Monday, March 30, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 57r2

Today at 7:32 AM
March 30, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 57
By Claude Hall

Ken Dowe:  “I've been reading your columns for 50 years, and nothing before rivals this straight from the heart confession of the soul.  I was moved by the candor and deep appreciation you have for a lone cowboy singer who somehow was hiding in plain sight.  From me, anyway.  Dottie was none too pleased that I was still playing Tom's songs at 2 a.m. into my Blue Tooth JBL.  The house on Beverly was rocking like a Texas honky tonk.  My mother's dad was a Texas cattleman.  He left Texas.  I returned.  Tom Russell's songs refreshed my history, and returned fading memories.  Next, I will spend a couple hours selecting ‘Tom Songs’ to add to my eclectic and rather quirky iPhone collection.  Thanks, Claude.  You gave this friend a wonderful gift without knowing.  I think I'll turn the AC down to about 60, brew some black coffee, throw a few logs on the fire, get out my Commemorative Winchester ‘Buffalo Bill’ 30-30 for an oil down and good cleaning ... then I will while away the afternoon here at the homemade camp fire ... listening to a range riding wordsmith.  Starting with...
‘Tonight We Ride’
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU (look out for rattlesnakes)!”

I forward Ken Dowe’s emails to Tom Russell and mentioned that Ken was a Dallas legend on the air.

Tom Russell:  Very cool!  Claude, I'm blown away and sent to my publicist in NYC (where I am now).  Thanks so much for taking the time!  Glad you like the record and thanks for spreading the word … how many folks does your blog go out to?  Mostly radio folks?  It's a great blog and I always look forward to it!  Thanks again!”

Currently, I’m mailing to about 400 in radio and around 100 music industry veterans.  A few of the people on my radio list are media people, i.e., writers and reporters who write about music and/or radio.  Some have written major books.  Some of the music people on my list formerly worked in radio; the greatest of these might be Joe Smith, a legendary disc jockey in Boston who became a multimillionaire in the music industry with Warner Bros. and later as head of Elektra Records.  I like to believe, however, that all people who read Commentary each week are quite extraordinary and/or outstanding in their craft and, indeed, some are brilliant.  I know quite a few readers personally – some have been welcome at the Hall House -- and I suppose I admire just about everyone on the list. I’ve eliminated from my list those I do not admire.  Lee Baby Simms, who loved George Wilson, accused me of also loving the gentle radio giant and I confess that this was true.  But Jack G. Thayer, George Wilson, David Moorhead and others were – and many such as Joey Reynolds and Bobby and Karen Vee still are -- literally members of this family.  Some people have even brought their children by; I consider this an honor.  I was especially honored when Sharon Sharpe brought her son and daughter by so that I could tell them about their grandfather, the legendary Bill Stewart.  Would I like a greater number of readers?  I’ve had readers around the world in years past.  So, it’s narrowed down to these … all good men and women and true … left after a hacker attack who had the audacity and villainy to taunt me.   None the less, I’m presently comfortable.  I feel like I’m conversing with friends.

Ken Dowe later: “I have downloaded my first dozen songs.  Have to stop listening to these over and over before I can get back to iTunes for more.  Best from out of the west ... since a well-groomed fella with a fresh haircut ... wearing a modest suit with tie showed up in the KLIF, Dallas control room one day in the '60s: ‘Hello, Mr. Dowe.  My name is Willie Nelson’ ... must go.  “Claude Dallas’ plays next.”

Mike Regenstreif to Tom Russell:  “My review of ’The Rose of Roscrae: A Ballad of the West’ by Tom Russell has been posted on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog:”

Sandy Bainum:  “Thank you, Claude ... and Andy!  Thank you for including a mention of me and my music in this week's most recent Commentary.  Don Graham forwarded it on to me and I am most grateful to you and your son Andy, for his review of ‘Simply'.   A girl needs all the help she can get in this industry, and such kind support is most appreciated!
Wishing you the very best.”

Probably everyone who reads this blog wishes you the very best, Sandy.  All of us love good music!  My sons Andy and John included.  One act recently paid Andy to introduce them in an appearance on the Strip.  We, of course, have our differences when it comes to music.  I have trouble trying to convince Andy and John that I was “there,” so to speak.

‪Bob Sherwood: “I was just in a conversation with a former on-air associate who’s now a successful song and screen-play music writer and we got into ‘originals v. covers’ conversation relating to a new version of The Left Banke’s ‘Walk Away Renee’.  I thought you might like to see my knee-jerk, hardly complete list of songs never to be ‘covered’.  Although I will acknowledge that Levi Stubbs did his usual superb work when The Four Tops ‘covered’ ‘Walk Away Renee’.  Thank you (directed to my associate) for forwarding the LaFave version.  As you’re a writer and creator of songs I can understand why you’d like it.  The original has been a ‘fave’ of mine -- sorry, couldn’t resist -- since I was flogging it on-air lo these many decades ago.  I remain a hard-core ‘traditionalist’ and are very resistant to anybody but:
--Frank Sinatra doing ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’
--Teddy Pendergrass doing ‘The Love I Lost’
--Ronstadt doing ‘Long, Long Time’
--Roy Orbison doing ‘Cryin’
--David Ruffin doing ‘Walk Away From Love’
--Elton doing ‘Your Song’
--Jackie Wilson doing ‘Doggin’ Around’
--Vic Damone doing ‘The Pleasure of Her Company’
--Jim Morrison doing ‘Light My Fire’
--Michael Whatshisname doing ‘I Could Never Leave You’
--Mark Knopfler doing ‘Sultan’s of Swing’
--Gladys Knight doing ‘Neither One of Us’
--The Eagles doing “Hotel California”
--James Taylor doing ‘Your Smiling Face’
--Fleetwood Mac doing ‘Go Your Own Way’
--Carly Simon doing ‘You’re So Vain’
--Jesse Belvin doing ‘Goodnight My Love’
--Mr. Mick doing ‘Sympathy for the Devil’
--P,P & M doing ‘Don’t Think Twice’
--Dylan doing….
I think you’ve made your point, Bob.  It’s time for a lie-down.  Say Goodnight.  Goodnight, Gracie.”

Doc Wendell:  “Since jazz has taken a beating in Hollywood with the negative and untruthful portrayal of jazz education in the film ‘Whiplash’, I thought I'd stick it to the ‘man’ by dedicating more time to jazz reviews that only fellow nerdy musicians like myself will read.  Here's my latest, which is a review of guitarist Dave Stryker's upcoming tribute to the late great Stanley Turrentine.  I hope it gets the attention of some of the great fellow contributors on your terrific blog.”

Jon Scott:  “A couple of things- I'm not sure if you remember or have a copy of the book called Trendsetters-1979 by Johnny Cougar -- of course who is now John Mellencamp.  I was fortunate enough to also be included in the book as well, basically for my promo work at MCA Records and ABC Records.  In case you don't have a copy, I thought I would send you this picture of you from the book.  You were definitely a Trendsetter.  The books are hard to find and fortunately I saved a copy of mine.

“Secondly, I'm not sure if you have heard but we are holding our 3rd Music Industry Reunion on April 29th at The Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas. At the urging of my New York friends, we held one there last year, too, and like Los Angeles, it was a who's who of music industry vets.  Our first Reunion here In LA drew about 75 people, the second one doubled to 150, and now just a more than a month out we already have over 175 RSVP's.  Here's a short list of those who attended, including Russ Regan, Rick Frio, Pat Pipolo, Jerry Sharrell and many more.  At the New York Reunion people like Ron Alexenburg, Johnny Barbis, and many more music business legends attended. It was really unbelievable.  Would be great if you can make it.  I also help you will please help us spread the word. We are mostly using Facebook to help promote (Music Industry Los Angeles) but we know that a lot of people don't use Facebook and those are the one's we are trying to get the word out to.  Most of us have just opened our phonebook list and reached out to those who don't use social media.  Attached is the press release we sent out, and the picture of you from Trendsetters.  Stay well -- I enjoy your emails.”

Great on you, Jon, regarding the conferences.  Wish I could come over, but ….  As for that booklet about John Cougar Mellencamp, you bet I have my copy.  That photographer was a nice guy to trim off 20-30 pounds.  I eventually trimmed off the extra weight myself.  Hanging around 210 lbs. now.  In my mind, I fancy that I look like a Mexican bandido.  Chuck Blore’s drawing in the 70s still holds true.

Dick Summer:  “Remember Tom Rush?  Not too many people do.  60s Folk Scene mostly in Boston.  Saw him in concert just now.  Tuneful, funny, warm ... what a performer.  Never understood why he didn't do like Dylan.”

One of the upbeat, but truly sad songs by Tom Russell is “The Extra Mile” about catching Mitch Ryder in Montana playing to a small audience.  I once caught an act I won’t name performing to a tiny group in Enid, OK … playing guitar and singing to a drum machine.  He told me that he’d sent his band “on ahead.”

Don Sundeen,  “Eye Lipson sent this on, most of us who were on the air at one time broke up over a funny story, but this is the benchmark. If you haven’t looked at our new blog/website, please check it out, there’s all kinds of stuff, some funny, some pure nostalgia, some weird like this.”

Don Sundeen is a fine writer.  I’m rooting for him.  Don and Eye Lipson are, indeed, one heck of a team.  I understand Eye was famous at one time.

Bob Barry:  “Milwaukee has lost another popular radio personality.  Joe Dorsey died at age 90.  He was talented, extremely funny and a friend on and off the air.  Joe spent his final days in hospice, without pain and died peacefully.  I saw him last month and he was in high spirits and still joking to the end.  He told me, when walking his dog down the hall in the assisted-living facility, one of the elderly ladies said; ‘isn't he cute?’  Joe said, “Yes, and what do you think about my dog’?"

