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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Random Ramblings

Some random ramblings of , as the song says, these things are on my mind.  OK, I purloined the line from Pete Seeger on a much bigger issue---"These Three Are On My Mind", This is the anniv. of Freedom Summer and it will be duly noted and remembered on TRADITIONS on 7/6.

Back to the random rambling.   I finally did my second garage sale in 40 years---the first netted about $20 and about 2 shoplifters.  I promised myself never again.  Today I succumbed to clean out the garage and I do believe we live in affluent times for some folks.   Opening at 9 AM the 1st person showed up at 10:30 and purchased a butterfly net for $2---should have kept it and used it so someone would commit me for this inanity.   My 2d patron (and his mother) came about 11:45.   Truly a sad case or I am the sucker of the day.   He asked me how much I wanted for a beach chair I had---I said $2 and we settled for $1 which is when I realized he seemed to have no money since his mother  (he was in his 40s, it seemed) paid.  He then wanted some 75 feet of electrical wire I had(heavy duty) and he offered $1 and did not have enough change---I let him have it anyway and gave his mother a gift of some baskets I had.   That ended my disaster of a sale.  Never again.   I do wonder if he was good at pleading poverty while driving a fairly late model van.   Yet, I felt for the man and tried to do a little good.

Everything now is at the curb FREE for the taking and even there no takers. There was a time---oh well.  Monday the trash (sanitation folks for proper nomenclature) will, hopefully, take it all away.

 For a few more ramblings---
    Dick Cheney on Charlie Rose.   Charlie Rose did better than I have ever seen him do given the Cheney intransigence.   The Jon Stewart characterization of him is even more true to his image than a characterization should be . 
    Not that I want to make recommendations for people to contact for Real Estate agents or contractor I do have to say that I have run into some people who truly care about the "client" even when there is not a thing that will benefit them but just care about how "you are doing".   On request.
    Back to the programs---a truly funny (by request) Sunday Simcha on 7/6 and on Traditions that day we commemorate the holiday in a comical way along with the usual features and some brilliant new material.    Don't miss Hour 2 (3 PM now) for some remembrances of your favorites---again, more requests.
    One last thought about Sunday Simcha.   I hope many of you viewed the CBS show on Sunday a few weeks back.  What a wonderful segment on Fyvush Finkel and how delighted I was to have had the honor of having him on the program and also of driving him home after a show in his honor.  A real gem of a gentleman who is still going strong w/ great talent and humor.
     So, of course there has to be a final thought about Traditions and the fact that back in 1999 Mary Gauthier was my guest.  I found her to be the most honest and open person in our interview which started with her recording of "Drag Queens & Limousines".  Biographical.   I saw her a few years later in Rockland County and I asked her to stay over at my place to save hotel bills. She did.  Now she is a huge success and I am so delighted.  I just heard her about a week ago on WNYC on Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross---still honest and open.  A delight.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SOME RANDOM BRAIN DROPPINGS AND SOME MUSICAL RECOMMENDATIONS

There are some wonderful new artists in the genre that I claim to write of and I will get to them in a moment.  First, though, a personal reading recommendation.  If you are of a certain age and from a certain area you will enjoy this well written memoir by Avery Corman----"My Old Neighborhood Remembered".   Avery Corman, you will recall, wrote Kramer v Kramer, Oh God, etc.   My surprise is that he and I are just about 2 years apart in age and grew up within in 10 blocks of each other in The Bronx.  Same schools, same activities, and so much more that is now gone from the city landscape and the city's ---shall we call it morality?   Times change, mores change, rituals change, and growing up in a time of plain old simplicity and safety change.   Growing up in that wonderful bubble of time was a joy.   Read the book and re-live it if you are of that generation and if not, read it and see what life was like in that simpler time.

