Monday, November 17, 2014

Claude's Commentary No. 38r2

Today at 7:44 AM
November 17, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 38
By Claude Hall

Lyn Stanley’s “Potions – From the 50s” CD is beautiful and superb and the acoustic quality will startle you.  It’s like listening to music for the very first time in your life!

I go back to early stereo.  Long before I joined Billboard and got involved in promoting/forcing stereo radio and later quad records and quad broadcasting, I bought one of the first stereo LPs.  Louis Armstrong on Audio Fidelity.  At Colony Records on Broadway in Manhattan.   I still have it.  In fact, I probably also have the second largest collection of quadrasonic in the world.  Still have my demodulator.  I used to invite people up to the house just to hear quad.  I had quad in my study and in my bedroom – both discrete and matrix – and stereo out over the swimming pool.

This is just to let you know that if you like quality audio, you’re going to love this CD by Lyn Stanley.  The difference is magnificent!  Even on this laptop.
You can hear everything!  The lilt of her voice, which you’ll love on “Lullaby of Birdland.”  Every nuance of her singing is there.  Superb phrasing.  Bright, sophisticated.  Wonderful to listen to!  I believe you’ll enjoy every song on this CD.  I liked “Cry Me a River,” “Hey There,” “I’m Walkin’,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “After the Lights Go Down Low.”  Difficult to find a tune that isn’t tremendous.  Call it jazz. Call it adult contemporary.  I’ve listed all of the songs as ballads, the same as Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Annie Lennox, and Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra.

Lord, but you’re great, lady!

Lyn Stanley: “Just in from my performance in L.A. this past weekend.  Thought you might like to read this:

“It’s Lani Bennett here... just to let you know how much i enjoy your Commentary!  I am now FB friends with three powerful radio/music guys from my past... Gil Bateman, Bob Hamilton, Mark Driscoll and, lucky me, Bobby Ocean has never left my life.  Or my heart!  Please let me know where i can order the book Aircheck?  Thank you for all that you do  for the world of Radio & Music ... certainly now and ‘then’.  Still no news regarding Buzz.  Did hear from a close former friend of his. That his disease of addiction took him all the way down. That was in 1997 this person saw Buzz ... said it was a super bad situation ... sad to hear.  But my early recovery days... all I heard over’n’over again in the AA rooms ... addiction ends 3 ways... jails... institutions and death.  Kinda beginning to think he has passed on from this world... but ... you never know?  Anyway best to you alway ... Cheers!”

Can’t help you about “Aircheck,” Lani, but perhaps someone reading this has information that I could pass along to you.  Thanks for the email.

Art Wander:  “Having read all your columns, and also the items in Hollywood Hills, I finally saw the name of one of the great air personalities in the glory years of Top 40 radio.  That’s Danny Neaverth, a person who I consider a friend and who I wanted to hire at both WMGM and then WOR-FM.  In Buffalo and the Eastern Seabord, Danny is a legend.  Danny always refers to one time during our time together at WKBW in Buffalo.  Before I left to join McLendon in the late 50s, WKBW had 15-minute newscasts.   Though Danny was a jock, he read his own news.  I wrote the news for him and then I noticed a mis-pronunciation of a word I wrote.  The next 15 newscasts I wrote for him, he was shocked that I typed every work phonetically.  The became thuh.  Person was typed pehrson.   Buffalo was Buhfahlow.  I was eye … and so on.  Instead of 3 or 4 pages of news, he had a stack in the form of a large book.  To this day, in recalling that event, Danny mentions it.  As for his contributions to the industry, no one was more fondly accepted by the Buffalo audience than Danny Neaverth.  Now, I’ll probably get a reply from Don Berns for not mentioning him.”

I, too, think of Dan Neaverth as a legend.  You think of Buffalo, you think of Dan Neaverth.  He was/is Buffalo.

Robert E. Richer:  “Took HOA’s advice and tuned into his program.  Wonderful!  Not the kind of radio available anywhere else on the planet.  Just warm, heartfelt and great fun!
Give it a listen.”

His ratings are pretty nice, too.  Good on you, HOA!

Bob Fead:  “Simple thanks, just makes the day so rewarding!”

