Monday, 18 April 2016

The ongoing saga of whether you're really a DJ if you're not using Vinyl

Flashback - An article I wrote for Pure Grooves Magazine in September 2010

I've just been reading an article I wrote back in 2010 and it seems as relevant today as it did then. I thought I'd share it.

*************************************

 About a month ago I was doing a disco and a lady in her 50s came up to me and asked me for a request. I checked on my computer and I had the song she wanted, and told her I had it and would play it soon. She then looked at me and with contempt said, ‘You use a computer? You’re not a real DJ then!’ and skulked off.

I can only say I was spitting feathers! I’ve DJed on and off since I was 17 years old and to be told I’m not a proper DJ because I’ve chosen to go down the computer route annoyed me immensely!

I remember DJing with vinyl when I was young, thin, had hair and could see properly, and I can remember carting 2 tonnes of records from venues in the pouring rain at 2 o’clock in the morning, and having reached 50 this year, there is no way in the world I would want to go back to that!

In the 1980s we all started to make the move to CD, and I will say this here and now, that I hate DJing with CDs. Why? Because the cases that came with them, force all the track listings to be tiny. And that plays its part when your eyesight is failing and it’s semi-darkness behind the DJ console. Also, even the CD’s themselves don’t lend themselves well to DJing, mainly because the track listing is rarely on the disc itself, and even when it is, the problem of reading it is still the same.

To carry the amount of songs I do in CD format also means loads of boxes of CDs to cart back and forth, so the same problem I had before still occurs.

Around 6-7 years ago I made the decision to DJ using a computer. Now that may seem easy, but let me tell you, converting vinyl and CDs to computer file formats is an endless and ongoing job. I had already started converting my CDs back in the early 2000s, and when I did eventually start DJing with a computer in 2004, I had around 11,000 different tracks available to use. As I’m typing these words, there are in excess of 35,000 different songs at my disposal for each and every event. Do I need them all with me all the time, probably not, but there is nothing better than seeing someone come up to you and ask for something like Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours’ ‘Mirror Mirror’ and in less that 6 seconds have it cued up ready to play for that person next.

Is it obscure? Not really. It was a top ten hit in 1966. But more significantly it was the person whose birthday I was doing’s favourite song, and it took him and his friends straight back to a time when they were teenagers in their local youth club. You can’t beat the feeling you get when someone’s face light up like this person’s did. That happened back in 2007, and I still can see the look on the man’s face when I think about it.

Had I been carrying CDs about or vinyl, there’s a good possibility I wouldn’t have had it with me as it was something I rarely played, but it’s one of the things that I think makes me stand out above a lot of DJs in the area I lived. And I received a whole host of referrals from the hosts and guests, just because of that one song.

Sure there are a lot of people that think you aren’t a DJ if you don’t use vinyl or CD, but I’m of the opinion that great customer service and being able to have people going home with a big smile on their face, and coming up to me saying what a great night they’ve had, is what makes me a ‘proper DJ’.

Here’s another finding I have as well. When I DJed with either vinyl or CD, I spent half of the night facing the back wall of the venue whilst hunting for songs. All the time I’m facing away from the dance floor, I can’t see what’s occurring, which means I can’t gauge how the event is going.

However, with a computer, I never need to face any other way because the monitor is in front of me, and if a guest should ask for a tune, I can type in the song, find it if I’ve got it, and have it in the queue to play, usually in less than 10 seconds and without the need to take my eyes off of what is happening in front of me for any amount of time.

On top of this, I have spent a fortune over the years replacing my old well worn vinyl with better quality sounding CDs. So why would I want to play my worn out vinyl? To me it makes no sense. If I was just a collector that had all my vinyl in pristine condition at home, that’s fine, but this is what I do for a living and with the vinyl being moved about in loads of different environments, the chances of the vinyl being damaged is significant.

There are times when I play the file as converted from vinyl on my radio shows and at discos, and I have to say that I cringe when I hear the difference in quality. And that’s after I’ve already doctored the file to clean up the songs!

Like a lot of people, I will always have that affinity with vinyl. For me, taking the record out of the sleeve, looking at the label, and placing it on a turntable and cueing it up are things I have a warm affection for and I do still love playing vinyl. But only in my own home.

So am I a proper DJ or not? I think I am. What makes me think I’m a proper DJ is not what format I play music on. For me it’s the way I do what I do. On my radio shows, I would like to think people who listen enjoy the professional way I put them together and like the music choices I make. With the disco I would hope the people at whatever event feel the same. Where the disco is concerned however, I would like to think that what also makes me a ‘proper DJ’ is that as well as preparing for the event thoroughly, I’m able to satisfy the guests and dancer’s tastes, as well as the remit placed on me by my clients.

And finally, the smile on people’s faces as they go home after having a terrific night is what makes me a proper DJ.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Oh yeah…….The woman earlier. I played her song too. She danced, was happy and said thanks afterwards. I smiled back!

By the way, I do still carry a certain amount of CDs - just as back up mind you!


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What I play at home and in the car.

Someone recently asked me what I listened to when I’m playing music at home or in the car. Depending on my mood, I’ve been known to play a whole load of different styles and genres of music.

So I thought I’d give you some idea what other music I listen to.
 
Truth be told, I like most genres of music and can usually find something that I find satisfying to listen to.


