Monday, July 27, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 75r2

Today at 8:22 AM
July 27, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 75
By Claude Hall

The job at Billboard was a natural for me and – with Music Editor Paul Ackerman as my mentor – I was working hard, enjoying the work, and doing well.  I did the radio-TV section (three days) and worked on the music section (two-four days a week; I remembered doing music publishing stories, covering MGM Records for news, doing record and artist performance reviews, stories with Bob Crewe, Art Talmadge, Larry Uttal, some famous movie songwriter, etc., etc.).  Roger Littleford, one of the family that owned the publishing company, heard that Barbara and I wanted to buy a house and came, as he was wont to do, and sat on the corner of my desk and shot the bull with me one day and we talked about Barbara’s wishes for a white house with a white picket fence.  The first thing I knew, Bill Littleford, president of the publishing firm BPI, offered to loan me $7,500 for a down payment and give me a raise that would make the interest-free loan payments.  I don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of this kind of thing before.  Especially by any New York corporation.  What it did, for me, was cement the possibility of my being at Billboard for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, my stature in radio and music was growing fairly solid (the music publishing firm of Hill and Range had offered me a job).  I was talking with – and writing stories about – Gary Stevens, Dan Daniels, Harvey Glascock, Frank Ward, William B. Williams (Barbara and I were even invited to Willie B’s birthday party atop 30 Rock in the Rainbow Grill; Frank Sinatra Jr. played piano for the evening; I recall that one of his “gifts” was a foldup motor scooter and another was a bottle waste high of Mumms Champagne), George Wilson, George Williams (great guy who came out to the house here in Las Vegas with Burt Sherwood a few years ago), Ray Potter in El Paso, Murray the K, and an MOR program director in Kansas City who refused to play “Ode to Billy Joe” because Bobby Gentry “couldn’t sing.”

And I begun playing more attention to a column called Vox Jox launched by a former Billboard staffer named Joe Carlton (record producer Jerry Wexler also wrote the column for a while).  When I’d taken over the section just three months after joining Billboard, the format was a junk heap.  There was Vox Jox and Seque and two or three other columns.  I concentrated on news and features and dumped anything that didn’t warrant a news story or feature into the column Vox Jox.  The other crap became history.

What happened was that one week  (circa 1966-68) I spent several hours on the phone researching the Top 40 radio stations in towns outside Detroit that influenced airplay on CKLW and WKNR.  Quoted several good program/music directors and maybe a couple of good record promotion men; by now I’d learned that record promotion men could be a valuable source of radio information.  We started the story on page one and jumped it inside to the radio section.  I was pleased with the story.  A good reporter knows when he has done a pretty good job.

In those days, the magazine was printed in Cincinnati and drop-shipped into several major cities and mailed from there.  It usually reached radio stations on Tuesday.  And that Tuesday the phone calls rolled in!  All of them praised my Vox Jox that week.  So far as I can recall, no one mentioned my research story about airplay of music in medium markets around the city of Detroit.  I later discovered that disc jockeys and program directors and even a great many general managers read Vox Jox.  All of it.

A cutie:  So I’ve got some power in Vox Jox, huh?  Well, perhaps Billboard could influence some improvements in radio.  Why not?  If you can’t do a few things good in your life, what good are you?  I was always put out somewhat by the extreme mobility of disc jockeys and program directors (later, I figured out that it was part of the game).  However, it appeared to me that disc jockeys and program directors were often fired just as a whim.  Then a general manager did something that I thought wasn’t fair … perhaps fired a disc jockey for a reason that wasn’t what I considered reasonable.  I wrote about it and presented the general manager a Purple Toadstool Award.  No plaque.  Just a line or two in Vox Jox.  I figured everyone who read about it would get at least a giggle.  Funny?  Right?  But after the second “award,” I started getting letters from disc jockeys asking for an application form.  Whups!  End of award.