I like Don Imus.  Since the day he did an Eldridge Cleaver “Look a Like” contest in Palmdale, CA.  One of the funniest things I ever wrote was the interview of Imus and Robert W. Morgan.  Imus is great.  I know for a fact that Jack G. Thayer, once head of NBC Radio, was proud of him.  So I was a little upset that Imus thought Thayer had done him dirt, so to speak.  And if it was true, I was upset about that, too.  At this stage in my tender young life, I hope all that is “under the bridge,” to use an old cliché.  At least, I hope so.  Burt Sherwood, as everyone who knows him knows, is a damned nice guy.  Salt of the earth.  All of those clichés.  I like Burt Sherwood.  If Jack hurt Don in any way, I hope that Don forgives him.  And that Burt forgives us all.  Basically, I don’t want any of my friends teed off at each other.  It’s late in the game, folks.

Burt Sherwood received Commentary a little late and replied:  “Thanks I got it and read it first on my cell phone then re-read it this morning.  I was glad that I got it late as the stomach was churning from the comments about Thayer.  In the scheme of things I have forgotten about Perry Bascom.  I met him when we were at a meeting in Bahamas... I was in Philly then.  He was a very nice man.  The comment about Jack wanting Imus to be fired and Sherman to bring him back is crazy... Jack found Imus when he was working in Sacramento, and heard Imus on the air at another station... Imus got fired there and Jack thought so much of him that he took him to Cleveland with him... and then to WNNNNNBC New York.  Over most of that period I was in weekly conversations on the phone with Jack.  I know Pittman was sent to bring him back... if Imus still thinks it was Sherman and Pittman ... that is OK ... I do not think he remembered much from all that at that time in his life... and I leave it there.  All I know is that Imus never showed at Jack's Memorial in New York as I was one of the eulogizers for Jack. I looked up and commented that there are some people missing here who have short memories ... the house that Jack built wherever he was ... was always trying to be the  best ... ask Frank Boyle about the Thayer days in NYC... he repped both NBC stations, Chicago and New York... I worked for a lot stations as first as anannoucer/dejay ... then as a manager... the 8 AM calls from Jack on the inside line were legendary.  My management days were never better or more supported than they were with Thayer ... we did well for him ... I asked him one day ... if we had not done so well would he have canned me!  The big blue eyes opened wide and he laughed and he said ‘certainly’.  When Jack was terminated I called him and said I wanted to quit... he said he’d pound me to the floor if I did.  He yelled at me and made me stay ... and I guess it got back to Silverman as I got a terrific raise to be on board ... my wife Anne liked that very much.  There was no one like Thayer ... and the memories I see written are in 3/4 time ... almost all the facts are almost there to get it to 4/4, but a lot is missing and not true ... and if it were not for Thayer most of your bloggers on this subject would have never gotten as far as they did... and I cleaned that up a lot... I am pissed!”

Jimmy rabbitt, a couple of years ago, offered me this great old cliché in regards of a ratings disagreement between him and a competitor, Frank Jolley, in Dallas:  “It’ll all come out in the wash.”  First time I heard that line was when I was a kid.  From my grandmother Pearl Gilmore Smith.  Mel, Don, Burt and you others: let’s cool it until the final wash.

David Carroll:  “Thanks again … what a nice pick-me-up each Monday!  And it’s great to see a mention of Ron Brandon.  We were lucky he passed through Chattanooga a few times.”

I listen to music a great deal.  The person who introduced me to Little Feat was Rob Moorhead, once music director of K100-FM in Los Angeles.  Great group.  Now and then, I have to hear “Jamaica Will Break Your Heart” on the “Rooster Rag” CD.  Great music is great music.

Just FYI, Frankie Avalon performed at the South Point here in Las Vegas on Nov. 14-16.  Tickets from $45.  And a show “Ricky Nelson Remembered” is at South Point Nov. 21-23 featuring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.  As I recall, a couple of Bobby Vee’s sons were performing in the band, including Tommy and Jeff Velline.

Larry Cohen sent me information that Jim Schwartz, president of Schwartz Brothers Dist., died last Wednesday at 91.  The news spread like wildfire in the music industry.  He was a great music man.  Everyone knew him.  A major contributor to the entire music industry not only in the states, but around the world.  Schwartz Brothers was one of the great independent record distributors.  A sign of the time(s).  We come, we do, we go.

