Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sun Country Harvest – KBIM (1989)

Interview with Bob Miner conducted December, 2008.

Side One:
Hagerman My Island - Sam Dunnahoo
Fill My Soul with your Magic - Annie Johnson
You Made Me Love You - Paul H. Byron
Southwest Friends Old and New - Robert Miner
Roswell Incident Rap - Russ Burch

Side Two:
I’ve Got New Mexico on My Mind - Jere Lowe
Llano Estacado - Kim Blakely and Timberline
Willie Lee - Frances Davis, Gary Beevers and Tom Cox
Pickin’ (On New Mexico) - Charles Davis
Juanita from Bonita - Nowlin Tubbs
Southwestern Light - Maureen T. McGinn

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: OK, let’s get this out of the way - technically this is a television station release. I tend to have blinders on when it comes to these albums. If it has “K” or “W” call letters on them, I buy them. Also, yes this is my second blog entry, about a New Mexico album, in three months. I send out dozens of e-mails, to the jocks and artists who appear on these comps, and then I wait…and wait. Thankfully I received a reply from a jazz musician out of Albuquerque, who appears on one of my newest acquisitions, KBIM - Sun Country Harvest.)

In the late 1980s, saxophonist Bob Miner was playing in the local Roswell-Carlsbad area band, Cielo. He was finding steady work playing weddings and special events at churches and at Lucy’s in Carlsbad, and out in Artesia. “When in Rome, play Roman polkas and cumbias,” he admitted. “I had a delightful time, made some life-long friendships and expanded my musical background.”

However, Miner loved playing jazz. Unfortunately the chances of being “the next Charlie Parker of Roswell," a town built around little green men and space ships, were slim. “We don't live in an artisan's society in this day and age, so making a living as a musician is more-often-than-not a losing proposition,” he said. “I was one of two jazz guys there.”

It just so happened that local television station KBIM was looking for hometown bands and performers to appear on an album compilation. Miner saw an opportunity—both personally and professionally. "The proceeds were donated to the Cancer Foundation and at the time my Mom had cancer, and subsequently passed away from it. So it was kind of a way to channel my enjoyment of playing toward a good cause—with a personal twist.”

He decided to enter “Southwest Friends Old and New.”

“It was just a recent composition. I thought it came out pretty good, so I entered it."

Southwest Friends, Old and New - Robert Miner and Charles Davis

While the entry stood out as the only jazz performance on the record, the album did not receive any support from local radio. “I did get a spot or two on TV commercials promoting the sale of the album for charity,” he admitted. “I got my 15 minutes of fame on the local TV channel, and I have the album framed on my wall as its my first published work.”

Miner would soon leave southern New Mexico for El Paso, and then, in 1993, find a more appropriate place for his craft, the big city of Albuquerque. “There is much more opportunity here for jazz,” he said. “I did a solo gig for a few years while weaving my way into the fabric of the local music scene.” It was at one of his shows that he would meet guitarist, Ben Martinez. The two were sidemen on a gig, when Martinez approached Miner to join a band he was putting together, the Ben Martinez Project.

BMP, with its traditional jazz, funk, modern jazz, Latin, rumba, urban and polyrhythmic jazz sound, would go on to win four New Mexico Music Award honors, and just returned from playing the Texas Jazz Festival—the band’s thirteenth appearance at the annual event. Miner still performs in the band, and is currently working on his first solo release.

Monday, November 10, 2008

KXXK "The Groovy One" (1968-1971)

Interview with Dick Roth conducted November, 2008

One of things I've enjoyed about this blog (and my accompanying Web site, radiouseonly.com), is meeting so many people who used to work in radio, and were a part of these recordings. What's been equally exciting is meeting so many people who have helped me locate some wonderful hidden gems.

Case in point: Last month the local Austin paper did a nice feature on my Web site. As a result I received a wonderful e-mail from a gentleman who asked if I would be willing to give a good home to some radio records he had.

He's a local salon owner, who had a long time client named Don Selden. Don was a professional percussionist by trade who, along with performing with the Dallas Symphony and local jazz bands, would often work on radio station jingle recordings in Dallas. What this wonderful, generous gentleman had to give me were three 10" records, containing over 40 different jingles for Dalllas radio station KXXK - featuring his friend Don Selden.