Thank you for the note, Bob.  We come, we do, we go.

Don Graham reports that funeral service for Dick Forester was at 11 a.m. March 31 in Monte’s Chapel of the Hills, San Anselmo, CA.  He was interred in Olema Cemetary.

This note was from Jim Davis to Joey Reynolds.  Yep, I’m a notorious wordthief when it comes to something cute.  “Joey, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book ‘Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella’.  It reminded me of many times hearing you say that on my 6 transistor GE radio.  So many of my friends are writing books these days, and I try to read as many as I can since we truly did work and live in an exciting era and soon the memories will fade.  But, having grown up in the same hometown as you, and listening to your work for almost 50 years now, has given me great appreciation for the gifts that you were given.  I loved the stories and could relate to so many of them.  As you know, my mother started with WKBW back in 1934 singing with the Vocalettes.  Bob Schmidt (Smith) was their composer/arranger.  I always hoped that some day, I would work for WKBW, but such was not to be.  However, it’s been a great ride over a long period of time and I am grateful to still be enjoying my work and to have friends like yourself who have been such an inspiration over these many years.  The second part of the book was truly philosophical and gave me a great perspective from a high level of what has transpired in our business and how important the ‘farm club’ is to our industry.  For many of us, that is how we all came up through the ranks.  Patty and I watch your ‘Reynolds Rap’ daily on Facebook.  She and I both have chuckled at your stories.  I only had the pleasure of working with you once while at KMPC, but I will always remember you and Tom Shovan and what you were able to do with that stodgy old radio station.  Truly cutting edge stuff in 1979.  Take care my friend.  Hope to see you someday soon while you are still in Florida.  And, as somebody famous once said, ‘Thanks for the Memories’.”

Mel Phillips:  “This is a follow-up to a question about WOR-FM. With a little help from my friends at Wikipedia, WOR-FM started out simulcasting WOR-AM in 1948.  Ron Ruth, our GM, and I (the PD at the time) filed for a call letter change to WROQ. Someone on our staff (one of the sales staff, we suspected) leaked the new call letters.  Before we were granted the change, Stan Kaplan told Sis about it and they got their filing in before us. Charlotte, NC, got the call letters we wanted.  Ron and I went down an available list of call letters and we chose WXLO.  We wanted something with a 'Q' but nothing else was available that we liked, so we decided to choose WXLO and play up the 'X' (our first contest was ‘Location X’) and the 'L' as in 'Extra Large' and the like.  The call letters were changed from WOR-FM to WXLO-FM on October 23, 1972. Those calls lasted until 1981 when they were changed to WRKS (KISS) and then in 2012 to WEPN-FM (ESPN Sports) which it is now.  In honor of the late and very great Paul Harvey: ‘And now you know the rest of the story’."

Jim LaBarbara: “Jack Woods & I worked together in Cleveland at WKYC -- I learned a lot about life & radio from him.  My deepest sympathy to Marilyn & his family.  At the time we were close friends.  I wish I would have kept in touch in recent years.  I know we would have hugged & picked up the conversation like it was yesterday.  Having said that there are two WKYC people I'd like to find.  Does anyone know how to contact our 60s WKYC GM Bob Martin (he came from the Storz Miami group)?  Bob gave me the big break & hired me at WKYC in early 66.  Jim Gallant was doing all night at the time & three years later when he was PD at WLW hired me & gave me the label ‘Music Professor’.  Hopefully someone will have his contact information.  Add my name to the many who have thanked you for your weekly email.”

Don Elliot:  “Claude, I had a feeling you would like to hear this … a friend of mine, the insane girl Wayne, formerly of K rock and editor of LA, put this three-hour interview together -- with music -- on Denny Tedesco, tommy's son after attending a showing of ‘the wrecking crew’ here in LA with me last week.  See you in Vegas.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a link.  But thanks, Don.

‪Jim Gabbert: “Claude, keep it up!  As I look at my Trendsetter Award from Billboard for having pioneered Quad what happened was I was appointed Chair of the National Quadraphonic Committee and we did elaborate tests, etc., and found that the only really quad was the Dorren discrete quad.  The systems used by all of the stations that went quad was a synthesized one that really did not do quad justice.  We submitted the Committee's recommendations to the FCC. To broadcast the Doreen system we needed a rule change and they never acted on it.  As co-chair of the AM Stereo Committee the FCC did the same thing. The C-Quam (Motorola) AM stereo system was a really good sounding system.  During our tests we simulcast our FM (K-101) with our AM and compared the 2 in separation and fidelity the comparison was amazing!  Again, the FCC dropped the ball by not setting standards.  Contrary to popular belief, AM can broadcast better fidelity but the car radio manufacturers (Mainly Delco) started making narrow band AM receivers which made AM really sound bad.  Ford tried a wide band AM receiver but it was too late.”

Robert E. Richer:  “Thanks for Frank’s kind comments, Claude.  And speaking of call signs, one of the O’Neils, who used to own WOR in NYC, told me that WOR stood for ‘World’s Oldest Radio’.”


Michael Ambrose:  “Hi, Woody and Claude, it's pleasantly odd that Chad Oliver should float back to consciousness all of a sudden.  For some reason, I just reread his ‘Shadows in the Sun’ for like the fourth time.  (That's his Crystal City novel.)  It was his first adult SF novel and came out about 1956, I think.  Then a few days later I found and reread my copy of ‘Broken Eagle’, his middle western.  I'm torn between whether he was the better SF or Western writer.  I'll stack up ‘Cannibal Owl’ against ‘Shores of Another Sea’ any day.  In everything he wrote, it seems First Contact is the theme, and nobody did it better.  He was a universalist.  I was a student of Chad Oliver for two anthro courses at UT in the late '70s, but I never really knew him, alas.  I saw him at ArmadilloCon 3 in 1982(?) and for the last time when he introduced Dr. Jane Goodall at Bass Concert Hall right before he died.”

Woody Roberts, a closet science fiction fan (as am I), had asked if I liked the work of Chad Oliver, a professor at The University of Texas, and I had written him back and copied Mike Ambrose.  Mike’s response is above.

My response to Woody:  “Odd, but I had trouble remembering his name these past few months.  Too many other names have passed my way, I suppose.  But I read Chad prior to entering The University of Texas.  Got to meet him at some meeting on campus after he was teaching there.  Him and his wife.  Nice guy.  Good writer.  He was at the time working on a book about his home town of Crystal City, as I recall.  Somewhere along there, I more or less stopped reading science fiction.  I think it was after I discovered Bob Silverberg was writing all of each issue of Amazing Stories.  That bothered the hell out of me!  I never respected Silverberg.  Jealousy, I suppose.  At this time, about this time, I met Raul Cardenas in Papa Gallo on Sixth Street and wrote ‘Sixth Street’ and sold it to Manhunt.  Raul took me to a party by some woman, about 40 years old, who was hanging on the campus.  She was into avant garde magazines and had walls of them in bookshelves.  Loaned me a book of plays by the guy who wrote ‘The Bald Soprano’.  From there on, I was mostly into D.H. Lawrence, William Saroyan, Eric Maria Remarque, J. Frank Dobie and Montague Summers and Sabine Baring-Gould (these latter two for research; I especially recommend Baring-Gould for everything but his fiction; he was lousy at fiction).  I liked Chad, though.  Good writer.  Nice guy.”

And, speaking of books, I had an email from Walt Pinto regarding my novel “I Love Radio” that featured life comments from about 50 good radio people.

Walt Pinto:  “Bought the book two days ago ... about 40% so far.  Absolutely great.  One of these days I'll share a couple of radio/record stories.  I seem to remember that you don't like phones, but prefer email.  If you can spare about two minutes for a quick call, I have something you might be interested in.  I'd be happy to call you.  It's about a video about rock radio you might want to see.”

I’m sorry, but I just don’t do much phone.  Had to talk to doctor the other day, but … I apologized via email to Walt.

Walt Pinto:  “No apology necessary … I do that also … often.  I'm going to have some sort of a procedure tomorrow.  Had something unusual happen to one eye, and I'm going to see a specialist.  Apparently I'll be out for a few hours.  Nothing urgent to tell you, but it relates to something you might want on the subject of Rock Radio.  BTW: Finished ‘I Love Radio’.  So many things in it that are incredible.  I was working at WDRC when Joey got fired for the mayor comment.  He had called the mayor a ‘broad’ and was told not to do it again.  So the next day, in his opening monolog over the theme, he mentioned the incident of the previous day and said, ‘No broad in office has a sense of humor’.  That's what got him fired.”

Keep the Faith, Baby!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 56r2

Today at 6:46 AM
March 23, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 56
By Claude Hall

You will be pleased to learn that some of your favorite acts are still around and still sassy in Las Vegas.  The Temptations will be at the Orleans March 21-22 and followed by the Osmonds April 10-12.  And BJ Thomas will perform March 28-29 at the Suncoast.  Now this one, I don’t believe:  The Four Freshmen will be at the Suncoast April 4-5.  These aren’t the only acts in town, of course.  You can even catch the CSNSongs, a group “celebrating” Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  The town, of course, is full of entertainment, new and unknown (at least to me), slightly known and the really famous.  There is no way you could catch all of the shows.  Even if you wanted to and had the tickets.  I don’t know if Las Vegas is still the Entertainment Capitol of the World, but would surmise this is so.