Ernie Hopseker:  “I enjoyed Ken Dowe's assessment of Tom Russell's show in his new home town of Santa Fe, and wish a few more people who really ‘get it’ knew about Tom.  Tom is a superlative writer, and is a communicator beyond comparison.  He got his chops 40 years ago doing four shows a night on East Hastings Street, a seedy skid row in Vancouver, B.C.  At a show at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle a couple of years ago, some cowboys who had been at the bar all day were requesting the wrong songs, and then loudly singing along with the wrong lyrics.  Tom put up with it for awhile, then stopped the show, and pointed out to ‘the guys just off
Brokeback Mountain over at the bar’ that they were singing the wrong stuff, and he would not put up with it.  I thought there might be trouble, but the miscreants were subdued by Tom's tongue, and Tom went over and bought them all drinks after the show.  I have been on several Roots on the Rails train trips with Tom, and have met many wonderful musicians and fans through him.  His guitar slinger, Thad Beckman, is a world-class blues and flat top picker, and Tom features him on a couple of his own songs nearly every show.  Before a recent show in Portland, I saw Thad outside the theater before the show.  I asked him if Tom was behaving himself, and he said, ‘No, but he never does’.  And if he is too busy selling stuff after the show, just hang around long enough and he will talk.  You just have to have something worthwhile to say, and Tom is gritty, insightful, and a great
conversationalist.  I personally think Tom should be doing arena shows to thousands of adoring fans, but that is not what he knows or wants.  He's pretty happy right now in his own skin, right where he is. His wife Nadine, pretty much books the shows across several continents and many countries, and they all take turns driving.  Tom is not afraid to set up his own gear, and he knows what he wants it to sound like. He has his game down really good.”

I, too, Ernie, am impressed with the guitar work of Thad Beckman and, in fact, have five of his own songs on this laptop, including “Outlaws in Texas” and “Virginia Blues.”  As for Nadine, I figure out that she has to be an angel.  Now and then a man gets lucky when it comes to a woman; Barbara and I will have been married 55 years come Sept. 1.  Me, a redneck of sorts, marrying a beautiful Park Avenue princess?  You’ve got to be kidding!

Below, in regards to a review Ken Dowe wrote of the Tom Russell show in Santa Fe and about last week’s diatribe from Bobby Ocean:

Ken Dowe:  “Thanks for the inclusion, Claude.  Maybe Tom will find some new friends and fans from your support.  You certainly outsourced one in me.

“P.S.  It is not my intention to express a different opinion that that of Bobby O, but perhaps to embellish his with my own, which is that Radio is sadly enduring two principal problems.  The first was that the profession was turned over to the well-funded, who dived into a business that was a culture, fully clothed as ‘Suits’.  The latter created quite a stumble, but nothing like the subsequent nuclear fallout in the business now mostly owned by a couple of opportunists whose corporations have been stretched just to stay alive.  Nothing wrong with being an opportunist, so long as someone remains, or is retained … who is a legitimate visionary with an attitude:  e.g., ‘You can fire me, but you can’t tell me what to do!’  That never happened.  Therefore, Radio is now (generally speaking) the walking dead when compared to their thriving music source competitors.

“Two is the stealthy issue no one heard, and most still do not see: The Millennials, who forge music into hits, must join forces and reproduce the image of radio that has been reduced to a product most do not want, and is now just sitting on the shelf.  Misguided management begot desperation during their hardest times, which resulted in carbon-copy entertainment (cheaper) without any edge or purpose, except for the white noise to buy some more time.  The purpose then was in the efforts to sift out enough money to pay (some of) the interest.  Good sounding (too ‘good’) announcers (not ‘personalities’) now serve myriad stations coast to coast.  Rubber Stamped music is vending machine-delivered and no one really believes such programming  is ‘personal’.  But, it’s … cheap. 

