Monday, August 25, 2014

Claude's Commentary No. 26r2

August 25, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 26
By Claude Hall

Again, I point out that Commentary is more or less of a “watering hole” for just about anyone who wishes to contribute.  Mostly those in music and radio, back when and now.  Including a cute tale or two from Rollye James that I may find (it’s on this laptop somewhere) and print eventually.  I have little left to prove these days in conflict, i.e., with a Dex Allan.  Instead, I prefer to enjoy the friendships and the tales that I have been fortunate enough to gather over the years.  And, with God’s luck, perhaps make a new friend on occasion.  We’ve all been around a while and, cliché, “been there, done that” and, I assume, don’t care for nonsense.  You wish to read about Buzz Bennett, there are places (see below).  You’ve never heard of Eddie Hill, tough luck on you!  I write Commentary out of love for radio and music.  I would hope that it’s read basically for the same reasons.

Lee Baby Simms, from his mountain castle above the bay, referred to a suggestion from Dex Allan that “there are many other great people” I could write about.  Lee Baby responds:  “Good Morning, My Good Friend Claude.  I trust that you and Ms. Barbara are well on this most delightful of mornings. Cool and gray and cloudy.  It looks and feels like Winter.  57 degrees when I arose a few hours ago, still only 60 at 10:30 a.m.  Fog envelops The City and The Bay.  (And Lee Baby included a beautiful photo for the benefit of Dr. Robert Weisbuch and Woody Roberts.)  Just beautiful!  And just read Commentary.  Thank goodness for all our old contemporaries helping to ' Keep The Groove Alive'.  There is one guy I could do without. This Dex Allan creature. That son of a bitch has a lot of nerve deeming to give You ‘constructive suggestion’. That little twerp!  Why don`t you tell him to go xxxx himself?  But no, you won`t do that, you are too nice a fellow.  At least you should tell him to keep his 'thoughts’ to himself in as much as no one is interested in them.  AT All.  So let me tell him to go xxxx himself.  Send me his email address and I`ll tell him ‘Hey, you little creep, xxxx you and the slug you slimed in on’.  Or do you think that too harsh of me?   You know me, buddy, if I think they should go xxxx themselves I have no compunctions about telling them to do so.

“Moving on ... a big day coming up just a few days away.  82 years young.  Hot Damn!  Whodaa thunk it?  Don`t be surprised if you find a little surprise on your doorstep on your big day.  Heh, heh.  Oh, Look!  The Sun is burning through the fog.  I am overjoyed.  withakiss.”

My apology to Lee for editing his f word.  I’m not adverse to the word in the fiction I write, depending on the character.  But for this column, I changed it in tribute to our mutual mentor, George Wilson.  Some of you may remember a George Wilson who was quite pithy in his language.  But after he met Jackie, he never mentioned it, but I believe he was “born again.”  When he died, I think his soul was in good shape.  He certainly objected strongly to the language used by a guy who comments all too frequently on music and the music business.  I don’t use the word much in private language.  I am, however, guilty to the foul usage of other words.  The f word was actually the initials used by medical doctors in jolly old England to describe a condition after a sailor had hit port a little too hard.  The doctor would merely write the initials to represent “From Unknown Carnal Knowledge.”  To an extent, I agree with Lee Baby, but I described all of that in Claude’s Commentary No. 25 and above.  So the editing, Lee, was just in case George is looking over my shoulder on this one.

Don Whittemore, the ice cream king:  “Let him get his own Commentary.  F*** his slings and arrows, however well intended by his perspective.  I do believe you'd be writing about those guys if you chose to extoll their contributions to our medium of radio, which reminds me of the 1940's Fred Allen quote, ‘It's called a medium because it's seldom rare or well done’.  Please continue.  Your fan and friend.”

Would you believe this, Don?  I, too, can remember a couple of those great lines by Fred Allen.  “As one fly sitting on a drum said to the other fly, ‘Let’s beat it’.”