Two of my sons know music much better these days – yonder and when and now – than I do … my youngest son Andy, a poet and college professor, and John Alexander Hall, a lawyer in Los Angeles.  But I’ve caught live music in shacks on stilts outside of Corpus Christi, old jazz, including Sweet Emma the Bell Girl, and new jazz in New Orleans and New York City at the old Jazz Gallery and been on stage with Willie Nelson in Nashville (he didn’t know I was there) and Mountain (who did).  And I’ve gone backstage and received an autographed program by Segovia (a few times).  And been backstage with Linda Ronstadt and told her I’d been a fan since “Up to My Neck in High Muddy Water” and she said, “Bless you, child.”  Had a rather pleasant and engrossing music life.  As, I suspect, most of us all have enjoyed.

I especially enjoy Tom Russell.  For me, he’s the best thing going in music today.  He will knock you off your feet and bring the tears.  Make your heart pound and your head think.  I’m sitting here bawling as I listen to “Hair Trigger Heart.”  I have to hear the song again.  Surely, it’s not that great.  But it is.  I can not stop crying.  “Pistol-packing mama lay that pistol down … I’m still around … Lord, I’ve got one more round … and I shall hit the mark.”  God, how those simple lyrics hit you when Tom Russell sings them and he’s a better writer than a singer.  The music and the lyrics get you in the heart.  Guarantee it!

Tom Russell, I believe implicitly, fancies himself a cowboy poet.  He has been at those distant meetings around the campfires of the Real West.  However, he appears to have more guts than most singers and songwriters and producers.  He steps aside to sing “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well” with Eliza Gilkyson, currently one of my favorite women singers.  And Maura O’Connell sings “I Talk to God” without his help.  Gospel on a pop CD?  Gretchen Peters is here, too, on “When the Wolves No Longer Sing.”

But Tom Russell is there and hard with “Doin’ Hard Time in Texas” and “He Wasn’t a Bad Kid, When He Was Sober,” a honky tonk tune.  Love the piano!  Real barroom.  “Midnight Wine” is fascinating.  Ah, Tom … God bless you for keeping this old buzzard alive, meaning me, with music to enjoy life by!

One of my favorites on this promotional CD is “Tularosa” … Mexican-flavored.  A line:  “The long way around must be the shortest way home.”

Promotional CD?  Yes.  Because Tom Russell has recorded a western opera.  Produced by Tom and Barry Walsh.  My compliments, gentlemen.

The body of work of Tom Russell is phenomenal.  I consider such songs as “Touch of Evil,” “When Sinatra Played Juarez,” “A Little Wind (Could Blow Me Away),” “The Eyes of Roberto Duran,” “Jai Alai” with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, “Muhammad Ali,” “Haley’s Comet,” “The Pugilist at 59,” and several others that he has written as cultural masterpieces.  Entertaining, yes.  Pithy.  Memorable.  Listen to “The Blue Men” and you’ll feel uncomfortable and squirm in your chair.  Several of his songs are like that.  On the other hand, “All the Fine Young Ladies” brings a bit of warmth to the old heart.

So, it’s no surprise to me that Tom Russell comes forth with a western opera “The Rose of Roscrae.”  It’s not western, per se, but it is historic without question and definitely in the folk realm.  And, yes, the “Hair Trigger Heart” is here as well as the other tunes in the promotional CD.

The full package includes two CDs and a book “Program Guide With Libretto.”  It’s an amazing project.  Fifty-one songs, some with friends such as Joe Ely, Augie Meyers, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and others.  Fascinating, entertaining, history of the west.  For example, Tom narrates to music about Charlie Goodnight, a rancher of the days of the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail, and the Comanches who wanted one more buffalo.  (The first real story that I wrote for the El Paso Herald-Post after I became a reporter was about the Goodnight-Loving Cattle Trail.)  The voice of Walt Whitman is also captured on this CD.  In context.  I got a laugh out of the bit of Tex Ritter’s “Blood on the Saddle.”  I probably still have a copy of the real thing somewhere around this house.  I loved Tex Ritter.  Had coffee with him one afternoon the Palisades Amusement Park.  And I recall a night when he spun some old tales to me and some radio men in the old Andrew Jackson in Nashville.

A classic collection of life as it used to be … a collector’s item.  A treasure to have on your shelf.  A treasure to listen to on a long, lonely evening.

My compliments Tom Russell.

A cutie:  Tom emailed and asked for my permission to send the same package to Don Imus.  I explained to him that he didn’t need my permission.  Tom had previously wanted to send some of his CDs to Imus and Imus was kind enough to say yes and give Tom his home address.  Don’s son is a rodeo performer and Tom thought he might enjoy some of his western tunes.

As some of you may know, of my three sons, both John and Andy, the baby, grew up around music in Los Angeles.  I used to have a print of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” on my wall.  It’s a tremendous guide/inspiration when you’re writing.  When he could barely stand up, Andy scrawled “94.7” on the bottom.  I had an 8-track in the MGB.  Andy loved “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies.  I think we wore that tape out!  I had records around.  The quad system was always going in the house … even over the swimming pool out back.  And Bobby Vee and his sons, also musically inclined and now all professionals, lived just up the street.  Then, there were the live performances and the concerts.  Today, Andy even has an underground hit in Las Vegas.  “Sea of Vomit.”  And, yes, Barbara and I attended a concert in Summerlin and, voila, the entire audience sang along.  He has been written about in the Los Angeles Times.  Andy, a poet, is now teaching English at UNLV.  So, I persuaded him to write the review of Sandy Bainum’s CD.

Sandy Bainum shows she has the stuff Broadway is made of in her latest collection, “Simply.”  Working with Producer Bruce Kimmel and Arranger, Orchestrator, and Musical Director Lanny Meyers, her voice soars through the uptempo cabaret tunes, and softly yet strongly delivers the ballads such as on "Goodnight, My Someone" from “The Music Man” which crests at the end as she vibrates through the high registers showing her vocal prowess.  Yet, she never indulges in her voice, but uses it for the delivery of the song ... as an actress, she serves the art of the songs and tells the stories.  On the title track, composed by Kimmel, Sandy beckons listeners to let love be enough. "Bluesette," among others, features Sandy's jazzy bravado as she bounces in between low and high notes.  If anything, she gives us beauty and joy, but behind the simplicity, she and the band are doing a lot of fine hard work.   Also to be applauded are the song selections which survey Broadway classics, but digs up more obscure material not often recorded by chanteuses.  "A Cockeyed Optimist" from “South Pacific,” "Pure Imagination" from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”  Sandy Bainum shows she has the vocal chops as well as the acting chops to light up the stage for years to come.

Thank you, Andy, and my very best to you, Sandy.  I understand from the promotional guru Don Graham that you’re already receiving some excellent airplay.  Good on you!

Woody Roberts:  “Claude, I’m sending this from my backup account and found several never seen issues of the Commentaries that I will now enjoy.  The film portion of South by Southwest 2015 had three musician bio documentaries that will interest many of your readers.  Joe Nick Patoski previewed his ‘Sir Doug & the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove’.
It was the local favorite, but in a city where there is a Doug Sahm Hill could be a bias.  I met Doug at 2 a.m. in December of 1960 when he rapped on my control room window.  I had just arrived from a PD job in Fort Lauderdale, the station's national PD was Jim Ramsberg.  I wanted to learn the McLendon Top 40 format first hand so was willing to move cross country, take a pay cut and work all night to absorb it.  Doug Sahm had brought me his newest 45 and invited me to see his band at the Purple Onion cellar club.  It was a blues band complete with horns and when I walked in they were playing ‘Stormy Monday’.  It was the start of a 40-year friendship.  ‘Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck’ is definitely a film to watch for; it's an eight-year labor of love with highly innovative editing and was directed by Brett Morgen.  Plus -- be on the lookout for a great
documentary by the critically applauded late filmmaker Les Blank spotlighting Leon Russell.  It is called ‘A Poem Is a Naked Person’. This was filmed in the early 1970s when Leon had Shelter Records with studio in Tulsa but was in Austin to record Freddie King live at Armadillo World Headquarters and discover Willis Alan Ramsey who composed ‘Muskrat Love’.  Yes, Leon was here before Willie Nelson.”

Don Graham:  “At Johnny Holliday’s request, we forward to you the following sad news that Sal Licata passed away Thursday, 3/19, in Florida.  We know that many of your Commentary readers, in our business, have known and respected Sal through the years … regretfully.”

Johnny Holliday had written:  “Sal passed away peacefully yesterday at 2 p.m. at Good Samarian Hospital in Palm Beach, FL.  He had suffered a fall a few days after Christmas and was never able to recover.  His wife Carol Lee's address is 25 Grand Palm Way, Palm Beach, Gardens, FL 33418.  There may be plans for a memorial service at a later date and I will keep you informed.  If you could let his many friends in the business know, I  know the family would really appreciate it.  We went all the way back to 7th grade together.  I will miss Sal terribly.”

A followup from Jerry Sharell:  “Just heard about the death of Sal Licata and sat down and cried.  Sal and I were promo guys ‘on the streets’ of Cleveland/Akron/Youngstown and vicinity in the mid-60s and I had a huge respect for him for being such a ‘good guy’, a talented professional and a solid friend.  Like a lot of us of that era, Sal proved to be a promoter who believed in the music and the artists he represented … and he helped break a lotta records!  He will be missed … BIG-TIME.  I hope he will save me a good seat up there and say ‘HI’ to Frank, Dean, Sammy and Elvis!”

Bob Fead:  “Special man … friendship always came first!  I shall miss his friendship.”

Carol Lee, our best to you.  We come, we do, we go.

Frank ‘O Boyle:  “Happy St Paddy's Day! Quick seque from Robert Richer's  and Marlin Taylor’s equally great recap of classic story about WNCN - WRFM and the Quad experiment.  But who can forget that the National TV and NYC Radio Voice of GAF was Henry Fonda?  Who called it the ‘Chee -- Aye -- EF Corporation.  No PD taught Mr. Fonda how to pronounce the G properly.  Marlin and Robert never got the rich credit they deserved for successfully smashing rating records with ‘The Good Music’ tsunami.  Remember how many call letters got changed to fit in ‘EZ’ ... sorta the second coming of the phonic McLendon call letters.  Speaking of call letter changes -- I come from Detroit Radio originally.  Nobody did the change with more guts and within a Top Ten Market than John Richer did with the old WJBK. Which went thru new owners and formats like crazy in a 10-year period.  Then John got there -- changed the calls to WDEE -- which he cunningly said stood for ‘We've Done Everything Else’ and went Country.  Do you recall how long Ron Ruth and WOR-FM calls lasted?  For small mkts I give the Oscar to Ed Perry, Marshfield, Mass (The Irish Riviera) south of Boston for his WNTD – ‘We're Near The Dump’.  OK, it's St. Pat's day and that's what green beer will do to you.  Hope your foot gets better.”

Jack Gale:  “Hey, Claude … I was thinking the other day.  What do old disk jockeys do when they reach 90 years old?  Rather than just fade away … they go back into radio.  So I did.  I gathered up a collection of crazy skits and bits that I did years ago in Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, Charleston and Charlotte, and started a show on the internet.  I do one show a week for an hour, it runs 24/7, and then the following week another show appears.  It's radio as we knew it.  So far two stations have picked it up and are running it with more coming on board.  The website is JACKGALERADIO.COM.  Click on the site, and everything is there.  Thought you might enjoy the memories.”

Proud of you, Jack!

Scott Paton:  “Please let Danny Davis know how much I anticipate his promised book on Phil Spector.  Despite the several bios that have preceded it, Danny's ‘in the cockpit’ perspective will be fascinating.  I can still recall the epiphany I had 40-some years ago that Danny was not the Chet Atkins cohort of the eponymous Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass.  Record promotion and trumpet playing definitely seemed like an odd dual career.  I'm guessing that ‘titled back side to a tune...’ Danny referenced in last week's column was perhaps the Rolling Stones' ‘The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man’, the flip to ‘Satisfaction?’  It kind of pokes fun at the business, but I'd heard that it was inspired, in part, by Danny.  And just as Philles Records got its name as an amalgam of Spector and the great Lester Sill's first names, Phil's other label -- Phi-Dan -- of course, was Phil and Danny.  Danny, if you need a co-writer....  And, Claude, since there's been no mention of it for a couple of weeks, I trust that you've abandoned that silly notion of ‘retirement’ from this column!”

Ken Dowe sends a message that has been circulating.  “Jack Woods, 80, passed away last night in San Diego.  He had been recovering from a stroke several weeks ago and died in the hospital Wednesday at 8p, according to his son in a conversation with me this morning.  Jack was Charlie Brown of the famed Charlie & Harrigan Top 40 radio duo, originally at KLIF, Dallas teamed with Ron Chapman, later with Paul Menard for years in San Diego at KCBQ, KFMB and other stations.”

Don Sundeen:  “Hi, Claude, my new blog/site, TheDonRocks, is up and open for browsing Monday, March 23rd.  Appreciate if you’d share this with your Commentary readers:  Now available, the Premier issue of TheDonRocks, the new History of Rock and Roll blog, with memories of Rock Radio, Hit Records and the Artists themselves. Don Sundeen talks about Elvis Presley's influence on his life and the rise of Rock and Roll music in general.  Captain Vinyl spotlights Little Richard and the white singer who got rich covering him, Pat Boone. Bob Shannon asks 20 Questions of the legendary radio deejay and programmer John Sebastian with insightful answers.  John Hale remembers The Big Bopper, and Jacqui Kramer’s Rock and Roll Heaven kicks off with the late Janis Joplin’s crazy life and death.”
Just go to:

Larry Irons, Number One Songs:  “Was there no Commentary sent out today? I didn’t get it today.  I’ve become addicted to reading them!”

My apology to everyone.  I get hungup in this “spam nonsense” now and then.  I’m trying to do this thing as cheap as possible.  You priced eggs benedict lately?  I cannot imagine what it’s like to have breakfast in the Polo Lounge anymore.  Oh, well.  I’m doing the best I can, eggs benedict or not … even at the Silver Sevens in Las Vegas.  Thus, if you don’t receive Commentary on a Monday, usually early in the day, please let me know.

Ron Brandon:  “Hi, Claude ... enjoy your weekly ramblings ... don't know if you might have seen the pic (attachment) from one of our old collections.  There may be one or two more on my FB timeline … over 1,000 pics there, mostly of those good old days.”

Just FYI, “Claude’s associate” is Sandy Donner, who worked for Howard Hughes for many years, and, after he retired, became an actor.  We hungout for a while.  Barbara is still good friends with his widow, Verla.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 55r2

Today at 8:02 AM
March 16, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 55
By Claude Hall

I picked it up from the bookcase in the living room and made the mistake of opening it.  A copy of “Disc Jockey Cookbook.”  It’s birth was a joke from Lee Baby Simms, his recipe for Red Beans and Rice.  He later said he made it up.  But I cooked it and it was sensational.  So I made up another batch and froze part of it and Barbara and I enjoyed it again … and even later.  I had been cooking a soup I called Lazy Man’s Chowder for years and I wondered if anyone else cooked something special.  So, I asked in Commentary – and sent out a few emails -- and received 32 recipes from different radio people.  Rollye James claimed she didn’t cook, but wrote a very funny piece about not doing so.  The rest of the recipes were serious, including from Chuck Buell, Gary Allyn, Art Holt, and Bruce Miller Earle.

So Jack Roberts and I developed a book and we used it as a fund-raiser for Jack’s Hollywood Hills blog.  And, of course, eggs benedict for me and Barbara at Silver Sevens.  Bobby Ocean contributed his phenomenal cartoons for the cover and inside.  Don Graham later printed off a copy and that’s what I’m looking through now, but it was basically an eBook.  The pictures were in color and great in color, including Bobby’s cartoons.  The man is sensational!

Looking at this printed version, I’m pleased with the book.  It was a fun project.  Later, I gave Jack Roberts all of the proceeds from one eBook for a month.  Today, it’s for sale via Books.  I suppose that one day I’ll install my cookbook with Kindle Books.  I’m pleased with the cookbook.  It’s worth three or four bucks just for the Lee Baby Simms stuff.  We lost a good man when we lost Lee.  I realize that we all have to go eventually, but I sure miss Lee, L. David Moorhead, Gary Owens, Jack Roberts, Larry Shannon, Jay Blackburn, and George Wilson.  These men – and several others – played important roles in my life.

Rollye James Cornell:  “Reading your latest email missive, when I saw, ‘I feel that I have achieved virtually nothing.  Vox Jox will never win anyone a Pulitzer’, it stopped me cold.  (And not over the literary merit of Vox Jox.)  In that sentence alone, you evoked a wide enough range of raw emotion in me to win that prized Pulitzer, though I admit I wouldn’t recognize literature if it were bound in leather and embossed in gold in front of me.  But what I do know is the human condition -- how seldom it is that we have a chance to really make a difference someone’s life, and how rare it is when we recognize our role and act on it.  Claude, you did that every week.  The feeling of exhilaration felt by an otherwise obscure personality upon reading their name in your Vox Jox became a memory forever emblazoned in the consciousness of far more names than you’ll ever remember dropping.  The column you built was magical.  Being included in it was confirmation to a jock that he mattered.  You made Vox Jox a community.  In reading it, we all had a sense of belonging, and seeing our own names in print from time to time was an extra kick. 

“I know Vox Jox first hand from both sides -- the joy of seeing my name written by you, and the reaction I got from those about whom I wrote.  After my Billboard tenure was over, all the squabbles over transposed call letters in headlines, or holding back big scoops for better graphic relief the next week have all receded in my mind.  What I remember most is the response from jocks thrilled by being included.  One of my favorites came from an editor at R&R. He was hosting some forgettable syndicated show and I mentioned it.   He wrote me an effusive thank you note explaining that a longtime goal of his was to see his name in Vox Jox and now that he had, he know he’d made it.  And this is while he was writing a weekly column in what was arguably the most widely read radio trade at the time!  That was the power of Vox Jox -- the power that you, Claude Hall, gave it.  No one before you or after had the impact you did.  I rebuilt the radio readership for it, but I didn’t begin to recapture the importance Vox Jox had to so many of us, me included.  Timing is vital, and granted, some of your influence had to do with a point in time that will never be recaptured.  But most of it had to do with you.  It may not be Pulitzer material.   And I’m sure that whatever is Pulitzer worthy, just like your Vox Jox, evokes emotions and transports readers to a better place.  But I’m just as sure that it probably doesn’t begin to approach the personal bond that you created when your words knitted us together then, and still hold us together now.  For that, at least in my mind, you have achieved virtually everything.”

If I were ranking radio-TV editors of Billboard, I think I would place Rollye James at No. 4.  She was good!  She should have been a writer!

Paul Cassidy:  “Hi, Claude: Stayed at the Algonquin last June, when I visited for the Belmont Stakes.  Wicked Strong dead heated with California Chrome for 4th.  He ran strides more than anyone in the race.  Frank Sullivan, the humorist from Saratoga, had sent me memorabilia from the Round Table and I turned it over to the curator in the Algonquin. Who in turn told me they had lost all their collection from a theft several years ago.  Great, historic, handy place to stay when you're in town.”

The Algonquin was a place where writers who were able to squeeze themselves into the inner circle were able to be with other writers of the same ilk and talk their craft.  And, of course, booze it up.

