Monday, May 26, 2014

Claude’s Commentary May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014
Claude’s Commentary
By Claude Hall
Bobby Ocean:  “Gads, Claude! I was really sucked into this thread!  Leave it to Lee Baby Simms to reduce everything to its bare economy of words. He says, ‘We are all doomed! I have always known that’.   Then he extrapolates, ‘Everything created is destined to die ... Where the hell did The Universe come from when it came? ... Witness the thousands of Religions.  All of them trying to explain the unexplainable.  Where will The Universe go when it goes?  Ha!  I don`t see any of the smarty pants addressing that question’.
“It has been a hobby of mine, Claude, almost as obsessive as cartooning (which I still practice every day), to answer as many of those unanswerable Life questions as I can and become more intimately acquainted with the nature of our mind and our life's Inner Inventory, as spoken of by the Masters.  And Lee Baby continues, ‘Ha Ha hahahaha....’ 
“Well, really. To even discuss stuff like this all of our intuitions are filtered. Everything goes through the Logic Machine, The Thought Process, The Societal Acceptance Requirements and certainly a battery of emotional screens to ward off negative impulses, inappropriate emotions, feelings of vulnerability and ‘bad vibes’.  For the clarity of this conversation, I have removed those filters, so our vision is allowed to be seen through the lens of direct experience. This is called ‘knowing’. And for a sense of security I include instructions on how to get out of that space. To do that, you change your point Of View, that's all.  Well, I certainly don't wear any damn ol' Smarty Pants, just some old jeans I found in the attic that I stashed there toward the mid-70s. They fit better now than they did then.  So also does life have a better feeling of fit.  Friendlier, as you allow it.  And curiouser and curiouser....
“Maybe it's time for a little Seek And You Shall Find.  If it's true that you, Lee Baby and I were born equipped with Divine contents, we want to know more about it.  For most minds, this is very nebulous treading, extremely esoteric stuff, far too ill defined to grasp, even terrifying. They depart here.  You are spoken to as a Saint from this point on.  From here, I simply speak through the concepts to the Higher You.  Nothing has to ‘be done’ to properly read this as a more sacred person.  You're perfect now.  To me, this huge topic and its spin-offs are like candy.  I hold an ongoing fascination for All Things Behavior (from religious, dysfunctional, cults, diverse societies to out-of-body, spiritually intuitive, telepathic, or psychic and more).  They are like chocolate.  Mm-mm-m, I always seem to want more.  And there IS a lot more. To go beyond the shallow explanations, misinterpretations and myths, I had to learn to mentally bungee dive... to go deeper. 
“And that's what it took. I owe any sense of spiritual progress appearing to evolve within me - to commitment. One must choose open-heartedness every day, every moment; to operate in the present with the grace of quiet comprehension, from Inner Wisdom outward to that which is served up as daily life.  Here's the problem: awareness is without end, and ranges through the entirety of our one, pure Inner Realm, into its reflective multiverses of mental and emotional outer energies, from most vivid to intimately subtle. All those diverse energies... How can all that material come into consensus regarding the unexplainable?  Well, it happens just like they do it on TV. 
“You stand back and look, gather all the info you can, look for patterns and repeated names, trace it all to the one mastermind behind all the monitor screens. Which, surprise, turns out to be one of the characters introduced early in the script - you.  From scientific and religious musings concerning from whence it came, to ‘where does the Universe go when it goes away?’ it is YOU involved in every question. Every one. That's significant.  Then there's this:  Before any answer can be spoken - from extreme theoretical calculus involving variations in orbits galaxies away - prior to the simple statement, ‘I am’, you must first be present to answer the question or make the statement. in other words, first there is you.
“The sages point out that YOU, upon investigation, will be found to be the light that brightens the entirety of your consciousness including its contents. That's steeper than deep.  So the answer, in sparing verbiage, is: the Universe goes AWAY without your attention, such as when you sleep, and comes into being once again with your awareness.  Now, to alter your perspective (which is the recipe for changing the world) you simply change your perspective. One example is moving from ‘I know (this or that) to I KNOW THAT I KNOW (this or that)’; entirely different POV.  Finally, Claude who got pulled into this, Lee Baby my mentor and fellow rogue, and any interested, beloved souls along for this Ocean cruise, God (if I may use the term; feel free to use your own) KNOWS all.  BUT... requires you to EXPERIENCE that which he knows. The Divine employs you to experience itself.  Even Knowing falls short as only a portion of the ALL Of Life ...  just as thinking and feeling are only a sliver of it, in fact empty nothing without your attention.  The entire Life Puzzle is already pieced together, works perfectly and deserves to be experienced. And, while you and I are just fiddling around with the pieces, I can't tell you how overjoyed I am to have you along on this cruise with me.“
Thank you for the philosophy, Bobby.
Bob Walker, “The original one”:  “Hi, Claude.  Nice to receive your newsletter every week.  Just like the good old days when we anxiously awaited Billboard, Cashbox and the trade newsletters in the mail at the beginning of every week.  I have noticed an abundance of Bob Walker's at various radio stations thru the years.  Just FYI, that is my real name and I used it on WTIX since 1967.  Any other ‘true’ Bob Walker's out there who used that name?  Also the handle ‘Skinny’ that was introduced by WTIX's Tom Cheney (also his real name) in the early 70s.  How many other radio Skinny's were there?  And is Buzz dead or alive?  Anyone know?”
A few years ago, I wrote about 30 of the guys who were close to Buzz.  One recalled putting him on a plane in Dallas and he was very sick at the time.  Heading to Florida.  That’s it.  I later found a Buzz Bennett working a blog at a Florida TV station, but he said he wasn’t the one.  The only “skinny” I can recall off hand was Skinny Bob Harper.  And I think there were at least a couple of other Bob Harpers around.  Believe it or not, there’s a Claude Hall operating a gun show out of Oklahoma.
Chuck Chellman:  “Reply to WTIX' Bob Walker ... Bob Sticht was a great one, I'll agree; even a nicer, gentle man. I first met Sticht at WINN, Louisville, then later at Nashville's WLAC.  Bob got out of radio for a while and was a financial adviser and stockbroker.  He left that to get back into radio at WAMB, Nashville, playing big band records.  He died two years ago.  Bob Sticht is missed by many people here in Music City.
I’m not much of a fan of Bruce Springsteen.  But I’ve just listened to “The Ghost of Tom Joad” on “High Hopes” CD and this is a very heavy, very impressive, very important song.  My compliments, Bruce.
Morris Diamond:  “Alice and I just returned from the Jerry Vale funeral here in Palm Desert.  It was well attended.  Coming in from L A was Steve Lawrence and Norm Crosby, among others.  Also in attendance paying their respects was Deana Martin & hubby John Griffeth, Jack Jones, Shecky Greene, Peter Marshall, Bill Marx, Toni Prima representing her mother, Keely Smith; Keely's brother, Piggy Smith, Michael Dante.  Steve and I had a bit of a chat, both lauding Don's efforts on his behalf.  Well worth the praise.  Steve's manager for 35 years, Judy Tanen was also there.  Love to you and Barbara.”