“Relatively. In time, it bankrupts.  The stockholders and the business.  Certainly the decline was assisted by the bean counters in green eye shades, but the terminal failure was the absence of any understanding of emerging national trends by the new techies, and never having connected nor engaged with them as the cultural transformations were taking place.  These were those who could have converted their new preferences to correspond in position, then intersect with radio.  Alas, no one invited them to the dance, and to be fair ... I doubt many knew the music that was stealing their dates was playing elsewhere.

“I ‘get’ what Bobby is saying, but I believe what is problematic for radio is something more abstract and beyond the range or limits of our known conceptual field.  How to capture a return to the ‘place where something happens’, while the audience refuses to prefer or maintain connections ... with Pandora, Spotify, Apple, etc. … that, is a tall order.  The fall from grace was never about Lowry and Lou screwing up the product.  There was no missing or unaffordable  analogous algebraic operation that caused a loss of balance and subsequent fall.  Lifestyles changed.  And, it wasn’t that the ‘Suits’ didn’t know what to do, but that they never noticed. 

“I listen to Tom Russell.”

Tom Russell:  “Wow. Thanks, Ken Dowe!  It was a fun show and maybe got our foot in the door here in Santa Fe.  I was honored to play in front of those knowledgeable folk … cowboy actors, DJs, artists and people who listen … thanks to Claude for introducing people to my music.  Right now we're trying to promote the show, ‘The Rose of Roscrae’, to Broadway producers … just starting … and also film folk.  Adios y gracias!”

Dan Neaverth:  “Hi, Claude.  A few thoughts about radio’s problems from my perspective.  After on-air stint that lasted 26 years at WKBW in Buffalo, I spent another 13 years at WHTT-FM.  The General Manager was Ron Rice.  Several of his friends told him it was a mistake to hire me for an FM morning show.  I did fine.  I could see the end coming as the staffs of the cluster were called into a large meeting by the new owner.  His actual words: "We are not in the entertainment business ... we are in the business business."  Another roadblock to radio’s rebirth ... another cluster has a 50-thousand-watt station that does nothing,  But they won't sell it for fear someone else will take it and make it work.  I always felt that another problem existed at our colleges.  Young people on their staffs were told to shut up and play 10 in a row.  College is where prospective talent should be free to make mistakes ... act like jerks ... hone their craft.  Oh well ... I had a great run, but it's sad to see what has happened in broadcasting.  Western N.Y just lost one of the greatest talents ever.  Van Miller was for years the voice of the Buffalo Bills.  But he was more than that.  He did it all.  Buffalo Braves basketball ... wrestling ... high school quiz shows ... radio DJ ... morning women's show from a department store ... he didn't just do these shows ... he made them entertaining.  In addition he was one of the funniest people I have ever known.  I would place him against any nationally known talent ... rest in peace Van.”

Thanks for the note, Dan.  Always respected you.  As a personality and as a person.  Even back in my early Billboard days.  To me, you were Buffalo.  More so than even Joey Reynolds.  Thus, I’m honored to hear from you.  Your thoughts on radio are valuable to me.  Make that:  Valuable to everyone.

Don Whittemore:  “THX!  Read Bobby's essay for flaws.  Radio needs to be the iTunes of the day.  Are there any independent-thinking media gamblers out there?  People who want to get a better life for themselves should stop digging their holes any deeper, climb up and out onto solid ground and go searching for like minded souls.  Signed, a veteran who never wore a uniform.”

Great Don Whittemore tale:  He’d just bought three houses in the area just east of Santa Monica.  I asked him why.  He said:  “So I can tell everyone to go to hell.”  But so far I’ve never heard him say it.  He’s God’s basic nice guy.  Used to run free peppermint ice cream up to Jack Roberts who, at the time, certainly couldn’t go get it and couldn’t have paid for it anyway.  Just FYI, Jack’s chauffeur back and forth to the medical clinic was record promotion guru Don Graham, another basic nice guy that God created.