Robert E. Richer:  “And speaking of Quad, let’s not forget that the Starr brothers, funded by William F. Buckley, took NYC Classical music station WNCN off the air and replaced it with WQIV (Quad 4).  The first song played was ‘Roll Over Beethoven’.  The station was an unmitigated disaster, for several reasons:  One, nobody had a Quad receiver, and Two, the programming was awful.  Further, the changes exploded the wrath of Classical listeners all over the New York Metro area … a hugely influential and powerful group.  Buckley was, of course, a part of that group, and he was vilified by his friends and associates.  In addition, FCC field inspectors started dropping in on all of the other Starr stations around the country for unannounced visits.  Buckley got the message in a hurry, and sold the station to GAF corporation, which returned it to the original WNCN call sign and Classical music.  Then I was hired to become the GM.  GAF turned WNCN into an audio and visual tour de force, including using the acoustical genius of Dick Sequerra, and we were able to make the station into an important part of NYC’s broadcast spectrum.  Great fun!”

A great story, Robert!

Don Barrett’s has this news:  K-EARTH’s Shotgun Tom Kelly will be honored at the next Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon.  And the Diamond Circle Award will be presented to Wink Martindale.  Two great radio men.  Good on you both!  And, come to think of it, good on Don Barrett, too; provides a great service though I sometimes have trouble identifying who’s who in his photos.

Jim Ramsburg:  “Greetings from SW Florida, Claude.  Several weeks ago I saw that David Gleason contacted you.  Let me endorse his great website,  It's a terrific collection of historic radio and television publications.  I'm flattered that his site links to

Timmy Manocheo:  “Here is the link to a youtube video, Please post it on your blog site.  This is a great song about the state of our dearly beloved friend, RADIO.  Don't let the short burst of profanity dissuade you.  It's a REALLY good tune & it's by a wonderful person, a star from our Top 40 world of yesterday, Mary Weiss.  Mary was the lead singer of the 60s girl-group The Shangri-las.

Don Graham:  “Lori tells us that Dick Forster passed yesterday, Sunday 3/8, at 5 p.m. (pdt), Marin General Hospital … complications of congestive heart failure and pneumonia … a truly special guy … Dick, was, is and always will be, my life long friend.”

Joey Reynolds will be the keynote speaker April 17 at Chef’s Restaurant in Buffalo for a meeting of the Buffalo Broadcaster’s Association.  Checkout  Be nice if someone wrote me about the goings on.

Morris Diamond:  “Hi, Claude – I'd be remiss if I didn't pass on this little story of a personal incident that occurred last week.  Steve Tyrell came to Palm Desert to play the McCallum Theatre, as he's done yearly for the past fifteen years … always a sellout.  The show is emceed by Jazz DJ Jim FITZ Fitzgerald and is titled FITZ'S JAZZ CAFÉ AT THE McAllum.  We're pretty close friends to Fitz and his wife and he generally comped Alice and I for the show.  I took ill last Thursday morning, the day of Steve's show and was hospitalized.  Alice phoned Fitz that morning to suggest he pull our tickets from the box office because of our inability to make the show that evening.  Obviously, later in the day, Fitz told Steve Tyrell about me being in the hospital.  That evening, in the middle of the show, Steve told the packed house about me being hospitalized and how I brought him to his first show at the McCallum, 15 years ago when I co-managed him with Ken Fritz, and for everyone to think good things for a speedy recovery for me.  The next day we must have received at least 15 calls from friends who were in the audience and wanted me to know what Steve had done.  As it happened, my treatments while in Eisenhower Hospital did improve my illness and I was back home by the next night.   This is probably the nicest, kindest event that's every happened to me and I feel worth sharing with my friends in our industry.”

What a great story!  Great on you, Steve Tyrell.  Fitz, too.  And Morris, may the good one bless and keep you.  Get well!  You and Alice still have some eggs benedict coming at the Silver Sevens here in Las Vegas.  I was over there just a day or so ago with Barbara and two of our boys – John and Andy.  The waitress has gotten to know me.

Marlin Taylor:  “1967 was a giant year in Boston radio.  Not only did WRKO turn half the market upside down in March ... but WJIB (FM), featuring my Easy Listening/Beautiful Music format, arrived in mid-September, turning the rest of the market on its ear! That was less than two years before I arrived in the Big Apple to do battle via WRFM, where we landed in the Top Five within a year.  This kid, who was just one generation removed from a Pennsylvania farm, has so much to be thankful for as I celebrate the 60th anniversary of my first paying job in radio ... and am still on the programming payroll at Sirius XM.”

Joe Nick Patoski:  “As always, I'm digging your Commentary, which I can now say is better than your Billboard column because you can write long and get all the news in.  As a displaced Texan, I thought you might be interested in this music documentary I've directed, which premieres at SXSW Film in Austin in two weeks.  Woody Roberts knew the film subject pretty well.  It's time everyone else heard about him, too.
And don't forget, if you're bored on a Saturday 5-7 your time, the Texas Music Hour of Power airs on and while a bunch of volunteers known as Image Wranglers do Picture Radio on my Facebook page, posting images and information about the music that is playing.  Check it out sometime.  Keep radio-ating.”

Really pleased to hear from you, Joe Nick.  Joe Nick also reports that “Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove” premieres at the SXSW Film Festival March 2015.  I’ll bet Jimmy Rabbitts wishes he could be down there for the music.  Me, too!

Jeff March:  “I enjoyed your comments about Larry McMurtry, Winters, TX, and the writers you admired.  Despite your humility about the literary worth of Vox Jox, rest assured that jocks and aspiring jocks throughout the country hung on to your every word, and greatly appreciated your insights.  For younger jocks, mention in Vox Jox was perhaps the most prominent form of professional validation.  I know of your book ‘This Business of Radio Programming’ that you wrote with Barbara Hall (with an introduction by Jack Thayer), but I'm sure that readers would enjoy going on that journey back to Winters that you mentioned.”

Jeff would like to speak with Reb (James Dennis Bruton) Foster, KRLA and KFWB.  He says that Reb relocated to Armarillo, TX, but has misplaced his phone.  Anyone able to help with phone number or email address?

Don Sundeen:  “Great radio record back in the day, coming out of a boring news break, weather or spots; the distinctive guitar riff by Brian Carmen jumped right out of the radio and said, ‘Wake up, We're Rocking Again’.  The band was very much a part of the California Surf scene and toured nationally behind their hit, ‘Pipeline’.  There’s a videoclip of the band here performing on, of all places, the Lawrence Welk Show.  How that happened is hard to say, but maybe Larry had a piece of the record.  Anyway, it’s really primitive, they’re dressed in Beatle-like suits, and young Brian makes a speech like at a school assembly, but the music is still there and it really resonates even today.  We’ll have pieces like this soon when my blog called TheDonRocks is launched.  Meanwhile, you can connect to our Facebook page at the address above, and we’re tweeting at: with a lot of stuff every day.  I’m getting my feet wet on the web, but my brilliant daughter, Jacqui Kramer in Seattle, who does this IT stuff for a living is designing and building the site.  Those who sign up to follow us on Facebook and Twitter will be the first to be alerted when the TheDonRocks premiers.  I think you’ll find it very different and entertaining, complete with some great folks joining weekly writing Golden Age (1955-1980) Record and Radio history with videos like this.  Hope you’ll join our rocking party, coming soon to a digital device near you.
March 10, 2015.
Orange County surf rock pioneer and 'Pipeline' guitarist Brian Carman of the Chantays dies at 69

Don Elliot:  “Although it's more than a month away, my ‘dance card’ is filling up faster than I anticipated for the Las Vegas show.  As you recall possibly, I won the auction on 1500 a.m. for Los Angeles and will have engineer and attorneys meetings at that time during the show.  Unlike last time, this trip I am forcing my own calendar to make you a priority for coffee, lunch, or better.  I apologize for letting my hours get ahead of me before and I would certainly like to see you if you have time.  Perhaps sometime Tuesday the 14th?”

Don, I’m not sure this is the proper time to visit.  I may still be recovering from a foot operation March 24.  Sorry about that!

John Long:  “May I suggest that some of Bob Pond's friends get together and apply for assistance from the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  This is a wonderful resource for broadcast vets.”

Danny Davis:  “Claudius!  By reason of the stories crowding my ‘recollections’, am a believer when it comes to the marvel of a music maker, known as Philip H. Spector!  You’re right, Scott Paton!  I ‘weren’t there!  Neither was my bride of 57 years.  But sadly, I’m holding more fuel on Philzee than was ever meant to be poured from a Heinz bottle might be alluded to in my book, but not viciously!  The genius was great to me, and mine!  BUT I know the category!  And Marie offers prayers weekly for the life Phil allowed us!  And how could I ever forget the titled back side of the tune he allowed my ego to reference!  Stay well, Philzee!”