Danny Davis:  “Claude-ie!  It figures that Moishe Diamond, spry and up-to-the-minute as he is, wrote ya' about Jerry Vale's funeral! It was, as every attendee would state, Whatta' tribute! Whatta' gathering of the kind of people Jerry loved! And they surely loved him! Look around and see Vale, silent but revered by about three hundred tear-stained mourners! In attendance, Steve Lawrence, Ruta Lee, Shecky Greene, Barbara Marx Sinatra, Kay Ballard, Gavin McLeod, (memory fades), but the list of first rate musicians, signature guys who had a hand in over fifty albums Jerry Vale recorded, are way-y too lengthy to list, but suffice to note Vale's rendition of ‘Smile’, accompanying the casket at service's end, was enough to wipe many, many tears before you could start your car! Whatta' tune! Whatta' arrangement! Whatta' voice! Listen again and 'smile' thru your tears! RIP, Jerry Vale!! Sadly, as Jerry Blavat lets me know, all the time: ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’!”
We come, we do, we go.
More Danny Davis:  “Hey-y Authorman! This note's gotta' be marked 'urgent'! (Before all the 'know everythings and their memories') flood your phone lines/email transmissions/and your most kind heart! (Long known, in the main, as The King Of Hearts!) I was not, NOT, head of Motown, in any year of a dynamite career! (Altho my length of workday experiences, the association with legendary 'names' and listening to a little guy, 'useta' work on puttin' automobiles together', at staff meetings, and hearing the 'put together stories' while part of all of it) was a memory worth more pages than I'm able to convey here!) All of the above aside to 'regale' you with a Berry Gordy personal 'me's never to be forgotten!': Wifey and 'lowly' VP of Promotion, tanned and starstruck, first time in Las Vegas, swimmingly caught up at the Riviera's pool … gets a phone call. Large like I was, I race to answer. It's Mr. Gordy. Good humor, general good feelings, and full of praise for some movement the staff scored on 'Switch' (Remember! A Gordy family 'push'!) The Chairman was unable to see me, standing against that huge Riviera pool, phone stand and hear my ecstatic response when he says, ’Danny, I wanted you to hear it from me, I'm making you a Senior Vice President of Promotion!’  Screams, laughter, appreciation and an immediate rush to the crap table stands right along with that tale.  Berry and that 'cherry'!”
My mistake, Danny.  I apologize.  Guess I always considered you presidential material.
Robert Moering:  “Thanks for the email.  Casey is a good man, he doesn't deserve what's going on with his life.”
Diane Kirkland:  “Claude, I felt the same way about Jean ... I haven’t seen Casey since the 70s or maybe 1980 or 1981 either.  It’s a shame.  I guess he has Lewey Body Dementia ... one of my best friend’s father had that, and he deteriorated very quickly.  I feel bad for him and his kids.  Those nails and that bleached hair ... yuk.  I read part of your ‘review’ of her to my sister, and she evidently knew them when she was editor of Tiger Beat for eight years back in the 70s.  She said the only thing she liked about Jean was that when she sent out invitations to parties, they were elaborate and classy.  So I guess she’s good for something, but I don’t think she’s good for Casey.”
Try this one:  “The Way You Look Tonight” by Jumaane Smith on the CD “I Only Have Eyes for You.”  What a beautiful jazz masterpiece.  Every note reaches into your soul.  The vocal is superb.  Soft.  Penetrating.  This is bourbon-in-the-dark-of-night music.  I hope it sells well enough to chase Jumaane back into the studio.  The problems you and I had with Elvis Presley and Kris Kristofferson is that they never stayed in the recording studio enough.  I sometime faunch at what Elvis could have been.  Fred Foster, head of Monument Records, once told me and Paul Ackerman, the music editor of Billboard, that he had the same problem with Kristofferson.  The result is that both men short changed their geniuses … not enough really great material out there.  Oh, they did okay.  But I keep thinking:  What might have been!  When you’ve got a great talent, you must create a great body of work.  For posterity.
Jack Gale:  “Interesting to read in your column about Jay Thomas.  When I resigned as PD at Big WAYS in Charlotte in1970, I hired Jay Thomas to do mornings at our Jacksonville station, WAPE.  Later, Stan Kaplan brought him up to WAYS in Charlotte.  Jay did the eulogy when Stan died.  Nice to see that Morris Diamond is still around.  He was one of the few gentlemen in promotion.  Thank goodness for your column, or we'd never know who is still breathing from the world we knew.  Keep up the great work.  Best to Barbara.”
Now and then I go back and listen to the Three Tenors and I did so this morning (Friday).  Now the random generator has switched to “Dream You” on Roy Orbison’s “A Black and White Night.”  Great tune.  Just FYI:  I think Roy’s “Pretty Woman” on this CD one of the best records ever made.  Great way to start a day!
Chuck Brinkman:  “Mention of Steve Lawrence made me think of his brother Bernie.  This guy was ahead of his time with comedy ... should have done stand-up.  Is he still around and healthy?”
Burt Sherwood.  Grandfather.  The baby’s name is Hayley.
Don Graham forwarded a note from Nancy Lange, widow of the late Jim Lange.  “…in lieu of flowers, friends could make a donation to a charity of their own choice.  We would assume we won’t be getting anybody supporting the NRA or Tea Party!”
What a delight, this latest by Johnny Cash … “Out Among the Stars,” most tunes produced by Billy Sherrill in the 80s.  Cash at his prime.  Unreleased until now.  As some of you know, I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan.  I heard Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash in their early days over the “Louisiana Hayride” out of KWKH, Shreveport.  Heard both of them their first time on the air.  Love the title tune of this new CD, but “She Used to Love Me a Lot” deserves, right now, to be a hit and it should have been back in 1984.  The writers listed are Rhonda Fleming, Dennis Morgan, and Charles Quillen so I surmise it was in some 40s movie; Dennis Morgan was a great tenor and in several films.  I also like the idea that Marty Stuart is everywhere on this CD.  Always thought he never achieved the fame he deserved.  Basically, this is a damned good CD.  Another favorite cut: “I’m Movin’ On,” a re-do of the Hank Snow hit.  Cash with Waylon Jennings.
My son John, Esq., also brought over an old Mavericks and a Linda Ronstadt CD called “Duets” that’s on my listening agenda.
Bill Taylor:  “Regarding Greg Mason.  I saw Greg often while I was in L.A.  I would get a Christmas Card from him each year after I left, but missed the last few years., He lived at 1626 N. Poinsettia Place for years. After question as to what happened.  I called his number which he had for years and it was not a working number.  So I'm afraid we've lost him. Greg was not in the best of health.  He had survived a horrible auto wreck. Was involved with full-time Christian service. I helped him fix the sound system at a church on Sunset. He was doing accounting.  Greg was good person who took the fall when WNOE fixed their Mardi Gras contest.  We put together a ‘Turkey Trot’ contest to give away turkeys at Thanksgiving.  50 years later I still use it and it never wears out.  Thank You Gregg.”
Ladies and gentlemen:  Just in case you don’t know, Bill Taylor is a legend in Top 40 radio.  There almost at the beginning in New Orleans and the Deep South.  I’ve wished for years that I’d interviewed him for “This Business of Radio Programming.”
Woody Roberts, quail territory outside Austin, TX, sent me a note.  “If you remember Ricci Ware ... one of the first Top 40 personality DJs and from KTSA circa '60 ruled the San Antonio airwaves.  Ricci shared his love of motorcycles with son Trey now longtime morning talker at KTSA ... at first did duo Ware Pair morning show.  Trey Ware returned to his KTSA-AM show Monday morning after taking three weeks to mourn the loss of his son, Justin, who took his own life late last month … just over two weeks after Justin’s girlfriend, Erin, did the same, the veteran radio personality explained on the air Monday and in a letter on his Facebook page.  Justin was 28.  It was the Ware family’s second loss of a child to suicide.  Five years ago, their daughter Rebekah took her life at the young age of 20.”