It's amazing how much new material flies into the ever open transom when you are off for a few weeks from TRADITIONS---SUNDAY SIMCHA continues on unabated with the music the audience seems to like the most---and I shall stick to it more.  Let us say it is generation oriented.  For TRADITIONS, as said, that open transom let fly in some wonderful new material and artists.  For example ---Jackie Morris, The Warren G. Hardings, Paul Sachs, Abe Loomis, Job Potter, Linda MaCraeand some not so new but with new releases such as John Flynn and Red Molly.   All them can be heard this coming Sunday (June 8) when we will also visit with some old favorites (as always), pay a brief tribute to the wife of Tom Paxton (more on 6/22), and recall (musically) the amazing date of June 5, 1944.   I also hope  you tune in for the "remembrance" segment as we remember topical and protest singers who are no longer with us.  We will also have a set of guitar songs---songs about guitars that are not metaphorical.  Sometimes a guitar is just a guitar a guitar as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.   No one can possibly be offended by these non metaphorical pieces.  One of them will be performed by Gathering Time prior to the creation of  their newest work.  A wonderful piece compose by Stuart Kabak.   Not to be missed.
 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A FEW MORE ILL AFFORDED BRAIN DROPPINGS AND SOME FOLK MUSIC MOMENTS AS WELL

 The Blog does state that Folk music was the main topic. So it shall be.  But, given my disease of regression I do move into other topics since Folk Music can not be the entirety of one's being.  We'll get to that "main" topic in a moment.

On Sunday, May 18 I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful concert at the Borderline Folk Music Club (New City NY) and the honor of introducing GATHERING TIME who do not need an introduction given their climb --rightly deserved--in popularity.   I have mentioned this before.  You find the mos talented artists and material at local venues at a fraction of what you will find in the arenas and at a fraction of the price.   This is not to denigrate major Bway. productions.  That is a whole different can of worms (well, venues) than arenas and over the top shows at fantastic prices for music you cannot really hear given the mega sound.

Let's now talk of some philosophical items regarding music and air-play.   I hope you tune in to SUNDAY SIMCHA on May 25 (well, I hope you always tune in).  A perfect example what was gentle humor in years back and what upsets people today---Comedy Corner will feature Allan Sherman (on the subject of the Draft) and Phil Ochs (same subject) in a whole different mode that might be offensive in our new overly sensitive listenership, society, and  random-listeners who tune in and do not wait for commentary.  They really should stick to Sirius---no comments, just bland music.   Way to go.

Since these are random brain droppings let me throw out a few non-musical thoughts--
1)  Gay Marriage.    A semantic issue nothing else.   Why do females call their partners Wives and the males call their partners Husbands?   Call me old fashioned but there are two terms. There is  a great compromise that works for all---Hetrosexuals, etc;----"Spouse".  Nice neutral term that even Hetro folks can use.
       Let me add a nice "folk" note to this now---Eric Bogle's "Silly Slang Song".   Check out the lyrics of this brilliant satirical song.  You have heard it when I am on TRADITIONS.

2)  Speaking of lyrics.   A talented musician gave me a wonderful idea about bleeping out the word that might have offended an irate listener a few weeks ago.  It would have been a good idea had there been offensive words.  There were none.  Just in the mind of a mindless letter writer who seems to be listened to by "the powers that be" ala the McCarthy days that I thought were behind us.   In all honesty I cannot blame the "the powers that be" since they were following a communication addressed to me that was forwarded to them by the erronious receiver of said communication and knew not what the item was about.  They never heard the piece in question.  Yet, ala the McCarthy era, jumped to fearful comnclusions.
     The wonderful thing about Folk Music, aside from the "traditional" is the topicality that it engenders.  We put protest songs (ala Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, etc:) in the "folk basket" so to speak.  Well, there are current singers who also are in the mix.   

     I am always surprised ( in this day and age and the looseness of morals on media) that ONE irate listener gets his annoyance with an ignorant interpretation of something played taken seriously to my detriment.  My detriment is not even the issue.  It seems we have not really left that time when one irate person can hurt many from his rumors and interpretations of events.