Dave Anthony,  “Claude, after reading your paragraphs about Larry McMurtry, I’m afraid what jumped out at me was your mention of the Quad technology in the 1970s.  Sorry, I know that wasn’t the point you were trying to emphasize, but I haven’t thought about Quad in years.  In 1975-76, I was on middays at Malrite’s WZUU in Milwaukee.  The legal ID at the top of every hour was something like ‘WZUU Milwaukee … in Quad!’  I never heard the Quad effect because our control room only had two speakers.  Sigh.  But I tried my best every hour to sound excited over a technology I couldn’t experience.  By the way, those call letters were the hardest-to-pronounce because we could only say them as ‘Z’ (pause) “U” (pause) ‘U’ every time.  And each letter had to be uttered enthusiastically.  When ABC’s KXYZ in Houston called, their far easier call letters were among the reasons I left.”
Good on you all!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 54r2

Today at 8:23 AM
March 9, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 54
By Claude Hall

I’ve got to tell this story, but I haven’t the slightest reason, really, to tell it.  Except that Woody Roberts, once a great program director, still a person of considerable intellect and a good friend, sent me this book by Larry McMurtry titled “Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen” and it has a cover of a Dairy Queen in what is obviously a small Texas town like where I went to high school, Winters, except that the Dairy Queen is at the wrong end of town.  Pity for McMurtry, a renown writer, to make a mistake like that.  He wrote “Lonesome Dove” and has won a Pulitzer and some of his books have been made into movies.  I always considered “The Last Picture Show” a horror story.  I never heard a Greyhound going past but that I wanted to be on it … even when I was attending The University of Texas.  But, overall, I’m just jealous of McMurtry.  He has been successful at writing and, although I’ve supported a wife and three kids and a dog with words, I feel that I have achieved virtually nothing.  Vox Jox will never win anyone a Pulitzer.

In reality, I don’t care much about Larry McMurtry and whatever jealousy I bear, is trivial.  Even my wife Barbara says she doesn’t care for McMurtry and doubts that this book will become a bestseller.  I tell her, he didn’t write it for that.  He wrote it, really, to try to wriggle a spot for himself in the world of literature.  A lot of writers try to do this.  Some achieve their goal.  Most do not because, when you get down to it, they didn’t write anything worth calling literature.  And neither did Larry McMurtry.  Which is pretty odd, because he wrote about Archer, TX, and I wrote about Winters, TX, and the two towns are essentially mirror images of each other.  His writings sold like crazy and he made a lot of money.  My tale about Winters is literature and will likely go unread.  Pity.  I think my tales are better than anything he ever wrote.  This is typical, however, of writers.  We all think we can out write, out think, and out drink any writer in the room.  Doesn’t matter who the writer is.  You name them.  Hemingway, Chandler, Faulkner, Flaubert, Leigh Brackett, Dorothy Parker.

We followed two different tracks.  We both studied other writers, just different writers.  Trying to figure out why they were so great.  D.H. Lawrence; I’ve even been to the old ranch in New Mexico.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, too.  I confess: I didn’t even know how to pronounce his name correctly until a couple of students from Russia laughed at my pronunciation one day in a course I was teaching at UNLV, Las Vegas.  The writers I studied trended more toward the commercial.  Leigh Brackett, for example.  I loved Edgar Rice Burroughs, Theodore Sturgeon, Dashiell Hammett.  Barbara and I have visited the homes of Earl Stanley Gardner and O’Henry and Mark Twain.  Yes, I studied the great masters.  Intensively.  And more or less worshipped the off-beat writers of the Algonquin, the Paris Review and various other avant garde publications.  I don’t know why.  I think their beat lifestyle intrigued me at the time.  I read Jack Kerouac, but didn’t worship him.  Passed him by.  The Algonquin Round Table, however, was like a monument where Dorothy Parker held reign.

What’s odd is that, though I frequented some of the haunts of the esoteric writer including the Kettle of Fish and I once saw Shel Silversteen walking by in Greenwich Village, I don’t recall venturing into the Algonquin during my years in Manhattan.  Neither before nor after marriage.  Barbara, too, was an Algonquin buff.  Then we moved the headquarters of Billboard magazine to Los Angeles.  In the day and many nights, I worked on Billboard.  At night when I could, I wrote on “The Hellmakers.”  And I continued to study not only the various religions, but the various serious writers.  Not the Brits, but the French, the Russian, the American.  I don’t know why I avoided Dickens.  People I know and respect know and respect Dickens.

One day, I received a phone call from Herb Helman, head of publicity for RCA Records in New York.  He wanted me to fly into New York to interview one of the executives about quadrasonic music.  I suppose I should explain.  I’d written some of the early news stories about quad music, both discrete and matrix.  And this led to writing about the broadcast experiments of Jim Gabbert and Lou Dorren on KPEN-FM, San Francisco.  I am egotistical, but this is not ego talking:  I was probably the overall media authority.  This, in spite of the fact that Hal Cook, publisher of Billboard, had one day had a tantrum and tossed all of my collected data in the trash back before we moved headquarters to Los Angeles.  Ben Bauer, the acoustic scientist at CBS, even flew in an engineer from Japan and personally installed a quad system in my office at 9000 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.  Lou Dorren promptly gave me one of his demodulators and I had the best quad system in the world, matrix and discrete.  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the Doobie Brothers in discrete quad.

So, Helman wanted me to personally do the story in New York City.  I refused, of course.  Not only was I writing the radio-TV section of Billboard, but I covered several labels such as MCA and 20th Century Records for news.  And organizing and conducting a convention once a year.  We had a staff in New York.  Let someone there do the story.  No, Helman said.  I had to fly to New York.  Again, I refused.  He put on enormous pressure.  Finally, I told him that if he could get me a room in the Algonquin, I would do it.  He tried.  Phoned back.  No room available.  “Great.  No story.”

What’s funny now, after all these years, is that I can’t remember whether or not he finally chiseled a room in the Algonquin or not or doing the interview or not.  I certainly wish I could apologize to Herb Helman for giving him such grief.

I’d forgotten all of this until I got the book from Woody Roberts and remembered that I used to study how other writers got famous.  When you get right down to it, I can’t envy anyone, however, that lives in Archer.  At least, I had good enough sense to leave Winters.

Walt Pinto in regards to last week’s picture of Buffalo radio men:  “Haven't seen Sandy in many years, but that has to be him on Joey's right.  And I believe that's Danny on the other side of Joey.  Never had any time in the Buffalo area, but went to the NY Broadcasters Hall of Fame Induction a few years ago when Danny was inducted.  I said hello, told him Joey and I worked together, and that I had a copy of the 45 ‘Rats in My Room’ (the record he and Joey released).”

Later:  “After sending the previous email, found this link on YouTube:”

For posterity, a must hear.  Joey Reynolds is a family friend.  And this is a horrible record!  But it’s history.  Just as Joey is part of radio history.

Damion Bragdon:  “Claude, always enjoy your info ... many names from my past -- Lee Baby Simms, Danny Clayton, Sandy Beach, Dick Robinson, Joey Reynolds -- and so many more that influenced my venture into radio broadcasting while growing up in Hartford, CT.  Radio has been a great career path for me in Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and what I had called home for 40-plus-years Los Angeles.  Still keep my toe in the water with a one-hour show called ‘Rock & Roll Cowboy’ (mixing today's country and rock) playing in over 180 US markets and 50 countries. Thanks to all the aforementioned talent and yourself for keeping the passion alive.”

Bob Walker, WTIX ret.: “For those of you missing New Orleans ... temp here now 75, expected 79 for Wednesday.  Cafe Du Monde and Central Grocery open for business, with beignets, coffee & chicory, and across the street at Central Grocery: Muffalettas plenty.  Uh, just thought you folks would like to know.

Ah, ah, ah.  Those mufalettas!  I’d been told about the Central Grocery when I was working on the Times-Picayune.  So I meandered there one day and strolled inside.  Someone pointed toward the back when I asked about sandwiches.  Huge guy behind the counter in back.  Arms like tree limbs.  I swear!  I asked what kind of sandwiches he had.  He said in a voice like a bear, “Whatdayuh mean what kind of sandwiches we have.  We got one kind of sandwich.”  There were three versions.  The more you paid, the more filling you got.  One of the world’s greatest sandwiches!

Bob Skurzewski:  “The photo ... left to right ... Sandy Beach, Joey Reynolds, Dan Neaverth, unknown MC of the night), Stan Roberts and Shane Gibson.  Joey and Dan did ‘Rats in My Room’ and followed up with another single called ‘Got Rid of the Rats’.  Stan Roberts recorded a single with the Buffalo Sabres audio in the background.  Shane also recorded a single, ‘Summer in America’.” 

Larry White: “Hi Claude, I'm sure Joey Reynolds will have the details on this, but if you haven't heard already, Don Berns died yesterday in Toronto where he'd been living for about 30 years.  I know he's written you several times recently and thought I'd pass along the his passing.  He and Joey were very good friends and I'm sure he can give you the details.  Best to you and Barbara.”

Sad news.  I enjoyed the notes from Don Berns.  We come, we do, we go.

Don Graham:  “Hi, Claude … we just received a call from Bill Miller, host/producer of the nationally syndicated program ‘The Bill Miller Show’, a pre-recorded show featured on 180 stations throughout the U.S.  Bill, a long-time member of the Kansas Broadcast Hall of Fame, does not have email, and therefore asked if we could contact you … he records his program on a Sony mini-disk recorder/playback unit type r, and his current recorder has failed beyond repai4.  Bill asks if any of your Commentary readers have one they would be willing to sell.  Bill’s phone # (913) 397-9651.  He thanks you for your help and consideration.”

Scott Paton: “As usual, another entertaining and informative post.  As I couldn't find any reference on to ‘Hitbound’, the Robert Weisbuch-penned book on Lee Baby Simms that you referenced, I'm guessing that it may have been self-published.  If you have any leads as to how or where a copy could be purchased, I suspect that I am only one of many of your subscribers who would be interested in doing so.  On another note:  As an unabashed fan of Phil Spector's creative legacy, I was greatly saddened for both victim and suspect alike, and hoped that it, indeed, was an accidental shooting.  As a friend and colleague of Spector's, I'm sure Danny Davis was even more upset.  But based on evidence and testimony in the trial, I wouldn't put too much creadence in the speculations that those ‘bent-nose fellas’ evidently shared with Danny.  That smacks a little of the old specious defense tactic of painting a rape victim as a slut.  Spector has a long-acknowledged history of waving pistols around in threatening fashion.  He was a brilliant producer and, unfortunately, often a substandard human being.  I wish Phil was innocent.  More importantly, I wish that Lana Clarkson -- who, by all legitimate accounts from those who knew her, was a lovely person -- was still alive.  But her error in judgment that night, coupled with the fact that Spector is a disturbed individual, cost her life.  I certainly don't blame Danny for wanting to believe that his friend is innocent.  But the ‘gents’ who've unfairly trashed the victim were not there that night either.  I've gotta side with Danny's wife, Marie, on this one.  Unequivocally.”