Ron Jacobs, Hawaii, send me a couple of notes about Dave Diamond from “KHJ: Inside Boss Radio,” now an eBook available for $9.30.  A peek at  FYI, Ron will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award next year from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts for songwriting, producing and broadcasting music in the Aloha State.
Dave Diamond:  “It all started for me with my being hired by Drake in 1965. The first day I spent with Drake was my introduction to his philosophy and personality. That’s the day I got hired for $15,000, which was AFTRA union scale, same as everyone else. I was making $30,000 in Denver doing an afternoon TV show and a night radio show.  But who in their right mind wouldn’t make that trade? I showed up in February, stayed at a motel on Vine Street, just down from the Hollywood Ranch Market, later moving to a pad on Tamarind, a few blocks from KHJ, up around Gower and Sunset.  When I got to KHJ it should have been a signal to them that times were changing and the rock ’n’ roll boys were going to take over.  I think Steve Allen resented us. I always respected him and thought he was a great talent but times move and things change. There were some other big stars on the station. All I knew is we were going rock and Drake had the support of RKO and had not yet hired all the staff. The former on-air staff and all the network shit were dropped. Gary Mack, Steele and Morgan had been hired. Sam Riddle was on board, Roger Christian, then, Johnny Williams.  Frank Terry came on last as I recall. Terry worked with Jacobs in two towns and was brought in as PD by Drake.”
I know what Dave means about Steve Allen.  I once heard him talk at the Brown Derby, I think, and went up to compliment him and got a big brushoff.  I never felt very good about the man from then on.  Gary Owens, though, told me that Steve Allen had a great mind when it came to comedy and had jokes cataloged in his head, A to Z.
Bob Todd commented on a post I had in Facebook:
"Many of us do Gary ... and that's the truth!"
Doc Wendell sent me a review he did of a new B.B. King documentary; it was, as usual, extremely well written and pithy and I told him so.
Don Wendell:  “Thank you Claude. I got to spend my 21st birthday hanging, jamming on Lucille, and talking with B.B. at the Blue Note in NYC for two hours.  I learned more about the music biz and life than any school could teach … I wish I had been mature enough to truly understand everything he was trying to warn me about the biz.  I would have to really learn that stuff on my own, through my own experiences. It was one of the greatest nights of my life.”
I’ve shelved the western on which I was writing and have decided to devote considerable attention to my “great American novel.” Try to get it published as an eBook.  Some parts are a little tedious to me; I’ve edited and or rewritten so much of this novel that it’s engrained in my soul.  But I’m already on chapter three and I like what I’ve written here.  Taut.  Pithy.  Shades of meaning.  Tension.  The 40s in West Texas.  All too real.  Bill Pearson is doing the cover.  What would I do without Bill Pearson?  Only God knows.  But he’s there.  Willing.  We’ve known each other since the early 50s.  I didn’t meet him until about the end of that decade when I climbed four flights of stairs to that dusty apartment he was then sharing with comic artist Dan Atkins.  We attended a few art classes back then.  I’m no artist, though.  Not much anyway.  However, one night there was to be a nude model.  I trotted up the steps to the classroom with Dan and Bill, my opaque watercolors in hand.  Viola, a nude!  Very pg.  Oh, well.
It’s nice to have old and good and talented friends around, believe me!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Claude’s Commentary.11

Claude’s Commentary.11
May 19, 2014
By Claude Hall
I knew Casey Kasem.  Haven’t seen him since the 70s.  I use past tense even though I hope he’s still alive and his children get to see him.  I know he has been sick.  Why he’s now being treated like a castoff blanket and kept from his children is beyond me.
I never cared much for his second wife, a would-be movie actress.  Thought she was gross and, for want of a better description, gross looking.  Casey was working as booth announcer at NBC about that time and earning I heard like $4 million a year.  At the time he married Jean, I felt he was “trying to move up town.”  Make that “trying to movie uptown.”  Casey’s first wife, Linda I think was her name, was a bright, pretty girl involved in politics and she was the mother of his children.  Barbara and I – and kids – visited them one day.  Kids had a good time playing and Barbara and I had a good time.  We enjoyed their company.  I was sad when Kasem divorced her and married the actress.  In the vernacular, he shouldn’t have done it!
I’m in favor of the children of Casey Kasem.  Mothers have a right to their children and children have a right to their father.  And anyone who prevents that should be severely admonished.  Late news:  I understand he has been found with Jean “on vacation” in Washington state.  Poor Casey.  To think: It comes down to this! 
After mentioning last week’s note from Morris Diamond about Telly Savalas “in the-mid 50s when he was a young producer of a late-night DJ show on WJZ in NYC,” there was this note from Robert E. Richer:  “For what it’s worth, when I was working in the mail room at ABC radio in NYC, I had the chance several times a day to deliver the mail to the head of ABC Radio Network Programming, a lovely man by the name of George Sax.  Every time I saw him, I’d complain about the dreadful quality of the network’s programming.  Finally, to get me off his back, he told me that I had a half-hour every Saturday night to do my own program.  I came up with the idea of ‘Strictly From Dixie’.  In those glorious days, we had a writer/producer (me), an engineer, an announcer and a producer.  All this for thirty minutes.  My producer was a good guy named Telly Savalas.  After the show ended at midnight, Telly and I would go out on the town.  Based upon what his Hudson looked like, I had the feeling that he was living in the car.  So it wasn’t WJZ; it was the ABC Radio Network, which of course in NYC, was WABC by then.  I still have an acetate of the show.”
Morris Diamond to, I think, Don Graham:  “Hey, Donald ... you finally came up with an artist that those of us OVER 70 years of age can relate to.  Steve Lawrence never sounded better.  You talking about being in the biz 50 years ... I got ties older than that.  Let me tell you a story about why Steve is in my body ... in October 1958, when I was National promo mgr. for Carlton Records (Anita Bryant, Jack Scott, Kenny Rogers), I came down with bleeding ulcers.  It was my 2nd attack.  I was taken to the VA hospital in the Bronx where I was operated on.  I was asked by the VA to see if I can have some friends and relatives that can come to the hospital to replace the blood they had to give to me.  I made one call -- the following day in came about 10 guys ... indy promo guys, national promo guys, Steve Lawrence and his brother Bernie.  They all donated blood -- some of which I was told later by the doctor, was given to me.  They raised enough havoc with the nurses to have security escort them from the hospital -- with thanks.  Funny thing about this incident -- working for Joe Carlton's Carlton Records -- he had a plaque on his desk that read ‘I don't get ulcers, I give them’.  Actually he didn't give me an ulcer; as a matter of fact, when he heard that I was in the VA hospital, he immediately made plans for me to be taken to one of the major hospitals that specialized in stomach problems at his expense.  I thanked him and asked that I stay at the VA hospital where I had been prior to this trip a year ago and liked the doctors that were going to operate on me.  
“I loved Joe Reynold's diatribe on Graham and Joey's confession about his addiction to cocaine ... attributing it to the stinky feet cheese that Don loved so much at Martoni's.  I would love to see more writings by Joey … he tells it like it is … he's in my top 5 radio personalities ... you other four know who you are ... especially Claude who has one of the best minds in the biz.  What a privilege to have all these guys as part of my life.  Sure makes life worth living.”