It must be said that I am a massive Stevie Wonder fan so you’ll often find one of his albums on a usb stick to play in the car when I’m out. ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ being my favourite. At the same time, you could find albums as diverse as James Taylor’s ‘Gorilla’, an album that rates as one of my favourites, to Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ .

Donald Fagan’s ‘Nightfly’ album is another that gets played a lot as does John Holt’s ‘1000 Volts of Holt’. Back in 2009, Will Downing’s ‘Classique’ was my favourite album of the year and that can be heard as well.

There’s a part of me that likes Smooth Jazz and many a time I’ve spent an evening listening to an internet station I discovered years ago called KJZY. I do like to chill and the mix of tunes they play works for me. Bearing that in mind I’ll admit to liking Kenny G, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum and many others of that ilk.

I’m a great oldies fan as well. So in my collection, you’ll find most of the Beatles albums, ‘Revolver’ probably being my favourite. A few years ago I went on an ebay hunt and bought a Barbara Lewis album called ‘It’s Magic’. It’s the third time I’ve bought the album over a 30 year period. I remember buying in 1989 and giving £15.00 for it. Somewhere along the way it went missing and in 2008 I bought it again for £31.00. It’s just a lovely album and this time I’m not letting it go anywhere!

Just before he died, I persuaded a group of people to come along with me to see Lonnie Donegan in concert. Lonnie has been a hero of mine for years and he was one of the pioneers of the pop scene in this country way back in the 50s. After the concert, the great man was in the foyer saying hello to people as well as selling a 3 CD compilation set of all his singles which I just had to buy, and I have to say I still play that when the mood takes me. He was really excellent, but was suffering from the flu’ and it was sad that a few weeks later he passed away in his hotel room on that same tour.

The Beach Boy’s, ‘Pet Sounds’ is another of those classic albums that I still listen to, and I have to say I have a few Beach Boys compilation albums that always cheer me up whenever I play them.

Back in 2006, I bought an album called ‘Handful Of Soul’ by Mario Biondi. It’s an absolutely awesome album and many will know the track ‘This Is What You Are’ from it. Trust me, there are some other fine songs on the album worth hearing and if you’ve not heard it, go get it. It’s a shame the follow up album couldn’t keep to the same standard.

Other albums over the years that seem to get played a lot by me are Carly Simon ‘Hotcakes’, which brings back some great memories for me. Eagles ‘Greatest Hits (1971-75)’, Van Morrison ‘Moondance’ Marvin Gaye ‘Let’s Get It On’, and Al Green’s ‘Call Me’.

Frank Sinatra is another of those classic artists that I still find time to play. ‘The Capitol Years’ probably encompasses his most successful period and is jam-packed full of classics.  I have a few Ella Fitzgerald compilations that I love and hearing songs like ‘Manhattan’ and the absolutely awesome ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ still send shivers down my spine. You’ll also find compilations by the likes of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin in there too.

Classic albums do play a part in my listening and so Dire Straits ‘Brothers In Arms’ is there – as a side note it was the first album I bought on CD, way back in 1985. Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ takes me back to a time when I was just a kid. Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ is there as well. I just love ‘Money’. 

I have a load of Elvis Presley albums, but I always end up playing ‘GI Blues’ for some reason. Probably because I still love the film.

Speaking of films, Isaac Hayes’ ‘Shaft’ soundtrack is awesome and listeners to my show will have heard me play ‘Café Reggio’s in my shows more than once.

One of my top three films is ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and the soundtrack album by Ennio Morricone is just about as chilled as it could be. Now it goes without saying, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ was a major turning point in my life, and I am very nostalgic about the album and just love to play MFSB’s version of ‘K-Jee’.

So what guilty pleasures do I have that I listen to – more to the point should I admit to them? Ah - why not. After all they add to the rich tapestry of life.

First up comes Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Back to Front’ the album that has my favourite lyric of all time. In the song ‘The Golden Rule’ Gilbert sings,

‘I wouldn't behold wouldn't be cold,
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my Dear old mum and dad,
And the fun they had,
Early one night,
Dad put out the light,
Got hold of me mum,
Said he wanted a son,
And as you can see,
The result was me’

What a lyric eh?



Barry Manilow’s ‘Greatest Hits’ is there too – ‘Weekend In New England’ is just lovely. I can remember having the cassette in my car as a teen (but keeping it well hidden).

This next one has a sentimental pull to it to me as it’s an album I remember from when I was very young.  Max Bygraves & Ted Heath did an album in 1959 called ‘Max & Ted’ and it contained songs from the 1920s in it. Dated? Yes. Corny? Yes Do I love it? Yes. And it’s been rereleased under a different name.

And finally in my hall of shame ‘The Best of’ Wham’. Do I need to say anything about this album? No, I thought not.

Add to that a plethora of compilation albums and you can see that I pretty much like a bit of everything.

I promise not to play ‘Macerana’ or ‘Agadoo’ in a show anytime soon though!

Monday, 25 January 2016

An update....