Sample of KXXK jingle (circa 1968-1971)

According to Mike Shannon's wonderful tribute site to Dallas/Fort Worth Radio:

KXXK, Dallas. Call letters established 5/25/1968. Format: Adult Contemporary (fashioned after WPIX-FM in New York, according to Jack Darden; a "watered-down KIXL, with light pop hits," according to Art Riley.) Owner: Dawson Communications Inc. (purchased 4/4/1968.) Notables: Roy (Royce) Applegate aka Jimmy Kemper (later a character actor,) Joe McChesney (PD; known better as "J. Morgan Van Buren" on KBOX in the mid-1960s,) Jack Darden (5/1968-11/1969,) Marshall Martin, Lee Bales , Charlie Whitaker (OM,) Dick Roth aka Dick Marshall, David Hultsman, Art Riley, Irene Runnels , Lynn Christian (SM.) Remained located at Suite 257B in Exchange Park, and upgraded power to 60,300 watts "circular polarization," as the station called it. Transmitter was in the basement with the studios, and the tower was mounted to the building's roof...despite being dangerously close to Love Field flight patterns!

"The KXXK disk you are referring to is very clear in my mind as I had a slight hand in it at the time," said former station disc jockey Dick Roth (aka Dick Marshall). "In late 1968, Gordon McLendon of McLendon Broadcasting had brought me back to Dallas from KABL AM/FM in San Francisco, CA where I had been working weekends as a newsman, DJ, and automation/control room engineer. I had just gotten out of the service and worked at KLIF/KNUS through the summer of 1969 when McLendon wanted me to go down to KTSA/KTFM in San Antonio to help set up their Shaffer Automation system. I was to work on the air, and be the assistant Chief Engineer for Coleman Barber who was the current CE. The problem was that the job didn't start until January of 1970. So Lenny Henderson (cousin Lenny), who was working the night shift at KXXK and I literally swaped shifts at the end of the summer. He came to KLIF, and I went to KXXK."

At that time, KXXK was owned by Dawson Communication and was being managed by Moe Gardner, engineered by Lee Bales (a McLendon alum), and programmed by Joe McChesney (from WRR and another McLendon alum). "Because I sang for one of the PAMS of Dallas 'Jingle Groups' once or twice a month, and Joe valued my opinion, on my second day of work, Joe, Lee and David Beckham, (one of the stations 'board ops'), called me into the production room to listen to those jingles, and let me hear the new campaign and direction the station was going to take. We listened to the entire package and collectively decided which jingles to recomend to Moe Gardner as the start-up rotation."

Janie Fricke and I both sang for PAMS and TM, together and at different times during the sixties and seventies, however I didn't have anything to do with the production of these jingles. The lead female voice on these jingles sounds like Peggy Lauren who was one of the other people that sang in our circle. There were several, (interchangable) groups singing in those days and you couldn't always get them all together at one time so there were often 'subs' in each group at any given session."

Roth left the station in early January, 1970. In 1971, KXXK became KOAX - a beautiful music station. The successful format would last until 1985. The station then went through numerous format changes, and is known today as KLLI "Live 105.3."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home Grown - K98 KHFI (1980)

Interview with Jimmi Lederer conducted October, 2008.

Side One:
Find a Man - Judy Price
American Hang-Up - Shammy
My Best Friend - John Treanor and Andy Murphy
Always a Dancer - Wommack Brothers Band
The Dillo Shall Rise Again - John Reed and Friends
Jenny, Jenny - Bill Gossett

Side Two:
Just Look, Don't Touch - Mother of Pearl
Mamie Mama - Too Smooth
Seasons of Plenty - Lynn Boehmer
Since I Found a New Love - Cobras
The Lord Pulled Up Behind Me When I Had Cheatin' on My Mind - Miles Lefler

Jimmi Lederer needed a new band. After a few years of playing throughout Texas, in different groups (including Zilker Sunday), he decided to put an advertisement up in a local Austin music store, looking for a new gig - when Kevin Wommack called him up. "I think it was the summer of 1979. They were looking for someone to replace their recently departed female vocalist," he said.