Just FYI:  The late Paul Ackerman, music editor of Billboard, told me that Joe Carlton started the column Vox Jox when he worked at Billboard.  Probably circa 40s.  Jerry Wexler, renown for record producing, wrote the column during his Billboard days.  One day I’m drifting through old bound volumes and, to my surprise, Jerry wrote the column in about the same style as me.
And may I yell out: Great on you and your brother, Steve!
Charlie Barrett:  “I saw your Commentary entry on me ... thank you.  Thanks for filling out the spamblocker form ... I know it's a drag but it keeps tons of unwanted emails OUT of my inbox.  Don & I have had a running joke for years when he first started leaving me messages under the name of ‘Connie Francis’ … hence the reference in the email.  Yes, I want very much to be on your LIST ... so please include me.  I did add your name and email in my message address book, but on rare occasions the spamblocker is stubborn ... so send your Commentary always and ignore spamblocker if it ever catches it again because I personally read all of the spamblocked emails anyway each day.  Many years ago ... in 1966 or 67 I worked at BILLBOARD in NY when you were there.  I was only there a few months though and went into movie PR as a ‘flea publicist’ with 20th Century Fox Film Corp.  Of course I remember you, but you not me I surely can guess. I was hired by Lee Zhito and worked with Aaron Sternfield, Bob Sobel, Fred Kirby and Mike Gross. Never got to know you though.  Glad you are still in the game. Enjoy your Commentary when I see it.  Had lunch with Mo Diamond and ‘the lunch bunch’ in Palm Springs few weeks ago.  A friend at the lunch ... an artist who sang under name of MARC TANNO ... is looking to find a copy of his lost 45rpm titled FIRST LOVE/ONE MOON, ONE SIGH, ONE KISS and I have been trying to help him find a copy.  Marc did see a copy for sale on E-BAY, but he lost out on the top bid of $31 and change.  It was released on 20th Fox Records Marc says disc was released in 1960/61.  Maybe someone has a copy out there?”
Later, from Charlie Barrett:  “Sorry to hear about Aaron's passing. He was a true character as I recall … he used to take me to many a label after-6pm party in NYC back then where we drank and ate too much, of course.  Mike Gross and Paul Ackerman were lovely guys, too, and I very much enjoyed knowing them at my short Billboard stint.  I have stayed in touch with Bob Sobel over the years and he is still doing fine at nearly 89 come September (he and I have the same birthday ... the ill-fated date of 9/11).”
Had an email from Jim Gabbert with a couple of articles written a long, long time ago about this “kid” playing FM.  Lord, but those were great times.  Everything that Jim did with what became K101-FM (first to harp with those kinda calls) was radio history, including all of the experimental broadcasts in discrete quad.  Thanks for the items, Jim.  And thanks for the memories.
Then a note from Ron Jacobs claiming that Casey Kasem was alive and well in Hawaii.  Ron and Casey go back to “American Top 40” days, an historic great, great weekly program.  I think I had discs of the show in those long ago days.  And some may still be around the house somewhere.  Any of you people live with radio artifacts that you just can’t throw away?  And usually can’t find.
Danny Davis to Don Whittemore:  “DW: I gotta' remember to do kindly things for you, whenever the opportunity allows!  Mr. Hall, he the master of those magical music ways, and 'lifter' of grandee remembrances of same, yielded to his true promise, and has provided, the classic Commentary 10, this day to assure, the well being of me, at the breakfast table!  Mr. Hall’s action thereby puts the 'shine on you' and thus negates any further strain on that ^%$*#@% Smart Phone you 'tout' so highly ... yet provides me the opportunity to thank 'Dandy' in the most elaborate terms, for coming thru, before I was able to acquire the gentle 'scribing from the Authorman, hissself!  Luv, and all the rest!”
Allen Shaw:  “Claude, I am really enjoying your Commentaries each week.  You mention Don Graham in your latest edition.  I realize that Don called on me when I was just starting out at ABC-FM in 1969.  He was promoting a new album from Ike and Tina Turner.  Fast forward to 2005 when I'm programming my standards station in Las Vegas (KJUL-FM).  Don is calling on me with his roster of wonderful standards artists.  Don is amazing and effective.  He has to be one of, if not, THE longest running music promoter in history.  You can count me among the many radio people who love Don Graham.  Keep the stories coming Claude.”
Kent Burkhart and Bob Sherwood and New Orleans’ Bob Walker knew the name of the disc jockey at WAYS.  Jay Thomas, of course.  And this note from Chuck Chellman in Nashville:  “Hey, Bob Walker ... I think the guy you're talking about at WAYS was JAY THOMAS.  When Jay was in Nashville at WKDA, the nightly air battles between Jay and Scott Shannon of WMAK were classic.  Jay Thomas is a great guy ... just doing big time TV now.”  The Bob Walker in New Orleans pointed out that Jay Thomas is also from New Orleans.
Does Cosmos still exist in New Orleans?
Red Jones, a noble member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame:  “The jock at WAYS who went on to big TV work:  Jay Thomas.  And I was honored to be mentioned by Frank Jolley.  Good memory.  So often, it's ‘I never will forget old what’s-his-name’.  Enjoy the column.”
Frank Jolley was immensely helpful to me on my eBook novel “I Love Radio,” now a Kindle Book with
Scott St. James:  “Hi, Claude!  Hi, Barbara!  Another great column Mr. Hall.   The very nice stuff you wrote about the great Don Graham and the great Steve Lawrence got my attention big time.   I'm happy to say that Don Graham has renewed his membership with PPB (Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters) and this coming Friday at our annual celebrity-filled luncheon, Don will be at the same table Erica Farber and I will be sitting at.   And thanks to Mr. Graham, I received a copy of the new Steve Lawrence album and during two out of town driving trips, I listened to that album over and over and over again.   Loved it.   Especially the first song.   Great singing, great production and a song that is relatable to anyone who has LIVED!!!  Keep your good columns a-comin' Mr. Hall.   Thanks to you, Monday has become our ‘treat day’.”
Michael Cleary sent me information regarding a memorial for Jim Lange.  It will be held at the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, in Mill Valley CA 94941 at 2:30 p.m. May 23.
Bobby Ocean:  “Now that you appear to be sitting more comfortable in the saddle, I see the plugs are being sent in. Well, I'm no exception.  I used to occasionally email The HillGroup a reminder that every week a great memory of the good old days is just a ‘clink away: <>.  The radio and record industry's audio museum,, posts a fresh (Hall of Famer, Bobby Ocean) promo religiously every week, a practice in operation now for over a year.  Each recording is written, narrated and produced with respect to the golden days of Top 40, whichever era(s) you passed through, and also available to hear again from a pull-down list. Each promo teases with snippets of great content from our best yesteryears, airchecks and gigs, with links to the longer versions in the museum. You'll remember things you forgot you had in the cobwebs of your mind.  I'm proud, with your permission, to pass along the link from time to time.”
Any time, Bobby!  The late Jack Roberts and I will always appreciate your cover for “Disc Jockey Cookbook.”  Just great!  You helped earned Jack a taxi to the hospital and me some eggs benedict at a casino restaurant near the house.  Of course, Don Graham drove Jack most of the time.
Roger Carroll, Los Angeles:  “Claude, have you ever heard of a small Los Angeles radio station that was one of the most successful radio stations in the country ... wasn't part of your beat KMPC?
Great station.  Without doubt.  One of my “honors” was to do an interview with Gene Autry one day.  And somewhere in the house is a special on Gene.  I think the late Bill Mouzis gave it to me.