As you may have read on my blog at the end of 2015, my career as a radio presenter had been put in jeopardy due to the new Copyright Royalty Board changes that came into play as of the 1st January 2016 in the USA.
The changes have caused many American stations that carried my shows to close down and cease trading. This has in turn impacted me.
Starting the week commencing February 1st 2016, 7 years of sharing free podcasts of my shows will come to an end.
If you would like to carry on receiving the shows, you will need to pay a subscription to continue to get them.
For a one off week, you can get all three of my shows for a payment of £3.00.
If you subscribe by weekly ongoing subscription, you will get all three shows for £2.00 per week.
It's not a decision I've taken lightly. However, without taking this step, I would not be able to continue doing the shows. The finances lost at the turn of the New Year due to the ruling, have made it no longer financially viable to continue.
Hopefully, with enough subscribers, I will be able to continue in the long term.
What this means is that for less than the price of one large cappuccino per week from one of the major coffee houses, you'll get almost 7 hours worth of entertainment.
I think that's a bargain!
I will be putting details on the website on how to subscribe closer to the time.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What to do, what to do?

It's nearly time to go back to producing my radio shows. When I finished before Christmas, I was looking forward to the break, but little did I know what was coming. 

Because of the new ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board on December 16th, my radio operation has been torn to shreds and seven years of hard work has been decimated. 

Rewind Central will close down at the end of New Year's Eve and on top of that, I've lost 65% of the stations taking my shows due to the new ruling, as they too have decided it's no longer viable to carry on.

As I said, I will be continuing the shows in the short term while I decide whether to carry on doing them over the long run, or call it a day and find something new to do.

The obvious situation is that I can't afford to carry on for any amount of time following a self-funding plan. It's just too expensive. Approaching stations isn't really the way to go, as I come from a point of weakness.

The majority of smaller stations these days are only willing to take on new shows if they don't have to pay for them. It's not the way forward for me as I still need to eat each week. Having a station on my CV doesn't feed me too well! Some however, do pay and they generally contact me.

I've already had a few listeners say I should try and monetize my shows via listeners. And it may come down to the fact that if listeners want me to carry on, they will have to pay a small weekly donation in order for me to continue.

It's a plan I'll have to look at, and it means that after 7 years, I will no longer be allowing the shows to be freely downloaded. The way to hear my shows will be that you'll have to either listen to them via one of the stations that still takes them, or pay a small amount and get a link to them from me.

So, how much would I be talking about via ongoing weekly donation? Probably less than the price of a coffee from one of our big coffee shops on the high street. And that would get you the current week's shows. However I would need enough listeners willing to do that.

Someone pointed out that people are willing to pay for Spotify and other streaming sites on a monthly basis, and that my shows were worthy of being paid for in the same way. Time will tell.

I've made no decisions as yet. But one thing's for sure. The events of the 16th December in America have affected what I do. And I fear that narrower playlists and less choice for listeners is going to be around the corner if webcast stations are killed off as they appear to be trying to do.

I wasn't expecting that!

On December 16th, while I was in Weymouth visiting my sons, The Copyright Royalty Board, a group of three judges appointed by the Library of Congress in America, made a decision that had wide ranging implications for many small webcasting radio stations that broadcast there and also stations worldwide that have listeners in America.


In fact, in my opinion, they effectively killed small independent web radio stations in America by setting a new royalty pricing structure that puts licensing far out of the reach of most small broadcasters.

These judges who determine rates and terms for copyright statutory licenses, made a decision which will raise the rates that web radio stations currently pay for the privilege of entertaining you with recorded music, by over 16 hundred percent beginning January 1st 2016.


Why am I telling you this? Quite simply because over the past 24 hours or so, I've seen my radio endeavours impacted greatly. Much of my radio income comes from stations that will be affected by this ruling.


How so? Over 65% of stations taking my shows have announced within the last day that they shall cease broadcasting at 11.59pm on 31st December 2015. Therefore, they will no longer be subscribing to my shows.




The knock on effect of it for me is that as of the same time in the UK, I shall be closing down Rewind Central as I no longer am going to self-fund it.


I am now considering where I go in regard to doing my shows. The fact is, the major radio stations in this country aren't going to take my shows. I don't fit their format and I'm not what they want. The shows that I do certainly aren't. That's fine, I understand that.


The likes of Community Radio stations and with the rare exception, most smaller stations, all want me to donate my shows for free to them (apparently it will look good on my CV). You would not believe the amount of stations that tell me they love my shows, but aren't willing the pay the small amount I charge to air them. But that's the way it is these days I'm afraid. I've also been offered shows on stations, if I'd like to pay them for the privilege.


On 12th January 2009, I did my first radio show and since then I've invested thousands of hours and pounds into building my radio presence. On 12th January 2016, it will be 7 years since it all started for me. I love doing what I do, but I am now deciding where the future lies. As much as it's a great hobby for lots of people, it's not the way I see it. I never have. I've never treated it as a hobby, nor will I in the future. It's always been more than that to me.
For now in the short term I'll carry on, but unless I can find a way of financing the shows, it appears I'll be looking for something new to do in 2016.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Eric Clapton's Greatest Hits by James Murphy aged 3 and a half





Monday, 23 June 2014

Being insulted doesn't work for me!

Yesterday, a station contacted me to tell me they love my shows and want them on their station and it would be great for my exposure. However it wouldn't be a paid opportunity, but it would look good for my C.V.

I've spent the last five years working to try and earn a living from this. For four of those years, I didn't really earn a penny as I learned my trade and used what I earned  to improve myself. I have been managing to syndicate my shows and getting paid of late, and that's as it should be.