Burt Sherwood: “Claude, I read with great interest all who wrote about how radio should be.  They were the reasons we all found it interesting … when I started there were brand new AM radio stations coming to each marketplace.  There was before this one  or two stations to small and medium markets prior to WW II.  The stations served the area and then the business started to grow … I believe it was 1953 when the three-ownership rule was dropped.  Before that owners had to keep their stations a minimum of three years before they could sell.  It was in the 50s a rich man’s business for the most part.  The people that owned them loved the business … from then on the owners became Wall Street oriented … the FCC put as many stations on the air as could be legally serving a market … there was no regard for economics … as there was originally when they had to prove they had enough funds to operate (as I recall) for a full year without any outside revenue.  Then came FM … followed by TV … and now followed by the Internet.  It is a serious business and those of us who started in the creative end had to learn where the money was … sales … to go on and on is foolish … it is still a big business … the word you bring to mind is CHANGE.  I am sure people who are more learned than I will chime in.”

Eliot Field:  “FYI, as follow to Last of the Seven Swingin' Gentlemen, Amazon ‘Purely Palm Springs’ Elliot Field, still at it and swimming most every day. Always a pleasure to maintain a two-way conversation. P.S. NEW SINCE we last touched base, proudly a nominee to the NAB Hall of Fame. Now all I gotta do is hope to live up to a during life enrollment. (I've had worse problems.)  Always good wishes, EF.”

Honored to hear from you, Eliot.  Say hello to Morris Diamond and Alice Harnell next time you guys visit the same swimming pool.  Sorta wish I could be there to work on my freckles.  When you get around 82, your freckles grow dull in the shade.

Dave Anthony:  “As with Vox Jox, I always enjoy reviewing your weekly cavalcade of radio names that I worked with, used to know, or heard about.  One colorful individual I haven’t seen mentioned – unless I simply missed it – but worth suggesting in any event was Domino Rippy.  During my years programming KDWB, he was my noon-to-3 personality.  (I never called them DJs, but that’s a separate story).  Not only did I hear classic stories from him often about his earlier days at KCBQ and other legendary radio stations, but he created more tales by just showing up for work every day.  Domino could easily dial up whatever level of energy I requested, from a midday warm-hearted female-targeted approach to his rapid-fire high energy Jack Armstrong style that is still sheer entertainment to me today.  Looking back on the radio personalities we’ve lost over the years, I suggest his name as one who carved a space in Top 40 radio history.”

Today, I lift a glass of skimmed milk in salute to Domino Rippy.  I don’t recall meeting him, but wish that I had.  Just FYI, Dave, it was Harvey Glascock, then general manager of WNEW in New York, who impressed upon me the words “radio personality.”  He always had enormous respect for the person on the air.  Of course these ranged from William B. Williams to Julius La Rosa and Alison Steele’s former husband.

More Ken Dowe:  “You mention Don Barrett from time to time.  Not sure you know he was a graduate of Gordon's ‘Magnificent Seven’.  We accepted applications from across the nation and chose the ‘Best and Brightest’ for months of extensive SEAL-like radio training at Gordon's Texas ranch for advancement into several McLendon stations.  Don was a most excellent graduate.  Just FYI.”

Don Barrett is a good man.  Years and years ago, a college buddy had a stroke.  I asked Don Barrett and Art Roberts to write him notes of encouragement.  They did.

Scott St. James: “Hi Claude!  Hi Barbara!  I just now finished reading Bobby Ocean's radio thoughts that you published in your Commentary No. 74, on (early) Sunday evening.  I'm a guy who has read some of Bobby's radio thoughts in the past.  And his thoughts have always made sense to me.  I've often told people that I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to play the radio game for many years WHEN I played.  Ah, yes ... I can't help but remember a hit song: ‘Those were the days, my friend.   We thought they'd never end’.  Meanwhile, I'm fortunate enough to occasionally do a once in a while Show Business something.  Retire?  I remember Frank Sinatra's response to that;   ‘Retire?   Retire to WHAT?’.  Another great column, Mr. Hall.”

