Posts Tagged ‘The New Piccadillys’

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 3/22/13: ‘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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