I understand loads of people want to do radio and many are willing to do it for nothing. But as far as I'm concerned enough is enough,

My point is this. I didn't go asking for the job at the station - they approached me. But at the same time they patronised me and insulted my intelligence as well. If they feel my shows are great and want them, then it's only fair I should be paid for my efforts.

I felt that it warranted a measured response, but at the time I was just a tad annoyed - I will say this, I turned down their kind offer - and I took a short while to put the message below together


Friday, 28 March 2014

Wanna be one of our 'voices'





Thursday, 20 March 2014

Missing In Action (the first show) - Song By Song

As it's the first show, I thought as a one-off, I'd give you a run down of the show, song by song. Loads of information and pictures for you to read whilst having a listen!

All you need to do is click the link and you'll be transported to the show!

1 Reunion – Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)
Reunion was a studio group created around songwriters Norman Dolph and Paul DiFranco, which scored one US Top 10 single in 1974 with the novelty song ‘Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)’. The group had already released a number of singles on RCA Records with no luck when writer/producer DiFranco approached writer/singer Joey Levine to work on the song which ultimately became their only hit. The song had been written two years previously but had remained unfinished. Levine, Dolph and DiFranco took final writing credit and it was recorded in a bubblegum style (Levine had had success writing hit songs in the 60s for studio bubblegum outfits such as the Ohio Express, and was a member of the Third Rail). ‘Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)’ reached number 8 in the US in late 1974 but further releases under the Reunion name failed to chart. They did not record any albums and the project was soon shelved.

2 Cat Stevens – I Love My Dog
"I Love My Dog" is a song written by Cat Stevens, and was his first single (b/w "Portobello Road"), appearing the following year on his debut album Matthew and Son. Stevens later acknowledged that the song had been inspired by American jazz multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef's "The Plum Blossom", from his 1961 Eastern Sounds, with which it shares a melody.

FEATURED ALBUM – CARLY SIMON – HOTCAKES 
(JAN 1974)
Hotcakes is singer-songwriter Carly Simon's fourth studio album. Released in 1974, it became one of her biggest selling albums. The album featured the hits "Mockingbird", a duet with her then-husband James Taylor (a cover of a 1963 hit for Inez and Charlie Foxx), and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain", as well as many other songs that reflected Simon's upbeat mood during her pregnancy with her first child. On the album cover, Simon sits in a gleamingly white kitchen, robustly pregnant, smiling brightly and wearing a somewhat bohemian white linen dress.
The album went gold immediately and it stayed on the charts for eight months, yet it was initially overshadowed commercially by two other major albums released by Simon's own label, Elektra/Asylum, in the same month as Hotcakes, Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark and Bob Dylan's Planet Waves. These took the #2 and #1 spots, respectively, on the Billboard album chart while Hotcakes peaked at #3.Hotcakes went on to sell several hundred thousand more copies than Dylan's album and was listed in the Top 40 of Billboard's Year End Top albums for 1974, while Planet Waves did not make the Top 50.

3. Carly Simon - Haven’t Got Time For The Pain
This was the follow-up to "Mockingbird," which was Taylor's duet with her husband at the time, James Taylor. Here, a once sad, unfulfilled woman has discovered happiness and has turned her back on a past that once seemed hopeless.

4 Beach Boys – Break Away
"Break Away" (occasionally listed as Breakaway) is a song recorded by The Beach Boys in 1969. It was written by Brian Wilson and his father Murry Wilson, who is credited as lyricist under the pseudonym "Reggie Dunbar". The single was relatively unsuccessful compared to the groups releases, and charted at #63 in US Billboard (top 40 in Cash Box and Record World charts). "Break Away" sold better abroad, reaching #6 on the United Kingdom charts.


5 Boomtown Rats – Banana Republic
"Banana Republic" was the first single from The Boomtown Rats' album Mondo Bongo. It peaked at number three in the UK charts and was the band's last major commercial success. Breaking from the band's previous new wave sound the song opens with a ska-reggae hook (that repeats at the close of the much longer album version). However, the song itself is a more mainstream piece musically. The 'Banana Republic' which the song describes is actually a deliberately scathing portrait of the Republic of Ireland, the band's country of origin, and was written in response to the band being banned from performing there



6 Bee Gees – Run To Me
"Run to Me" is a song by the Bee Gees. It was the lead single and released in 7 July 1972[1] and first track on the group's 1972 album To Whom It May Concern. There is also a promotional video for this song filmed in black and white. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. Lead vocals by Barry Gibb on the verses and Robin Gibb on the chorus. "Run to Me" saw the Bee Gees return to the UK Top 10 after a three year absence, climbing to #9 while in the US it reached #16. The first Bee Gees single without drummer Geoff Bridgford as he left the band in January that year.


7 Frankie Avalon – Bobby Sox To Stockings
Born Francis Thomas Avallone on September 18, 1940, Avalon was on U.S. television playing his trumpet by the time he was 11. Two singles showcasing Avalon's trumpet playing were issued on RCA Victor's "X" sublabel in 1954. As a teenager he played with Bobby Rydell in Rocco and the Saints. In 1959, "Venus" (5 weeks #1) and "Why" went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Why" was the last #1 of the 1950s. Avalon had 31 charted U.S. Billboard singles from 1958 to late 1962, including "Just Ask Your Heart" (U.S. #7), "I'll Wait For You" (U.S. #15), "Bobby Sox to Stockings" (U.S. #8), and "A Boy Without a Girl" (U.S. #10). Most of his hits were written and/or produced by Bob Marcucci, head of Chancellor Records. He was less popular in the U.K., but did still manage four chart hits with "Why", "Gingerbread", "Venus" and "Don't Throw Away All Those Teardrops".