Kevin and his brother Keith had formed the aptly-named Wommack Brothers Band, playing gigs at the famed Armadillo World Headquarters, opening for acts including Elvis Costello, The Runaways, Journey, and Edgar Winter. "In fact, they opened for national acts so many times, some people referred to them as The Warmup Brothers."

The new line-up, with Lederer, toured extensively in East Texas, Louisiana, and an occasional trip to Memphis. "We played four or five nights a week, four hours a night - we played more on the road than we did in Austin, as the money was better." Locally, the band picked up gigs at Liberty Lunch, Steamboat, and The Back Room. "We made a living without needing a day job, but Austin was a much cheaper place in which to live then."

In 1980, Austin Top 40 station, KHFI (known as "K98") decided to put together its own version of the successful KGB-San Diego Homegrown records, featuring local bands. The band decided to submit a Lederer-penned tune, "Always a Dancer."

"I had been writing songs and playing with a friend, Kim Hayley, for a few years. When I joined The Wommack Brothers Band, Kim was playing bass with The Stephen Doster Band, and I used to hang out and sit in with them a lot. "Always a Dancer" was written on the road with guitarist, Joe Forlini, just a few weeks after I became a member of the Wommack Brothers Band. The lyrics came from my personal experience - observations of the girls who become followers of bands. In this case, I am referring mainly to strippers, who, while having a legitimate interest in the music, really didn't have much of a clue as to who the boys in the bands really were; thus the line, "She's in love with your guitar."

Always a Dancer - Wommack Brothers Band

Kevin Wommack- Bass
Keith Wommack-Guitar
Joe Forlini-Guitar
Jan Grimm-Drums, Background Vocals
Jim Lederer-Lead & Background Vocals

After the release of the album, the band decided to capitalize on the exposure, and started to submit tapes to major record labels. "In 1981, we pressed, released and distributed a 4-song EP on Twin Song Records, which got a little airplay locally on KLBJ-FM, and a few other small East Texas stations," Lederer said. "One song, "Runaway Heart", was listed in the December 19, 1981 issue of Billboard as a "Recommended" Top Single Pick. Others on the list that week were Genesis, The Jacksons, Diana Ross, and Peter Cetera." Unfortunately, with no national distribution, the song never charted. "We joined the ranks of the 'almost famous'."

The Wommack Brothers Band would go on to break-up the following year when Keith Wommack decided to quit music to become a Christian Science practitioner. "We played one of our last gigs in Grambling, Louisiana - ironically, the club burned down that same night," Lederer said. "I have been in and out of the music business since then - mostly out. The last commercial release on my part was a cassette of ten songs by a band called B-Sharp, released in 1992." Lederer is currently a socialworker for Child Protective Services.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Poemas De Luz y Sombra - KLOS (1962)

Interview with Mike Langner conducted August, 2008

In the late 1950's through the mid 1960's, Albuquerque radio station KQUE dominated the airwaves. In spite of the enormous popularity of Al "Pal Al" Tafoya, and his program "Night Train," rival station KLOS couldn't compete. In 1960, looking to carve out its own niche, Tafoya (who was also the station's program director) switched formats from pop rock to Spanish language.

"In 1962, in an effort to promote the format, and generate income, he (Tafoya) decided to produce an album of Spanish language poetry, read by station's afternoon announcer, Jesus Buenrostro," said Mike Langner who, at 19-years-old, served as "the kid who maintained the equipment," in his first radio job. The recitals were recorded in the station's makeshift production studio, located on the third floor of the Loft Building. The session took two evenings to finish.

Featuring the poetry of Lautaro Vergara, Carlos Rivas Larrauri, and Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Beunrostro's words were accompanied by local guitarist, Vincente Saucedo.

Telon - Jesus Buenrostro (Vincente Saucedo on guitar)

"The albums were sold over the air and at Spanish language record stores," Langner said.

However, unable compete in the market, the station went bankrupt, and off the air the following year.

Mike Langner went on to have a successful radio career in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe market (KGGM, KVSM and KDEF). Later he would spend several years as a volunteer at the classical music format KHFM - and go on to be the station's general manager.

Alfonso 'Pal Al' Tafoya went on to radio station KAFE, as program director. He later left New Mexico to pursue a career in California radio. He has since passed away (date unknown).