Art Wander:  Hi, Claude.  Continue to read your excellent commentaries.  If you have Jonathan Fricke’s email, please send him mine since I don’t recall having received his earlier epistles.  I do know that when I went to a laptop, the computer guy erased all my email stuff.  Stay well.”

Morris Diamond and the charming Alice Harnell were in town this past week at the invite of Olivia Newton-John, performing at the Flamingo.  If we get lucky, there’ll be a photograph at the end of Commentary featuring Olivia Newton-John, Morris Diamond, and Alice Harnell.  It was really a nice lunch with Morris and Alice because, as Barbara said, “They’re nice people.”  I’ve promised to treat the next time they’re in town.  Eggs benedict at the Silver Spoon.  Morris: “We drove home the next day in a horrendous desert storm … got home OK.  Olivia's show was sensational.”

Danny Davis:  “Claude, join in one for Frankie Randall!  He ain't in good shape!  Well loved for long time, and a favorite stalwart of the desert lunch-bunch!  Arnie Capitainelli, of that favorite Thursday function, forwarded this 'tip of the day': ‘Turning the other cheek, doesn't mean you wanna' be struck again. It means you are willing to see the other person, from a different point of view’.  Arnie is a valued Good Guy recipient, no shit!”

The best wishes of all of us to Frankie Randall.  And great on you, Arnie!

Jay Lawrence:  “Remembering KTKT, Tucson.  L. David Moorhead (Guy Williams hired me. There were many more times he hired me).  Frank Kalil should be mentioned.  He had a card file of one-liners.  He'd take out 10 or so every day.  He'd use them and put them at the back of the file until they came up again.  I don't know if he ever replenished the file.  Frank today is a well-to-do station broker.  I should have had a card file.  By the way, just ONE book can't possibly tell all of the L. David, Guy Williams stories.”

Be great if someone would forward this Commentary on to Frank Kalil.  Ask him if he still has that file.  Just FYI, Lee Baby Simms tells a good/interesting tale about L. David Moorhead in one of the short stories in “Radio Wars” which is available cheaply enough at Books.

Clark Weber sent a flyer for a book titled “Clark Weber’s Rock and Roll Radio 1955-75: The Fun Years.”  The book is by Clark and Neal Samors with foreword by Neil Sedaka.  From Chicago’s Books Press (also at $29.59 soft cover, $37.50 hard cover.  One of the stories concerns Larry Lujack and a crazed pilot (Clark) over Chicago.  Clark, you might consider donating a copy to the Arnold Shaw Collection at UNLV.  Shaw was a major music publisher in Manhattan until he retired to Las Vegas.  Thereupon, he taught music industry courses at the university and founded the collection.

Charlie Barrett sent Don Graham and a few others the link to a story in the New York Times about Bruce Lundvall that most of you will find interesting.

Jim Slone:  “Claude … I forgot to mention that Shadoe Stevens once worked here at KIKX in Tucson (Terry Ingstad) ... became quite famous didn't he?  Don't know if that was mentioned in the Tucson Radio Book or not ... I think L. David Moorhead was instrumental in getting K-CUB named as the Billboard Magazine Grand International Station of the Year back in 1976.  Frank Kalil, who is on the cover of the Tucson Radio Book, is the biggest Radio/TV broker in the land … according to my information, no other broker is even close.  He has been enormously successful and still going strong.”

I suppose it’s amazing just how far a box of file card one-liners can go.

Bill Hennes:  “Does anyone know if Mike Joseph, program consultant, is living or dead and if he is alive where he is?  Mike was a major force in program consulting from 1956-1985!  The last I knew he was in LA, and he used to call me about once every three month.  Last time I heard from him was over nine years ago.  Anyone know if he is still with us and where?”

Bill, I can’t be positive, but I think someone emailed several years ago that he’d passed on.  In Los Angeles.  Hell of a place to pass on.  But, of course, if you find a good place, let me know.