8 Electric Light Orchestra - Last Train To London
"Last Train to London" is the fifth track from the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) album Discovery. The song was released in 1979 in the UK as a double A-side single with "Confusion". It peaked at number 8 in the UK Singles Chart. However, in the US the two songs charted separately, with "Confusion" in late 1979 followed by "Last Train to London" in early 1980. It peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] In Spain the single was released with the Spanish title "Ultimo tren a Londres".


9 Julia Fordham - Happy Ever After
Julia Fordham (born 10 August 1962) is a British singer-songwriter. Her professional career started in the early 1980s, under the name "Jules Fordham", as a backing singer for Mari Wilson and Kim Wilde, before signing a recording contract of her own later that decade. Fordham is now based in California.
In 1988, Fordham released her first album on Circa Records. Simply titled Julia Fordham, it reached No. 20 in the UK and eventually earned a gold disc. It contained the Top 40 single "Happy Ever After" (which peaked at No. 27 in August 1988). The album also charted in the US, reaching No. 118 on the Billboard 200 chart.


10 Canned Heat - Let's Work Together
"Let's Stick Together" or "Let's Work Together" as it was subsequently titled, is a blues song written by Wilbert Harrison, which was released in 1962. In 1969–1970, the song became a hit for Harrison and has been recorded by a variety of artists, including Canned Heat and Bryan Ferry who had chart successes with the song.
Shortly after the release of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together", Los Angeles blues-rock band Canned Heat recorded their version of the song. Unlike their previous singles ("On the Road Again", "Going Up the Country", and "Time Was") which featured vocals and harmonica by Alan Wilson, for "Let's Work Together" Bob Hite provided the vocals, with Wilson adding the slide-guitar parts. The song was prepared for release as a single in December 1969, but after learning that Harrison's song was becoming popular, the band delayed their release until Harrison's song had run its course.
Canned Heat's "Let's Work Together" was released in August 1970 and reached #26 in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was featured on their 1970 album, Future Blues. In the UK, where Harrison's single failed to generate interest, Canned Heat's version was released earlier in January 1970. It became their biggest UK hit, reaching #2 in the UK Singles chart during a stay of fifteen weeks. According to band manager Skip Taylor, "'Let’s Work Together' was actually their biggest hit as it rose to #1 in 31 different countries around the world"


11 Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
Taken from the album of the same name, the title track was released on the single format and reached No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 16 February 1991. It was the only single of Moore's to chart in the Billboard Hot 100. It reached No. 31 in the UK.






12 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Honey Chile
"Honey Chile" is a 1967 single by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas on the Gordy label. This was the first single to bill Martha Reeves by her full name, as opposed to simply "Martha" and the Vandellas.
This song, rare for a pop song, actually shows character development: at the end of the first verse she states that she is worthless without him, while in the second to last line she says she will find the strength to leave him.
Filled with Southern connotations (inspired by Reeves' birth in rural Alabama), the tune rose to number eleven on the Billboard pop singles chart and number five on the Billboard R&B singles chart. It is notable for several reasons: it is the first track to feature new member, Martha's younger sister Sandra "Lois" Reeves replacing just-fired Betty Kelley, it was the group's twelfth top 40 pop single, and it was also the last top 40 hit the group would score throughout the rest of their Motown tenure though they would score several top 40 R&B singles before leaving the label in 1973.


13 James Taylor & JD Souther - Her Town Too
James Taylor and J.D. Souther wrote this song with Waddy Wachtell, a guitarist known for his work with Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon. The song tells the story of a woman who finds herself living alone after a breakup with her man, and has to deal with the small town gossip. Many people speculated that the song was doubly autobiographical: Taylor's marriage with Carly Simon was ending, as was Souther's relationship with Linda Ronstadt. Taylor and Souther refuse to say who they were singing about, which we found out when we posed that question to J.D. in 2011. When we asked if he'd like to reveal her identity, his reply was, "Of course not. You think after all these years suddenly I'd rat somebody out?"
There are some clues that this is about James Taylor's divorce from Carly Simon. Taylor's ongoing problem with drug use led to their divorce, as did spending more time on his career than with her. This is indicated in the lyrics: "She gets the house and the garden/He gets the boys in the band." The title of the album, Dad Loves His Work, could be another reference to the martial breakup.


14 Gale Garnett - We'll Sing In The Sunshine
"We'll Sing in the Sunshine" is a 1964 hit song written and recorded by Gale Garnett which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending 5 September 1964. The song also enjoyed success on easy listening and country music radio stations, spending seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Easy Listening chart and number 42 on the country chart. The Cash Box Top 100 ranked "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" at number one for the week of 31 October 1964, and it also reached number one in Garnett's native New Zealand that November. In Australia "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" afforded Garnett a Top Ten hit with a #10 peak in October 1964. Garnett's sole Top 40 hit, "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording in 1965.


15 John O'Banion - Love You Like I Never Loved Before
John O'Banion (16 February 1947 – 14 February 2007) was an American vocalist and actor
John was the lead singer in Doc Severinsen's band, "Today's Children". He was managed by Bud Robinson, also Doc's manager. They parted ways in early 1974. O'Banion said that Johnny Carson was a big fan and supporter of his career. John made five appearances on Carson's "Tonight Show", as many on Merv Griffin's and Mike Douglas' shows. He also appeared on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and was the winning singer of the pilot of Star Search.
His song "Love You Like I Never Loved Before" was a hit single in 1981, making it to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. O'Banion won the prestigious Tokyo Music Festival Award in 1982, with "I Don't Want To Lose Your Love", later sung by Crystal Gayle on her 1983 album Cage The Songbird, achieving as a single release, the #2 spot on Billboard's country music chart. John also got the attention of his Japanese fans with two songs written and sung for the samurai/fantasy epic movie Legend of the Eight Samurai, with those songs being "I Don't Want This Night To End" (called Satomi Hakken Den in Japan) and "White Light".
He also appeared in the films Borderline with Charles Bronson, TV movie Courage with Sophia Loren and Billy Dee Williams and starred in the 1990 independent film The Judas Project. In 1995 he released an album with jazz cover versions of such contemporary hits, such as "I'm Not in Love" (10CC), "What You Won't Do For Love" (Bobby Caldwell) and the title track "Hearts" (Marty Balin).
Just two days before his 60th birthday, O'Banion died of blunt force trauma as a result of being hit by a car while touring in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 90s. He died at his home in Los Angeles, California surrounded by friends and family. He had been battling the long term effects received as a result of the trauma to the head following the incident in New Orleans.


16 KD Lang - Miss Chatelaine
 Second single from the album Ingénue, the second solo album by KD. Lang, released in 1992. It has more of a cabaret flavor than Lang's previous work, and was her most successful album on the pop charts both in her native Canada and internationally. The samba-inspired "Miss Chatelaine" was ironic; Chatelaine is a Canadian women's magazine which once chose Lang as its "Woman of the Year", and the song's video depicted Lang — who was usually best known for a fairly androgynous appearance — in an exaggeratedly feminine manner, surrounded by bright pastel colours and a profusion of bubbles reminiscent of a performance on the Lawrence Welk show, complete with an accordion in the instrumentation.


17 Ricky Nelson - Believe What You Say
Eric Hilliard Nelson (May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985) — known as Ricky Nelson, later also as Rick Nelson — was an American actor, musician and singer-songwriter. He starred alongside his family in the television series, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952–66), as well as co-starring alongside John Wayne and Dean Martin in Howard Hawks's western feature film, Rio Bravo (1959). He placed 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973 including "Poor Little Fool" which holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on Billboard magazine's then-newly created Hot 100 chart. He recorded 19 additional Top 10 hits and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987. In 1996, he was ranked #49 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.


18 Carly Simon - Older Sister
The fourth track from this week’s Featured Album, Hotcakes


19 Ace - How Long
How Long" is a 1974 song by the British group Ace from their album Five-A-Side. It reached #3 in the US and Canadian charts, and #20 in the UK chart. Lead singer Paul Carrack composed the song upon discovering that bassist Terry Comer had been secretly working with other bands. Comer returned to Ace in time to play on the song.






20 Kim Wilde - Four Letter Word
"Four Letter Word" is the fourth single from the Kim Wilde album Close.
It was released at the end of 1988 — the year that had seen Wilde release a best-selling album, have four international hits (including the chart-topping "You Came") and support Michael Jackson on the European leg of his world tour.
"Four Letter Word" marked the first occasion in Wilde's then eight-year career where she released a straight ballad as a single. It also marked her last release of a song written by her father and brother (who had written the majority of her early hits together, including the pop classic "Kids in America)". It became her third consecutive UK Top 10 single from "Close", reaching number 6.


21 Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
Taken from the album of the same name, it was released in April 1955 on Capitol Records, produced by Voyle Gilmore with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. The songs on the album deal with themes such as loneliness, introspection, lost love, failed relationships, depression and night-life. As a result, In the Wee Small Hours is generally regarded as one of the first concept albums. The album's cover artwork reflects these themes and portrays a reflective-looking Sinatra on an eerie and deserted street awash in blue-tinged street lights. Sinatra would successfully continue the "concept" formula with later albums such as Songs for Swingin' Lovers! and Only the Lonely. He had been developing the idea since 1946 with his first album release, The Voice. In the Wee Small Hours was issued as two 10-inch LP discs, and also as one 12-inch record LP, making it one of the first of its kind. It was also issued as four four–song 45-rpm EP discs sold in cardboard sleeves with the same cover as the LPs, not in paper covers like 45-rpm singles.


22 Linda Lewis - Rock A Doodle Doo
Rock-a-Doodle-Doo is a popular song and hit single by British singer Linda Lewis.
Written by Lewis and produced by Lewis and her first husband, Jim Cregan, it was her second single, her first hit and her first on the Warner Bros. Records vanity label Raft Records. The song entered the UK charts at #50 in June 1973 and reached #15 in July finally leaving the chart in August 1973.