Gary Allyn:  “Hail, Claudius ... just a few quick lines to let you know I’ll finally be going in for my aortic aneurism repair/surgery this Thursday the 15th.  All the tests leading up to this has kept me from emailing anything to your column.  But, I’ll catch up soon after.  Keep up your usual fine journalistic info.  Hope all is well with you and Barbara. ‘Til the next time ... your old Radio friend of all these years.”
Then:  “Well, Claude ... right after I sent you that email my surgeon called and wants to put it off until May 29th. That may be tentative as well.  So, cancel this ‘Bulletin’ ... it’s going to be awhile longer it seems.”
Ah, Gary.  Please keep me posted.  As Jack G. Thayer used to say:  “I’m on your side.”
Don Elliot:  “Hi, Claude … love catching up with your Commentaries constantly!  It was an exciting week last week.  Today is day number five of competitive bidding on the 1500 a.m. frequency in Los Angeles.  It is down to one other bidder and me with the FCC auction number 84.  So far we have eluded the press.  There will be a story in the next day or two when the winner comes through.  It has been 10 1/2 years since we filed on that frequency in a short, pretty much under the radar, FCC application window.”
Bob Walker:  Hi, Claude ... this first entry must have been from another Bob Walker, not me.  I'm the one from WTIX, New Orleans.  But I digress.  A couple of notes for your info:  Yep, Bob Sticht is our legendary DJ/Promo Guy from South Louisiana.  Our Bob Robin was Bob Echols who lived in Slidell.  But ironically, Bob Sticht was one of my early inspirations to become a DJ when he worked at WTIX.  When I was about 10 I would go to WTIX and watch him do his afternoon show through the control room window and pester him for ‘any old records they didn't need’.  To this day I remember his WTIX jingle ‘You're bobbin' with Robin ... and the music of Bobby Sticht’, circa 1957.  Is Bob Sticht still alive?  Another aside:  Anyone have any info on WNOE '60's PD Greg Mason?”
The other Bob Walker is probably Bob Wolfson.  He used the name of Bob Walker at most of the stations where he worked.  Comes up with a great radio tale now and then.  And, now that I think about it, I knew a Bob Walker who was into martial arts big time.  Worked at KYA, San Francisco, in those days.  70s.  Johnny Bond flew into Los Angeles just to slug Buzz Bennett in the nose in the lobby of the Century Plaza and I had Bob standby just in case someone went after Bill Drake.  Bob once got arrested while jogging in the park in San Francisco with two pieces of bamboo held together with a chain.  He was exercising his wrists.  Sure.  With two deadly weapons, one device in each hand.
Whups!  Maybe I’m getting my Wilson’s mixed up with my Walkers.  Oh, well.  As Jimmy Rabbitt once told me: It’ll all come out in the wash.  Anyway, Bob Wilson, Pittsburgh, sends this:
”Before that other guy takes credit for having a stroke and not being able to remember names ... that email was from me ... not Mr. Walker.  And i still cannot bring back that name … he truly is a big star worthy of commentary while i remain a retired old announcer with fewer memories of an exciting past each day.”
As you’ll note above, Bob, your WAYS DJ was more than likely Jay Thomas.
Clark Weber and Ron Riley, two legendary personalities from WLS, Chicago, 1960s, will reunite June 24 for a benefit for the Lotus Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Ringo Starr.  Sponsored by WLS FM 94.7, the event at Chicago’s Hard Rock Cafe will be in conjunction with the Ringo Starr Art Show ‘With a Little Help From His Friends’.  The exhibit will feature Ringo’s art and free and open to the public.  Customers buying a signed print can meet the artists at a special pre-concert even before a June 28 Ringo Starr conert at the Chicago Theatre.
Weber and Riley staged an epic show-business feud for years, first at competing stations in Milwaukee and later at WLS, where Weber hosted mornings and Riley hosted evenings. Together they introduced the Beatles at Comiskey Park in 1965.  Weber operated an ad consulting firm, Clark Weber Associates.  Riley went on to a second career as a Baltimore TV weatherman.
Of their upcoming reunion, Weber quipped: “Riley will be released from the ‘The Old Radio Announcers’ Home for the Bland’ in Washington, and Sears has offered me a Die Hard battery to get my pacemaker started just for this event.”
I love Lee Baby Simms.  This is an email to the Three Mesquiteers, which includes Woody Roberts living amidst the quails near Austin, and Bob Weisbuch, currently in New Jersey, but roaming the wilds with wife while seeking a publisher for his book “Hitbound.”  Lee Baby had just sent us the link to an article titled “Heart Attack of the World” written by Mark Morford.
“Dear Boys:  150 Degrees in the shade today.  Outside.  The Bees and Butterflies and Hummingbirds gasp, and struggle to no avail, they fall to the deck and melt.  The Tomato plants wilt and wither and call out my name.  Lee, please Help us!  Inside, A/C doing its best to maintain 80.  I need a bigger unit.  Soon we will all need bigger units,  therein lies the problem.  We are the problem, one of them.  Soon there will be no unit big enough to stave off the inevitable.  We are all doomed! I have always known that.  Everything created is destined to die.  The Very Stars themselves will explode/implode and be no more one day.  So, too, The Universe one day, they say, will.  Where the hell did The Universe come from when it came?  The Big Bang?  I`m not so sure about that.  I never really was.  I have always thought that that is just an easy answer to an unanswerable question.  Y`all know how people want to know what they can`t possibility know.  Witness the thousands of Creation Myths.  Witness the thousands of Religions.  All of them trying to explain the unexplainable.  Where will The Universe go when it goes?  Ha!  I don`t see any of the smarty pants addressing that question.  Ha Ha hahahaha....  I do see our man Mark Morford addressing climate change.  He's right on the money, I think.  He almost always is.  Check him out.  See if you agree.  Did I mention that it’s ... It’s Hot today.  Something cold for lunch today.  A delicious chicken truffle salad sandwich.  A glass or two of chilled white wine.  Life is Sweet.  And brief.  I enjoy it while I can.  Wak.”
Word starting to go around that Julian Castro, currently mayor of San Antonio, may soon move into a Washington cabinet position in preparation for him running for vice president of the United States behind Hilliary Clinton’s presidency.  Can you just imagine?  Hilliary will be big with women, all Democrats, blacks, and a heap of others and Castro, great-looking and bright (Stanford), would pull all of the Mexicans, the Cubans, the Puerto Ricans and a heap of Texans into the polls.  Whoopie!
Charlie Barrett sent me a picture, attached, of Antheny Shane with Morris Diamond, right, taken at a recent Lunch Bunch in Palm Desert, CA.  Shane had a hit “First Love” in 1960 on 20th Century-Fox Records.  Morris?  The legendary record promotion executive.  The Lunch Bunch is a weekly gathering of around 50 guys from show business, including Jed Allen of NBC’s “Santa Barbara” daytime series; Michael Dante of the film “Winterhawk” and Danny Davis, once head of Motown Records.  The Lunch Bunch is held Thursdays at the Desert Falls Country Club in Palm Desert.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Claude’s Commentary.10

Claude’s Commentary.10
April 12, 2014
By Claude Hall
About a ton of emails circulating regarding the 50th anniversary of Don Graham in the music business.  Nothing left for me to say except “Great on You, Don!”  I would hate to think of a world without Don Graham.  Especially my world.