Mel Phillips:  “Claude, thanks for including my piece in tribute to all the air talent that I had the pleasure of working with.  And to Don Imus, thanks for the mention.  I meant what I said about you (regarding Imus).  I keep up with what's happening at your ranch by reading Mike Lupica's column every week.  He's been very loyal to you.  I hope you beat that fake ailment you claimed to have. You'll outlive all of us.”

Don Imus, I’m saddened to hear you may be suffering some kind of ailment.  I had a heart attack more than a dozen years ago.  This is one of the reasons I’m so grateful to have Lee Baby Simms around.  Now there’s a guy who is really alive!  Keeps me percolating!  Kim, you’ve got one heck of a father (I think Kim is on my list).

Herb Oscar Anderson sent me a link and, believe me, you will enjoy this!  Cuter than a puddle of mud.  It’s a video of HOA on the air at 93.7 Ocean FM.  Absolutely great.  Sings with the melody.  Didn’t seem to be reading the lyrics either.  My compliments.  Great on you, Herb!  Eddie Hill, WSM, Nashville, used to occasionally sing along with a record and just about everyone I know will admit that it was not easy to sing along with Webb Pierce or Roy Acuff.

Larry Cohen:  Larry Cohen to Rick Frio: “Your short phrase of ‘You may like this’ to your link was understated. I didn't like it.  I LOVED IT!  It brought back great memories to me in 64' when there were record stores & chains & the energy and excitement of breaking new artists at the local distributor level prevailed!  Claude, tout your readers to this outstanding link. It is better then going to a movie.  Thanks Rick for your masterful contribution.”

This is the link, again, from Rick Frio:
Danny Davis: “Authorman: (He of 'tales' aplenty, and lingo unvarnished!, and the wit to let the readership 'go their own way'!)  Fer yars, Larry, I've utilized the language culled, in sum small measure from Damon Runyon, (and hoping for the 'treasure', that 'it' availed him!).  Matter of fact, 'aged friend?', the Prof mentoring me on 'the book', was first to draw the similarily 'tween moi', my literary style, and my literary hero!  Incidentally, Friend, Larry?, when time allows for your perusal of wat' u rote, an the manna' of ur 'goferit' mimikcree', calls me to advise you NEVER to try your speech pattern in mime fashion!  And, 'cause, nobody can understand your last missive to my h/p, explain the 'White Fish' Platter joke attempt, or where would any non-member of the 'tribe' ever have heard 'of good ol' Yiddish roast beef'!  (Thanks, Claude, for toiling with the above 'banal and non-sensical!' diatribe!)”

Bob Paiva:  “As a kid growing up I was always fascinated by some of the great ‘voices' on radio and TV.  The passing this week of one of those legendary voices, Don Pardo, made me think of another of my vocal ‘heroes’ and a story he told me.  The voice was that of Art Hannas, who was the original announcer on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’.  I met him at a cookout in Greenwich, CT, and he told me that he practiced for hour on hour saying ‘This is the Columbia Broadcasting System’ ... in order to get the full majesty of the word ‘Columbia’ into his delivery.  But ... by the time he was with the network long enough to get the hourly ID job ... they'd changed it to ‘CBS New York’.  I found that a wonderfully amusing story.  Two of the other ‘voices’ I particularly loved were that of Reed Hadley and the actor John Ireland.  I could listen to whole episodes of radio drama just to hear their announcing.  And, of course, there were the voices of Wolfman Jack, Casey Kasem, Martin Block and a New York announcer named Jerry Marshall that I grew up listening to.  The voices that filled my head and made me want to be on the radio.”

Ken Dowe:  “Thanks, Claude.  I love Larry Cohen.  Sure miss him and numerous of the other truly professional music guys.  They made our jobs simpler.”

Roger Carroll:  “Worked in LA -- my exception being when I was 15-18 yrs old working at WFMD in Fredrick, MD, then 12 years at ABC-TV and radio -- for 22 years at Gene Autry's GWB plus announcing major TV shows … Claude, I have never heard of the people you write about except Chuck Blore and the lovely Larry Cohen.”