Gary Allyn:  “Dear Claude of The Hall House:  I must respond to Bill Hatch’s comments in your current issue.  I apologize for not making it clear enough when I mentioned in one of your earlier commentaries about Lee Baby Simms being ‘fired’ from KCBQ.  I should have mentioned that Lee did, in fact, remain at The Q.  After all, Lee’s mentor was George Wilson, who at the time, was President of Programming with Bartell Broadcasting.  Dick Casper was just the GM.  So, Lee stayed on, but I did relieve him of his air shift for that day as I was instructed. Bill Hatch was one of the many stellar news people on staff then.  KCBQ News was at the top of its game during this time.  Thanks Bill, for letting me correct this minor gaff in MY reporting.  Lee lasted for two weeks after Buzz Bennett took over, then left for Los Angeles and KRLA. And oh yes, I loved reading Bobby Ocean’s thoughts on the demise of Radio as we knew it ... and it’s possible resurrection.  He indeed, is ‘The Old Master Thinker From the Far Away Hills’ of San Francisco.  I hope to add my ‘2 cents’ in due time, but right now I need it for gas for my Studebaker!  California gas prices are through the roof again. Went up 55 cents overnight here!

“NOTE TO WOODY ROBERTS: I have a photo of you in an old radio promotion that a friend of yours and mine sent me.  But I don’t know how (where) to send it to you.  Maybe a nearby space station?  Claude has my email -- I think.  Best to all, and keep it ‘Light, Tight, and Bright’.”

Woody Roberts:  “Time has flown, Bob Dylan's first tour --half-century ago.  I get to say, I was backstage as a guest of Joe Mansfield at Columbia Records.  I was the first Top-40 radio PD to report ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ to the national trades as a hit.  I asked if there would be a press conference and Bob said he would only do it in a grease pit, Joe found one but the star backed out.  He stayed at the old Vila Capri.  Joe later told me that Bob said he was the first guy in a suit he trusted.  I am sure old-time UT frat boys and old-time Austin musicians will show up for this tribute.  Bob's show in the now gone Muni Auditorium was two sets, the first acoustic and second with the Hawks.  Of course everyone knew he was booed at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival for doing rock music and lambasted in Sing Out! so several local folk music lovers accommodated and booed and then quickly got caught up in it.  After visiting the motel it was a long drive home at 2 a.m. but I had the energy of not yet turning 25 and in those days there wasn't that much traffic on I-35.“
Hit version:
Accustic version w/ lyrics and Ginsberg:
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015
Threadgill's World Headquarters Presents:
THE FIRST WALTZ - Austin Goes Electric
An All-Star Austin Salute to the 50th
Anniversary of Bob Dylan and the Band's First Concert
It has been called one of the most remarkable events in American music history.  On Sept. 24, 1965, Bob
Dylan played his first ever concert in Texas. It was also the very first time he shared the stage with the group of musicians who would come to be known as The
Band.  This explosive combination which changed music history forever was first ignited at the Austin Municipal Auditorium.  On Sunday, Sept 27, 2015 Threadgills will present a collaboration of local musical icons and lone star
legends paying tribute to this historic concert. Proceeds with benefit SIMS Foundation, celebrating 20 years of providing low-cost mental health services for Austin musicians.Artists are subject to change, as we know.  Here are the musicians hoping to perform at the event as of today:  Jon Dee Graham, Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland, Sabrina Ellis, Denny Freeman, Rosie Flores, Beaver, Nelson, Miles Zuniga, Jesse Dayton, John Evans, Mario Matteoli, Kelley, Mickwee, Ben Ballinger, Danny B Harvey, Annie Marie Lewis, Jonathan, Terrell Ramsay Midwood, Elsa Cross, Jimmy Smith, Mike Nicolai.