    On a brighter note let me add that I will be back at the old stand (as Henry Morgan ---1940s --used to say) on June 8.  Trust me there will be no slack in topical songs, traditional music, the features, and in our Remembrance section I shall remember for us some protest singers---and starting w/ Phil Ochs.  Afix your seat-belts.

3)  The final item has to do with a truly light and slight subject.   A few days ago there was a wonderful film on TCM.  "The Subject Was Roses".   Just wonderful.   What surprised me after not seeing it all these many years was that Judy Collins sang the background music (Where Does The Time Go).  The film is now over 50 years old and her voice sounds the same today.  Hard to believe and yet wonderful to enjoy. 

4)   SUNDAY SIMCHA is ongoing and as far as TRADITIONS is concerned you will have me back at that old stand on June 8---as said we shall do a segment in our Remembrance segment on protest singers.   As you may, or may not, know Mr. Worthy died this week and Phil Ochs has a song about this journalist---you will hear this rarely played piece amongst others.   One last thought--Do not let fear or people who have developed fear change your point of view.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A BIT OF NOSTALGIA FOR ME

I know that followers of this blog are not vast.  They are, however, meaningful. In thinking of that I thought this might be a good time to think about the various programs I do or have done and the folks that have either been on  them or their recordings.   I suppose it is a good thing to do when you have some time off---as I seem top have for a few weeks.  

TABLETALK--a program I did for over 6 years until I found the producing of it too much for my personal schedule.   I will always recall all the wonderful people who came over for conversations---just a few: Michael Oren (Israeli ambassador), Myra Alperson(Nosh Walks), Zora Neal Hurston's Bio author, A ride up the Hudson on a Fireboat and a chat with the captain,  John Forster,and ever so many more.  
                     My thanks to them and to so many others for all their conversation and interest in coming over to WFDU and myself for some really interesting conversation.  It has always made me feel we were on an equal level with so many more prestigious outlets than this humble place.

SUNDAY SIMCHA---What can I say about this program?   I have learned much from my audience via their requests.   I have also been honored by having some great iconic talents on the program.  To name drop a few---Theo Bikel, Zalman Mlotek, Mike Burstyn, Fyvush Finkel, the Producers of Shlomo,the musical,and, you know---the famous many others.  As to my audience.   I do love them and their requests that teach me about things I knew not of.  No names mentions but---Hackensack is a hot spot for that.  So  is Bronx, NY.
TRADITIONS---What can I say  other than it is, to me, the treasure trove of what I like to call "meaningful Music" and hope that it stays that way .  Over 20 years now.    A few guests to mention of the many I have had the pleasure and honor of having on the program---
 Dave Carter/Tracy Grammar, Kate Campbell, Buskin/Batteau,Mary Gauthier, Carolyn Hester, Judy Collins and ever so many more.   I could tell stories about so many of them and our great conversations.  I did forget one memorable one--Noel Paul Stookey.    There was only on interview in over 20 yrs that ended with each of hanging up the phone on each other in anger.   Nuff said there.   You will have to figure that out since all the rest is positive and that is how this should be received.As to meaningful music.  Let us hope it will continue as it always has on TRADITIONS.   It will, as far as I am concerned.  Musicians that I may agree with or disagree with will still get the airplay that a free society deserves.

As to nostalgia---hard to believe that so many years have passed over the bridge (and no tolls---hooray) ---some 20 years now.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

SOME ILL AFFORDED BRAIN DROPPINGS

Might as well start with what is on my mind at this time.  I am thinking back to the era of Joe McCarthy.   I, truly, never knew what a subject of his vendetta was and felt like.  On a very small scale---a very small scale I now understand it.    Listen to this piece of music from a very talented performer (not me in the pic) who has made some wonderful documentary films espousimg the situations of needy and ignored people in 3d world nations.   Listen to the piece but do realize there was commentary by me after it aired.  Without that you may not realize what it is about. BUT if you do listen you will figure that out on your own.   Sadly, some "sort of " listeners to WFDU and TRADITIONS do not.  They write letters.  Letters that miss the point because they do not understand the metaphor---or do not want to.  Granted, you do have to hear my commentary afterwards which the letter writer did.  WFDU did not and did not hear the song before banning me from the air for 2 weeks.   Let us now think  back to the first sentence.  