What a pity, Roger.  Great people.  Of course, when you know Chuck Blore, you don’t really need to know too many other radio people.  He’s a radio world unto himself.  Plus, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Real radio.  And, of course, one should also have said “hello,” at least in passing, to Gary Owens.

Wally Roker:  “Love this Commentary.”

The third Music Industry Reunion is set for Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the Hill Country Barbecue Market 6 p.m.-?  No host bar/food. The restaurant is located at 30 West 26th St. and tickets are limited. This is an invitation only party.  For information, Jon Scott, or Greg Lee,   The New York Music Industry Reunion organizing committee -- Jon Scott, Greg Lee, Judy Libow, Roxy Myzal, Ted Utz, Wayne McManners, Harvey Leeds, Steve Leeds, Pete Gidion, Jim DelBalzo, Jessie Scott.  Two previous “reunions” were held in Los Angeles.

Well, I’ve finished the final edit on my Great American Novel and Bill Pearson has finished the cover and soon – a week or so – I’ll install it with Kindle Books.  Warning:  It might offend you.  Got a lot of those dirty words in it.

I still think radio when it comes to music.  You know: Will it be played?  Will it be a hit?  And I’m a bit prejudiced when it comes to old friends.  Dex Allan and Roger Carroll may not know who Jack Gale is.  But I do.  Great, great radio man!  Mentor to other great radio men.  Outstanding radio personality.  Phenomenal program director.  Dex Allan might not know where WTMA is, but the Great God of Radio does.   And so do I.

Thus, I would praise this CD by the Shelby County Line on Playback Records.  Just because Jack Gale owns Playback Records.  But the group is damned good!  Good group that can obviously play rock, but goes country and I enjoyed “Great Minds Drink a Lot” and “Honey Do.”  Started my foot tapping.  These guys have paid their dues.  Good musicians.  “She’s About Love” is cute.  Need to get these guys on the jukebox.  Good CD.  My compliments, Jack and Good On You Shelby County Line!

“Memphis” on PBS Sunday, Aug. 24, was quite interesting.  Supposedly loosely based on life of Dewey Phillips and I don’t know enough about Dewey to say yea or nope, but it featured Chad Kimball, who is probably bound for better things and Montego Grover, female lead who was excellent.  Worth seeing just for the heck of it.

From Sept. 21, 2009
In discussion about “Matilda” by Cookie Cutter and the Cupcakes, George Wilson said one the best he knew at remembering songs was Rollye James.  “She knew all that stuff.  Especially the old blues tunes.”  The record “Matilda” went to No. 1 in Charleston, SC.  But probably George is the only one who’d remember that.  Others who were mental giants at remembering songs and artists?  Bill Drake, Mike Curb, Ted Atkins, Seymour Stein.  “Bill Drake and Ted Atkins used to play a game for hours at Martoni’s,” George said.  I remember one evening when Mike Curb and Ted Atkins sat swapping record names and labels and even the color of the label on the copy that went out to the radio stations.  This was at a party I believe at the home of Atkins in the Hollywood Hills area.  Great view of Los Angeles at night.  Paul Ackerman, late music editor of Billboard magazine, once told me that Seymour Stein astonished Don Pierce by relating his entire Star Records catalog.  This was many years ago…late 50s or early 60s; I seem to recall Paul stating that Stein worked for Billboard at the time..  I never met Seymour, but Paul loved the guy and always spoke highly of him.  Always wanted to meet him.  Find out how his mind worked.  His real name, I understand, is Steinbeagle.  We had many very, very bright people in the radio and music businesses.  In retrospect, probably more than our share of great talents and bright minds.  Jack McCoy, who programmed KCBQ in San Diego to No. 1 was one of these people.  Buzz Bennett had his flaws (don’t we all?), but I believe he was extremely bright.  L. David Moorhead, general manager of KMET in Los Angeles, had total recall of everything he heard and I understand that his son Rob Moorhead can remember everything he reads.

May your day be pleasant and filled with music
and may your tomorrow and tomorrows be even better.

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