Sounds like a heck of an event!  Wish I could be there.  Nothing like live!  Just FYI:  Barbara and I were there at Forest Hill Tennis Club when Bob Dylan went public with electricity!

Larry Woodside:  “This was from Charlie Van Dyke on Facebook this morning.  So sorry to hear it.  A few years ago she came to visit with me for a week and we had a ball.  Many will miss her.  Have you heard what caused her passing?  RIP, Shana. When I was PD at KHJ, I brought her to LA from San Francisco.  She worked over nights.  Our shifts crossed every day at 6AM.  I loved driving in, listening to her skills on the air.  Her first language was German, so her English had a unique quality that you couldn't nail down.  KHJ's first lady dj.  A lady, indeed!”

Frank Boyle:  “Love your Commentary -- lotta very insightful programming stuff that salesguys like me never were privy to.  Hal Whitney -- Ron Ruth was GM of WOR- FM.  He tried to sell me 260,000 WOR- FM sweatshirts when station was sold.  Bill Musser (Susquehanna fame) was GM of Long Island stations then, I think.  Getting fired -- in retrospect -- was a learning experience.  I got fired 5 times.  My first job out of Michigan State in 1950 was as seller of Charities for the new experiment in Detroit called the United Foundation -- we represented 100 Charities -- got dropped when Fall Campaign was over.  Then to US Tobacco, maker of Copenhagen/ Skoal Snuff -- Model & Old Briar pipe tobacco -- I covered the Eastern half of Michigan.  I had to make 20 sales calls a day whether I drove 20 blocks or 20 Miles calling on Retail outlets of tobacco. After a year my Boss fired me because I 'd put on my daily report to him that I screwed a Model Pipe Tobacco sign on a Mom N Po supermarket front door in suburban Detroit.  I made him drive me to that store.  He pointed out to me that the front door had a Lucky Strike kick plate. I took him inside to show him that ‘our’ kickplate was on the inside of the door.  Next to General Electric Supply Company of S. Michigan where I got exposed to Radio & TV and Newspapers.  I was Asst Mgr of Sales Promotion and  of Advertising.  Fancy title helping our 114 Franchised GE & Hotpoint Appliance Dealers buy Ads partially with our Co-op Funds.  Now called NTR – Non-Traditional Radio.  I bought time & newspaper space … wrote ads … bought time … did Spec spots for radio & TV acting as an ad agency.  Had zero prior training or experience in print or Broadcast advertising.  Had been taken to fancy restaurants for lunch and drinks by local time Salesmen in new cars making about $25,000 yrly.  I had a 39 Chevy making $75 a wk -- I figured if I could sell spots half as good as those guys I could make $12,000 yrly and drive a new DeSoto.  Got fired after 18 months because guy whom I replaced had come back from Korean War and rule was he got his job back.  I was hired by WJR 50 KW, 1A Clear Channel, 760 CBS Affiliate, in 1953 as a Rookie.  I loved it.  Got promoted to Local Sales Mgr. in 2 yers.  We were the originating station for Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and University of Michigan football and baseball.  WJR had a staff of 80 -- 35 piece orchestra doing three live shows a day -- 12 announcers --  12 newsmen, etc., on 3 floors of Fisher Bg.

“I had three management problems.  Our VP/Station Mgr. had been a PD -- never had anything to do with sales -- we were paid salary and yearend mystery Mgt. Bonus.  I felt we should be on commission.  Our FM was automated Classical Music operating literally out of a closet in main engineering space.  After 7 yrs. supervising sales and traffic, I got fired for arguing above points plus fact I was not permitted to revise Rate Card sections to show 6-10 AM and 3-7PM drive times.  For past 20 yrs. WJR had three sections -- 7AM-7PM, 7PM to Midnight and Midnight to 7AM.  Jim Quello was in an nearby office as VP of Publicity and Sales promotion … later GM when Cap Cities bought it and later FCC Chairman.  In 1959 I was hired by a new National Radio Sales Rep Firm -- Robert E Eastman -- to be their first Detroit Mgr.  Loved it!  Difference between selling nationally, repping 70 stations in 60 markets and selling locally is the difference between Gin Rummy and Master point bridge.  Transferred to New York Office in 1961.  Spent next 25 yrs there going thru the chairs up to president/Chairman of the Board.  Got fired by the Board in 1985 because my goal was to buy or build 4 added Rep Firms so we could represent more than one Client per mkt.  Blair, Katz and Interep were already doing that.  They preferred to be a Singleton Boutique.  In 2 yrs went bankrupt, sold to Jacor and Katz.