I asked Danny Davis for some information regarding Rudy Maugeri, who I believe was once music director at KFI in Los Angeles and prior to that a member of the Crewcuts.  “Authorman: Right on both counts!  Youse' ain't lost it kid!  Lemme let ya' in on what's wit me!  Got an appointment wit' da' neuro-surgeon on the 24th!  Gonna' adjust the shunt in my head!  Ain't had it done since I went in for NPH years ago!  Writing that piece for you wuz 'sumpin' else!  When the shunt need 'tweaking', you're a LOT 'loopy'!  Trying to stay good till the 24th.  Give a shout out for a cancellation, from anybody, so's I can get it done sooner!  Best to ya', once again!”

Good luck on the medical stuff, Danny.  I’ll say a prayer for you.

Danny Davis:  “Claudius!  Leavin' this email same as it came to me!  I wuz trying to help another friend get Freddy Cannon to do a show at Sun City!  This shocker came this AM!  I know Freddy wouldn't wanna' spoil The Gramcrackers birthdate!  Freddy IS a GOOD GUY!”

From Freddy Cannon to Danny Davis:  “Danny, you’re a good friend, but I had open heart surgery on Sept. 26.  Also have COPD.  Trying to recover.  It’s been rough.”

Prayers are in order for Freddy Cannon.  We wish you a speedy recovery, Freddy.  You’re a valuable part of American musical history.  Come to think of it, so’s Danny Davis!

Scott “Scooter” Segraves:  “Claude, read Commentary with great enjoyment every week but usually don’t have anything to add.  Sadly, today I’ve just seen this on Facebook’s “Pop Jocks” page:  Joe Knight, a giant among Baltimore radio greats, has died.  Never got to hear his show, since he'd migrated to Baltimor e by the time I started at Tulsa University in fall '58. But listening at night to KRMG (BTW, a primary reason for my college choice), I frequently heard 'Young' John Chick or 'Doc' Hull refer to afternoons with ‘the Knights of the spinning turntable’."

Good to hear from you, Scooter!

Don Sundeen: “My only real memory of Peggy Lee was at the time of ‘Is That All There Is’, promotion man Sammy Alfano presented her with a $5,000 cake to celebrate the record's golden success.  She loved it, and he got away with it.  I imagine that knowing that she was the inspiration for Miss Piggy resonated with her need for love and attention in a very interesting way.  After reading this, I was glad I never had to work with her, because I had plenty of ‘Problem Children’ as it was,  speaking of which; I'm trying to get my head around a Jerry Lee Lewis piece, there’s only room for so much craziness.  If that sounds like something you might like let me know, ditto if you’d prefer these to stop.”

Sundeen sent an item on Peggy Lee by Michelle Dean reviewing a new book on Peggy Lee titled “Is That All There Is? The Strange Life of Peggy Lee.”  Barbara and I caught Peggy Lee’s act in Las Vegas about 30 or 40 years ago.  She was great.  She demanded the best, when it came to music.  I recall that she flew in a musician from Los Angeles, an almost legendary harmonica player who doubled on guitar.  Can’t recall his name at the moment.  But she wanted him in her band and he sat front and center.  One of the great pities in life is that Dave Dexter, a veteran writer and record producer, never did his intended book with her.  He knew her well.  He wrote several penetrating and fascinating books about music.  I have a couple of them in my study that he autographed and gave to me.  One is called “Playback.”  I treasure these.  I’ve often wondered what he might have said about her.  This new book by James Gavin published by Atrium probably paints a cruddy picture of her.  From the review.  I shall not read Gavin’s book.  I thought she was sensational and my memory will keep that view of her.  “Fever,” to me, is a classic.  God bless Peggy Lee!

Jonathan Little: “Dave ‘Duke’ Sholin recently turned me on to a new book that’s a poetic history of pop music number ones.  I think you’d love a new book called – ‘Number One Songs – The First Twenty Years’, a poem by Larry Irons.

Larry was a jock for years, stopping along the way in Vegas, Sacramento, and San Diego.  He creatively weaves song histories, snippets of artist bios and his reflections on life and radio into a totally cool book that is so much fun!   I just spoke with Larry and he’d like to send you a copy.  Just email him where to send it.”