Bob Walker:  “Claude, your mention of Stan and Sis Kaplan fired up a few memories… but I don’t remember if it was George Wilson or David Moorhead that brought me to Charlotte and ‘Big WAYS’.  In any event, when I arrived at the airport there was a jock there to greet me and give me the keys to Stan’s new sports car.  Well, I didn’t know Charlotte, so I refused the keys and gave them back to the jock on the condition that he pick me up at the hotel, take me to the station and, following our recording session, return me to the airport.  Here’s where the stroke of two years ago comes in … I cannot remember his name, but he went on to become a star of radio, played Carla’s husband on ‘Cheers’ and frequently visited with Letterman.  I guess nothing was spared in giving me a driver that weekend.  It just came back, George and I shared a breakfast orange juice in Miami, so it must have been David that sent me to Big Ways.  I emailed Warren Brown that you had included his attendance at David’s funeral while David’s ashes had been shipped to Chicago for internment – which was the service I attended.”
Anyone not know the name of the WAYS jock mentioned?  If not, send me a three-dollar bill and I’ll email his name to you.
Morris Diamond:  “Thanks for your Commentary.9.  You help stirrup the memory parts of my brain when you take me on the Jazz trip to Greenwich Village and come up with such great talent as Paul Butterfield.  W O W.  Speaking of the Kentucky Derby, in the early 70s I hung out quite a bit with Telly Savalas ... since the-mid 50s when he was a young producer of a late night DJ show on WJZ in NYC.  He and film producer, Howard Koch, each shelled up $3,000 to purchase a horse that they renamed Telly's Pop.  Of course, in those days, Telly was hot with his ‘KOJAK’ TV show.  The horse was winning races all over the place.  After winning the California Triple Crown for 2-year-olds, there was no question that Telly's Pop will be the west coast entry for the Kentucky Derby.  Except that 3 months before the derby, Telly's Pop came down with a chipped hoof ... ran a few races that way ... came in 6th & 7th ... and there went his chance for the Derby.  However, Telly was still invited to the Derby to be the grand marshal and asked me to join him.  This is like going to the Grammy's, The Emmy's, The City of Hope Gala and every notable affair in our industry.  I was in 7th heaven.  We were treated like royalty.  All the mint juleps at parties ... in our box at the Derby was the Governor of Kentucky.  I cherish those days.  At that point, Telly's Pop was sent out to pasture ... no more races.  It is estimated that the horse, excuse the expression, in his hay days, earned close to a half million dollars.  It was fun while it lasted ... most of the fun being in the fotos that were taken in the winner's circle.”
Normally, I’ll touchup a word here and there, but, Morris, I do love your use of the word “stirrup” while talking about Telly’s Pop.  Touch of a genius!  Great on you!
Lyn Stanley:  “Thank you, Claude!   So kind of you.
Love the stories today!  You have had such an interesting career ... and your political commentary is so right ON!!  :))
Have a great week.”
Lyn, you’re absolutely correct.  I’ve had a great, wonderful life.  I suppose I was in the right place at the right time and got very, very lucky!  Guys like Don Graham and Frank Mancini and George Furness and Juggy Gales helped me immensely.  George Wilson and Harvey Glascock and Frank Ward, too.  The legendary radio man George Wilson used to take a thermos of coffee and go to Disneyland and sit on a bench.  Watch people.  His methodology of keeping grounded.  I used to take Barbara and the kids and go camping in the Sequoias.  You stare awhile at a tree 2,000 years old and it sorta puts you back in perspective.  Once, Bobby and Karen Vee and kids went with us.  We camped at Lodgepole along the stream.  Karen made some great s’mores.  As you grow increasingly famous, Lyn, I recommend those Sequoias.  Big time!  Can’t help you on the s’mores, though.
Joe Collins:  “Claude, you mentioned Don Graham in today's column.  In the Summer of 1964, I went to San Francisco for a visit, while working at KVEC AM in San Luis Obispo.  I visited Jack Carney, who was doing noon to 4 p.m. on KSFO.  While in the booth with Jack, he introduced me on the air as a ‘young man, starting out in radio down in San Luis Obispo’, then proceeded to hand me a sheet of ‘live’ copy for one of KSFO's clients, and asked me to read it cold, right then, so I somewhat nervously read it thru, and made no mistakes, on the air in San Francisco at 18, WOW ... I could have passed out.  Then, while visiting Jack, a local record promoter came into the booth, and started hyping Jack on some single he was promoting.  The ‘local’ promoter was Don Graham, who called on me years later when I was programming Album Rock KBOS-FM in Fresno.  I would often remind Don of that first time we met at KSFO some 18 years earlier.  Also enjoyed you mentioning Chico Hamilton.  When I was doing my jazz program, I used to play ‘Conquistador’ with Chico and Gabor Szabo on Impulse a lot.  Bobby Dale used to play Chico late at night on KSFO, and once in awhile, he'd play it on KSAN during the times he helped Tom Donahue out on Saturday nights.  Thanks for your column.”
Joe Collins later: “ I didn't mention this, but when Harve got out of Chino, for 2 weeks, right after his release, David Morehead gave him a job as a board operator on the KMET side of Metromedia, when we were on Wilshire Blvd. across from the tar pits.  Harve was my board engineer for my show for about 2 weeks, then he shows up at KKDJ, working for Rick Carroll.  Harve used to laugh at all the Bobby Dale stories I told him, (never told him the KSFO story about the night the police were out looking for him, and Bobby's remark), but many other Bobby stories.  Bobby Dale was probably one of the 3 or 4 greatest air talents I'd ever heard in my life.  I delivered one of the eulogies at his memorial service in San Rafael in 2001.  p.s. You mentioned that Bobby had an affection for Cutty Sark, and lots of cigarettes.  He used to light one off the end of the last one he was smoking.  The only other person I knew who smoked that much was Steven Clean at KMET.  But, Bobby didn't have one drink or cigarette over the last 10 years of his life, due to health issues and his doctor's advice.  One night, shortly before he passed, we spoke over the phone, and I asked if he missed cigarettes, and his answer was, ‘every day’.”
I’m going to talk of Steve Lawrence and his new CD “When You Come Back to Me Again” on Curb Records.  Lawrence’s voice hasn’t aged a bit and I recall my years in New York City when Steve Lawrence and his late wife Eydie Gorme were the darlings of WNEW, one of the greatest show business radio stations in the world.   Beautiful music on this new CD.  Dream music.  Something to relax by.  Love by.  Loved everything, especially “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “I Was a Fool to Let You Go,” and my favorite “Our Day Will Come.”  Ron Dante has accomplished an outstanding producing job.
I’m positive that I caught a Steve and Eydie live performance together at some point.  Probably reviewed them for Billboard.  Too many years have passed for me to remember if it was at a WNEW private taping of an hour special at the Blue Room or some other venue.  And, of course, this act was always on television or in some movie.  They were literally an important part of the American life.
Thus I’m so pleased at the staying power Steve Lawrence expresses.  And not just staying power, but a certain magic.  This guy has done it all and yet on this CD presents a damned good show.  What a delight.  What great entertainment!  If I might display a disappointment, it’s that Steve stayed within his musical realm and my wish is that he explored more … a different kind of song, different arrangements, a couple of exciting young musicians to back his excellent vocals.  But, more than likely this particular CD was the one aimed for … sort of a tribute to his late wife.  But this, good people, is THE Steve Lawrence.  Thus, I expected more.  Something which would set my hands clapping, my feet stomping and my soul soaring.  Yes, I realize that you’ve been feted by kings and queens, Steve.  What a magnificent career!  My compliments.