Don Barrett, printed that Bob Pond was in a hit and run last October.  Severe head injury.  Unable to talk.  Needs help.  I used to be in touch with him during my Billboard days.  Not since.  Good radio man.  Worked markets such as Phoenix and around Los Angeles.
Contact :

Mel Phillips: “This Friday, March 13 marks the 48th Anniversary of WRKO. Several years ago I wrote 'WRKO ... The Launch' and I have linked the story on my latest post.  I offer it here to the sizable radio and records viewer audience.  We have lost many members of the original staff but those that remain are Perry S. Ury, GM, the first WRKO PD whom I replaced - Bob Henabery, Promotion Director Harvey Mednick, the last surviving member of the sales staff, Bill Wayland and on-air personalities Al Gates, Joel Cash, John Rode, J.J. Jeffrey, Arnie Ginsburg, Chuck Knapp, Dick Burch and morning team newsman Palmer Payne. I've attached a photo of the WRKO Marquee that announced the arrival of The Now Crowd.”

Ron Jacobs, Hawaii:  “Sorry you ain’t up to using Facebook.  It reaches many new generations of radio people and listeners.  Maybe someone could set it up for you.  Photos are duck soup and ANYONE you assign can run it, after we both are gone!  Anyway, my present ‘Banner’ shows a section of a bookshelf with mostly radio books.  Notice yours, close to the left.  The condition is evidence of how long it’s been on the shelf, ready reference.  Usual aloha to you both.”

My own copy of “This Business of Radio Programming” is, too, fairly worn from use, Ron.  In retrospect, there are a couple of interviews I wish were in the books.  But, by and large, I’m proud of it.

The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, a program of the California historical Radio Society is honoring KPEN, San Francisco, June 17 as Legendary Station of 2015.  It was created by two Stanford University students in 1957, James Gabbert and Gary Gielow.
Lunch tickets:

Mel Phillips:  “Morning, Claude, from snowy NYC but (fingers crossed) this will be the last storm of the winter and soon to be spring. See what you miss by not being in NYC anymore? In the interest of supplying the results of a recent music study and plugging my Monday, March 9 piece, here's the open of my latest story:  The Edison Research/Triton Digital 2015 Infinite Dial aka 'The Gift That Keeps On Giving' tells us that 'Friends/Family' and 'AM/FM Radio' are in a virtual tie for music discovery. When asked by the study which sources are used for keeping up-to-date with music, the former category edged radio 70% to 69% ... (Read more at  Since the majority of your readers and Hallophiles collected over the years are either in (were in) the music business or are (were) in Radio, they might find this story interesting.  Stay in Las Vegas Claude - there's no snow there.”

Robert E. Richer sent this note:  "FM radio as we know it began this month in 1941, says the U.S. Census Bureau. March 1941.  This is when the first commercial FM station went on the air -- W47NV in Nashville.  FM was first proposed in a scientific paper by Edwin Armstrong in 1922.  By 1934, he demonstrated how FM was unaffected by static, unlike all the stations then on the air, which used AM or amplitude modulation.  Critics said the idea was impractical. World War II interrupted the advance of FM broadcasting.  After the war, the FCC moved the entire FM band up from 42-50 MHz to the current 87.8-108 MHz -- rendering as many as 500,000 pre-war receivers useless. RCA boss David Sarnoff had something to do with that, as he battled to preserve the hold of AM radio.”

As some of you know, my latest writing project is about George Wilson, a personal friend and one of the greatest radio men who ever lived.  It’s called “George.”  I sent out the first chapter to three friends.  This is from Jack Gale, Florida, godfather to two of the children of George Wilson and his early mentor in radio.  Jack Gale:  “In 1965, when I went to Charlotte to run BIG WAYS, I had no idea that George was running WIST there.  He came over to see me, and said he'd never go against me in the same market.  He asked me what music I was going to play.  I had just come from WMEX in Boston, so I told him the Kingston Trio, Andy Williams, Patti Page, etc.  He got furious and said, ‘You're gonna get killed.  This is the South’.  He stayed for three weeks and programmed all my music.  Wilson Picket, Sam and Dave, Fats Domino, etc.  Then he left for Baltimore.  BIG WAYS became #1 in one month.  Later you gave me my plaque for Program Director of the Year at the Waldorf-Astoria in 1970.  Thank you, George.”

Woody Roberts, Texas:  “I learned quite a bit about early Top 40 by reading this piece.  It reads like a memoir rather than one of your stories and will be an important addition to 20th century radio history.  I hope you will eventually send it to your list and, too, Kindle it for a free download.  It needs to go on a website somewhere so it will show up on Google searches, I hope some radio people will post it to their blogs.  A keeper for posterity.  George is an enigma with me, I got my first radio job in Galveston K-ILE '59 and basically was never intrigued by the programmers in the north.  None of their stations interested me.  Being a lad in Texas I was a McLendon student and aware of Chuck's honing of that format in LA. Which reminds me that Don Keys is a name often left out of radio history, he followed Bill's tenure with Gordon as Grahame had with Todd.  The first time I became aware of George's name was in '65 as one of the references listed by Lee Simms.  When I called I think he was PDing in Baltimore.  Lee spoke of him but I never heard anything from others about his stations and never heard an aircheck of one.  I did spot his name in the Gavin Report.   Wish I had known George.”

Timmy Manocheo, California: “Well, just to give an early appraisal, the first two pages are DYNAMITE!” and, later: “Next, I finished reading the draft of ‘George’. I love it.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 53r2

Today at 8:10 AM
March 2, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 53
By Claude Hall

Bruce Merrin, Las Vegas, in regards to the item about Chuck Blore in the previous issue: “Claude, our family moved to Sherman Oaks in '57 ... and I vividly recall COLOR RADIO.  That was my favorite station.”

Don Graham to Dave Sholin and a few others: “Hi ya, Duke … we talked with Lori Forster last night around 10:30 pm … she had just returned from the hospital and got the message you had called … she asked that we contact you and some of Dick’s friends with an up-date on his conditions.  He has been in ICU for the past five days … 24 hr. care, tests, and monitoring for neuropathy (can’t feel anything from his waist down) … he is on a ventilator with a tube down his throat … he is tied down, tries to remove the tube … diabetes and pneumonia making it all very difficult.  She tells us he is totally sedated and really cant move … lots of IVs … doctors are planning a procedure, today, to insert a needle, through his rib cage, to try to extract the fluid around his lungs … we were planning to fly up to SF, however, she sez he is not allowed to see anyone & it would not help her if we were there.  Lori thanks you for calling … and so it goes … it’s all very sad … much love.

Barry Salberg:  “So sad to hear of the passing of Lesley Gore. I never met her, never got the chance to have her verify (or get her take) on this story from back in the day.  In December of 1962, my folks rented a house (that they could ill afford) near Marin Country Club.  The owner of the house was Hugh Heller, who had just been promoted from his post as PD of KSFO and was moving down to Los Angeles (I assume to KMPC, as this was before the advent of the Heller-Ferguson jingle company).  KSFO was in its Golden West heyday at the time, dominating San Francisco — billing itself as the WORLD’S GREATEST RADIO STATION.  And it very may well have been, with a lineup that included the legendary Don Sherwood, Al Jazzbeau Collins, Jack Carney, and Jim Lange.  As program director, Heller was directly responsible for the famed “Sounds of the City” KSFO jingle masterpiece.  Young, hip, and well-heeled, Marin Country Club was part of the KSFO playground — Heller lived just off the course, and Lange played a lot of golf there, some with my step-father (who could ill afford to live or play there).

“A year or so later, Lesley hits big with ‘It’s My Party’, ‘Judy’s Turn’, etc, and is heavily promoted as one of the lead acts on the giant Cow Palace rock‘n’roll show.  These shows were big stuff, with seemingly a dozen or so featured acts all on the same bill, each doing their current hits.  Well, my step-father was the NorCal sales ‘rep for the apparel company of which Lesley’s father was the president.  So my parents invited her to have dinner with us one night, as she would be in town for the Cow Palace show.  I was a little younger than Lesley, and was clearly beyond enthralled at the thought.  I think she declined, as my memory is vague now whether she cancelled us first, or whatever, but she never made it to the Cow Palace show. The official announcement was that she took ill and wasn’t able to appear.

“Years later, Gene Nelson is on the air and he’s talking about the old Cow Palace shows, and he recounts the story of Lesley Gore. As he told it, the promoters would routinely quote a certain price to the performers and then when the artists got to town, ready to go on, the promoters would renege, offering half of the original quote in a take-it-or-leave-it situation.  Most of the performers were kids, they were already in town, so they took it — but not Lesley. Remember, she was far from struggling financially, her family had money, so as a matter of principle, she told ‘em to take a hike, and wouldn’t go on, despite all their heavy pre-show promotion.  Hence, the on-air announcement that I heard as a kid that she had gotten sick and couldn’t perform.   Well, as I say, I never had the chance to get HER recollections of the story — whether she actually made it to town and then cancelled the show, or as I suspect, never even made the trip.  I would imagine there are a few folks out there who could shed some light.  I don’t know how to contact Gene Nelson, but I think he’s still here in San Francisco.  Gotta be a few other souls who could share a bit on this one?”

