Posts Tagged ‘The Kinks’

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 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 4/5/13: Tributes because I can

April 8, 2013
Marvin Gaye: Cause for joy and sorrow.

Marvin Gaye: Cause for joy and sorrow.

For the link to the archives to this and all my Franorama 2.0 shows on Cygnus Radio, click here.

The first Franorama 2.0 of April on Cygnus Radio was one of tributes — because I can. And both the living and dead were honored — no waiting ’til the person is stuck in the ground here.

That includes three sets of Marvin Gaye, for whom there was a twin milestone: what would have been his 74th birthday last Tuesday (April 2), preceded by the 29th anniversary of his death (April 1). And not one note of “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Rather, I mixed in some rarely heard solo songs (including one of my favorites of his, a 1965 B-side called “When I Had Your Love”), as well as some  rarely heard Tammi Terrell duets: the Sinatras’ “Somethin’ Stupid” and “California Soul,” which was written by Ashford & Simpson for The 5th Dimension.

And on to the living. I think it came out of my occasional recent Facebook messaging with one Rick Stone of El Paso. Rick was the road manager for The Bobby Fuller Four, was a friend of Bobby and is

Sonny Curtis: Who says you have to die to get a tribute?

Sonny Curtis: Who says you have to die to get a tribute?

a longtime flamekeeper. He friended me after I posted a photo of Bobby on my page a year or so ago.

Anyway, I got to thinking about the man who wrote “I Fought the Law,” Sonny Curtis. He’s still alive, and his birthday (76) isn’t until May 9, but I decided to honor him — well, because I can. It’s my show, and why wait ’til someone’s dead, especially when he’s only a year younger than my mother?

He was a guitarist in Buddy Holly‘s Crickets, went off to play with other musicians, then returned when Holly died, and wrote his greatest anthem (and sang lead) for the first Crickets album after Holly’s death. I’ve always believed that it doesn’t matter if you’ve only written one or two songs, as long as they’re the right two songs. In this case, it was the above song and his major contribution to television: “Love Is All Around,” the Mary Tyler Moore theme.

Naturally, “I Fought the Law” took up a chunk of the tribute, with six versions, three by Bobby Fuller: the Four’s classic 1966 version on Del-Fi; Bobby’s original 1964 single version on Exeter Records; and an alternate take of the Exeter single. (Useless bit of fun trivia: Each of the Fuller versions contains a different robbin’-people weapon — a zipgun in the original, a shotgun in the alternate take, and the well-known six-gun of the hit version.)

There was also a song Curtis wrote for The Crickets that was revived 20 years later in an easy-listening hit by Leo Sayer, a tune Glen Campbell recorded on the Wichita Lineman album; the 1987 country song of the year by the departed-too-soon Keith Whitley; and a heartfelt version of “Love Is All Around” by one of Minneapolis’ most famous musical products, Husker Du. (And I can kick myself for forgetting to include the third-most famous song Sonny wrote — The Everlys’ “Walk Right Back” — but I can make amends the next show.)

And there was one tiny mini-tribute in the final set: a couple of movie-related songs and a tune about eternity in memory of Roger Ebert, who died the day before.

And, as a tribute to music, and how it makes us feel, I’ll do the same thing this Friday and hopefully many more Fridays to come — same Bat-time, (10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT), same Bat-channel. Ciao …

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Cygnus Radio Playlist 3/22/13: ‘Please Please Me’ and other delights

March 23, 2013
Released on this date in 1963.

Released on this date in 1963.

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

My fourth Franorama 2.0 show on Cygnus Radio was the first show of spring .. and for the first time all week, I could look out my window and see pure sunlight. And, after some stormy goings my first three shows, as I adjusted to the new and sometimes-balky software, this episode went smoothly. I felt the same comfort in my bedroom studio that I’ve felt for years in front of the board at WPKN.

And that’s a good thing, because, while I do have a general idea of where my shows are going musically, it did take some detours because of events I didn’t know about when I woke up two hours before.

