Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AM in the AM

Radio station WEAG-AM 1470 (founded in 1957) was an important part of my life as a kid - my dad had it on in the car every morning when he drove us to school (AM radio only, speaker in the center of the dash) listening to the Jerry Collins Show. In between big band tunes, Jerry (not even sure if I've spelled his name correctly) would stand on the sidewalk in front of the JCPenney in Midland Center and interview folks as they strolled by doing their shopping. [As a kid I was thrilled when, while shopping at JCPenney one day, I discovered on the front wall the mic jack that Jerry used. Yes, I was a weird kid.] By 1985 Walker Johnson had purchased the station, changed the calls to WMDR ("The Music Doctor") and gone Top-40. By the time that I was involved in the station (early '90's) the format was easy listening. Now its calls have again changed (WBCR) and it's a mostly satellite-fed far-right religious format.

One of the more interesting programs during my brief tenure at the station was a Sunday morning time slot that was sold (very cheaply) to a local preacher - "Sounds of the Holiness, with the Reverend Charles T. Wilson". Rev. Wilson (of Louisville, TN) would show up in the studio accompanied by various and sundry members of his extended family - wife, children, mother, mother-in-law, infants - and he would preach and they would (in various combinations) sing a cappella. Occasionally Rev. Wilson would add his rather pitch-erratic basso to the vocal mix as the spirit stuck him. I believe that musicologists would call these various vocal performances, er, "folk" or "primitive art."

Rev. Wilson's preaching leaned towards the old-timey fire and brimstone - what I can interpret of it, that is. Between his accent, his, er, dental care issues, and his specific religious jargon, I can get about every second word, on average. What does slip through are an occasional gem that I've endlessly sampled for mix tapes over the last two decades - "A woman's place is to stay home and take care of the children, praise galeah" (sp?), "Charlie G-G-Goddard", "I praise God that my shoes fit", "I'm glad to be the husband of one wife/don't need two wives", "my Muver", and a dozen various verbal tics, Glossolalia, and random made-up words.

When I was younger my friends and I found these tapes (I have several) endlessly amusing.* As an older (and in some ways more mellow) person I can listen and feel some more compassion for Rev. Wilson and his family and their sincerity (despite his atrocious religious beliefs). The family looked pretty much as you will probably imagine when listening - typical East Tennesee rural poor. Despite the low cost of the two half-hour time slots each Sunday (7:30 and 10:30) paying for the time was constantly a struggle - in this program you can hear him ask, as he often did, that cans and papers be left in front of his trailer in Louisville so that he can recycle them to pay for his airtime.

With a name as common as Charles Wilson, you can expect that the internet doesn't turn up anything useful. I'll bet that he's still alive, though getting up there. If you know any more about him, please drop me a line in the comments.

Sounds of the Holiness 01 with the Reverend Charles T Wilson

*OK, I admit, I'm still amused.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Piccolo Spoleto Sacred Harp Charleston 2011

Gage Hall, Charleston, SC.

For technical reasons a few of these sessions are incomplete (and the singing school is non-existent).




Monday, August 15, 2011

Moose on the Loose

The only thing that I know about this band is that they are from the Chattanooga area, and I only know that because one of my mates (all from Chattanooga) in Sea 7 States gave me this cassette back in 1986. It's been shuffled in boxes from garage to garage since I left TN in 1993, so it's a little worse for wear, but still enjoyably listenable. There do appear to be a couple of recent live recordings from Musical Moose available on youtube (I emailed the contact person listed with the videos but got no response).

Musical Moose - Moose on a Hot Tin Roof
(see above for track listing)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Smersh mouth

This is another musical item that I bought unheard out of the back of a magazine (possibly the Village Voice) in 1983. Smersh (not the Russian secret agency) was Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard. According to discogs: Beat studio guru Mike Mangino (Pink Noise, Pop-Tarts) and Chris Shepard (Pop-Tarts) formed Smersh as an experimental big-beat techno/industrial project and began releasing cassettes in 1981. Smersh recorded improvised cuts every Monday night, released countless cassettes on their own label, Atlas King, and were featured on more compilations than you can track down. They never played live, never played the same track more than once. This is their second album. (I will post the first when I find it.)

I played at least one track from this cassette-only release ("X, X, X, Going On L") on both WUTK-FM and WUOT-FM (Unradio) more than once.

Smersh - Hothouse Flowers In A Cool Culture (1983)

01 Children's Suspense Theatre

02 X,X,X, Going On L

03 Slugs

04 Don't Go Home Part 2

05 ......Shadow

06 Vertigo

07 Beach

08 The Hustle [yes, it's a cover!]

09 Jungle Bonnie

10 Not Talking Back

11 From A View To A Kill


Friday, August 05, 2011

In the Mood...for Tequila?

By the time that I seriously started listening to the radio, Herb Alpert was basically off the charts and off the air. No one in my family owned any Tijuana Brass records, but somehow I ended up with this 1966 album: Something New - The Glenn Miller Orchestra Under the Direction of Buddy DeFranco translates The Tijuana Brass Hits. For me, these are the correct versions of the songs, and the actual Tijuana Brass versions (with their measly handful of trumpets) sound thin. Yeah, I know, it's a character flaw. The drumming is really good on this, too. I like this (probably a reissue) album art better than what is probably the original (see below), though I feel sorry for the guy pushing the piano and the guy with the double bass over his head (and what's that guy in front playing? A cheese pizza?).

Something New - The Glenn Miller Orchestra Under the Direction of Buddy DeFranco translates The Tijuana Brass Hits

1 A Taste Of Honey
2 What Now My Love
3 I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
4 Whipped Cream
5 Tijuana Taxi
6 Zorba The Greek
7 The Lonley Bull
8 Mexican Shuffle
9 The Third Man Theme
10 Spanish Flea

Probably the original album art: