Monday, July 28, 2014

Claude's Commentary.22r2

July 28, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 22
By Claude Hall

As newspapers decline further – as they surely evolve into Marshal McLuhan’s proverbial artform -- the colleges and universities of the nation and the world will fade back their journalism schools.  Radio courses, too, will be impacted.  Cut back.  Changed.  Television?  I don’t know yet, but, yes, changes will be coming.  Already, the television we knew is not the television we know.  The tell-tale is the disintegration of real news and the complete lack of quality advertising.  I just viewed a ad that was sickening to me (CBS, 23 July 2014).  One more stupid GEICO commercial and I will vomit.

I’m sitting here looking at the comics page of the July 18, 2014 issue of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (p. 8c).  In the “Baby Blues” cartoon panel, a kid asks his father “Why do you bother getting a newspaper?”  They are both sitting on the couch.  The father has a newspaper in his hands.  The kid has something such as an iPad.  In the second panel, the kid points out, “With the Internet, I can read all the news, watch videos, listen to music, send messages….”  In the last panel, the father has taken a page and folded it into a dunce cap and placed it on his head and asks, “Can the Internet do that?”  And the kid remarks, “Hang on, I’m looking for an apt.”  I cannot tell who did the cartoon.  Too small.  But, under the circumstances, perhaps quite apt.  For comics, too, must find another delivery system.

I do not entirely complain.  I have benefited much from advanced technology.  I’m writing on a MacBrook Pro that beats the devil out of my once beloved manual Smith-Corona portable.  Meanwhile, I’m listening to music on the same MacBook Pro.  I don’t miss loading a stack of LPs on a turntable.  And much of the fiction and the Commentaries that I’ve written the past few years are also on this computer.  Plus photos of family and friends.  My heart is here.

I was one of the early graduates at The University of Texas to take a degree in journalism.  New building.  Great professors—Dr. DeWitt Reddick, Dr. Allan Shaw who wrote one of the first textbooks for public relations.  I think I actually have more English credits than journalism credits, but I appreciated and learned far more about writing from journalism than I did from those courses in English.  One professor thought he knew Ernest Hemingway.  However, you don’t learn Hemingway by studying Hemingway.  Hemingway must be somewhat lived!  Many a time later I wish I could have studied Hemingway under the noted Carlos Baker, but he was at another university while I prowled Austin’s Sixth Street with Fernando Corral and Adrian Roberts and Raul Cardenas.

I’d originally intended to major in physics.  There were four geniuses in the first course that I took and all were whizzes with slide rules; I still added in my head.  The four geniuses, one a very pretty girl, blew the hell out of the curve – professor Ivash ranted in front of class one day after a test and claimed we’d stolen a pony -- and I ended up with a B (ordinarily an A) in the course.  I switched to journalism the next semester.

I actually wanted to work on a general circulation magazine like the Saturday Evening Post.  It was 15 cents a copy.  I would buy one each week at a small stand across from the campus in Austin, on the sidewalk that a sniper later used for a shooting gallery, and study the articles and the short stories.  I can still recall the names of William P. McGivern and Pete Martin.  Martin wrote clean, tight interviews.  McGivern’s stories were sometimes made into movies.

I bombarded Bob Curran, editor of Cavalier, with article ideas.  Most of these concerned vampyres and witches (the library on campus was one of the best in the world; you need information on werewolves, read “Werewolf” by Sabine Baring-Gould).  Curran accepted none, but by the time I got to New York City he knew my name.  Vaguely.  From somewhere.

An old fireball editor named E.M.Pooley of the El Paso Herald-Post spoke on campus.  I liked his drift.  I walked up to him after his talk and told him that I’d like to work for him.  He said, “Come on out when you graduate.”  And I did.

I needed six courses to graduate.  I got permission and took them all one summer and graduated in August 1958.  Meanwhile, I’d sold a few things I’d written, including a short story titled “Sixth Street” to Manhunt magazine for $40 and a story to Trapped for $30.  Just FYI, Sixth Street in Austin was precisely as in my story … not the one that exists now.

I didn’t have a car.  My younger brother drove me to El Paso in the family car.  Me and my typewriter checked into the new Y.  Small room.  $11 a week.

Pooley was surprised to see me, but he hired me.  $50 a week.  Friends who couldn’t write as well as I could were getting $75 and $90 a week in San Antonio and elsewhere.  But I had no choice.  And, wouldn’t you know, they started me doing obits and the list of births.  Me, a college graduate.  However, to this day, I’ve been grateful.  All reporters should start their professional careers – all writers, in fact – writing obits.

A few months later, I quit and hitchhiked to New York City where my life really began.  But I wanted to tell you about my early training because I believe with all of my heart that journalism training should remain a major factor in colleges and universities and, yes, I treasure the time I spent writing obits.  I believe implicitly that before a man or woman wraps up a college degree, they should spend weeks upon weeks writing obits.  No matter the degree.

I first worked on American Druggist, a Hearst trade magazine.  Then Jim Houtrides, later to earn seven Emmys for his work at CBS “Sunday Morning,” persuaded me to join him at Food Field Reporter.  More money.  Air-conditioned office.

I was still writing queries for many of the magazines that existed in those days … all gone now.  I made an appointment to see Bob Curran at Cavalier.  I got in to see him and pitched him on a job and, once again, was turned down.  Four months afterwards, an assistant editor tracked me down and hired me away for less money than I was earning.  The experience of drinking beer in the old Blue Ribbon with Mickey Spillane and Jimmy Breslin was worth mucho mucho.  You owe yourself a favor?  Find some Jimmy Breslin and read it.  A book such as “Damon Runyon.”  I used Breslin often when I later taught writing at the State University of New York at Brockport.  Dashiell Hammett, Leigh Brackett and Ernest Hemingway, too.  And, Flaubert and Dostoyevsky.  Bob Curran, the editor of Cavalier (he’d served with Patton), was a great person to work for; he eventually left the magazine to launch the failed Gotham Football Bowl.  Manhattan still doesn’t have a valid bowl.  There were a couple of dozen men’s “blood and thunder” magazines around at the time.  All gone.  As is Saturday Evening Post.  The demise of the magazine world precluded the demise of newspapers.  Yes, I got to work on one of the great newspapers of its day (the New Orleans Times-Picayune) before I returned to New York to work on Billboard.

The Internet is changing so very much of our lives.  Your life and my life and the lives of our children and their children.  First, a disorientation in language.  Spelling and punctuation no longer matter as much as it did during my early professional days.  Personal communication through social media will further obfuscate sources of information such as news and entertainment.  Perhaps overwhelm such things once considered important need-to-know matters.  Already, facts seem less and less a factor.  Already news on television is mere gossip and hearsay.  Reality, with an often confused photo, is mostly opinion from two or three so-called authorities who depict the past or what might have been; they really don’t know the present nor the future.  I don’t believe that colleges and universities can change things.  Nor slow the process down.  But I believe implicitly in the legit college and university (mankind must be educated or educate itself) and believe a liberal arts education – along with a few courses in journalism -- would benefit most people in this world.

I hate to see it go.  The language that was mine.  The one that I learned by reading the comic scripts in the San Antonio Express, cultivated by reading up to two books a day, honed in journalism courses at The University of Texas, and polished to a sheen by writing countless words for publication.  As newspapers and magazines, as I knew them, die language is being clutterized, gutterized by the almost insane garbage of the Internet.  I have a niece who barely knows how to read and write – a product of America’s high schools and, yes, she graduated – and she’s on the Internet.  Loose.  One of millions just like her.  The need for newspapers has vanished and the enjoyment of radio vastly diminished. That’s the way is it and the way it’s going to be.  And all of us will have to live with it.  Mass communication of all kinds is not just a matter now of adapting, it’s more a matter of survival.

Mel Phillips:  “Following my piece, I have an idea for your next book.  But first, there are only two people I know, me being one of them, that knows who the first PD of WABC was.  He pre-dates Sam Holman and Rick Sklar who followed Sam.  His name is Mike Hauptman.  Mike was the de-facto PD during the transition from 1957 to the beginning of the Top 40 era which followed.  Hauptman bore the title of Radio Director of Advertising & Promotion, but in fact, he was the first PD of WABC (minus the title).  The other person who knows about Mike is Dan Ingram who joined WABC in 1961.  Although in a lesser capacity, I pre-dated Dan.  I had just graduated high school and got my first fulltime job working in the ABC Network (local included) mailroom in 1957, and I went to a radio school at night.  Dan and I reminisced about the people we knew during our time at ABC and Ingram remembers Mike Hauptman and has as high an opinion of the de-facto PD as I do.  We talked about the other people we knew, like HOA (who was doing mornings when I was there).  Other names included newsmen Don Gardiner and Joel Crager, Alan Freed (who did a jock show from 1958 to 1959 and a TV show that didn't last as long).  Martin Block and others.  Martin hated rock & roll and gave me all of the records (45s) that he refused to play.  When Freed was hired in 1958, I remember sending out an internal memo that stated that Freed was not to be known as the King of Rock and Roll (both on or off the air).  Corporate was shaking in their boots about the payola investigations which would soon start. Although I never met Freed, I would watch him rehearse his TV show from Mike Wallace's office. There were times when Mike was standing next to me watching the show.  I will do another piece next about ABC-TV when I was there.  Now to my idea for a book: You could use anecdotes about radio like this and I'm sure no one would object to having their stories in print, given the rather huge egos we all have.  Looking forward to your next Commentary.”

Ah, Mel.  It’s you who’ll have to do the book.  Sept. 4, I turn 82.  I only play at writing now.  Commentary and some fiction, that’s about my limit hither.  But you’re a good writer.  Get an Associated Press stylebook or the Modern Language Association manual and go after it!

Gary Allyn: “Howdy (as they say in Tejas), Claudius ... I’m into my second week of recovery from the recent repair surgery for an aortic aneurism. All is going well.  So, I’ve been out of touch somewhat lately.  However, I still keep up thanks to your weekly commentaries and column.  I read about the infamous 1959 Radio (D.J.) convention in Miami Beach.  Morris Diamond’s and other’s comments made my memories flashback to that time when I was a 21-year-old D.J. working in Miami Beach then. Being on the air and other duties made it difficult to attend everything that went on, but I have to say it was one of the ‘singular’ events in my life.  It was an incredible time for sure.  I don’t remember hearing anything of the Shelby Singleton Saga.  Some events I DO remember are numerous.  The record companies spared no expense for promotion.  Capitol, I recall, had a huge suite, and allowed anyone to call any person or persons they wanted ... talk as long as you wanted. Booze, broads, celebrities, it was all on display.  Liberty Records featured Julie London with hubby Bobby Troup.  Sobriety was seldom seen here.  I attended one dinner/concert with Peggy Lee and George Shearing that turned into their best-selling album collaboration (‘Beauty & the Beat’). We were all given free LPs signed by the pair weeks later.  Wonderful touch by the Capitol folks.

“The big event was the closing awards banquet that was followed by the ‘Breakfast Dance and Barbecue’ with Count Basie and Joe Williams.  It was much anticipated and was sponsored by Roulette Records (naturally). I entered the banquet room around 8 that evening and was ushered to one of scores of those large round tables seating 10 people. I was seated near the back of the room next to Caterina Valente the great (I thought) Decca recording artist and her Mother.  She was wonderfully engaging.  After hours of emcee Martin Block presenting acts such as Lloyd Price who sang ‘Personality’, Jodie Stevens doing her hit ‘Pink Shoelaces’, and Pat Boone showing off his white ‘Bucks’ shoes, Tony Bennett enthralling the crowd ... this part of the evening began to drag on a bit, and the restless throng of more than 1,500 disc jockies and record people were starting to shout to bring on The Count and his band. First, awards had to be given, and it was Midnight!  An intermission was taken, and an announcement that Count Basie would be coming on soon, and they needed to clear the area for a dance floor to be put down.  Long rows of tables were now placed end to end, caterers began setting a fifth of booze every six people while mounds of barbecued ribs were wheeled in. Astounding in its scope to be sure.  Meanwhile, I spotted one of my early radio ‘heroes’ whom I used to listen to at night as a teenager.  It was Dick ‘Moonglow’ Martin.  I listened at night to WWL in New Orleans from my Southern Ohio home, and naturally I loved Dick (Moonglow With) Martin and also enjoyed the Poole’s Paradise Show.  Dick, as I imagined him to be, was a very nice, gentle and humble fellow.  I don’t think he ever knew how great he was, and how far that WWL signal fanned out across the United States.  Martin Block meanwhile, was just now getting to ‘The Disc Jockey of the Year’ announcement.  As Dick Martin and I were talking and Roulette was setting up for The Count, I heard the name Dick Martin from Martin Block’s lips. I said: ‘Dick, they just said your name’!  He said: ‘What? Me?’  Well, it was a special moment, as Dick ‘Moonglow’ Martin was named ‘DJ of the Year’.  He could honestly not believe it.  I pushed him up on the stage, and felt as if it was I who had won this honor.  A great evening then got better as it’s now about 3 a.m. and Count Basie’s big band comes on and wows the crowd until dawn.  This was recorded and later released on L.P. for Roulette, and of course it was called: ‘Breakfast Dance and Barbecue’. One interesting tidbit that Dick Martin told was that he was ‘just considered a staff announcer’ at WWL and received the max of $250 a week!  I still can’t believe it.  RCA sent Harry Belafonte to be on my ‘show’ and then the whole thing was over.  It was a blitzkrieg of excitement that came in like those Miami hurricanes and left. I don’t know how the Diplomat Hotel and others survived!  I heard later that the tab to record companies for the booze alone was over $250K!  That’s 1959 dollars!  I don’t doubt it a bit.  This week-long affair got a lot of bad press, but there was never a better one than this one!  That’s my 1959 convention story, and I’m kinda stickin’ to it.  By the way, Morris Diamond was only 66 then!   Ha!  Keep up what your doing old friend, it helps us all celebrate all that was great about this crazy business.  Best to ya always.  Your forever friend.”

ORDERS:  Gary, next medical bout, have your son email me so I’ll be able to worry about you!  And put in a few prayers.  By the way, this was great stuff.  History.  My sincere appreciation, good buddy.  Now if only Rollye James will write something about the event.  Yep, she was there.  Just FYI, I, too, heard “Poole’s Paradise” over WWL.  Way out on the Texas plains.

Bob Sherwood:  “When I was given responsibility for marketing of all the PolyGram labels in late 1979 I happened to be making a visit to Polydor Records and James Brown was there.  He recorded for Polydor at that time.  He found out who I was — and knew that therefore I controlled all the marketing/artist development and sales dollars.  When we were introduced, he put a hug on me that had to be broken by ‘the Jaws of Life’!  He then followed me all day, noting every record he ever recorded, chart positions, sales, etc.  I obviously knew that it wasn’t me but the position I held and I tried to be as gracious and supportive as possible.  I was a fan from his 50s & 60s hits and saw him do among the greatest live shows I ever saw in the Oakland Auditorium.  I knew he was definitely on the back end of his career and not selling records nor likely to do so, so it was uncomfortable to the extreme.  It got worse.  At the time James and I shared a personal attorney.  The attorney is Joel Katz.  He also represented Willie Nelson (keeping him out of Federal Prison and bankruptcy) and Jimmy Buffett amongst many others.  He still has most of them and along the way picked up Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.  He represented Clive Davis, Doug Morris and a host of other major CEOs.  He’s obviously a heavy hitter.  Plus he represented me and we were at the time (and to this day remain) good friends.  So, as a personal favor when he asked me to fly down to Atlanta and take a meeting with James, I agreed.  Big mistake.  Upon arrival in Atlanta none of James’ promised people were there.  I was able to get a limo service used by PolyGram for artists but the driver had no idea which of the 13 Peachtree Streets circling Atlanta was the one leading to James’s mansion.  Through Joel’s office I finally got us there and with one step short of a strip search I was allowed into the inner sanctum.  Unfortunately there was no James and no commitment as to when he might arrive.  I spent the next hour in a massive living/sitting/dining room with characters from the last drug deal in ‘Super Fly’, several individuals who would’ve been perfect in a Spike Lee re-make of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and some devotees of ‘Godfather I & II’.  Many were demonstrably carrying guns and none were interested in having dialogue with the only white person in the room.  Eventually James arrived sans apologies for the delay and launched into another career retrospective.  Ultimately he got to his point which was significant advance dollars for a planned tour.  Regrettably he had no album planned for release around the tour and I had to somewhat forcefully explain to him that I couldn’t spend company money without a record to sell behind his tour dates.  The saddest part of all is that he had some new songs with potential but he wanted to later produce himself and his record -- with help from his stooges in the room — and wouldn’t listen to alternatives.  Given his voice, I suggested Quincy Jones -- who later produced Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, one of the biggest selling records of all time and loved working with exceptional talent.  Nope.  Then Ashford & Simpson who were very hot.  And finally Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of scorching Philadelphia Int’l. Records who were making the most exciting records on the planet.  Again, ‘no’.  James never had good advisors or managers who he’d listen to and I’ll always feel sad that I couldn’t communicate with him in a way that might’ve led to maximizing his extraordinary talent at that point in his career.  And I remain particularly pleased that I got out of the room -- with more guns than the OK Corral -- unscathed.”

Really enjoyed your tale, Bob.  Maybe you could team up with Mel on that book he mentions.

Red Jones:  “You mentioned Art Holt.  This goes back 63 years but at UT I remember we met at the big water fountain next to the fine arts building before a class from time to time -- myself, Art, Kathryn Grandstaff, who later went to Hollywood and became Mrs. Bing Crosby, and Rip Torn who did well in movies after his UT days.  I was doing nights at KVET, but they didn't listen.  Hillbilly Music?  Many loved it but wouldn’t admit it.   You mentioned Joe Galkin.  He was pretty tough in many social ways but a damn good promo man.  It took a certain breed.  He discovered Otis Redding and had Otis lived, Phil Walden, Joe, and Otis would have made great $$$.  Otis had that something special that defined soul music of that era.

“Memorial Day weekend, the ribbon was cut in St. Mary's, GA, for the Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame in a stand-alone building, the first such for a state radio HOF.  MUSEUM added when President John Long asked Georgia stations to contribute old equipment not used anymore.  With the new tech revolution, so much went to the storage rooms.  Response was great.  So much that it filled a room in a hurry and a storage facility has the rest to be displayed when another room is added.
Back to promo guys, in Atlanta there was a bunch but three names stand out.  Sam Wallace, Mike King, Wade Pepper.  Icons in their craft.”

Just FYI, Red, Barbara and I drove up to the D.H. Lawrence ranch near Taos once and went inside Lawrence’s burial site.  I signed the guest book, of course.  Rip Torn signed it just two or three days ahead of Barbara and me.

Bobby Ocean:  “Claude-of-Cloud-Control -- always so nice to see Monday start off by having its ass bitten soundly. So irresistibly inspiring to see that most every one's Big Bang is clearly still in progress, and leaving a relatively simple trail to follow here.  Wonderful to see my neighbor of a few map lines south posting his ponderings.  Lee Baby and I reside within reasonable proximity to each other and seem to be OK with saving gas and leaving the rest of our communications in the Hills.  It was the same when we both lived in San Diego. We never seemed to seek each other out but would be brought together by mutual interests and acquaintances, common call letters or whatever mysterious energy was in motion during those times.  Which makes for more interesting posts during these times because this way we can all share.

“First of all, lets agree that ‘WAK’ can mean ‘Wake And Learn’, which is a very Lee Baby Simms thing to do.  Secondly, everyone agrees, Lee has ‘been around so long’ because he earned it. Talent like that of LBS is so easy to appreciate because he's just plain good.  And he's generous with his wit and observations, thus beloved.  AND because he still maintains the right to keep his mind open at all times, regardless of peril or consequence, he is admired.  Still, look again, see how differently many feel they have been treated by radio and how differently our MINDS can be at work behind the scenes here. On one mind, thoughts working overtime can easily blind us from the truth of Being ... and on another, a completely different experience, thoughts relaxed while knowing a sense of being calmly guided through effortless intuition.   Bad experience, good experience. Wak!  How does a difference like that happen?

“Starting at the beginning, we look at the basics:  Using the Mind Process we can either employ it for (1)Thinking, or (2) Knowing:  Using the Mind Process for Thinking, we are forced into the Realm Of The  Already Thought-And-Felt Past. There, one can only spin notions of what never was or speculate about the unreachable possibilities in the future.   When this same mind is merely used as a tag-along tool for Observing, Being With, Knowing... the mind is still being used for perceiving, however, seeing it all like it IS, all expectations cease, comparisons no longer prevail, editorials stop... We see that which we see, as it is, nothing more. And we see all of it. questions AND answers. Nothing less.

“The mind will probably want to continue along with its business of labeling and naming things, and that's okay, but, once the experience has become one of your own, you'll probably do away with most Mind/Body workings of fantasy.  It's more reassuring performing any task, in this instance, focusing on a Tenure never known, from the Point Of View of Knowing than mere guesswork, which comes from Thinking.  When you switch gears on the mental machine from randomly Thinking to silently Observing, you jump-start the spiritual process. This happens when you take time to do one of the most significant things you will can or ever will. Which is ...  Ponder the Wonder.  No labels, remember. And if you are still wondering how it is that the Wonder has been so good to us for so long is ˙˙˙sı buoן os ɹoɟ sn oʇ poob os uǝǝq sɐɥ ɹǝpuoʍ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʇ sı ʇı ʍoɥ buıɹǝpuoʍ 'noʎ˙˙˙ and, a totally appropriate use of Pondering.”

Bobby, Lee Baby Simms, nibbling on one of his phenomenal tomatoes, uses “wak” to mean “with a kiss.”

Marie Davis:  “Hey-y Head Hall-master!  My ol' lady, sweet woman she was, always told me, ‘You talk too much!  Try taking more breaths!’  Never concerned me when the opportunity for conversation centered around the likes of Mel Phillips, Gary Berk, Les Garland, Dick Reus, Joey Reynolds, Jay Lawrence, Sam Holman and the rest of 'thems' that this page ain't big enough to hold!  Most times, those mundane trivia sessions led to 'an add', or to 'good feelings' at the 'breakaway'!  Your last edition, Authorman, surely was Mom's 'cup of tea'! 'Sweet nothin's' they was! No question, my good friend, the former Mercury Promotion-manager-turned-author, will be duly noted in the up-coming thesaurus of musical memories!  By this date, I now count, and it's only July, just short of 1652, mentions of the position that 'made-the-man! (And no 'schpritz' intended!)  The newly arrived, in the loop, gent from Philly, noting his 'I', 'I, 'Me', 'Me', gets him a place on the night stand, to walk me to the 'loo', at about 3:30 PM!  A lotta' trivia to catch up on, there!  And how 'bout a little dark humor?  It was Saint Gramcracker advised me ‘Do not call or bother Jack Roberts, Danny!’  I heard, I adhered!  Jack had liver cancer!  I gotta' believe Greenblatt's Chicken Soup (2 quarts), might've had some reaction to what occured 'late night'!  One thing, allow me to note, please! Harold Lipsius was one helluva' guy!  One night, in Nashville, having made my way into the joint in 'the alley', and into that game played with two little squares of plastic!  I bet big!  Talked bigger!  Went into the proverbial 'crapper' in the biggest manner!  And I ain't got 'what to pay the marker'!  Thank God for Harold! He reaches, pays the marker, calls it 'his treat' and I live another day to embrace the wisdom of Mom! Incidentally, Claudie, you 'writ' this one real good! Many thanx.”

Later, Marie Davis:  “Nuttin' Authorman, than a little 'dish to activate the 'blood in the water'!  I was in Miami for the 'sprit de core' that's best forgotten! The organization fomenting same was Nat'l Association of Radio Announcers!  For one of the meetings, the lovely Lena Horne put forth one of the most dispirited 'talks' I ever heard!  Proudly she recounted ‘my daddy was a pi-m-mp oh, yes he was!’ ... and from there was what I 'member!  The fellows that took me in are vivid in memory!  Jockey Jack Gibson at WCIN, went all out in the black community, to position me as national promotion director, after Fat Daddy left Motown!  And after Kal Rudman phoned to alert me ‘Danny, that's a 'quicksand' job!’ (Only the BEST job I ever was privileged to hold!)  Please lemme regale you, Claude, with my 'dealings' with NARA.  Took Gregory Peck to their convention in Chicago, screened one his epics, and walked into the Astor Motel with that great star!  From the balcony, comes a flying leap to the first floor, with an obvious fan-cier, puts his arm around Greg, and yells to his ear, ‘Greg, loved you in ‘Yellow Sky’!!’  From there, Mr. Peck acknowledged Hot Rod Hulbert, Handy Sandy, Chatty Hattie, Diggy Doo Dixon, and others.”

I talked with Jack Gibson once or twice before he passed on.  He lived here in Las Vegas.  The Magnificent Montague and wife Rose Caslon live here.  Seems to be a hangout for some of us old once-wases.

Larry Cohen:  Correction needed. Re. small paragraph you published in Commentary.21.  You never mentioned the film!  Well, the film was ‘Jersey Boys’ and for those that have seen this wonderful film, they will know what I meant about Dick Clark.  Obviously my parody lacked the humor I thought it contained. (Why Dick picked me, I'll never know. Certainly Frankie Avalon with his connections with Warner Bros. would have been a better choice.)  And speaking of Jersey boys, one of the greatest ones I ever met was at WMID radio, Atlantic City, NJ, some 40 years ago.  It was Mel Phillips, one of the nicest and genuine human beings I have had the pleasure of knowing.”

My apology, Larry.  I took it for granted that the movie was understood.

A good week be upon all of you!
And next week’s Commentary will feature Lee Baby Simms, my hero who has heroes. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Claude's Commentary.21r2

July 21, 2014
Claude’s Commentary No. 21
By Claude Hall

Ed Silvers:  “Hi, Claude … I loved your description of Jerry Wexler -- I recall being thrown out of his office after playing a Van McCoy song for Barbara George.  He loved the song, but when I said that I thought Atlantic was a great R&B label, he yelled at me that this was not an R&B label, and to get out of his office!  I loved and respected him and years later, after I became part of the WB family, we were on the same wavelength with respect to all things MUSIC.  Your commentaries are such fun to read for a guy who remembers 1650, and The Brill Bldg ... and the guys and girls who made them famous!!”

Morris Diamond:  “Hello, Claude:  I've got to get a copy of the book Sam Hale sent to you written by Jerry Wexler, ‘Rhythm and the Blues’.  I'm particularly interested in what was written about Shelby Singleton getting a death threat while attending that Miami Convention.  I never heard about that and I attended that DJ convention representing Carlton Records.  I believe it was 1958 or '59.  I didn't know Shelby then, but we became fast friends when in 1962 I joined Mercury Records as National Promotion Director and he was our head of A&R in Nashville.  He never mentioned that to me.  Going back to the convention, Joe Carlton gave me a budget of $1,000 to get word around that Carlton Records is alive and well.  I brought Anita Bryant with me, whose record of 'Till There Was You’ was a block buster at about that time.  For the thousand bucks I was able to buy the poolside bar from noon to 5 pm for free drinks for all  - along with a huge banner that floated half-way over the pool area that said ‘Keep Cool With Carlton’.  Yes, we made a lot of friends.   One of the evenings, Columbia Records was hosting a cocktail reception in the pool area and wanted my banner taken down during the evening.  I refused their request…more PR for Carlton.  Todd Storz, whose radio empire included WQAM in Miami and who was an important host during the Miami DJ convention, felt the brunt of his competition when Miami's radio station-owned newspaper ran the headlines: ‘Booze and Broads at Disc Jockey convention’.  A hotel employee told Joe Carlton and I that a previous pharmacy convention at that hotel was so raucous that one attendee was killed when he tried to jump into the pool from his balcony many stories up … and missed.  And not a word in the newspapers.

‘While I'm in your space, I just want to say a big 'hello' to Johnny Long and his Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.   Doing a great job with it.  And a couple of memory stirrers that feel very good are Clark Weber and Gene Taylor.   Great friends at WLS Chicago during my reign as head of promotion for Mercury Records.   Claude, can't wait for our trip to Vegas mid-August and lunch with you and Barbara.”

The beating convention was a meeting of the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers, also in Miami.  It was Shelby who told me about his beating during the second convention.  On a phone call from Nashville.  The book by Jerry Wexler mentions that the record producer Marshall Sehorn was beaten.  Just FYI, Bill Stewart wasn’t beaten at the “Bribes” convention, but someone slung him up against the hallway wall, yelling about his band being slated to perform somewhere around 3 a.m. in the morning.  Bill never told me this … didn’t even know I knew.  It’s a great pity about the “Bribes” headline and subsequent payola fuss.  Probably set radio back about five or six years.  And, of course, my surmise is that it got Bill Stewart fired and kept Todd Storz from doing another convention.

At Don Elliot’s request, I connected him up with Bob Wolfson, who wrote:  “Thanks for the email.  I'm always glad to hear from one of the almost 100 jocks who entered the 'house of horrors' with me.  Many did not stay long ... one, from New Orleans I never met ... came in on a Friday ... left before Monday morning!  But then, he was arrested dancing up Omaha's main street on Saturday night wearing a pink leotard and somewhat befuddled by booze.”

Jay Lawrence:  “Cliffie Stone was a good friend of mine when I was at KLAC.  The only time he ever took issue with me was when I had the term Western voted out of the Academy of Country (and western) Music.  Anyway, I introduced a young lady to him who had written some songs.  Judy Lee was the drummer for Lynn Anderson.  Judy and I had become good friends.  Cliffie gave me half publishing on some of the songs Judy wrote for bringing him a new writer.  Many years went by and after Cliffie's death, Judy called me from her home in California about the publishing on one of her songs. I had no idea and had not even registered with BMI. (I have now).  I asked if she was ever in my area for any reason.  Judy told me she was recording in Prescott within a month or so.  I invited her to visit.  Two years later we were married (last May).   A little more about Judy.  She took her band on a USO tour to Vietnam after the Tet Offensive.  Later, she and her daughters were a lounge act in Las Vegas for a number of years, The Paxtons.  I think it's interesting that it was Cliffie who brought us together all these years later.”

Don Elliot:  “Really enjoy the names that come up in many of your stories… I go back to the Green & Stone and Pat Pippolo days as well, Russ Regan, and the Capitol days with Carol Musa.”

I lament what’s being done to Casey Kasem.  What the devil is Jean trying to do?  Something fishy here.

Just FYI, now and then I check up on an old friend. Art Holt says:  “Thanks for touching base!  I’m OK, still doing station appraisals and brokerage to keep my hand in the game.  Me ... 83 and halfway around the track toward 84.  Amazing to me, as you say, to make it so far.”

Art goes back to Gordon McLendon days.  Been involved in more radio than this world knows.  A great, great radio man.  He went to The University of Texas.

Clark Weber:  “Burt Sherwood's reminiscing concerning Sam Holman was spot on.  A huge talent who could bring out the best in his air staff.  Sam also loved both beautiful women and the sauce and eventually they both did him in.  His last act as the PD at WLS was stunning.  I was doing the overnight ‘East of Midnight’ show.  Sam had married I believe his 4th wife (I may have lost count!) and before leaving town and heading for New York and WABC he and his new bride stopped in at the studio that night to say goodbye to me.  While I was on the air Sam turned off the lights in the studio, had the engineer play Buddy Morrow's ‘Night Train’ while his nubile new bride danced and stripped right down to her high heels.  With the last note of the song, she bowed, mooned me and they left.  Thanks, Sam!”

Ah, radio!

Mel Phillips:  “Not all interviews go well.  Some click and some die a quick death.  These are two of the latter.  I made an appointment to interview Clive Davis at his Arista office on 57th Street.  It was for a Barry Manilow special, one of the many pieces I did for Tom Rounds at Watermark.  Clive comes down the spiral staircase of his triplex office looking like he just walked off the cover of GQ.  Designer suit, tie and he even had a vest pocket square.  He wasn't amused when I mentioned it wasn't necessary to get that dressed up for a radio interview.  It went downhill from there.  It's not like we hadn't met before.  We had met in Boston shortly after he was named head of Columbia Records.  He was entirely different back then.  Maybe because I was programming a major market station (WRKO) he wanted to make friends with -- not to mention -- get airplay on...

“I kept all my notes on large index cards like James Lipton does.  Clive answered my questions about Barry's signing, his success, etc., by getting to the point quickly and showing no humor.  He didn't offer much as most people being interviewed do when they feel comfortable with your line of questioning.  Then he got rude.  When I did a follow-up to a two-part question he said, ‘I just answered that schmuck!’  I immediately tried to explain that it wasn't the same question but a follow up.  With a straight face he says ‘go ahead’.  That was the end of the interview for me but since it was only about half of what I wanted. I don't know how, but I kept going...

“Although he wasn't rude, Yogi Berra was the toughest interview I ever got.  I did the interview in the Yankee dugout at the Stadium before a night game.  Yogi is a sweetheart but he didn't offer anything.  Most of my questions were answered with a grunt or by his repeating each question and agreeing with me.  The interview was for a ‘Soundtrack of the Sixties’ Watermark Special.  Since Yogi managed both the Yankees and Mets I thought I had a goldmine of an interview but it didn't turn out that way.  I thought I had a door-opener when I got into all of the funny Yogi statements he was credited with making throughout his life.  He replied that "They say I made all those sayings but I don't remember if I did or not."  Interview over.  Although he was polite I didn't get much more. Here's an example.  ‘Yogi, you were called too soft when you managed players but at other times too tough. Which were you?’ Yogi: ‘Sometimes they said I was too soft, sometimes they said I was too tough. I don't know. You can't win’.  At least I met and talked to Willie Randolph, Reggie Jackson and the rest of the Yankees during batting practice.  If I think of any more memorable (for one reason or another) interviews, I will share them with you and everyone. I do have a first-person story about the early days of WABC which I'll prepare for next week.”

David Martin:  “Your email made my day -- as ever. Thought you would enjoy a piece written 10 years ago by Bob Henabery.  It's about Bill Drake, Rick Sklar and the history of Top 40 Radio.  Bob's keen intellect, storytelling and writing skills shine through. FYI -- folks can reach Bob via email.  His email addy and a link to his writing follows.  All the best.”

Personal friends wishing to reach Bob Henabery can email me for his address.  Just FYI: I read Bob’s article.  Good work, Bob!  And my sincere appreciation to Mel Phillips for his interesting contributions.  Furthermore, I’m still ticked off about what they’re doing to Ricky Irwin’s ReelRadio.  Someone ought to be ashamed of themselves!

Larry Cohen, Los Angeles:  “Hey, Claude: I was a very late addition to Hollywood Hills.  I was introduced to it by Don Graham.  I was a recipient of H/H for only the last 6 weeks before Jack Roberts passed.  He passed the evening of the day I spent some time with him.  It was a hard day’s night when Don Graham informed us that Jack had died.  When I was informed that you would be doing a weekly, I took it for granted that with my name being on the email blast, I would receive your column.  But so far I have not received your weekly.  I would greatly appreciate being added to your email blast.

“I don't know if you remember me but I basically ran Harold Lipsius's (formely Phil Spector's national distributor of Philles Records & business associate) Jamie/Guyden Records.  (I was recruited by Harold and joined his company in 1968.)  You may or may not recall that I designed along with George Wilson the Phil-L.A. of Soul label logo (with the fishbone) which I created & it was Jamie/Guyden's first R&B label that J/G owned outright.  I don't recall if you were at Billboard at the time but ‘The Horse’ instrumental on Phil-L.A. of Soul crossed over to pop & MOR and reached #2 on Billboard's Top 100 Pop chart, but failed to unseat the #1 record at the top of your chart, Herb Alpert's, ‘This Guy's in Love With You’. (Hey, When You’re Only #2 You Try Harder.) In this time period, I also had another R&B crossover on Phil-L.A. that went TOP 10 on your Billboard TOP 100 POP chart, ‘Boogaloo Down Broudway’.  We sold close to 3 million records just between these 2 releases.  I had free reign to pick and chose any of the masters that were submitted to the company and I happened to get lucky with these two records, not withstanding the fact that I had to promote them first R&B and pray for some retail sales indication that would show crossover demographics in the markets where the record(s) were breaking with big r&b sales.  I handled all of this singlehanded but had great help from several key distributor promotion people.  I recall Howard Bedno in Chicago, Jack Millman in Detroit, Abe Guard in Baltimore-Washington, Jerry Brenner in Boston, Joe Stanzione in Miami, Ray Anderson and Jack Hakim in Pittsburgh, Denny Zeitler in S.F., Tom Kennedy in Philly, the Love Brothers in NYC and Larry King in Atlanta always ‘being there’.  Several of the team later garnered big positions in the industry.  In the early 70's, Bob Skaff, VP of United Artists Records asked me to rejoin UA where I had originally started in Philly (1960) as their Local Promo rep'.  Bob was an old industry friend.

“Finally made the move west permanently in November 1976.  My first merchandising project was the ‘Rocky’ soundtrack which sold more than a million!  The ‘Rocky’ project garnered me a V.P. title, a company car, a trip to MIDEM in Cannes and London with a first class round-trip ticket and all expenses paid.

“By the way, Dick Clark once told me that he was disappointed in the two seconds he was shown in the film.  Insisted on a remake with Seacrest portraying him or HE would never play a Four Season's record again!

“About the late Jack Roberts:  One day I drove in from Long Beach (where I now live), stopped at Greenblatt's and got Jack Roberts 2 quarts of chicken noodle soup.  Went to his gate and he let me in.  Claude, he looked terrible.  That evening he died in the hospital.  I probably was the last industry person to see him before he expired other then Don Graham who was his long time friend, Priest, Rabbi and Savior.

“Although I have not seen her in years, Julie Lipsius (I do not know her marriage name) from what I understand has had her own music publishing company in NYC for years and has done quite well financially.  Frank now runs Jamie/Guyden.  Doesn't release new product but works the catalogue and does one major package a year.  He contacted me in 2011 to write what he called ‘liner notes’ for a Phil-L.A. of Soul package. The L/Notes turned out to be 10-page history of which I am the only one in the world who is most informed (I started the label).”

Just FYI, Julie and Frank are the children of Harold Lipsius, who I considered a good friend.  Frank was a closet writer.  Later, after last week’s Commentary, Larry Cohen emailed:  “Re. Jerry Wexler.  Back then in Philly we distributed Atlantic.  Wexler was a big help in my development before I joined Harold Lipsius. He was even a bigger help when I worked for and with Mr, ‘L’ as Harold was the distributor of Atco.  I attended that convention where several renown record people were beaten badly.  It was a scary scene.”

Art Wander:  “The mention of Joe Galkin in your latest commentary stirred the memory bank of my association – or lack thereof when I became program director of WPLO after I left WMGM New York.  Naturally, when in the Big Apple at that time, the Peter Tripp situation had every PD being very sensitive to the people in the record industry.  I certainly was very careful in my relationship the rest of my career.  In any event, when at WPLO (battling WQXI) this record promotion man simply came in, didn’t wait for any announcement, and came directly into my office.  I told him that the policy was that he was to sit in the lobby until I was ready for him.  He told me, ‘Change the policy’.  I hastened his exit.  Galkin came in every day and we had some good exchanges on protocol.  Then came the biggie.  Joe came into the station … went past the reception person … came into my office and threw a 45 on my desk saying, ‘Wander … you’re going to play this or your ratings will go down the toilet’.  I was furious and again led him to the exit.  As it turned out it was Otis Redding’s ‘Sittin on the Dock of the Bay’.  I was more angry that Galkin was right about the record than his antics in visiting the station.  We resolved our approaches and (without every telling him) considered him to be a great promotion man.  What made him stand out from the rest of the promo people was that he always came in with 1 or 2  45s, rather than a stack of 10-20.  And those 1 or 2 records usually became hits.  My then biggest surprise came when I was leaving Atlanta to return to New York and Joe Galkin attended my going away party.  I wonder if that was his way of making sure I was leaving.”

Bill Helmer, once an editor of Playboy and now writer of crime books:  “You bein' into radio and phonograph records and god knows what, I have the tapes that Neal Spelce gave me from his on-the-spot coverage the Whitman shooting, plus a couple of his interviews with others, and two mariachi (or is it ranchero) tunes celebrating Martinez and produced there in Austin.  Had an Austin friend put 'em on disc, in case they'd be of interest to you.  Back when I was collecting 78s, before many got lost, and I now can't find an old wind-up player that doesn't pick up every scratch, and blah, blah, blah, Vernon Dalhart was one of my all-time favorites -- must of done a song on everything from Floyd Collins to various gangsters to the Monkey Trial and ... I forget.  Had some old-dance dandies from the Twenties, and a couple that went back to pre-Prohibition, like ‘The Brewers Big Horses Can't Run Over Me’.  The good ol' days.  (First 78 I ever actually bought was Roy Acuff's ‘Wreck on the Highway’, as the rest were worn-outs from the jukebox at my dad's Hub Cafe truckstop.  He must have gone thru 20 of ‘Lovesick Blues’.  I still have a lot of that stuff on audio tapes if you'd want to put 'em on disc.  Also the teen-ager death songs like Leader of the Pack’, and the nifty black-dude stuff like ‘Work With Me Annie’ and ‘Sexy Ways’.)”

Bill, I probably have more than 2,000 LPs in the house, including the last LP of Bob Wills produced by Vince Cosgrave, but I’m not a collector.  I just checked and, yes, I have “Toolpusher” by Slim Willet on this laptop.  And “The Prisoner’s Song” by Vernon Dalhart, otherwise known as Guy Massey, among probably four or five dozen other names.  Just FYI, Bill Helmer and Neal Spelce and I were in college together at The University of Texas.

Mel Phillips:  “Great commentary, Claude. This has to be the most insightful (especially the Jerry Wexler & Shelby Singleton stories).  Great, great stuff.  And thanks for using my items, too.”

Robert E. Richer:  “This could be a story about how underpaid radio morning hosts really are or one man's inability to let go of something he loves.  WNDD-FM (Ocala) morning show co-host Barry Michaels was featured in the Ocala Star Banner not because of his high ratings, but because of his high motoring mileage.  Michaels has 40 years in the radio business, he's switched radio jobs 17 times, cris-crossing the country five times and he's owned one car, a light blue Volkswagen Sport Model Beetle, which he purchased in 1973 for $3,000. It has over 540,000 miles on it.”

Man, but Barbara and I loved the two Beetles we owned over a little more than 11 years.  I doubt there has ever been a better-made car.

I sent Kent Kotal the last Commentary:  “Some interesting stuff in here ... may quote from this from time to time in our online newsletter, Forgotten Hits.  (You might enjoy what we do as well ... quite a bit of deejay participation ... but we're ALWAYS looking for more!)  Check out the links below and let me know what you think ... would be happy to add you to the list and offer you another forum to share some of your great memories."

Go To This Link:
Go To This Link:

 Here's wishing you well! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Claude's Commentary.20r2

July 14, 2014
Claude’s Commentary
By Claude Hall

Sam Hale just sent me a copy of a book.  I wrote Sam Hale:  “‘Rhythm and the Blues’ by Jerry Wexler and David Ritz is an amazing book.  I read it just as I read the first book I ever read: ‘Yank in the RAF’ by someone named Cook.  I checked this particular book out of the public library in Sonora, TX, when I was 8 or 9 years old and the day or two before it was due, I glanced at the ending.  I was hooked.  I read it, a few pages at a time, back to front.  That was the only time I’ve done that with a book until now.  I read the ending of Jerry’s book and then, at random, a few pages here and there before putting the book on the shelf to read later.  Then, curious, I took the book and put it on the footstool at my side where several magazines that I wish to read have gathered in a stack.

“A few hours later and I’d read a few more scattered pages.  The Miami convention incident I’d heard differently.  A couple of days after I got back to New York, Shelby Singleton phoned me.  He’d received a phone call in his suite.  Someone was coming up to kill him.  He told them, ‘You’d better bring a big bullet’.  In spite of a couple of friends with him, he was beaten and spent a day in the hospital.  That’s what I remember him telling me.  He said Jerry Wexler was selected by the black power groups as an example.  They were going to kill him.  The rumor was that Henry Allen, a go-fer for the label, had rescued Jerry and got him out of the state.

“Jerry says a couple of friends got him out of the convention and he hid out in his Miami Beach home for a few days.  Paul Ackerman (Jerry named his son after Paul) and I once spent a pleasant afternoon at that place; Joe Galkin drove us over in a huge Mercedes he said he’d just bought from Jerry.  In the book, Jerry says Marshal Sehorn, a record producer, was beaten up.

“Stories!  I’ve told earlier how Novella Smith, now an evangelist in Memphis, sent me with the ‘script’ for comedian, Dick Gregory, to a hotel on Miami Beach and I got back to the ballroom just in time to see a black power cat in swirling robes go on stage, take over the mike, and announce: ‘If you haven’t done anything wrong, you won’t get hurt’.  I’m sitting across the table from a black executive at NBC and his wife, talking.  Then Coretta King goes on stage to the same mike and pleads for calm.  She says her late husband wouldn’t want anything to happen.  The black executive and his wife decide to leave.  So did I.  With a great number of others.  I went back to my room and the next day went back to New York and never knew anything had happened, I swear, until Shelby Singleton phoned me a couple of days later.

“Anyway, I go back earlier in the book.  I skip his childhood stuff … I’d read all of that before … I don’t know when or where.  I find where he joined Billboard and start from there.  He talks about Paul Ackerman, who becomes music editor when Joe Carlton leaves to join a record company.  Joe Carlton is the person who launched the column Vox Jox.  I’ve read a few of the columns as written by Jerry Wexler, who evidently spent four years with the magazine.  All of this is fascinating stuff!  I pick up a business card from Jack Gale and use it as a bookmark and read a few pages as the urge hits me.  Great book!  History.  From Jerry’s viewpoint, which is his viewpoint, but that’s okay.  He was there.  He did this, he did that.  I don’t think Jerry would lie to me.  I’m also quite positive that Jerry, genius without question, didn’t remember all of this.  My compliments to his collaborator David Ritz.  Hell of a research job on the facts, David!  Great on you!  An invaluable source of information!

“Jerry speaks of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, Otis Redding and others, Miami, Muscles Shoals, Memphis, and Great Neck … the history of Atlantic Records … and his view of given hits and non-hits is not necessarily the view of the rest of the world.  Jerry loved music.  R&b, without question.  Vernon Dalhart is the proverbial anomaly here.  So is ‘Pistol Packin’ Moma’ (I interviewed Al Dexter once by phone while I was with Billboard; the first time I heard the tune was on a jukebox at the swimming pool in Sonora, TX … a 78 rpm Rockola, no doubt … I was about 9.)

“I am in love with this book, Sam.  Before his death, Jerry said he was going to send me all of his books.  He never got around to the task.

“Jerry invited me to the Polo Lounge one day.  He and his wife were both steaming.  This was just about the time he broke up completely with wife Shirley.  I later saw the girl, I believe, that Jerry spoke of as having ‘a body that won't quit’.  I guess he'd lost his touch by this point.  Too much pot.  She was young.  She wasn't exactly pretty.  If she had a body, I didn’t see it.  Perhaps Jerry was imaging things.

“I'm nearing the end.

“Thank you, Sam!”

And I received this response from Sam Hale: “It pleases me ‘no end’ that you had this escape to yesteryear as, from your comments to me
in the past, I thought you would.  As I think I mentioned to you a long while ago, the eulogy that Jerry spoke at Joe Galkin's memorial service in Joe's hometown of Macon, GA, was the most remarkable I've every experienced.  Joe was a very complex man, but with an overriding generous heart that gained him many friends.  Jerry's words captured that persona incredibly well.  It was simply brilliant, as was Jerry himself.  I later asked Jerry for a copy of his remarks and he had not saved them.  As you so well know, his remarks about Mr. Ackerman were saved -- and widely appreciated.

“I was doing Saturday nights at WQXI for a while as I could personally select the ‘oldies’ which generated enormous audience ratings.  One night, with no pre-planning, Joe Galkin walked in with Otis Redding for a long visit.  I'm sure you know that Joe was a catalyst in the connection of Otis and Phil Walden, as well as having played a part in several others'
obtaining recording contracts.  In spite of Otis' stardom, when I walked them to that Mercedes of which you wrote, I saw that Otis was acting as Joe's driver!  I had first met Joe a few years earlier in Birmingham when he first began as an independent record promoter and had ‘Lavender Blue’ by Sammy Turner.  It didn't take much convincing for me to add the record which, as you will remember, quickly became an enormous hit.

“ANOTHER MATTER:  As you are a ‘leader of the pack’ of those making efforts to preserve memories of the accomplishments of outstanding radio people, I wanted to ask you to do a big salute to John Long.  He has devoted enormous time and talent by originating the GA Radio Hall of Fame and initiated the registration of the TN Radio Hall of Fame, the latter which others have developed into a viable form.  John hasn't stopped by gathering and publishing the history of numerous radio professionals but stages an annual awards banquet with outstanding a success.  He didn't stop there, either. He has been collecting memorabilia and now has recently completed a museum with this material by negotiating space with the city officials of St. Mary's, GA.  It's another fantastic accomplishment.
“John often gives me credit as co-founder which is a huge overstatement.  To assist him in the formation I agreed to serve as treasurer and vice president.  I was only in this role until it was going strongly.  In the meantime, there are other board members who have helped him, but it is John Long who has done the planning and 95% of the work, which continues.  I know no ONE who has selflessly done so much to honor and preserve these histories.”

Okay, I finished Jerry’s book.  My opinion hasn’t changed.  Great book.  A valuable sight into the music business.  I felt a little sorry for Jerry by the end.  The price he paid for success was just too enormous.  I enjoyed my time in the radio and music businesses.  Made many friends.  Didn’t make much money (made better bucks as a college professor), but I had a phenomenal time.  I don’t think I would have traded my life, however, for Jerry’s life for any amount of money.  Nor a single friend of mine for any of the people Jerry knew and talks about in his book.

As for John Long:  Great on you, John!

Woody Roberts, amidst the quails near Austin:  “Claude, I only knew Bill Randle as a Cleveland radio legend, never met.  Did work with Wes Hopkins who got caught at Westinghouse during payola scandal.  Scroll down check video for young Bill's intro for dynamic Elvis performance at his peak.
Lee Baby Simms, a mountaintop above the San Francisco Bay, to the Three Mesquiteers:  “Good Day Dear Lads.  Here's My Elvis connection.   On April 3, 1956, the swivel hipped one appeared on ‘The Milton Berle Show’, live, from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier, USS Hancock, then stationed in San Diego. The Captain at the time of that Mighty Warship was my father in law, Dean Black, and a bigger son of a bitch never lived!  He was a Navy Pilot.  World War Two.  336 (he said) takeoffs and landings at sea on the deck of a rolling, heaving, tossing aircraft carrier, sometimes in storms, sometimes under fire from the Japanese Suicide Kamikaze (Divine Wind) pilots.  All of em` comin` in fast and low, fully loaded with 5,000-pound bombs. One Mission, sink American ships, kill American seamen!  Sounds VERY dangerous.  Captain Black (later Admiral Black) was a war-time hero, a real one, because of that fact, he was, after the war, given command of The Hancock.  Enter Elvis, shaking, rattling and rolling.  I can imagine that the Admiral was not amused.  But he had to host Milton`s show, good PR for The Navy.  After EL`s appearance he was introduced to Captain Black and gave him an autographed picture.

“The autograph, written on the left side, reads: ‘To Captain Black, many thanks Sir. Elvis Presley’.  The Captain gave it to his daughter, Celia.  When she died it came to me.  It hangs on the wall upstairs, I pass by it every night on my way to bed.  And that's my Elvis connection.

“I`m feeling good today. The Maters are gangbusters, hundreds of them, hanging heavy on the vines.  I`m going to have a few for lunch.  You guys comin` over?”

John Long:  “Sam Hale mentioned he had told you about the new Georgia Radio Museum. Here is the web address:”

Bob “Wilson” Wolfson: “Claude, you're driving me crazy ... Gary Owens, L. David, Ernie Ford, that station in Pasadena, there are many other names ... and then my great, great uncle Sid Bernstein!  I never knew him, of course, as he was the generation before my father whose mother’s maiden name was Bernstein (a sister to Sid) ... I can only assume that my father 'Sid' was named after him.  As for Ernie Ford ... my cousin was a featured dancer in 1950's movies ... directed the dancers in a Broadway play and danced in a review headed up by Spike Jones (musical depreciation review).  He also met Ernie after dancing with a Donald O’Connor Vegas show, who made him choreographer for Ernie’s TV show ... featured him with a 10-minute solo at Xmas time.  Somewhere in that group is Mickey Katz (Joel Grey) ... and my mentor, Tom Cafferty, known as 'Cactus' on KXLA radio with an hour show just prior to Ernie’s daily show ... Tom talked as if he was about 70 years old ... Ernie did, too ... that's why Cliffie Stone was surprised to hear Ernie singing in the hallway and put him on the air with Herman's Hermits as background.  Mule train was that result and Ernie was on the rise to becoming a country icon and later to employ the cousin of the teenager (me) who used to hang around the station with Tom and talk to the stars who in those days sold their own airtime, paying Loyal King, the owner, whatever he charged for the opportunity!  Tom was a best friend from Chicago of yet another cousin as both were vets of WWII. Now David ... we often talked about 'entertainment' and David always looked for jocks that has that little bit extra.  David would write 10-second narrations before playing a commercial ... that would end with the first few words from the spot.  Usually hilarious! And often amazing.  I told you once that I performed David’s last two newscasts on Saturday so he could catch a flight from Omaha to Chicago where he had a CBS shift.  That act paid me back over the next 20 years in friendship, a great dinner companion, a great drinking companion and long discussions on trying to entertain the rock audience.  He tried to bring me everywhere, just to do the news voicers, etc.  And as luck would have it, two weeks after signing a 3-year contract with Cecil Heftel, David offered me a news director position in LA.  Later the marriage went sour and David called and said ‘....get down to Austin ... n o w!  That produced a remarkable experience.  I think we were number one before the next month concluded!  David almost had the radio Disney approach put together where i would be like 'big Bob the story teller’ ... I had written two children’s records doing all the voices, as spec but never went any further.  David found a young couple with money who were about to enter into buying five stations that David found compatible. Then Dallas fell apart and I returned to Pennsylvania and my growing family of about 35 children, grandchildren, great grandchildren ... and following the stroke, I cannot remember all their names!!!”

I knew Cliffie Stone fairly well.  Still have a record that I was supposed to return … but Cliffie died on me.  Me and Ken Griffis helped him on what I presume was the last album by the Sons of the Pioneers that Cliffie produced on Granite Records for Sam Trust.  He told me that Tennessee Ernie Ford was doing extremely well.  Huge on TV.  Then one day he told Cliffie that he had enough money to go fishing the rest of his life and that was what he was going to do.  Sorry about the memory, Bob.  Glad you recalled the stuff above, though!  Thanks!

Clark Weber:  “I so enjoy going back in radio time to reminisce about the folly and the fortunes of radio past.  Your mention of Hal Neal brought back a flood of memories.  Hal was running WXYZ sales when his fortunes took him to NYC.  I recall that Neal was said to have very sharp elbows and tongue to match plus a low tolerance for disagreement.  I witnessed that when WLS GM Ralph Boudin was promoted to ABC New York over Neal, Gene Taylor was made WLS GM and he in turn made me the PD.  Those promotions were said to stick in Neal's craw, he was furious and made life difficult for all concerned.  Allegedly his fall from ABC grace a few years later was swift and justice was served.”

I thought the best man at ABC was Wally Schwartz and some of his “second louies” were phenomenal, including a man named Alexander.  Barbara and I were close to him and his wife for a while.  They came out to visit us in Los Angeles.  Too, I really liked Wally.  He and Tex Ritter had total recall on names and faces.  Wally once saw me at a radio meeting in Oklahoma City (I was studying for a master’s at Phillips University in Enid, OK) and yelled and came over to shake my hand … after years and years!  Tex once did the same at the Palisades Amusement Park.  No wonder both of these men were huge in their fields.  Huge!

Burt Sherwood:  “It is hard to let ‘sleeping dogs lie’.  I see a boatload of misinformation … most all of the people have departed the earth so some of what went on will still never be told.  WABC ... Hal Neal was difficult -- to say the least -- to love.  Jack G. Thayer tried to get me to talk to him many years later when I was running WMAQ … and rather than do that I left the room ... I will never forget he let me hang out to dry!  However, be that as it may, here is what I recall about who was programming WABC.  Why do I not hear or see the name of Mike Joseph?  He was the consultant who brought in Sam Holman.  Rick Sklar was working for Murray the K then at WINS and somehow got into WABC when Sam got out.  I am going to alert your blog Claude, to HOA ... I know he will find the last one interesting and if he responds you can put him on your list.  Sam Holman and I got reacquainted many years later and became friends.  He died as I recall in a hotel room (in Vegas I think) and no one found him for days ... Sam sent me the great Tom Kennedy for our station in New Haven ... who ultimately went to Boston.  He was a nice guy and really knew talent ... his terrible ending still shakes me.

“WABC was a programmer’s nightmare when Hal Neal took it over and he got the right guys in there to straighten it ou ... as to the sound ... it sounds like the late Bobby Kanner (chief Eng at WMCA, and good friend) was on a milking chore ... sound was not a problem at WMCA ... it was signal ...we ‘owned‘ Brooklyn, but our signal had no strength beyond the NYC metro and WABC could be heard all up and down the East Coast.  I ‘broke’ Bobby Kanner in on my show and we were life-long friends.  He died on the West Coast and was an engineer's engineer ... he got that 5kw WMCA signal out further  than anyone before him ... and I knew them all.  I think he worked for Drake Chenault at the end of his career and life ... not so sure on that.  Peace be with them all!

John Rosica:  “When I moved to NYC in '61 Mike Joseph was WABC PD and HOA already doing mornings.  Sam Holman followed Joseph and Rick was community relations.”

Art Wander:  “Reading about the WABC/WMCA competition, I will agree with Claude Hall that the person responsible for the great success of WABC was Rick Sklar.  No offense to Sam Holman, who couldn’t fight the suits upstairs, Rick was able to convince Hal Neal to do away with ‘Breakfast Club’, giving 77/WABC the consistency in programming necessary to achieve such success.  YET, I wonder what would have happened if the Tisch brothers did not sell WMGM.  In 1961, I was hired as program director of WMGM by Art Tolchin, the director of the station.  A couple of weeks after my arrival, Tolchin told me that Rick Sklar was available since WINS was going to be sold.  He asked my opinion.  I quickly suggested hiring him since he knew so much more about the market.  I became Tolchin’s assistant and Rick the program director.  Rick and I meshed very well and worked together very well in preparing WMGM to go after WMCA and WABC.  Naturally, ‘Breakfast Club’ was the vulnerable attack point.  We began listing DJs for WMGM.  First hire was Bob Lewis (later nights at ABC.)  Bob and I used to play chess in my office.  Rick scheduled meetings with Bill Meeks of PAMS and we were ready to get Series 18 (sonovox).   Then disaster struck.  WMGM was being sold to Storer.  Art Tolchin gave myself and Rick an iron clad one-year contract but it was known that WMGM would go good music instead of gearing up with Top 40 programming.  After WMGM became WHN, Rick wanted to get out of his contract while I was already making plans to go to another market.  Rick wound up at WABC and subsequently replaced Sam Holman as program director.  Then came the big change, saying: ‘bye bye’ to ‘Breakfast Club’ in favor of programming consistency.  The rest is history.  Rick and I maintained a closeness through the years until his untimely death.  His great kids, Holly and Scott are doing well on the west coast.  Finally, Claude, continue these great commentaries.  It lets us know that many friends of the great era are still with us.  And genius Chuck Blore IS NOT the oldest radio person around.  Stay well everyone.”  Then:  “Claude, I forgot to ask if you would be so kind to put me on the list for your commentaries, I would appreciate it.  Thanks much – they are great.”

I wrote Art Wander that I had been emailing Claude’s Commentary to him all along.  If you do not receive Commentary, mailed each Monday, please let me know and I’ll try to solve the problem.

Then a note from Burt Sherwood about his personal philosophy:  “The things that make you ‘stronger’ take a toll on you ... it is hard to forget … no, let me say impossible.  I hear from people who get your weekly all the time, who say they more or less stayed under the ‘radar’ ...  which I did for most of my management career ... I let what we did speak for itself.  As I told you when I went into a city or town to operate a station the people never knew I was a ‘former’ talent ... sometimes it leaked out, but I was already doing what I loved doing best -- running stations that were totally in the ‘dumper’ and bringing them back to a spot they had never imagined ... unfortunately in those days I made little money ... but made a lot of rich people richer ... so be it.  You and I went down separate paths, same result … we love people ... the scars show in early morning and late at night.  I can give you more names ... but WE ARE STILL HERE.  I followed your moves very carefully over the years, and knew you had a hard life getting back to a good one ... you have a ton of friends out there ... we old guys can attest to that.  Be well.”

Danny Davis:  “Authorman: Knowing that 'all peoples' ain't alike, but may be interested in what really makes 'em tick!  Lemme tout you to a good, variation of what YOU usually would place on the night stand!  My category, for a long time, was/and still is, 'hard guys like Morris Levy and 'their compatriots'! When I was 'woikin' for Milt Blackstone and Eddie Fisher, I cultivated the sincere friendship of Sandra Lansky (yes, daughter of the 'gent' who owned your town a while ago!  Meyer Lansky!!)  She's written a book!  You'll like it, I think!  Called ‘Daughter of the King’! Best to every Hall in the house!”

Joey Reynolds informed me of the changes at WDRC, Hartford, where he and many other disc jockeys of great renown temporarily hung their Stetsons.  Here’s a comment from Lee Baby Simms to the Three Mesquiteers, Robert Weisbuch and Woody Roberts: “And a very good day to you Dr. Bob.  I trust that you and your posse are well on this lovely day.  I see that you have received Claude`s missive of this morning.  Woody sure got it right when he said:  ‘an old-fashioned radio blood letting occurred July 5th’.   How many times?  Let me break out my abacus to see if it can help me count that high.  THERE IS NO TENURE IN THE RADIO BUSINESS, MY BOY.  The quick and the dead work in the radio business.  Dick Robinson was very kind to remember me favorably.  Should you speak with him again please give him my best.  I think I`ll have a cold one, sit outside on the deck in the Sunshine and Wonder at The Wonder.  Wonder how it is that it has been so good to me for so long.  I, who has never known ... Tenure.  Wak.”

Mel Phillips:  “When I first started doing interviews I wanted to impress my interviewee with how much homework I had done on my subject.  I learned pretty quickly that the interview is about the subject, not me.  The best interview is done by triggering a memory that the interviewee can discuss candidly and then just let them fly.  From there you just steer them in the direction that will give you some meat that opens up the personality and raw emotions of the person being interviewed.  There are 2 interviews I consider my best: Ronnie Spector & Ellie Greenwich. Ellie was better because I was able to use everything she gave me. Ronnie was so candid that she told me a lot of things (mostly about Phil Spector) that were so personal I couldn't use them for fear of some ear-shattering phone calls from Phil and a possible lawsuit. Phil and I got fairly close and knowing how wired he was I didn't dare risk the wrath of Spector. A lot of the info Ronnie supplied was great and usable, like she & the Ronettes only needing one take on "Walking in the Rain". Ellie Greenwich was just great in supplying the reasoning behind almost all the hits she, Jeff Barry (and sometimes Phil) collaborated on. I did a title memory Q&A with Ellie. I would mention a title and she was off. ‘Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry’ (about falling in love quickly with Jeff at a family Thanksgiving dinner arranged by members of the family). ‘Be My Baby’ (was based on Ellie & Jeff playing, if you be my baby, I'll be your baby silliness). Then there were the nonsense songs (‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’) that were about nothing -- it was just time for another hit single (and just about all of them were.)  More interview memories will be coming along soon, including the tough ones.

“Claude, please let everyone know that I have a new URL for Mel Phillips Radio Views: and should anyone want an advance copy of my most current radio view, they can request it by emailing me at  Thanks. Keep writing and we'll keep reading.”

My compliments, Mel.  The interview stuff is priceless!

The 2014 induction celebration for the Texas Radio Hall of Fame will be November 1 at the Hotel Galvez in Galvestion.  Admission is $50.  There will be a special tribute to Bill Young.  Try: or

Barbara used to know a widow lady, now passed on, whose husband was one of the big honchos at Caesar’s Palace.  Back in my Billboard days, I interviewed the guy who founded the casino.  Kicked out.  Accused by the IRS of skimming, as I recall.  Don’t remember his name just now.  But the old-timers around here are sort of revered.  Like minor gods.  Mafia or not.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Claude's Commentary.10r2

July 7, 2014
 Claude’s Commentary
By Claude Hall

Larry White, now in Charlotte, NC:  “I remember that Four Seasons show in Buffalo years ago very well.  After the show, you and Barbara, Joey and his guest (his wife at the time, as I recall) and Jay Meyers (WBUF's PD) and his wife joined us at our home for a while before you returned to Brockport.  It was a great visit since I was always a big Joey Reynolds fan from the time I first got into the business. And like everyone else from the era never missed your weekly Vox Jox column in Billboard.  Claude, when I attended a few of the Billboard radio programming conferences in NYC, I never would have guessed that, years later, I would have you and Joey as guests in our home.  It was quite an honor.  Best to you and Barbara.”

Don Whittemore defended the quality of the movie.  “Saw ‘Jersey Boys’ Sunday.  Joey Reynolds's four-hour Four Seasons non-stop was a vital bit in the movie, but alas no name credit and the DJ didn't look at all like Joey.  Great Movie, too.  So nice I'll see it twice.”

Burt Sherwood: “Claude:  As we age brevity is a word that someone else uses when writing a note.  The death knell (if you will) of WMCA was sounded by Hal Neal the then GM of WABC.  He finally got rid of the ‘Breakfast Club’.  Steve Labunski, our manager at WMCA, was always afraid this would happen … what ensued was Herb Oscar jumping over to WABC to fill the ‘void’ of the Breakfast Club and leaving WMCA with his great ratings, and no HOA.  Why wouldn't WABC sound good?  They had Herb and Scott from WMCA.  HOA and Scott and I were very close ... Herb got us to move up to Connecticut to be with his family and Scott's as well ... we all lived within 15 minutes of each other ... our wives and kids all were very friendly. HOA and I still talk all the time...Scott as you know passed away.  HOA , Scott Muni and I along with our families would get together almost every weekend for a bar b que..cook out etc. ... we were very close ... when we were at WMCA we three were on the air longer (air time wise) than most of the rest of the station ... I would see them both daily as I was on the end and the beginning of their shifts.  I was doing overnights and was sponsored by Texaco ... and that story is another one left alone..suffice to say I was the ‘last’ one to leave WMCA and Texaco went off the overnights.  I was scheduled to join the guys ... but the WABC overnight man Big Joe had a no cut contract ... and I still had a lot of time left my WMCA contract as well.

