Today at 8:28 AM
June 29, 2015
Claude’s Commentary No. 70
By Claude Hall
I still love music. The last verse of “The Prisoner’s Song” is engrained in my soul. And, like most of you, when I find a great song I’ve got the urge to make sure someone else listens to it. I heard the first time Elvis Presley was on the air – “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the Louisiana Hayride over KWKH, Shreveport -- and had to hear it again. Same with Johnny Cash (“Hey, Porter” and “Cry, Cry, Cry”). I wore out the 45 rpm single of “Folsom Prison Blues” without ever taking it off the little RCA plug-in turntable.
I shall always love the music of Linda Ronstadt and Emmyou Harris. The past couple of years, the music of the Mavericks has impressed me immensely. Raul Malo is something else. Yes, Los Lobos, too. And who doesn’t enjoy Willie Nelson? I picked his first RCA LP and the second and, of course, the LP that made him and Waylon Jennings famous. For Billboard.
I sent Ken Dowe and Chuck Dunaway a copy of Tom Russell singing “All the Fine Young Ladies.” I’d been in the study most of the morning listening mostly to Tom Russell. It was Ernie Hopseker who introduced me to Tom’s music and the late George Wilson dug up this song in an Albuquerque music store for me and put it on the air on his then worldwide Internet program … then emailed me this particular tune. Tom Russell grows on you. In a few minutes, I’ve got to go hear his song “Nina Simone” from the CD “Aztec Jazz.” The tune – I guess 90 percent of his songs – is/are on this MacBook Pro.
Ken Dowe: “Thank you, Claude! If we were not so old, I would buy us an Austin station where we would create a COWBOY POETRY & AND SONGS format. You'd choose the music and I'd find the ranch hands to sit around the fire playing western tunes ... and telling of the storied past of dusty cattle drives, Indian wars, whiskey, wild mustangs ... and wilder women. Y'all leave your guns at the door. Grab hold of a shot of Tequila, set a spell ... and listen to Tom Russell tell the story GALLO DEL CIELO, the rooster from heaven ... and the most hellacious cock fight ever in the West! We could go out guns a blazin'!”
Woody Roberts to Bob Weisbuch: Dr. Bob, old flashback. I've told you about the 1976 NYE ride to Cleveland and staying in Lee Baby's hotel suit when I got a call from a man, Bill Seale, from Corpus who had met me backstage at a Jerry Garcia concert. He wanted me to come show him and a station owner how to run a successful facility ... but it had to be a unique progressive. They had a class C at 101.3 FM to play with. I didn't want to do radio but Lee pushed me into it ... he knew I had financial problems after my Armadillo media projects failed. ‘Woody, get your ass down there and help those guys’. Turned out to be a highlight among memories and the guys were Grateful Dead backstage family and friends with the San Francisco/Richmond chapters of the Hell's Angels. The station owner was forced to leave his loose life in SF and return to his hometown to handle the affairs of his oil properties. He wanted to be able to hear the Dead and others that were not played on the Corpus Top 40 outlets. So he bought a radio station. Neither guy had been in radio and Bill was made GM so my consultancy was managerial as well as programming. I lived in SA and commuted to Corpus where they gave me a car, apartment, and a pretty girl to help keep it tidy. What good times. Within a year we ruled men 18-38 and women 18-24. I never kept any photos, articles, posters or other past memory jogs but many times wished I had a photo of Bill and Bruce. Yesterday the fellow who back then did 9-noon at C-101 sent me photos he took of the three of us in December, 1977. A year after Lee had pushed me their way. The photo: Bill Seale, grey hair, became GM; owner Bruce B. Baxter III, beard; Woody glasses. PS -- No one anywhere knew I was in Cleveland and in that hotel and under Lee's name -- for years I tried to get Bill to reveal how he located me. He would just laugh and took the secret to his grave.”
Joel O’Brien: “I just by error sent you your blog. I was meaning to send it to another friend. Please don't think I was returning it to you. Cheers!”
Good on you, Joel. The more readers, the merrier!
Doc Wendell: “Here is my first installment of my record recommendations segment. I picked an obscure one for my fellow jazz geeks.”
From Morris Diamond to Joey Reynolds: “Good morning, Joey -- I just spent the morning scanning Claude Hall's weekly letter and was pleased to read your 3-4 page contribution. I knew you were smart and clever – but now I have to add the word 'brilliant' to my personal evaluation of Joey Reynolds. I'm so happy to have the memories of our visit a couple of years ago when plugging my book in New York City and we gathered at Joe Franklin's office, had lunch and then you drove Alice and I to our dock where our cruise ship was docked ready for an Atlantic crossing to France. Great memories of that along with many other meetings … such as when we were both asked to speak at Morton Downey, Jr's funeral. Your take-off of Radio and TV and the personalities of the past in your wonderful dissertation should be an education unto itself to almost everyone else that spends their Monday mornings deeply involved in Claude's very informative Newsletter that we read and learn more and more from each and every week. Thanks for the memories.”
Hey, Joey! Professor Andy Hall, also gave your diatribe of a week ago a thumb’s up.