I’m “stealing” an email or two that’s been circulated, which was written to Don Graham.  Just to show what someone currently in show business might think of the Lawrence CD.  There were many such emails, by the way, written to Don, all praising Steve as if he were some kind of god.  Which, I guess he actually is.
Barb Bailey to Don: “Thank you for sending along Steve Lawrence's new album.  I am old school. So is Steve Lawrence & this record proves that old school is very much alive & well!  Great song choices & arrangements & he is still singing great!  I'll be listening to it in my car today while in gridlock on my way to a meeting!”
Charlie Barrett to Don:  “A half century of 5 years before I 1st met you sweetheart ... congrats to U ... is it 45 years ago since we were working BLUE THUMB RECS. w/Bob K at Capitol circa 1969? ... yes ... tempus fugit.  All my best to you and so glad we both met our pal Jack R ... and all the goodness he spread and left us all with.”
I tried to send Barrett a note that I’d added them to my mailing list so they could read this Commentary, but got a questionnaire and I’m too old to mess with filling out questionnaires just so someone can read this column.
Joey Reynolds:  “Don is one of the brightest men I have ever known, he is a star behind the spotlight, an entertaining hit show when the event fails, a smart ass before there was Howard Stern, and a compassionate person in real life, you gotta love the guy.  The only time I ever had an issue with Don was at Martonis where they guarded the grated cheese like the Holy Grail.  When Sal took over from Mario and Tony he kept the cheese in a vault.  One day I reached for Don's cheese at another table and he flipped out.  I had an easier time dealing with cocaine than the Pecorino Romano stinky feet cheese. You know how it is when you can't have something you really want?  I am clean and sober 40 years from cocaine but have a cheese addiction thanks to Don Graham.”
Brad "Martini" Chambers, who does the Internet show “Martini in the Morning”:  “To my good friend, Don Graham -- I wanted to add one more voice to the chorus of praise for Steve Lawrence and this fabulous new album.  Back in mid-February, I received the attached email from Ron Dante.  That the lead singer of the Archies, the Cufflinks and producer of Barry Manilow hits like ‘Mandy’, ‘Copacabana’ and ‘Could It Be Magic’ thought he had to explain who he is speaks volumes about the guy who produced this great comeback album for Steve Lawrence.
“We started playing Steve's incredible rendition of Barry Manilow penned ‘I Was a Fool to Let You Go’, from the MP3  Ron attached to the email.  I couldn't wait for the CD!  I remember playing the song from Barry Manilow's ‘Even Now’ album, but hearing Steve's very contemporary delivery is pure Steve Lawrence, and perfect for ‘Martini in the Morning’. Reaction to this song and several others we're featuring for our worldwide audience has been nothing short of amazing.  Thanks, Don, for your efforts to make this great album a must-buy for every music fan.  Thanks also to Ron Dante, and thanks most of all to Steve Lawrence for coming back to us again.”
Lord, but I remember the Archies!  My youngest son, Andy was a mere babe and he was into “Sugar Sugar” and wore out an 8-track featuring the Archies in that little MG that I drove at the time.  You know, I sorta liked the 8-track.
Frank Jolley at Liberty Pictures, Hollywood:  “Hi and thank you for your column.  Congratulations for keeping us alive.  I'd like to extend greetings (through your column) to names from my past who have both inspired me, encouraged me and competed with me in various markets namely: Red Jones, Woody Roberts, Bob Wilson, Danny Davis, Bob Walker and Johnny Barger, just to mention a few.  I'm still alive and kicking, too. At this time we are in the process of reviving both ‘John R's Radio Show’ and Bill Drake’s ‘History’ via Soon the net will be airing both Rockhouse and other fine oldies shows for worldwide consumption.  Hope I don't let anyone down with my brand of Rock and Roll.”
Frank, play a Connie Francis for me, will you?  Just FYI, that photo you gave me of you and other KBOX staffers with the McLendon banner still crops up on my desktop.  Gets a good chuckle every time!  And, just FYI, I guess we ought to mention the name of Ron Jacobs in connection to “The History of Rock and Roll.”  More than Drake, I think.
Ted Cramer:  “Bob Robin was ‘Bobbin' With Robin’ on WHB in Kansas City for several years.  His real name (if this is the same one and I think it is because he worked for Storz) is Bob Sticht and when I was at WSM in the early 90s, Bob was at WAMB in Nashville playing ‘Music of Your Life’ type stuff.  He remained there for several years.  Hope all is well with you.”
And then Ted sent an email:  “Cancel what I said.  This was obviously not the same Bob Robin!”
Ted, you can’t imagine how many times I’ve had guys tell me, “I was such and such back on so and so.”  The funniest time was when a guy in a nice suit and tie and wearing gold-frame spectacles passed by at a meeting – in Texas, I think -- and said “Hi” and I said “Hi” and he walked on and then he stopped, turned, and came back and said “I’m Woody Roberts” and I almost fell out of my chair.  Recognize him?  Not a chance!  Last time I’d seen him was in Hartford, CT, and he was wearing something like blue jeans, a sweat shirt, and sandals.  He was programming WPOP at the time.  And that’s the great tale Bob Weisbuch has written about in his book “Hitbound,” as yet unpublished.  When Woody and Lee Baby Simms went up against WDRC and Charlie Parker and Joey Reynolds and Bertha Porter.  May the good lord bless and keep Bertha Porter.
Read in of the passing of Dave Diamond … later had emails from Timmy Manocheo and Ken Levine.  This, I hated to see.  Just about the time he finished his KHJ stint in Los Angeles, Dave was hanging around the West Coast Writer’s Conspiracy, an avant garde literary magazine that Barbara and I published out of our living room in Bel Air.  He had a short story published in the quarterly.  And, about the same time, had a book of short stories published.  That book, autographed, is probably still around the house somewhere.  This is a recent email I had from Dave that I thought you’d like to see.
Dave Diamond:  “So glad hear from you and to know you are well and happy.  When I left KFI and LA I had a teaching gig in Iowa for 16 years and I have been here at Black Hills State University, in the mountains here in Western South Dakota, I live a couple miles from the Wyoming line.  I was born and raised in South Dakota.  I have been at BHSU 17 years.  I am semi-retired, prof. emeritus.  I had a novel come out a couple years ago – ‘COOL HAND IN A HOT FIRE’, published by Daniels and Daniels in California. It is still available in Amazon.  My best to you and Barbara.”
We come, we do, we go.
Then:  “I'm Dave Diamond's assistant, Amanda Goetz.  Some of you may not have heard that our Diamond has passed on earlier this week.  I'm so sorry to break the news like this to some of you, but felt a need to write this after hearing the word of mouth rumors that some have come forward to me with.  Know that Dave passed peacefully in his home, and is now just ‘at a higher frequency’ as Steve Babbitt would say and wrote in the recent printings for Diamond in the BHPioneer.  Once again, I'm so sorry for each of your losses. We all have a special place in our hearts for Diamond.  If you have any further questions, you may contact me at I believe a memorial will be planned to happen in Spearfish in about a month or so. He would so love you all to come, drink, be merry, and share your favorite Diamond tale.  Keep spreading the good karma for Diamond, and lots of love from me.”
It was a hectic week.  Still haven’t gotten to “Forgotten Hits,” a link sent to me by Ed Salamon.  My thanks, Ed.  Soon, I promise.  Your review, too, Doc.  If you jazz buffs haven’t discovered the writings yet of Doc Wendell, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.  I discovered Doc through the late Jack Roberts, for which I’ve been ever grateful.