During my morning romp through the Interwebs and the Book of Faces, I discovered three things that changed the course of the show:

  • This morning was the 50th anniversary of Parlophone’s release of The Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. And it was also the 52nd anniversary of John, Paul, George and Pete debuting as a quartet at the Cavern Club. As such, my opening set was loaded with The Kaisers (the ’90s Scottish beat band with the 1962 Cavern Club sound), The New Piccadillys (the current Scottish beat band, with two ex-Kaisers, doing one of the best remakes I’ve ever heard — The Ramones’ “Judy Is a Punk”), The Rutles … and, of course, “Please Please Me.”
  • On the sad side, I learned of the death of another mainstay of the early New Haven alt-music scene; Tom Hosier passed in the wee hours after a long battle with lung cancer. I only met Tom once — sushi dinner with some mutual friends at Miso in New Haven in August 1998 — but I heard nothing but good things about him from his many friends. He was one of the guitarists/singers in Disturbance, which was actually the first New Haven alt-music band I ever saw (Oxford Ale House, January 1980). Tom moved in the early ’80s to New York — where he lived until his final months — and for a long time booked Nightingales, the semi-legendary club on Second Avenue and 13th Street in the East Village. And Craig Bell’s CD care package from the week before proved to be serendipitous; among the discs was the CD version of the ’80s New Haven compilation “It Happened … But Nobody Noticed,” so I was able to play Disturbance’s “Somebody Move.”
  • And a news story came over about the Library of Congress’ addition of 25 more recordings to the National Recording Registry. Included were the 1949 original cast recording of South Pacific; the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack; Van Cliburn’s historic 1958 performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come; a D-Day radio broadcast by George Hicks; the first recording sent into space, recorded by Dwight Eisenhower and placed aboard the first communications satellite in 1958; Philip Glass & Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach … and the three recordings that made up one set: Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” the best-known track from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Chubby Checker’s version of “The Twist” … and four songs from the first Ramones album.

And there were the usual dig-em-ups that were a staple of my WPKN Franorama shows before the exile in California. Through the magic of downloads, I found four especially cool gems you never, ever hear.

One was one of my favorite cartoon songs from childhood: “Makin’ With the Magilla.” Never knew who recorded it until recently — that queen of the New York surf, Little Eva. Also, Squeeze’s “Squabs on Forty Fab” — the band’s cheeky response to the “Stars on 45” craze of the early ’80s; they recorded it as the English B-side of the “Labelled With Love” 45, which languishes in my storage space. Another was the original version of my favorite song from my favorite band’s last album — Jamaican singer Ken Parker’s 1970 single “I Can’t Hide,” raved-up by The Fleshtones two years ago on Brooklyn Sound Solution. And there was the original of one of Simply Red’s greatest hits — The Valentine Brothers, out of Chicago, with the 1982 recording of “Money’s Too Tight to Mention.”

Well, that was too much fun for one week. More to come next and every Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (7-10 a.m. PDT, 3-6 p.m. GMT). Or link here to the archives. I guarantee you’ll get more work done with this show than with a six-pack of Red Bulls.

And if you have an act you feel should be played on my show — well, if I like it, I’ll play it. Just message me here or on my Facebook Franorama 2.0/Franorama World page for a mailing address. Ciao for now …

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Five Songs, Parts 90-91

August 3, 2012

In a frenzy unrivaled until Ethel Merman’s disco single, even Lurch had his own ’60s dance.

Hi. This will be an extended Five Songs to make up for missing last week, between packing for my impending move and having to run out and buy a new laptop last Friday.

And guess what? I learned something new/old. Insatiable TV junkie as I was as a kid, I always loved “Makin’ With the Magilla,” from a 1965 Magilla Gorilla short at the height of the surf craze. Never gave any thought as to the artist(s) who recorded it. Now I know. And now you’ll know — and as a bonus, I included both the cartoon version and a better-sound-quality version.

Not sure whether this is the building anxiety about the move in a week and a half or just the caffeine. But if you’re not digging these, have someone check your pulse.

BTW: If you feel like sending a loan or a donation (specify which) to defray the big move, I won’t stop you. There’s a PayPal donate button below:

Makin’ With the MagillaLittle Eva (From Magilla Gorilla)

The Lurch — Ted Cassidy

A Love So Deep Inside — The Velvelettes

She Is So — A Craze

David Watts — The Kinks

Pizza Pie — Norman Fox & the Rob Roys

Crash — The Primitives

What Do I Get? — The Buzzcocks

At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama) — The El Dorados

The Animal Speaks — The Golden Palominos w/John Lydon

Five Songs, Part 62

January 13, 2012

Well, Five Songs finds me still in a weird place after two weeks of 2012. But things have to change. Right?

The first songs that come to mind are all NRBQ, given the death of Tommy Ardolino a week ago. But we fans and friends have all given Tommy a good rocket-ride musical sendoff to wherever he’s headed. So back to the everyday world, for better and worse. Happy Friday:

Cracking Up — Nick Lowe

I Go to Pieces — Nils Lofgren

Show Me — The Pretenders

Slip Away — David Bowie

I Go to Sleep — The Kinks