“To shorten this ... I was let go at WMCA, and could not get a job in NYC ... I struggled for a year or so and finally got two NYC  lawyers (Bob Price, he became Deputy Mayor of NYC and Ted Kupferman, he became a congressman)  and then Congressman John Lindsay's money to begin my journey in management.  That is a shortcut to a very trying time and a story that will do no one any good.  I did 11 pm Sunday news on WOR as well as the Million Dollar Movie on WOR-TV (for a while), went to Daytona Beach and Harrisburg then to Albany where I honed my management skills ... suffice to say it was the turning point of my life ... and many people were very kind to me as I began the long journey wearing the ‘suit’.  The first station I ran was in Brattleboro, Vermont.  We paid $80,000 for WTSA.  As I tell my son, you gain no knowledge of management from a good is too good to be picked apart ... so you learn from the guys you worked for that were not so good ... no names ... management is a trickey business ... John Barger wrote kindly of me and Buddy Carr ... AND we all had to learn!

“Once again...Ruth Meyer was a friend and we connected again years later when I was GM at WMAQ radio and she and Chuck Renwick were programming NBC Radio Network ... she was a great gal and a pal ... she loved France and got there as often as she could, and Chuck and I once in a while chat about those days , she ended up with terminal cancer and living in Kansas City (her home), and we talked and talked via the phone she could tell history beautifully and was a fine writer ... so much goes by in time ... I thought about a book ... but so has everyone else.  She had a very good private life and talked to me about it all the time ... she made a lot of friends  (including my wife Anne) and was deeply religious!  Enough Claude ... most of this stuff predated your arrival at Billboard and our getting to know each other, and I think I am boring you.  Give Barbara a hug ... from me still standing.”

Ah, yes.  Hal Neal.  When he became head of ABC Radio, I received a news release about their Brother John syndicated program.  I wrote the typical news story and printed it in Billboard.  He sent a PR firm to “demand” a larger story.  A feature.  I listened to the program.  Didn’t think much about it.  I said “nope.”  Neal called me.  Again, “nope.”  The PR firm approached again and the guy said he knew Hal Cook, my publisher.  I said, “Good.  I know him, too.”  Neal got revenge a couple of years later.  I was asked to do some consulting for the NAB and Neal threw the proverbial monkey’s wrench into the deal.

John Rosica:  “In fact it was Sam Holman who established WABC’s sound and format.  Rick Sklar was just the keeper of the Holman format.”

I think that would be shortchanging Rick, John.  True, the format was set by Sam Holman and I more than likely failed to give Sam his just due (I believe I apologized at one point; I sure hope I did).  But Rick constantly made improvements.  I believe that the real success of the station was because of Rick.  Regardless, as Burt Sherwood indicates, WABC did not fully overcome WMCA until “Breakfast Club” was removed from the air and credit for that probably goes to Rick.  He lamented the program to me a few times.  Not that it was bad.  Just that it didn’t fit a Top 40 station.

Larry Woodside, in a follow-up to the Ken Roberts obit:  “Sadly, yes, last month in NYC. There was an obituary in the LA Times yesterday (guess they were a little late getting the word), and then there's this: Ken Roberts, the Other "Jersey Boy," Remembered at the Friars Club.”

Freddy Snakeskin, JACK-FM/KROQ, Los Angeles:  “The LA Times is doing a story on the late Ken Roberts. They already did a lengthy interview with me, but after reading Joey Reynolds' comments in your blog, I was thinking he might be a good source for them to talk to as well. I don't know how far along the reporter, Elaine Woo, is with her story, but since you are in contact with him, would you mind passing this message along? Elaine can be reached at”

But Elaine Woo responded: “Thanks, Freddy, but I already filed the story.  Sounds like there's a book here!”

Jay Lawrence in regards to Chuck Blore’s statement about today’s radio lacking entertainment:  “I read the comments about L David Moorhead.  He talked about the entertainment station a lot. Wanted me to work for him.  David hired me or had me hired on 3 different stations.  We met at KTKT Tucson.  He brought me to KFI, next helped move me to WNEW, then to an Arthur Godfrey type show in WNDE, Indianapolis. He hoped to get it on all stations in Gulf Broadcast Group.  Let's write a book about David, there are million stories in the L. David (Guy Williams) City.”

You were always huge with David Moorhead, Jay.  Talked about you often.  And, yes, he intended to hire you for the new station he was planning to put on the air in Las Vegas, the first of a chain.  He also intended to hire Mikel Hunter and a couple of others whom I can’t remember after all this time.

Al Herskovitz, Bradenton, FL:  “Wow! Talk about going way back in time.  I worked with Dan Ingram when his name was Ray Taylor and mine was Al Harper.  He and i worked weekend nights at WICC in Bridgeport, CT.  He did the music and I did the news.  He even had to co-host a Sunday night classical music show. We were so broke then that we had to pool our change in order to buy one sub sandwich to split for dinner.”

Bob Skurzewski:  “I found Casey Kasem to be a neat guy to talk to. He was secretive about things, thus he did not get many pages in our book. He did explain all the thoughts on what would eventually be ‘American Top 40’.  Eddie Chase was mentioned by him as a person who amazed him with a count down of top records when Casey was a teen. He did not have to credit anybody. But he did!  I also tried to get him to write the preface for our book. He politely said no.  As to the news, our book title was never in the body of the article. I did sign off to the gal in charge of these types of views, that we did author the book and gave her info on it. She inserted in the body. That blew me away because the Bflo. News has done little to help local authors get some press.  I understand that the Kasem battles continue with Jean trying to wrestle away the kids trust funds Casey set up for them.  For now lets call that a nasty rumor.  Stay well.”

I liked Casey.  Don’t know anyone that didn’t like him.

Don Berns:  “I was always proud to call Bob Lewis (Bob-A-Lou) a friend, since we had both graduated from WBRU at Brown and hit it off well enough that we remained friends through the rest of his life.  Bob arranged for me to sit in with Dan Ingram for a few breaks one day -- one of the thrills of my young life, since for me Dan was one of the all-time greats as well.  But the WABC story that Bob told me that sticks with me today is about the engineer who was having drinks with a fellow 1st ticket holder from WMCA who tried to pry the settings from him for WABC's reverb, which WMCA had tried to copy for years but had never gotten right.  After a few drinks, this WMCA guy thought his buddy was lubricated enough to spill the beans, and sure enough got what he thought was the settings from him. What he didn't know was how loyal the WABC engineer was to his company, and the next day when the WMCA engineer tweaked his station's sound, the jocks all sounded like they were talking from the back of a cave.”

I complained that the temperature in Las Vegas was currently around 110 during the day and Woody Roberts responded:  “Hot?  Get back to where you once belonged; only 95 this week.  To help forget LV temp here's some good 'ol Texas radio coming outta cool Dripping Springs -- home of Hamilton's Pool -- to mix with your daily streams and Youtube tunes.
“PS --  Watch out for that Diet Pepsi, what you need is a cold bottle of Diet Cana Cola.”

Oh, sure.  Funny thing is that someone sent me some hot cocoa from Starbucks; don’t know who.

Roger Carroll, Los Angeles:  “Claude, I enjoy your Commentary ... re: Joey Reynolds he has to be kidding about the movie. Some time I will tell you my experience with him.”

Roger, don’t wait.  I would indeed love to print something scandalous about Joey.  The first thing I ever wrote about him was for a special magazine Billboard published called SoundMaker.  Circa 1967.  I thought he would sue.  But the first time I met him, he thanked me.  So, you tell me your scandalous story and I’ll tell you two or three of mine!  Maybe four.  Or, heck, let’s do a book!  Did you read “I Love Radio” at Books?  Some Joey stuff in there.

Lee Baby Simms, who has never (ask Woody Roberts) done anything scandalous in his life other than raise tomatos, sent me an old newspaper item about Billy Joe Shaver being arrested for aggravated assault regarding an incident outside Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon in Lorena, TX, on March 31, 2007.   I remarked that it sounded like a typical Texas bar tale.  Just FYI, Billy Joe was acquitted in a Waco court on April 9, 2010.  Self-defense.  Dale Watson wrote a song about the incident – “Where Do You Want It?” recorded by Whitey Morgan and the 78s.  It’s on the group’s second album on Bloodshot Records!
Ah, them Texas bars!

Jim Slone:  “My remarks will be a little too old for your readers but probably not for you ... lol  I went to the museum at San Juan Capistrano last week ... on one of the plaques outside was a picture of the sheet music to ‘When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano’ featuring Tony Martin.  There were a lot of different versions of that song but the most popular was by the ink Spots in 1940 … have always loved that song ... I was able to find Tony Martin's recording and it is good, too ... The swallows weren't there last week, but there were hoards of people ... and the gift shop was filled with regular folks buying mementos.”

Beautiful place!  Barbara and I and kids have been there.  More than once or twice, I think.  I even have some photos I took.  This, of course, was more than 30-40 years ago.

Bobby Ocean:  “Regarding that statement, ‘all Art is a funny business’, you're right, Claude.  It was Kurt Vonnegut who once said, ‘to work at any art, whether done well or badly, is to grow the soul.  So, do it’."

Bobby, in my opinion, you’re a tremendous artist!  Takes a gift.  Back in the day of magazines, you’d probably have been famous.  Well, that is even more famous than you are now.  Because, to me, you’re famous.  And great!  A great radio treasure!

I hope everyone’s past week was good and that next week will be sensational for you and yours.  At the moment, I’m reading “Rhythm and the Blues.”  A comment maybe next week.