As to the letter writer---to whom I responded as I do to all our correspondents.   Seems he escalated it to the station management after that reply.   Sadly, they never listened to the song or the comments afterwards prior to issuing their McCarthy like decision..

Well,. at least I am in good company. Think back to Pete Seeger and The Smothers Bros.  If you are to young there is always Wikipedia and Google.

See you in June on TRADITIONS again in June---Phil Ochs will be played proving this point once again---Love Me I'm A Liberal.   Hypocrisy , sadly, in this world abounds.    Best to close this now since there are so many other issues that one could comment on---one I would truly love to discuss---

How did we become the nation and power we are given all the controversies we spawn on any subject.  

Locally, Nationally, and Regionally.  

By the way--Locally.   Have heard a few of the issues in Orange County NY regarding Kiryas Joel.  Do not get me started on that.   One comment--Rockland County  and school districts in Ramapo.  Enough said.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A FEW BRAIN DROPPINGS WITH A STORY

Recently one of my colleagues at WFDU who has a wonderful program at that nice place on the left side of the long gone dial(s)----The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop posted a note on Facebook regarding wrestlers.   One in particular.  It brought to mind my very first TV and why the family acquired it.  So, some nostalgia follows,

I guess it was around 1950 (give or take) and wrestling was a big deal then.  I know that it is a staged piece of fraud with some good physical actors but there were those (including an older relative of mine) who really believed it a sport.  Me--I loved 2 of the stars of this.   Gene Stanlee (Mr. America) and Antonin Rocca (The Argentine Backbreaker).  As actors or comics of today they each had a "shtick".   Stanlee---wiping his brow and throwing his sweat into the crowd.  Rocca---spinning his opponent in the air in preparation for breaking his back (well, not really).  

Time to tell of the first TV and how things do not change with your offspring.   My father could not care less about TV and I truly wanted to see these to alleged gladiators in fake combat.  My father agreed to go with me to purchase a set.  Talk about giving in and spoiling a kid.  Now, I suppose, my grand kids are in the same situation---you know--"..;.whatever Lola wants (fill in your favorite name) Lola gets.."   I digress and need to see a professional about my digressions.

We went to purchase the set.  In those days everyone sold them.  That includes barber shops, shoe stores, and you name it.   Being the techno Luddite that I was and still am I pointed out to my dad that we should buy one that has a dial that works like a radio dial and not those that click into a channel.   Brilliant.   Unfortunately that was not the wave of the future.   We sure did a lot of adjusting on our U S Television.   Bet  you never heard of that wonderful console that was great furniture and  lousy TV.   I did get to see the two protagonists in the "championship" "match".  Stanlee relieved himself of his sweat and Rocca did not break anyone's back.

Thinking of the past days of early TV and how it has evolved.  We did get some exercise in days of  yore by having to arise from the couch to change channels, to change the antenna settings for the higher or lower channels (there were only 7---and a few UHF ones later).   Now we have hundreds and it takes some time to find even one that has anything on it that is not equal to the defecation of some producer's idea of a quality bowel movement.   

Technology has advanced so rapidly that we all have to be truly impressed by the picture quality of today's TVs.  Think back to the days of CRT sets and changing tubes.  We have come along way technically.   Now we have to think if the case before the Supreme Court about the Aero case and the possibility of not being saddled w/ cable bills for channels we do not watch. I know that I am not a sports fan and resent the surcharge on my cable bill for sports.   I won't editorialize on why only sports fans should pay that.  I will just rest on the nostalgic comments and recall when life and technology was simpler.