Posts Tagged ‘The Osmonds’

Cygnus Radio playlist 7/12/13: The Fleshtones and the American Beat

July 16, 2013
The Fleshtones in action -- they're never at rest -- this past Saturday at Sailfest, at the Hygienic Art Park in New London, CT. From left: Ken Fox, Peter Zaremba, Bill Milhizer and Keith Streng.

The Fleshtones in action — on stage, they’re never at rest  — this past Saturday (July 13) at Sailfest, at the Hygienic Art Park in New London, CT. From left: Ken Fox, Peter Zaremba, Bill Milhizer and Keith Streng.

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

“The Fantastic Johnny C! Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon! The incredible James Brown! Roy Brown! Chuck Brown! The Reverend Richard Penniman! Elvis Presley and all the kings of rock’n’roll. Lou Costello! The Intruders! The Illusions! Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly! The Dell-Vikings, Del Fuegos, Del Shannon, MC5. The Velvets! The Stooges! Louie Jordan, Rosco Gordon! The Raiders and the Wailers and The Kingsmen and The Sonics. Phast Phreddie, The Last! The Unclaimed, The Plimsouls! The Lyres and The Real Kids. The Modern Lovers! Alan Vega, Los Lobos, The Gentrys, The Dantes and The Headhunters, too. Mitch Ryder! Ritchie Valens! The Osmonds! Parliament and The Jackson 5. The Rivingtons! Donna Summer! Martha Reeves! Richard Berry! Berry Gordy! Hoo — Chuck Berry! LouieLouieLouieLouieLouieLouieLoueeeee! Come on, Louie! LouieLouieLouieeee!”

The above roll call comes at the tail end of the Franorama 2.0 national anthem — the song I use to open nearly every show, be it on Cygnus Radio online or WPKN in Bridgeport — “American Beat ’84” by my eternal favorite band, Brooklyn’s uncrowned kings of pop and soul since 1976, The Fleshtones. A re-recording of their very first single, from 1978, it ran in the end-title credits of Tom Hanks’ first starring feature, Bachelor Party (where he shared marquee time with the illustrious Adrian Zmed and Tawny Kitaen).

Peter taking his chances out in the crowd.

Peter taking his chances out in the crowd.

And in this re-done version. Peter Zaremba, the group’s kinetic frontman, honored some of the people who’ve shaped rock and soul — both familiar and unfamiliar names.

And since they were playing in Connecticut for the first time since my move home last August — this last Saturday (July 13) as part of New London’s annual Sailfest, and playing in the prime pre- and post-fireworks slot once held by The Reducers, I devoted the whole show to them. And, in particular, the American Beat. Took me more than 20 years to finally do this show, based on the roll call. I’m not the first person who’s done this, but hey — it doesn’t happen very often. And I had more fun than a barrel of people.

Keith impersonates Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" album cover.

Keith impersonates Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album cover.

Anyway, by the time I put together all the songs for the roll call, I realized, “Holy shit! I have over three hours of music for a three-hour show! And no Fleshtones!” So I texted Gary Gone, the head G of this Cygnus operation, seeing if he minded if I go over an extra hour; he was fine with it — after all, there were four hours until D.J. Lotto’s Happy Hour show, and I draw (hopefully) better ratings than the autobot that runs during the dead-air times — so all’s well that ends well.

And their show Saturday night was as fun and energetic as I’ve seen them in years. They were firing on all cylinders. I’ve seen both good and bad shows over nearly 30 years, and this was one of the good ones. The Fleshtones are the most fun you can have on a Saturday night without a prescription, and this show was proof.

Keith and Eddie Munoz during The Split Squad's opening set.

Keith and Eddie Munoz during The Split Squad’s opening set.

And the opening act was a revelation. ‘Shtones guitarist Keith Streng also plays in The Split Squad, all of whom have other jobs. Surrounding singer/bassist Michael Giblin (of The Parallax Project) are Keith and Eddie Munoz of Plimsouls fame on guitar, organist Josh Kantor of The Baseball Project and Fenway Park, and, normally on drums, Clem Burke. But since Clem was away with some other band he plays with (Blondie), pinch-drumming was Linda Pitmon, also of The Baseball Project and, with husband Steve Wynn, The Miracle 3. Lots of unexpected fun.

Anyway, back to “American Beat.” Some notes for the uninitiated:

Peter gave a quick mention to “all the kings of rock’n’roll,” so I took artistic license to conjure as many American Kings as I could muster … Thee Precisions were Phast Phreddie’s band — longtime L.A. scenester Phast Phreddie Patterson … The Unclaimed was an L.A. garage band  from the late ’70s/early ’80s, best known for being Sid Griffin’s first band, before The Long Ryders … Alan Vega was half (with Martin Rev) of minimalist no-wave duo Suicide in the late ’70s/early ’80s … The Gentrys, of “Keep on Damcing” fame, included future famed pro wrestling “manager” Jimmy Hart … The Dantes were a garage band from Ohio whose breakout single from 1964, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” was covered by The Fleshtones in the mid-to-late ’80s … Motown mogul Berry Gordy, of course, was never a recording artist, and Motown was represented already, so I included his first big claim to fame — as co-writer of “Lonely Teardrops” for his Detroit friend Jackie Wilson.

Well, that’s all. No themes planned for this Friday’s show. But I guarantee a fun time. So tune in while you work, tell your friends and, if you haven’t done so yet, please “like” my Facebook radio/blog page. I want this show, and this station, to blow up bigtime. Have fun — I know I did.

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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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