23 Cliff Richard & The Drifters - Living Doll
"Living Doll" is a song written by Lionel Bart made popular by Cliff Richard and the Shadows (then still The Drifters) in 1959. It has topped the UK charts twice; in its original version and a new version recorded in 1986 in aid of Comic Relief.
The song was originally recorded in 1959 by Cliff Richard and the Drifters and produced by Norrie Paramor. It peaked at #1 on the UK singles chart for six weeks from July 1959, selling over a million copies in the process. The song won Bart an Ivor Novello Award for best song. It was Richard's first US hit single reaching #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.


24 Christians - Forgotten Town
Taken from The Christians' 1987 debut album and contained their first five UK hit singles: "Forgotten Town", "Hooverville", "When the Fingers Point", "Ideal World" and "Born Again".






25 People - I Love You
"I Love You" is a 1965 song by The Zombies, written by their member Chris White, which was covered by People! and The Carnabeats and by several other artists, including foreign translations.
The cover version by People!, released in February 1968 (officially, it was the B-side of "Somebody Tell Me My Name", which was written by Dennis Fridkin and Geoff Levin) (Capitol Records 2078) was a No.14 hit in the USA and went to No.1 in Japan (Capitol CR-1960). In 1968 Capitol released People!'s version in Mexico; Australia and Canada, where it reached No.7 in May 1968;



26 Roger Voudouris - Get Used To It
This song was the only hit for Roger Voudouris, who wrote the song with Michael Omartian, a producer known for producing many of Donna Summer's hits as well as "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" by Christopher Cross and "The Next Time I Fall" by Chicago. This was the only hit for Voudouris, who became a bit of a cult-figure in Australia after appearing on the popular music TV show Countdown in August 1979. Sadly, Roger died in 2003 from liver disease.


27 Ali Thomson - Take A Little Rhythm
Ali Thomson (born 1959 in Glasgow) is a Scottish singer-songwriter. His brother is Doug Thomson, of the Alan Bown Set and Supertramp. Ali began singing and playing piano in local bands and moved to London in the 1970s where he worked for Mountain Records as an office helphand. Ali signed to A&M Records in the UK and recorded two albums. The first album was entitled Take a Little Rhythm, and the title track was a hit in the US, peaking at #10 on the Radio & Records chart and #15 on the Billboard singles chart in the summer of 1980, "Take A Little Rhythm" also peaked at #4 on the Adult Contemporary charts. A second single, "Live Every Minute", charted but did not make the top 40.


28 Billy Paul - Thanks For Saving My Life
Billy Paul (born Paul Williams; December 1, 1934) is a Grammy Award winning American soul singer, most known for his 1972 number-one single, "Me and Mrs. Jones" as well as the 1973 album and single "War of the Gods" which blends his more conventional pop, soul and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences. He is usually identified by his diverse vocal style which ranges from mellow and soulful to low and raspy.
Paul was on the Neptune Records label for many years. He recorded much other material of note, including "Am I Black Enough For You?", "Let's Make a Baby" and an alternate version of "Let's Stay Together". Other songs he recorded include "Let 'Em In", "Your Song", "Only the Strong Survive" and "Bring the Family Back".




29 Family - Burlesque
In August 1972, one month prior to the Bandstand LP release, the band issues this single with the A-side a band like the Faces would have dreamed to compose.It's a hit, and should have reached an higher place in the charts than this modest n°13 (but it stayed 12 weeks in them). 




30 Chuck Berry - My Ding A Ling
"My Ding-a-Ling" is the title of a novelty song written and recorded by Dave Bartholomew. In 1972 it was covered by Chuck Berry and became Berry's only U.S. number-one single on the pop charts. Later that year, in a longer unedited form, it was included on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions. Two members of the Average White Band, guitarist Onnie McIntyre and drummer Robbie McIntosh, played on the single
The lyrics with their sly tone and innuendo (and the enthusiasm of Berry and the audience) caused many radio stations to refuse to play it. British morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried unsuccessfully to get the song banned. "One teacher", Whitehouse wrote to the BBC's Director General, "told us of how she found a class of small boys with their trousers undone, singing the song and giving it the indecent interpretation which—in spite of all the hullabaloo—is so obvious … We trust you will agree with us that it is no part of the function of the BBC to be the vehicle of songs which stimulate this kind of behaviour—indeed quite the reverse."



31 Gene McDaniels - Point Of No Return
Gene McDaniels (February 12, 1935 – July 29, 2011) was an African American singer and songwriter, who had his greatest recording success in the early 1960s.
In 1962 he appeared performing in the movie It's Trad, Dad!, directed by Richard Lester. He continued to have minor hit records, including "Chip Chip" and "Spanish Lace", each in 1962, but his suave style of singing gradually became less fashionable.




32 Duncan Browne – Journey
Duncan Browne (25 March 1947 — 28 May 1993) was an English singer-songwriter.
Browne's biggest hit in the UK was the song "Journey" (UK number 23), as televised on Top of the Pops in 1972. The song was included on Browne's second album Duncan Browne in 1973.