"Jesus Buenrostro, when the station went dark, he disappeared." said Langner.

Guitarist Vincente Saucedo continue to play at his own local bar and restaurant, Vicente’s Dining Rooms (located in the Old Town Plaza), and went on to record an album, Vincente Plays. A stroke in 1996 left him unable to play again. He passed away in 2002.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Twist to Radio WDGY (1961)

Interview with Tom Wynn conducted July 2008.

In 1961, clarinetist and Ritchie Valens discoverer/producer/manager Bob Keene was looking for a promotional opportunity for his record label, Del Fi. A year earlier, Chubby Checker had rocketed up the charts with an infectious dance number, “The Twist,” so Keene, the one time bandleader, decided to capitalize on the trend—and produce a record of popular dance songs of the era, performed by his own Bob Keene Big Band.

But how could a big band leader get any airplay on rock and roll stations? To sell the concept Keene would call the LP Twist to Radio. He pitched the idea directly to local stations as a "local album" featuring not only the participating station's disc jockeys on the album cover--but also Keene's music.

“I can’t remember why it was ever put out,” said Tom Wynn, who was one of the six disc jockeys pictured (second from the right) on the Minneapolis Twist to Radio WDGY album .

Disc jockeys posed on the cover of the album “twisting” in matching jackets. Their signatures and station logo adorn the LP.

“I do recall posing for the picture in the basement of WDGY many years ago,” Wynn said. “We didn't have any twist instruction on how to pose—you could probably tell that by looking at the LP cover.”

Keene went on to produce similar Twist records for KRLA, Los Angeles; KYA, San Francisco; WQAM, Miami; KPOI, Honolulu; WTIX, New Orleans; WHK, Cleveland; KLIF, Dallas; KAYO, Seattle, CKGM, Montreal and CHUM, Toronto.

See song line-up here.

In 1961 WDGY’s (known by its nickname Weegee) Top 40 format was competing with pop powerhouse KDWB, who had dominated the Minnesota airwaves. While KDWB featured live jocks, WDGY was 100-percent automated. Wynn, who was the station’s midday announcer, would record his entire show on tape, which was played back on a Schaefer system, consisting of six large 10-inch reels. The time and temperature were inserted into cart machines at specific times. “We were hardly a threat to KDWB,” he admitted, however the Twist to Radio album was probably released in an attempt to boost ratings. “It's one of those really dumb things we did before our demise.”

“I do recall recording the show one late night, when who walked in with his new bride—the one and only Todd Storz himself—first and only time I saw the man,” he admitted. Storz is credited with the Top 40 radio format. At one time he owned not only WDGY, but also WTIX, WHB, KXOK (AM) in St. Louis, WQAM in Miami, and KOMA in Oklahoma City. He died of a stroke in 1964 at the age of 39.

Wynn would leave WDGY in 1962, for a job across town at KRSI. He would later move to WEBC in Duluth, before heading west to Fargo, North Dakota and news talker, KFGO. He just celebrated his 30th year at the station as morning show host, with Larry Ristvedt.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

WJXN Jackson, My Home Town 45 (1961)

Interview with Bob Rall conducted July, 2008.

In 1961, the Dallas-based PAMS company (known for its signature radio jingles) created a "extra" for stations - a 2-minute song bed, to be used to create a local song called "My Home Town." While the tune was written by Euel Box, the stations were in charge of creating their own Chamber of Commerce style lyrics, highlighting local attractions, historic monuments, or simply stating civic pride. Terry Lea (or Terry Lee or Terry Lee Jenkins, as she is credited on the recordings), a regular PAMS jingle singer, sang what are estimated to be hundreds of different versions of this song - many of which were turned into 45s and distributed via the various local radio stations.

In 1958, Bob Rall was a junior in high school, working for WJXN in Jackson, Mississippi. By the age of 20 he was the program director for the station. He remembers writing the lyrics for the local Jackson version of "My Home Town."

"I took it pretty seriously," he admitted. "Several of us at the radio station made a list of things about Jackson. Then, I took the instrumental track and wrote lyrics to fit. You had to work within the prerecorded music, so the lyrics had to fit percisely. With the song, you had no optional melody"

brainstorming took about ten hours to complete "over two or three evenings."