They’re worried now that three kids were radicalized.  See what reading comic books will do to you?

Jack Casey, Boston:  “In a conversation with Beau Raines this morning, he said, ‘Somebody should write a book about Lee Baby’.  Well, Sir … you are in fact a … writer (and a good one).  And, with input from Lee’s lifelong friend Woody Roberts, I’m sure it would be widely read even outside of ‘the biz’.  It would also keep both you and Woody out of trouble so I’m sure Barbara would like the idea.  I hope you will consider it.  Lee was such a larger than life character that someone should do it … and why not you?”

I wrote Jack that Robert Weisbuch, a fan and buddy of Lee Baby Simms, had already written a book called “Hitbound” about Lee Baby Simms, focusing on WPOP in Hartford, CT.   Bob put some hellacious work on the book.  Interviewed Lee, Woody Roberts, and Joey Reynolds.  Damned good book!  I couldn’t and wouldn’t step on the literary toes of Bob.  However, I’m piddling around on a book about George Wilson Crowell.  Whether I’ll get it done or not, quien sabe?  The funny thing is that a publisher paid a writer once to write a book about George.  The guy faded away after the fourth or fifth bar.

Danny Davis:  “Claude, old man of those ‘yellowing manuscripts’!  (What notes your shredder must be privy to!)  Chris Christ did indeed apprise me of the new surroundings and uniform for Phil Spector!  I’m glad ‘Mr. Perfection’ directed them to Marie!  They’re a little tough to take, if you have the memories I have, working for a super hyped and hip genius, as long as I do, with Philip!  The toll on creativity appears to have taken much of whatever ‘did ‘im in’, all too complete!!  I’ve completed that phase of my book, Claude, but how can I look away from the stuff that makes stories like Spector so mandatory, for the readers?  He surely was a catalyst for all I traveled with in the musical clime!  Even The Monkees and The Partridge Family couldn’t stop Spector ‘speculating’!  Tell you what triggers bickering at our house!!  He’s in on a bum rap!  Marie doesn’t believe!  I do, and it comes from the guys who would know!  Lana was a ‘half a hooker’ (their conversation, only repeating!) had a pistol fetish!  Sucked on the end, thereof, at various sessions!  (Only Repeating! Never Seen!)  Knowing Phil as I do, that’s enough to intrigue him!  Waiting for the limo, the ‘producer’ asks for a lasting observation!  Lana, supposedly, obliges!  The gun goes off!  That’s the ‘tale’!  My wile disbelieves!  He was found guilty.  I wasn’t there.  I know the ‘gents’ who say it’s ‘da troot’!  Try arguing with some of those guys!   Same fellas’ who named the product, ‘the cleans’!  (You can edit any or all of this, you old Billboarder!)”

Danny, I sincerely appreciate this kind of information.  History!

Art Wander:  “Claude, the great exchange between ‘Chuck and George’ was an outstanding piece of reading in your magnificent Commentary 52.  Radio today is nothing compared to those great days.  There’s no competition today since corporations own most of the stations in markets.  When there was competition, Chuck Blore, Wilson, Jacobs, Sklar, Dowe, McLendon, Storz, etc., etc., etc. were creative geniuses. There’s so little creativity today.   Great commentary with great recollections.  By the way in 1959, Hooper was reluctant to publish the numbers for WAKY after McLendon took over the station with his Top 40 genius since the numbers were so high.  It was great working at the station.”

Mel Phillips:  “Much like George Wilson did late in his career, my friend John Gorman (WMMS-FM fame) has started an internet radio station: oWOW (  oWOW is described as ‘an eclectic playlist of rock, progressive pop, singer songwriters, reggae and more’.  The station is Cleveland owned, operated and programmed but you don't have to live in Cleveland to hear and enjoy it.  I've been sampling it and find it both familiar and listenable.  Good luck to John and his associates.”

Doc Wendell:  “Thanks again so much for posting my Dylan piece.  Since the great Clark Terry passed away, I just had to write an appreciation on the master.  Hope all is swingin'.”

Just FYI, Steve Tyrell has one of his works with Clark Terry on Youtube.  Maybe you can track down the link through  He sent me a link, but it was one of those “hidden” things.  Tyrell: “I was honored to have recorded 14 songs with Clark over five of my albums.  Clark Terry was one of the finest and most-talented men I’ve ever known.”

I sent the first 5,000 words to a novel called “George” to three or four people, including Woody Roberts.  I mentioned that my greatest competition was Bill Gavin.  Also that I thought highly of Gavin and respected him and always honored him.  We invited Bill and Janet once to a conference at the Century-Plaza in Los Angeles and gave them a standing ovation.  Woody:  “Thinking about it, in my mind Billboard was the radio people's magazine and Cashbox was more tuned for record stores and distributors.  I would usually look at Cashbox to see if they had any bullets that Billboard or Gavin missed.  And for my purposes I checked Billboard against the Gavin chart not vice versa.  I trusted Gavin more for getting ratings and being ahead on a hit.  Billboard for sales.  Billboard and Cashbox, I read from day one in a radio station because they were always in the jock lounge.  I first saw a Gavin Report in at KJR January '62 and became a subscriber, in '64 at KONO I became a reporter.  Bill had a rule, one reporter per market.  That reporter had to be from a top station.  He broke that rule for me in Hartford and thus WPOP brought Bertha's dominance over record company influence in middle/southern New England to an end.  No more exclusives.  In just a few years she was fired from WDRC and out of radio, possibly she felt about me as George did Buzzy.  Bill's condition was that I had to be the correspondent and not the music director, that way he could justify it as I had already been a good reporter.  So it was that Paiva did the music and set up the playlist but I filed the Gavin Report.

“Back to the magazine.  Aside from the Charts, you were Billboard.  I did not know any of the other names on the masthead and considered the conferences Claude Hall conferences.  They were your readers conjoined with the publication's advertisers.  In fact, when they started is when I first thought somebody at BB must consider Gavin a competitor.  Billboard conference?   The only reason to attend a conference was to learn about programming solutions and techniques.  That was Gavin, it was the essence of his sheet from predicting hits to programming tips from people like Blore, O'Day, Burkhart, Starr, and Buzzy.  Whereas, Billboard was about charts -- and your column.  Vox Jox served as an early model of an internet by weekly keeping everyone in radio in touch with each other through a lifetime of constant station jumping.  No one else did this.  Sometimes you would write about a unique contest but that is not why we tuned in, you were the glue.  When I attended your first conference I, of course, saw many fellow Gavin correspondents and all of the same record folks, plus ... there were bunches of radio people I'd never heard of and even a few musicians who showed up just to hang out with the DJs.  Far more small market participation.  It was a great addition to the annual radio conference scene and for me it was not directly competitive to Gavin's meetup.  Let me say, NAB's event was a real dull drag, seemed to be more for engineers than talent.  I had a 1st. phone but sitting through NAB presentations was grueling.  And their management seminars could put you to sleep.  Not many record people there, for sure.  I'm really curious about what Buzzy did to George and how George helped get him started, was he PD at WTIX?  I, too, have my theories about Buzz Bennett, but that's for another time.  PS -- one of the most admirable qualities of Bill Gavin was he was an independent entrepreneur and would not accept advertising money to support his work.  Pretty unique.  I'm sure many record executives treated him well but he would not sell them ads.  Everyone programmer I knew considered Gavin Report to be of the highest integrity and free of record company influence.”

Robert E. Richer:  “Hi, Claude … for what it’s worth, I still miss chicory coffee and beignets at Café du Monde.  Love to be there right now.”

My beautiful wife and I daydream about those sandwiches at the Central Grocery Store across from the Café du Monde.  I returned to New Orleans once for a convention and brought home a grocery bag of those sandwiches.

I love Jack Gale, so this review is prejudiced.  He is radio and the great lore and history of early Top 40 is wrapped up in him.  So, like many radio men in that era, is still producing records.  Great on him.  His latest project is a CD by Claire Petrie.  The title is “The One.”  A pretty blonde who takes a Chuck Berry classic – “(C’est La Vie) You Never Can Tell” -- and belts it out as if she was some blues babe in a honky tonk.  Yet, this blonde is as country as they make them these days in spite of tunes such as “You Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine,” a very risqué tune, and “Build a Bridge (And Get Over It)”.  My compliments, Jack.  And to you, too, pretty blonde.  Good work.

I musta got in a music place, because I had to listen to some Tom Russell and Johnny Cash.  Dave Alvin and Elize Gilkason and Emmylou Harris.  Bill Monroe, too.  And a dab of Rosanne Cash.  Then I went to the TV and played again a Chuck Berry special.  Lord, what an entertainer!  What a genius!

Red Jones, GA Hall of Fame:  “I had emailed earlier re/the new traditional country on line radio station I am doing voice over work for.  Some had a problem getting it.  Here is the easy way to get to both stations Carl Peeples has developed.  Go to Carls Gold Home.  Click and it takes you to the listed link.  Click for the home page of both stations.  Scan down past his ‘welcome letter’ and the logos for each station appear.  Click the logo for the station you want. and you'll get the stream.  Let me know what you think.  Both stations offer a format not seen elsewhere.”

The “giants” (pictured beneath) include Sandy Beach, Shane Gibson, Joey Reynolds, Danny Neaverth, and Stan Roberts.  These Buffalo Hall of Fame legends gathered at the Buffalo History Museum, March 15, 2013, at a special event produced in conjunction with the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.  The only person I can identify is Joey, second from left.  Help?