33 Al Matthews – Fool
Al Matthews (born November 21, 1942, Brooklyn, New York) is a UK-based American actor and singer, best known for his appearance as Sergeant Apone in the James Cameron film Aliens (1986). He reprised his role 28 years later, providing the voice of Apone for the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines 
Matthews has played various acting other roles, such as a fire chief in Superman III (1983), General Tudor in The Fifth Element (1997) and Master Sergeant #3 in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). He has also worked in British television, appearing in Grange Hill as the father of Benny Green, as well as in theatre and radio; for the latter, as both an actor (on BBC Radio 4) and a presenter (on BBC Radio 1 and Capital Radio). In 1975, he scored a musical hit in the UK Singles Chart, "Fool", which reached number 16 in the September of that year.


34 Carly Simon - Mind On My Man
The second track on this week’s featured album, ‘Hotcakes’



35 Five Star - Rain Or Shine
Peaking at #2 on the UK chart, it was held off the top spot for three weeks by British pop band The Communards with the year's biggest selling song, "Don't Leave Me This Way". "Rain Or Shine" spent a total of 13 weeks inside the UK Top 75, five of those in the Top 10.





36 Al Johnson - Carnival Time
Al "Carnival Time" Johnson (born June 20, 1939, in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American singer and piano player best known for the Mardi Gras song "Carnival Time".
In 1956, at seventeen, he recorded his first songs, "Ole Time Talkin" and "I've Done Wrong"" for Aladdin Records.[2] Johnson subsequently signed with Ric records and recorded series of songs at Cosimo Matassa's New Orleans recording studio starting with "Lena" in 1958. "Carnival Time" was recorded for the label in 1960.

Well... I hope you enjoyed the show - hopefully, over the next few weeks the show will bed itself in and I'll get it more refined as we go along. Feel free to get in touch and let me know what you thought of the show.

As for the notes above - they took longer to put together than the show did!

Till next time...

Friday, 14 March 2014

Crashed computer files, Champion the Wonder Horse and a new show!

Wow what a week it's been!

It all went wrong last Friday afternoon, when I booted my Music computer, which I use as the playout system for my shows.

I opened the radio software only to be confronted with no music. To say I was slightly concerned would have been an understatement. Panicked would be closer. 8 years worth of music had suddenly disappeared - that's over 41,000 songs.

I checked my music files on the computer and they were still there, so I realised it had to be the data file that had crashed. And here's where I made the big mistake! I re-opened the programme to make sure no data was being found and then went to close it down. As it closes down it asks where you want to save the session data to, and for some stupidly unknown reason, I said I did, and instead of saving it to where it usually goes, I went to where my back up was and saved it over the back up file instead!

Don't ask me why I did it, I really don't know. It wasn't bad enough the file crashing for the first time in eight years, that I then had to ruin the back up as well. Until I'd saved an empty file over a perfectly good back up, I hadn't realised what I'd done. If I've ever been really angry with myself this was the time.

So basically I've had to start compiling the database in the programme all over again. Importing the music was easy - it took around an hour to get all the music back on there. But it wasn't until I'd got the music back on there that it had me what I'd really lost. With so many songs on the computer, they need to be compartmentalised into different genres to make the songs easy to find. I'd originally done this as I imported the music a bit at a time. So now I'd have to start from scratch and do it all again.  If that isn't bad enough, over the years I've added notes to the files to tell me loads of details about the songs. For instance if the song's a 'B' side, I'd have a note saying what the 'A' side was, which album the song was on. Also when it was released and it's highest chart position if that was needed. And loads of other little details.

As you can see, the enormity of my error suddenly became clear, and it has been overwhelming. Since last week, I've spent around 10 hours a day putting the most important songs into new genre folders. So far I've managed to do 24,460, so I'm over halfway through. It's the other details that are going to be the problem. All the information that I've accumulated over the last eight years has to be found and re-input. So as you can tell, one silly action has caused me a whole lot of grief and work to do, just to get back to where I was last Friday morning.

While I was going through my files, I came across Frankie Laine's 'Champion The Wonder Horse'.
When I was a kid it used to be on the telly on a Saturday morning and I loved the show.

As I was struggling putting all my info back on the computer, I decided to see if the series was available on DVD and if it was and at a sensible price, I was going to treat myself to it. Sure enough, I looked online at Amazon and there it was. And what's more it was only £9.99 + postage. And so I bought it. 3 days later, it turned up and I was like a kid. I couldn't wait to watch it, so I took a break from data input and watched the first two episodes.

I loved it! Ricky, Uncle Sandy, Blaze and Champion, my old friends were back! I can't wait to see the rest of the shows. Simplistic they are, but nostalgia is such a wonderful thing. It's great to be transported away from being a grown up and just reliving my childhood, if only for half an hour at a time.

Talking about being transported back in time, this morning, I recorded the first 'Missing In Action' show. I explained about it in the blog last week, and I've spent the time in between choosing songs for the first show.

Well after recording it, I can only say you'll either love it or hate it! Personally I loved it, but then again, I'm biased. I've always wanted to hear a show that had these songs in it and now I'm fortunate enough to be doing it.

There are 36 songs in the first show. 21 are British Top 40 hits. There are 3 album tracks and some American hits as well as others that didn't quite make the charts, although they received airplay.

All in all I was nervous doing it, but it was great fun to do and I can't wait to get some feedback after it's been heard.

I think it'll take a few shows for it to bed in and get it how I want it, and I'll be hoping to get a lot of listener input along the was as well.

So it's been a good end to what's been a very frustrating week.

Till next time....