Listen to sample of record here.

"We took it to Ace Records, which was based here in Jackson [the label home of Jimmy Clanton, Frankie Ford, Huey "Piano" Smith, and Joe Tex]. Johnny Vincent with Ace sent them off for us," he said.

A total of 500 of the singles were pressed, and distributed at the station - where it the disc received regular rotation. "Until all of us were sick of it," he admitted.

"The response was very good. The promotion lasted about a month, as I recall. We rationed the
give away of the 500 so they would last."

Rall left WJXN in 1961, to have a successful career throughout the south. "I was on the air at WKGN Knoxville, WABB Mobile, WTIX, New Orleans, KBOX Dallas,
WSLI Jackson, WRBC Jackson, and WWUN Jackson, until 1980, and then General Manager at WRBC Jackson, WSVA/Q101 Harrisonburg, Virginia, K99 (WKNN) Biloxi/Gulfport, and Z106 (WSTZ) Jackson."

Currently he is "semi-retired" doing helicopter traffic reports at WLBT (NBC TV Jackson), and WFMN FM, afternoon traffic for six Clear Channel stations in Jackson - and on Sundays he has a 3-7 shift on WQJQ (Q105) in Jackson.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Album Project II - WFBQ (1980)

Interviews with Tim O'Malley and Chris Lieber conducted March, 2008.

Side One:
I've Been Waiting - Pedaler
Feelin' Free - Free Spirit
Boat to Jamaica - Bill Wilson
Caught Her By Surprise - Neon Parke
Look at Me, Ma - McAllister

Side Two:
Spending The Night With Friends - Twice
Fine Line - The Edge
Waiting Room - John Kimsey
She Clown - Lifer
King of Kings - Franklin's Kite

Indianapolis-based guitarist Tim O’Malley and keyboardist Chris Lieber were big Little Feat fans, looking to follow their hearts, after playing in the popular local funk outfit, The Dan Hanley Band. So, when it came time to finding a name for their new country tinged rock band, they decided to pay homage to Lowell George and company--and their recognizable album covers. “We named the band Neon Parke for the guy that used to do the Little Feat album covers (Martin Muller, otherwise known as Neon Park). “We made it Parke to be different.” Neon Parke’s sound took a page directly from Little Feat, and the similar bands that would follow. “I would describe our group as a rock band with country and blues influences, kind of like an early version of Wilco,” he said. “We were a jam band before there were jam bands.”

In 1980, while playing around Indianapolis, at clubs such as Crazy Al’s and The Vogue, they had heard about a contest being held by local rock radio station WFBQ (which would later go on to be the home of the syndicated morning show “Bob and Tom”). O’Malley decided to submit a recording he had done prior to his forming Neon Parke, “Caught Her By Surprise.”

“I had originally recorded the song at a studio owned by Wayne Hall, who used to have a band called the Hugo Smith Band. The name of the studio was called The Underground. The original recording had John Apple on Bass, Jeff Lantz on keys, and Jan Clark on drums,” he said. “When we recorded it for the WFBQ Album Project I had Chris on keys, Bill Moring on bass and Jan again on drums.” The tape was sent to the station, and was chosen among more than 200 entries.

Caught Her By Surprise – Neon Parke

But the tune would prove to be the band’s debut…and swan song.

“I had been planning on moving to California before all this happened and I basically broke up the band and took off,” O’Malley admitted. “They had a big showcase concert I believe at the Vogue night club for the contest winners but by then I was gone.”

O’Malley left to play guitar for a studio band. The gig lasted just three months. “One day the IRS locked the doors for non-payment of back taxes. So that was that. I tried to get hooked up with some other people but it became so expensive to live out there that I just cut my losses and came back to Indiana.” When he tried to reform Neon Parke, all of the members had moved on to other opportunities.

Upon moving back to Indiana, Tim O’Malley went to work as a salesman for a paint company, but continues to play music. “I play in a band called Built for Comfort and also play with a great songwriter by the name of Slats Klug.”