“I knew down deep I was going to get fired at United Foundation, US Tobacco, GE and WJR.  But I had this stupid stubborn streak that made me refuse to quit. Actually getting fired made me improve my business status and income -- in every instance.  I had been told by the ‘Big Guys’ … ‘Keep your Options Open … remember, your management always does that as far their employees are concerned’.  I never learned that basic business lesson.  Loyalty came first.

“For past several years I have a counseling service at my Greenwich Church.  Greenwich, CT, is maybe the wealthiest town in the US.  My Pastor, Jesuit, asked me to do this.  Because our parish had over 20 executives who'd been fired yet still put on the 3-piece suit -- with briefcase -- and take commuter train to and from Manhattan -- couldn't admit to their families for six months that they'd been canned.  And I was a professional at getting fired.  My job and my counseling associates explained to the Fired Guys that their second greatest fear was the opening question by the prospective Interviewer looking up from their Resumes – ‘If you're such a Hot Shit, why you'd get fired from your last job?’  We explained that all Interviewers have been fired at least once.  They really want to see how you answered that question -- to compare how the Interviewers did. We train them how to positively answer that question and rewrite their resumes.  I apologize for rambling on you on the ‘getting fired’ subject.  You hit a resonant chord in my business life.  Getting fired and firing people are learning experiences.  Agreed?”

Frank, great on you!  Damned good article!  Especially the counseling part.  So apt!  My compliments.  Wish everyone could read this bit.

Doc Wendell:  “Hi, Claude.  Here is my latest record pick.  I plan on eventually turning these into a book no one will read.”

Joe Nick Patoski: “Hey, y’all, I’ve tried to avoid bombarding you with Kickstarter emails, but we are seven days away from our deadline, with $35,000 to go to reach our $75,000 goal at noon on July 30.  If you’re already backed the project, thanks for getting on board.  Please spread the word about what we’re up to.  If you haven’t backed the film, so we can pay for music licensing, screen the film in wide release, and get Doug into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, now’s the time.  I’ll be at the Doug Sahm tribute at the Viva Big Bend music fest in Alpine, Texas Thursday, July 23 (who knows? we might even sneak preview the film for fans in Far West Texas around 6:30 Thursday night … hint, hint).  Next Wednesday, July 29, is the big Sir Doug Kickstarter blow out at the Broken Spoke in Austin with Shawn Sahm, Augie Meyers, Alvin Crow, Speedy Sparks, Ernie Durawa, Ray Benson, Bruce Robison, Jack Ingram, Kimmie Rhodes, and a house band led by Tom Lewis and featuring John X Reed.  C’mon out and let’s party Doug to the finish line.  Remember, Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal.  If we don’t meet the $75K target, we get nada.  So, por favor, back us if you can.  We’ve made a great film that tells Doug’s story.  Now we’ve pushed all our chips to the table to get this film the wide exposure it deserves.  Red or black, double or nothing.  Groove with us.  Let the world know about Doug Sahm and Doug Sahm’s music.  Be real.”

Joe Nick, I would love to be there.  Exciting!  And I wish I had funds to contribute.  However, old former radio-TV editors seem to always live short of funds.  Blame it on Lee Zhito.  He wasn’t a very nice person.  Rollye James can tell you.  Or read “Xtreme” at Books and you might get a glimpse of what I mean.

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