May 26, 2014
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 http://tinyurl.com/ptdbya9) 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.