Alvin Herskovitz:  “Claude, you write about great musical moments.  I recall one that occurred in your house!  Bobby Vee and Johnny Tillotson sitting together on your living room floor singing and playing dueling guitars!”
Bobby Vee is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  Last time he and wife Karen were by the house, he gave my son Andy a private guitar lesson.  Of course, he’s known Professor Andrew C. Hall, poet, since Andy was in diapers.
Just saw a picture of Bobby and Karen Vee on their daughter Jenny’s Facebook page.  Karen was just out of ICU, smiling.  New lung, according to my son Andy.  Bobby in a hospital mask and baseball cap.  Hospital in Phoenix.  In two weeks, they expect to transfer her back to a hospital in Tucson, a “winter place” for the Vees who actually live on a lake in Minnesota.  Karen was not a smoker.  Just got handed some weak lungs.  Go get ‘em, girl!
Danny Davis: “Hey-dere, The Ol' Hall of Memory! Just got off a 55-minute phone-marathon with Buzz Curtis! (As funny as he always was!)  Remember Post Records ... did all dem' Gold Albums, for all dem' Top Forty 'giants'!  Buzz hears from Al Hershkovitz in Bradon(?), Florida. I've got the number, Claude, in case you ain't!  Lemme know.  I'll get it to ya'!  If ever a life lift is called for, Buzz 'doctors' that scenario real well … and amplifies the 87 hospital days, and 5 (that's 5) operations he just went thru!!  No, good humored as I think I am, I can't duplicate a 'Buzz delivery'!  Best to you and every 'hall' in the house!”
Our best to you, Buzz.  Get better!
More Danny Davis: “Claude-ie: Fund of Knowledge dat' you is: Has any reader told you that 'legendary' Butterball /WDAS, Philly, Now broadcasts from the right arm of The BIG GUYS couch! Died a couple days ago! A good friend and a lovable 'eating machine'! Useta' plan trips to many more than one restaurant/deli/bakery, at any time the stomach growled and he could set up an entourage to go along to all of 'em!! (Me and my bloat is gonna miss 'im!)”
Later, Danny wrote about the weekly show business luncheon out around Palm Springs:  “Sad, but true! Shecky was absent, but Buzz Curtis let us know about a Vegas stunt Buddy Hackett pulled on the Scheck when he ordered Vanity Auto License plates, and had 'em attached to a Vegas trash truck ... goin' all over town, the plates reading 'Shecky'! (Only a thing from a funny mind like Hackett, equal to Mr. Greene.) And plenty kudos for Jimmy Rogers (yeah, Jimmy Rogers!) at the Dolly Sinatra Lodge Wednesday night! (Nah-h, Jimmy doesn't really sing much, anymore!) but his performance 'talk-singin', sez everybody, was 'dynamite'! Moishe Diamond termed it as "sensational'! (Thursday, as I've written before, Claude, is a 'kick'! I wouldn't trade Thursday for two Tuesdays!) John Doumanian brought me up-to-date on Steve Tyrell's 'alliance' with Janine Sharell! It's for real!  And their happiness together is boundless! John Doumanian was a promo rep, for Capitol, out of Chicago!  Long time friend of Steve Tyrell and Woody Allen!  John once traded the entire (almost!) Capitol catalogue for a brand new Volkswagen (the 'beetlle')! (I gotta' finish MY book, Authorman!)”
Dick Summer:  “Hi, Claude, Great bit about the Butterfield Band. He was huge in Boston too while I was at WBZ.  I didn't know you were into Greek music. You never even gave us a veiled hint you were a patron of the dancing ladies ... all in the pursuit of your thorough understanding of the music of the world, of course.  I thought you might get a kick out of this story about a lady from my book, ‘Staying Happy Healthy And Hot’.”
“I got to know a cigar-smoking, truck-driving, witchy woman at WNBC.  Man, what a woman.  Her real name is Lisa, but her friends call her Olga. Olga the Witch has long black hair, a voice like a purr with fur, and a long slow-motion smile. I didn’t see Olga walk into the studio. I just looked up, and she was suddenly standing there in studio 2b at WNBC Radio a lot of years ago. The idea that she just ‘appeared’ was probably just my imagination. Maybe.  The 10 p.m.-to-midnight portion of my show was music, and midnight-to-2 a.m. was talk. I always liked to have ordinary people who did extraordinary things as guests on the talk portion.  So just before Halloween, I asked for mail from folks who figured they qualified, and Olga’s note said, ‘I’m a witch’. It was a slam dunk.  The lights at the WNBC studios were New York neon, and Olga purred something about how comfortable we’d be if I turned off the overheads and did our interview by the light of a candle she’d brought. Olga worked well in the dark with just a candle. She liked candlelight; it was enough light so you could just see a person’s face and especially a person’s eyes. If it weren’t for the Federal Disc Jockey Act’s regulations, plus the fact that my crack NBC tech/accomplice Vic Lombardo was only one heavy-breath away — and, of course, the certain knowledge that my Lady Wonder Wench was listening — things could have gotten a little out of hand right there.  Olga was fascinating. I mean in other ways, too.  She was a follower of the ancient pagan religion called Wicca.  It’s about love of nature, gentleness toward humans and animals, and very ancient legends about tall trees, shadow creatures, and the moon. No devil worship, no broomsticks, and no haggle-tooth hags. Olga was beautiful, smart, sensitive, and loyal. I invited her back for several shows and eventually got to know her pretty well. As a matter of fact, she became a real friend to my Lady Wonder Wench, our son Mark, and me. Mark was fourteen when Olga came into our lives. He often came to the station with my Lady Wonder Wench and me on Friday nights. Friday nights were ‘Mouth vs. Ear’ nights on my show.  ‘Mouth vs. Ear’ was a quiz show.  We always won, because we cheated.  It was a lot of fun. On Olga’s first night as a member of the Mouth quiz-show team, she was lively, happy, and braless. And that’s how she threw her armsaround Mark and gave him a loud, juicy, bouncy kiss smack dab on the mouth. Mark was big with the girls at fourteen. But Olga was all woman. Mark’s ears wiggled, his hands stuck out from his arms at a strange angle, and I think he didn’t start breathing again until sometime late Saturday afternoon.  That was lots of years ago, but when I asked Mark yesterday if he remembered, he said something like ‘Oooooh yessss’.  And his eyes turned a little purple.  Olga fell in love and moved away with her guy a few years ago.  I wonder if you might know her.  I don’t want to give you her last name, for obvious reasons. But that wouldn’t be necessary anyway because there’s only one Olga like this warm and wonderful witchy woman.  If you know her, I’d appreciate it if you’d ask herto drop an e-mail to  Lady Wonder Wench, Mark, and I really miss that cigar-smoking, truck-driving, fur-purring, witchy woman.”
Bob Levinson:  “Lovin' your weekly column and how it gets me up to date with so many old friends and industry acquaintances. Cheers!  A photo you and other reader regulars (like me) might enjoy, taken earlier this year at the launch party for my eleventh crime novel FINDERS, KEEPERS, LOSERS, WEEPERS at Skylight Books in LA. From left: the one and only wonderful ice cream king Dandy Don Whittemore; Joe Sutton, ex-MCA Records exec, talent manager, PR guru, host of his long-running ‘Heart of Hollywood’ radio show; Jay Lowy, ex-Jobete Music honcho and past Record Academy two-term prez; Me; Macey Lipman, best of the best indie music marketing and promotion guys, who's now doing (and selling) his marvelous oil paintings and limited-edition lithos.”
Thanks for the picture, Bob