boys were my first big concert, at the New Haven Coliseum as a teen in the summer of ’78; they were then touring then to support The M.I.U. Album, and I don’t believe Brian was with them at that point, or even Dennis; I was sitting in the nosebleeds and couldn’t tell, anyway. The next June, they returned to New Haven the Saturday after I graduated from high school to headline a huge concert at the Yale Bowl. (Also on the bill: The Cars, Eddie Money and The Henry Paul Band, with Flo & Eddie as the emcees.)

Now, I’m seeing The Beach Boys on what will probably be their final tour.

I mean, there were millions of reasons for the group to put aside all their bygones and get together again and tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. But I can’t imagine this lasting forever. I can’t imagine Brian will want to do this much longer, nor will he have to.

Look — I was spoiled when he took to the road again in 1999. And did so again with a Pet Sounds tour the next year. (I saw him and his band do the album in full twice — with a 54-piece orchestra at one of the shows of my life, at Mohegan Sun in July 2000, and his last American performance of the album, at the Oakland Paramount in February 2007, with Al Jardine and Rikki Fataar among the backing singers.)

I was spoiled further when Brian decided to complete a version of SMiLE with his band in 2004 — and then fully spoiled when he and The Beach Boys pieced together the shards of the original SMiLE and released it as a box set last fall.

Neither he nor the band owe me anything. They’ve given me joy and pain and everything in between since I was a teenager. They’ve given me some of the soundtrack of my life.

So anyway, I’m spoiled one more time — getting to see them one final time. And here’s an extended Five Songs to commemorate. Few of these songs will be played tonight, but that’s fine. I really don’t know what to expect from a bunch of guys at or near 70 except maybe the equivalent of a valedictory lap or a lifetime achievement award. I don’t know if we’ll be applauding talent or the ghostly memories of it. I just don’t know. I just know that there will be some finality about things.

(And in the spirit of last-minute additions to Five Songs: I’ve included the nostalgia-trippin’ title tune of the new Beach Boys album, which comes out Tuesday …)

Let’s Go Away for Awhile

You Still Believe in Me

That’s Not Me

God Only Knows

I Know There’s an Answer

I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

Wonderful

Surf’s Up

This Whole World

‘Til I Die

That’s Why God Made the Radio