Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:36 AM
Everyone, upon further research I've learned that WQLA only pays for 150 people at once to be able to catch it on-line. That would account for its frequent unavailability, again Sun. Jun. 5. I'd been made four songs late Fri. by a call so I wanted to hear it again. Interestingly, I had been listening without knowing the year and trying to determine it. It had to be 1958 or later. Here lies another joy of appreciating music via this format: the subtle differences of the music at least at two- year intervals. It couldn't have been 1958 because there weren't enough teen-ager-related songs, but it couldn't have been 1962 because there was no folk influence or so-called girl groups. Obviously, it wasn't 1964, which would've been totally different. So it had to be in the middle, 1960; you could hear the mildness of the songs, almost hearkening back to prerock. Another reason I wanted to listen again, and I rearranged my whole weekend to do it, was because I only knew about 10 of the songs; 1960, apparently, has been neglected over the years. One commercial was for Paddy-cake (sp.) Cookies, unknown to me, and I forget the other. Al mentioned Dick Clark's and Jane Fonda's first movies and one other, but no tv that I recall.
_ _ _ _This week hits 1964, and Al has busted it again. It's the first hour, and I'm sitting at the table having brunch, not perfectly alert. Al has just played Terry Stafford's "I'll Touch a Star" (if you know what's coming, you are a hercules). Al casually says, from "I'll Touch a Star" to "Look for a Star" by so-and-so from "Circus of Horrors" from 1960. In fog, not quite catching it, I think to myself Circus of Horrors is an odd choice of name for an artist. Instantly, the song starts, and I KNOW. How do you reckon I feel about "Circus of Horrors"? How many times do you guess I've seen it? Al casually mentions it, as opposed to specifying "the movie..."; he goes out of his way to play "Look for a Star". These are indications Al might be a fan. As a concession, since I prefer not to look up such things, I checked the song, and four versions "charted" in the US in 1960, including an instrumental which I've heard and did recognize as such, whereas I wouldn't have known any song had even been released.
_ _ _ _Around Jun.5 I predicted Al would eventually play the theme from "The Blob", which was released; there's even a Spanish version. Now the opposite would surprise me. Around Jun. 5 I knew "In the Studio" and "Rockline"couldn't possibly stay with this show when Al's mentioning Gigantis, not that those aren't great. Now, "National Countdown Show" IS THE GREATEST MUSIC SERIES OF ALL TIME! Note that I've concentrated on the fannish stuff he has done. Two radio programs remain higher, both more akin to specials, for the greatest thing thing ever on radio, one music, one not.
_ _ _ _While on the subject of greatest, I want to single out Mike Sappol (pronounced SAY-pole), Leonard Lopate's "Round Midnight", and Mickey Waldman"s "The Next Swan", all of WBAI-FM in New York; these were call-in shows in earlier 1978. I can't find or recall the name of MS's show because it was perhaps so ad-hoc (yes, in Jul. his Sun.-Mon. show had four names). He did one of the most creative and capable things ever by letting a caller play recordings of crank calls made by them to the other two shows!! On more than one occasion! I don't readily laugh, but I did at least twice out loud! The incredible de facto deadpan of LL and especially MW to that caller's shenanigans was too much! I still remember the first call to MS, the key to his capability: MS had to get through the caller's defensive baloney and have the caller trust him and relax. I hope Mike Sappol will search for his name and see this. Let me advise, sadly, that MW passed in 2008 after smoking three packs a day regularly. She played the game boccaccio on the radio, introducing it to me. Previously, Bob Fass had dominated WBAI late nights with his call-in show, Radio Unnameable", his trick being to put multiple callers on with each other. Though he was popular, I found him tedious and never listened. Finally, he had a disagreement with management over freedom of speech and left, opening his slots to others like LL and MS, to whom I could listen. As I researched this writing, the names of people and programs from WBAI jumped out at and resonated with me like I was reading an old com. WBAI made quite an impression on me when I tuned in 1976-78, a period of flux in my life, before I left NYC for good, not a moment too soon considering the mess it and the world has been >1972 versus <1973.
_ _ _ _Returning to Al, his commercials were for a lip sunblock named Cody (sp.) and the Rambler vehicle, done by an artist. No movies or tv. After his first break I was able to harness the full aesthetic slam of "The Girl from Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto - out of this world; later, "Do you want to Know a Secret?" and others, but four hours will weary when one starts tired.