“Honestly, none of us thought that Neon Parke was the last band we'd ever be in. We just enjoyed playing together for a while and then we moved on,” said keyboardist, Chris Lieber, who went on to start up rippleFX, a music production and audio post-production studio in Indianapolis. He has also recently gotten back into part time gigs with a couple of different local bands. “The members are less than half my age. I guess I've kind of gone back to my roots—playing original songs with kids in their twenties.”

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The First KFM Album (1980)

Interviews with Scott Dugdale and Peter Berkow conducted February, 2008.

Side One:
Throw it Away - Dan Cruces and Scott Dugdale
Break Even - Page One
Old Letters - Todd Klehr
Twenty First and Salem Blues - Ralph Shine Band
Harvest Time in Chico - Kim Cataluna and Slick Rick with the Funky Mystics
Late Date - Sven Jensen

Side Two:

When I Was Born - The Great Blue Herring
Grey Day - Leslie Riley Band
Lady Luck - Jack Zampa
I'm Feeling It Now - Gary Epps and Janet Garlin
Feelin' 'Bout You - Spark and Cinder Band
I Like You, Much As I Like Beer -Doug Midgely Band

Music producer Peter Berkow moved to Chico, California in 1975 to start up the audio engineering program at Cal State. While there he initiated a relationship with local radio station, KFMF (known as KFM), a small freeform format servicing the population of just over 60,000 with an eclectic mix of music, and suggested producing an album featuring local talent. "In fact, KFM never would have done it if I hadn't coerced, cajoled, (and in some instances, even PAID for some of the expenses) and, in general, made myself a pain in the butt until they finally produced one ... as long as I promised to go away and leave them alone," he admitted.

With Berkow signed on to produce the LP, it was then just a matter of finding enough talent to put on the record. Through Berkow's day to day interaction with up and coming musicians at Cal State, he was able to encourage many to try out.

"If I remember correctly, I think it was a kind of contest," said Scott Dugdale, who was 19 years old at the time. A local performer, with an extensive musical background, he and friend Dan Cruces were also beginning the early stages of the successful West Coast band, Leo Swift. "All the local bands sent in recordings, and of those, 12 were selected for the album."

Entries piled in, featuring Chico's best in rock, country, jazz and blues. Berkow knew that since the compilation would feature such a diversity of genres, the first song on the album had to stand out.

"Dan and I had been playing music and recording together since our early high school years," said Dugdale. "At the time, we were listening to a lot of progressive rock of the day-bands like Styx, and Toto and Kansas. We also listened to Genesis and Yes. But after surreptitiously acquiring some studio time, as an experiment, we wanted to see if we could write a song in that vein, and play all the instruments between the two of us, and see if we could produce something like that. Peter heard about it, listened to the song and said, 'You have to submit this one'."

Throw it Away - Dan Cruces and Scott Dugdale

"It was very difficult recording that song and trying to make it as 'big' as the stuff we were listening to. We were limited to two 1/2 inch 8-track Tascam decks (actually almost a luxury for a small local studio at the time). Since neither of us played guitar well enough to track, I multitracked all the 'lead' parts, one note and one part at a time with a Minimoog synthesizer. The 'rhythm guitar' sound was a piano, miked, and run through a guitar amp in a bathroom cranked up to 10 (11 really). Dan had the melody idea and some lyrics, I fleshed out the music, we both played drums and percussion. There's even a timpani in there somewhere. Dan sang the lead and we both did background vocals. My good friend and engineer Ralph Staub worked the sessions too, and we all did the final mix together."

Released in the 1980, the album's cover featured a cartoon design of main street Chico, by local artist Sylvia Massy, a university student, who later went on to become a veteran record producer and studio engineer (
Undertow - Tool, Unchained - Johnny Cash, and Diamonds and Pearls - Prince).

Scott Dugdale is now the in-house composer for Wavegroup, a post-production studio responsible for recording tracks for Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero: Rocks The 80's. He has scored numerous films, television documentaries and other video games, including Online Chess Kingdoms and Brooktown High. He has also created many tracks in the Dance Dance Revolution series, including the most recent version for Wii, as well as six sequels of the successful Karaoke Revolution series of video games. In 2005, his musical score for a mini-series called Astronomy: Observations and Theories was nominated for an L.A. Area Emmy, and the series won the Emmy for Best Educational Series and Best Writing.