Don Goldberg: “Joey Reynolds was my radio hero. Through the static on KB listening so far away when 50KW blasted from Buffalo to my clock radio in Philly. When college friend Al Resnick was his board op at WXYZ in Detroit I hitch-hiked out there to see Al and got introduced. Joey worked hard and played harder. After a trip to the Roostertail we got back to town in his signature gold '65 Mustang and in a hotel room, Joey have me my first joint. These are things you remember. I visited him in Hartford later. He inspired me to break radio traditions and play with all there was in a creative medium. A few years later I was the first production director at WMMR under Jerry Stevens. When Joey moved to Philly we reconnected. He was living the high life. I introduced him to Ron Cutler (then Diamond doing oldies on WIFI). More creative radio. I've moved around the country surfing the airwaves from market to market doing creative production with some great FM Rockers in the majors, then creating pilots for national syndication with Ron in LA for Dees, Cousin Brucie, Dick Summer, Joyner and doing a reboot of Drake's ‘History of Rock and Roll’ for Jim Kefford in the 80s. All the inspiration for breaking bounds comes from knowing that it's OK to be creative and fail every thrice in awhile. Thanks for the inspiration, Joey. And ... the joint. Whatever it takes.”
Thanks for the note, Don. I was sincerely pleased to hear from you.
Joey Reynolds does his “Wrap” from an Internet publication called Citywatch.
Paul Cassidy: “John DiScuillo is the best promotion director, I ever worked with. John led WKBW-TV 7 to the top 5 of all ABC affiliates in the mid-90s. A killer idea person!! Reverend Don Moomaw was an All-American football player at UCLA. Hopalong.”
I’ve been in the church that Joey mentioned and where Don Moomaw preached. A beautiful church that overlooked both San Monica as well as the San Fernando Valley. It was a nice place to pray.
Rich Robbin: “The ‘bluebird’ thing is just another way of saying ‘may all be well with you’ ... thanks again for your
great weekly email.”
I was just kidding, Richbro. Or trying to. I’m glad to have you dropping by. You and Timmy Manocheo, the second biggest Deadhead after my son John A. Hall, Esq. I’d mentioned the heat here at present, running around 110 degrees or a dab more.
Timmy Manocheo: “10-4, Claudius. Cool it down with watermelon, ice & fans. OR, consider moving out here to Ventura. I'll drive the moving truck.”
Wish I could, Timmy. That area from Ventura to Monterey Bay is absolutely one of the most beautiful in the world. Barbara and I used to hop into the little MG, top down, that I owned and breeze up to Pismo for clam chowder. Best in the world at the Splash. Guarantee you! We’d park and wade in the Pacific lapwaters. You sup on Pismo’s chowder and wade in the Pacific somewhere near and it’ll knock 10 or 12 years off your noggin. Guarantee that, too! Of course, there was a thermal pool down below Palm Springs that I always thought had a curative effect.
Don Elliot: “You might remember this on KIIS FM when I was program director: Open the PDF and scroll to the bottom of page 15 to play the two different links to my original of years ago and then the new version -- (it's in this month's radio in production magazine).”
Don referred to a “duet” – really great -- he produced back when and to a copy of Radio and Production edited by Jerry Vigil in Irvine, TX. You might reach Jerry at email@example.com. And maybe reach the magazine at
Rick Frio sent an email alerting me to the Glen Campbell show on CNN this Sunday. Heartwarming! Scott Brochetta was one of the commenters … Mike’s son. My mother died from Alzheimer’s. Horrible stuff. The last time I saw her – in a Houston care center – I bawled like a baby.
Bob Sherwood: “So … Kindly Ol’ Uncle Claudius, in reviewing this week’s Commentary you opened with the always interesting Woody Roberts giving us more on the ‘you can never get too much’ on the late, lamented and enormously talented Lee “Baby” Simms. You then segue-wayed to the eloquent Ken Dowe who stopped us from whateverinhell we were doing and brought us pause and then Meditations of Marcus Aurelius! I don’t recall ever seeing that in the Kal Rudman Report. Then the occasionally prickly Ron Jacobs does a wonderfully informative and touching tribute to -- with all due respect to Rosalie Trombley, Dave Sholin and Elma Greer -- Betty Brenneman, one of the All-time Great Music Directors who was certainly one of the cornerstones of the fabulous Drake and RKO stations in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Finally, a very personal and touching autobiographical essay by Joey Reynolds … who puts paid to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s assertion that there are ‘no second acts in America’. I think I speak for a number of people who were always impressed by the brilliant and creative on-air work of Joey and are even more impressed by what he’s done with the second half of his life. God Bless, Joey. And finally, his State of the Industry piece was more thoughtful, cogent, precise and focused than all of the last 50 speeches delivered at the NAB. It should be required reading for management of all radio chains and stations. Though, sadly, most wouldn’t understand it. For those still in broadcasting and those of us who aren’t but still love it … Go, Joey! So … that’s a somewhat unbiased observers review of this week’s Commentary. It only contained far more than has been written in the last 20 years of Billboard! ... 30 years?”
Great on you, Bob!
Joe Nick Patoski: “As you might have heard, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday, June 30, for my documentary fin, ‘Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove’, to pay for music rights so we can complete the film and get it out into the world. The bigger goal is to get Doug Sahm into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and we believe through this Kickstarter, its a goal we can reach. This is where we need your help and support. We need to hit the ground running, so we're privately launching the Kickstarter on Monday and we'd love to have backers already locked in before we publicly launch Tuesday. Stats show that this sort of psychology really works for big campaigns like this. If you are planning to contribute, I ask that you back the project on Monday, so you can help roll out this campaign with a bang. Shhh. Silencio, por favor. Please keep this under the radar until we actually launch on Tuesday. The page isn't live yet. I'll send out another email on Monday with further instructions and a link to the live Kickstarter page. If this is inconvenient timing for you, I completely understand and appreciate any help you can lend in spreading the word once we publicly launch.”
I apologize, Joe Nick, if I fouled you up. But on a weekly schedule like this, it’s sort of now or never. A week from now is sometimes forever.