Claude Hall, 2563 Paradise Village Way, Las Vegas, NV 89120

Ron Jacobs: “Aloha, Claude. The Longhorns kicked ass and we await the sunrise. Monday is Commentary Day, hooray!  Most of our written correspondence has been private, between the two of us.  Man, goin’ back decades, can you believe?  I do have something I wish to share with your readers, even if they possibly may not be old Jewish and Italian men, most of whom worked in radio and records on the East Coast when they and Top 40 were young. Hey, I kid you, in yellow highlight letters!  I have been into computers since 1972 and have decided as my final shot to merge into one lane on the info highway.  My blog of seven years in its current form, and my Facebook postings, have now been merged to unify things.  As we both realize, we never know what word will be our last to type.  We pay, we cum, we split.  Please include the following URL among all the boss favors you’ve done to encourage, yay, support, my bipolarized ego. I will awaken in the dark out here in Lava Land to see if you were able to include this.  Hello to anyone I know.  Where I’m at is:”

My apology to Ron Jacobs.  I got this too late for last week’s Commentary.  Just FYI, Ron presently lives in Hawaii, his native land.  He sent me some photos of the volcano the other day.  Fascinating!

I was a few hours late in sending out the last Commentary, thus this note:

Mel Phillips:  “Well worth the wait, Claude. It was brilliant. And how in the world did you get Imus to comment? I loved that. I know Jack Thayer did a lot of great things and you were a big fan. Everything I mentioned about him in connection with his feelings about Imus and the conversations he had with Perry Bascom are absolutely true.  And yes, I might be a bit biased about Jack because he fired me, brought in Warner and Pittman, who put his girl friend (at the time) Ellie Dylan on morning drive replacing Imus. Not his best move.  Finally, it's all ancient history.  Let's live in the present.  I try to do that about 99.9% of the time.  Best.”

Bob Barry, referring to a previous request for into:  “My error, Claude, in asking about Herb Oscar Anderson.  It was POA, Paul Oscar Anderson, that was hired at WOKY in 1970.  I think George Wilson brought him in. Do you know anything about him?  Great voice.”

No information at the moment, Bob.  I know the name, but ….

Latest promotional gem from Don Graham is a four-tune CD by smooth-voiced Matt Forbes featuring Christmas songs, including a sassy big band version of “White Christmas.”  From F3 Records.  Damon Tedesco did the recording.  You’ll also like “Mele Kalikimaka.”  I was thinking as I listened to this package that it’s nice when the old generation fades away a new and very excellent singer like Matt comes along.  He may not be a replacement for Frank Sinatra, but he certainly fills the vacuum left by those great singers of yore.

News from Don Sundeen:  “John Sebastian recently returned to Phoenix where he’s starting a voice-over business.  Who better to chat about that with than the great Charlie Van Dyke?”

Charlie Van Dyke and John Sebastian, November 2014, below.

Two of my sons are hip when it comes to music, John A. Hall, Esq., and Andy Hall, English college professor at UNLV, Las Vegas (Bobby Vee gave Andy a guitar lesson).  This review of “My Dream Duets” featuring Barry Manilow and others on Verve Records is by Andy Hall.

“The album will speak to ‘Fanilows’ and even casual listeners as it is well done and showcases Manilow's voice quite well.  Highlights are the Whitney Houston track – “I Believe in You and Me” -- which deserves a few Grammy nods as it blends Barry's and Whitney's pipes so well it seems natural and revelatory.  Potentially a bigger hit than Whitney's late-90s rendition.  The song was originally written for Levi Stubbs Jr. of the Four Tops.  Also trading verses and harmonizing with John Denver, Manilow's crisp, pop could-be-operatic voice provides a nice contrast with Denver's light twang.  Manilow shows on this album he can do anything he wants, and as Durante suggests, following the heart is what matters.  If Manilow wanted hipsters, he could work with Rick Rubin, if he wanted to do opera or country, he could do it.  Give this album a spin and you will see Marilyn Monroe swinging with Manilow in your dreams.”

Thank you, Andy.  I should point out that Manilow’s duets also include Mama Cass, Sammy Davis Jr., and others.

Scott St. James: “From my view, this was the birthday party of ALL birthday parties.  Two tremendous Hawaiian singers who were also big time musicians, great turnout, great food and a very happy Don Graham.  I could go on and on, but.....WOW!!!!!”

Among those at the birthday party and shown here with Don Graham is singer Lyn Stanley.

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