“Super Hit” Radio Station Music Surveys From The Past” – What Were You Listening to 48 Years Ago this month?

“This music station preceded FM radio, which at the time was in an experimental stage. They were the WABC AM 77 of black music.”

This is a new category for the blog!  Reuniting with some of my history from my storage pod recently, I came upon some masterpieces, preserved  to now share with you.

When I was growing up and just starting to get into music, I’d stop by the records shops on the way home (anything to stall going back there) to pick up the hottest 45rpm record my allowance allowed and the latest hit ‘survey” sheets that all of the local radio stations put out regularly, listing what they were playing , by who and what was bubbling-up to be a smash soon! My parents didn’t even want me to listen to this music.  I remember my mother asking me, “What are you doing listening to that gut-bucket music?!”  I think I was listening to some Motown on my record player at the time. My folks and their relatives used to act all bourgie sometimes.  In retrospect, seeing it for what is was, typical generation-gap disrespect, I guess. We all are subject to do it, poo-pooing the fashions or new trends of those that follow us – if we keep a closed mind.

This survey was right on top of the pile when I opened that now falling-apart file; from forty-eight years ago this month and at the time New York City’s number one “Soul”  and R&B (Rhythm and Blues, if you don’t know) music station, waaay down at the end of the AM radio dial on 1600, WWRL.  The mainstream “Top 40” stations were the powerhouse “Musicradio 77WABC” and at the other end of the dial WMCA AM 570, featuring “The Good Guys”. Theonly other “competing soul stations were WLIB AM and over in New Jersey, WNJR AM, but they had weaker signals with more static. All of this was pre-FM radio.

WWRL 10.71

Do you remember any of these songs, or maybe the versions other groups and bands did as covers of them? And the gentlemen on the right-hand column were some of the guys who made me want to be a radio DJ too (though at the tine I didn’t know it).  I even got to hang out with all of them except Enoch Gregory (top) who, if memory serves me correctly was the morning disc jockey at the time.  All but a couple are not with us in the physical world anymore, but not forgotten.

Turn the page and you’d see:

WWRL 10.71B

I remember going to Alpha Distribution when I started DJing back in 1972 to get promotional copies that were free for us to play at parties!

On the back, “Jack” you’d see two more places to get the latest vinyl:

WWRL 10.71C

I’m so happy to have found these in great condition and as the month go by, I will share more from those same past months with you. Ironically I still own much of these records and they are still very playable (secret: never lend records to anyone)!

Please comment on anything here that moves you or, if you are too young to have known these records, feel free to email and ask me about them.  I am here to educate and connect the musical “dots” for you, unlike so many people on the air fail to do these days. This is positive history; after all…its musik !

As always, be sure to flash on over to the mothership  blog which spawned this one, www.achilliad.wordpress.com for mostly non-music content and diary ramblings now going on ten years of blogging!  Thank you.

A Real “Rochelle, Rochelle” Musical!

“Imagine what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher…”

Rochelle front

Richmond, Virginia, April 21, 2019 – One of the great things about traveling the Airbnb way is that you meet some very interesting people, on an almost neighborly and intimate level, in a short period of time! I have gotten to cook in some very well-stocked kitchens and love to taste and cook gourmet dishes to chow on with a smorgasbord of sound in the background.  Check out my latest, recipe:

Imagine now, what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher?  Mix all into a bowl with her lead-guitar husband “Boz”, funky horns (including a baritone sax), Hammon organ and solid percussion.  Don’t let it simmer too long before firing it up, and you get medium-well done and tasty to your ears, the rangy Rochelle Harper (and her Mississippi band) jammin’!

She told me her music is “Americana” and while defined as contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues and also often uses a full electric band, to debate categorization is a whole other post.  I’ll highlight the tunes that swooned me on recent road trips, transcending mere categorization.  If you must narrow, I’d play several of the songs on my Contemporary Hits, Top 40 and jammin’ music radio stations!

Her 2014 solo effort, “Lilt” is in a class by itself, while her band showcases and performs under a more funky, free-form umbrella.  The first song from “Lilt” is a mid-tempo rocker called “Bittersweet”. Its soulfully fulfilling because the lyrics are realistic and hook repeated often,  “You’re the thing I shouldn’t do, but I know I wanna do anyway…”  Next is “Stars Out” which brings Fleetwood Mac to my DJ mind. They could have changed the ending to a vamp-to-fade and gone on longer, IMO.  I kept hitting ‘repeat’, trying to keep the feeling!!!

 

At this point,  I am needing to reach for a lyric sheet because, like most great crooners, we mortals cannot always understand the heartfelt words!  One of those occasions where, sometime in the future, you hear a cut and suddenly understand what they were singing all along!  Rochelle rear

The disc settles-down after that, into “Cajun Wind” and “Say”, two tracks that let her explore forks in her vocal road that may be more in-tune with that “Americana” thing; she sounds like Cher here, for the first time on my drive (she will again on “Angelina”), and I am just crossing the South-to-North Carolina border on I-95!

Suddenly, there I sat, while the road was closed for a still inexplicable reason – I-95 used to never come to a standstill as I remember it – I shut the music off, in frustration while we sat still for at least sixty minutes. There went my ETA of the day.

When we began to move fast again, Rochelle helped me find my favorite and a-pro-po jam, “Highway One”!  Becoming a tune-wedgie, I’ve played it again and again.  The guitar solo sounds a bit like that of Redbone on the classic 1971 song, “Maggie” and its brass from the outset gave my trip momentum like the legendary Memphis Horns section. Rochelle also covers Bobby Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe” on this album.  I’d had enuff of that one growing up, but it might be insightful for a younger audience to listen to.  On “Comin’ Home Again” we are happily greeted by Randall Bramblett’s Hammond B3, and throughout this poppin’ buster, his presence is prevalent like pew prayer in church.

Finally, Rochelle’s signature message song, I suspect, after having talked to her a few times at our AIRbnb Inn, is the reggae-rocker, “Universal Love” whose lyrics – and she wrote eight of the eleven songs – identify her as a strong “Rasta” goddess voice in a body of a natural Gulf Coast girl. Major props to Blair Shotts, whose solid drumming caught my ears, as a once-upon-a-time drummer.  He does Motown accents really well!

Rochelle jacket

When she first introduced herself to me I thought of Seinfeld’s “Rochelle Rochelle!”  With wishes to hear newer success and happier for having met this couple, my rating is  four-out-of-five, “Peace Within Music” signs, (like Rochelle’s Hippie pants) peace-sign-1066713_960_720!

** Next post,  I will revu the separate Band album, Mississippi Hippie Blues.

This video is a sneak-preview:

 

**Sureshot: Please remember to check out my other Rochelle-related review and other topics at the Mothership blog, achilliad.wordpress.com

“Gimme That Wine” (I found this bottle, what kind?)

When I heard this little ditty that I’d never heard previously today on Russian radio, Davidzon WSNR 620AM http://www.davidzonradio.com/    on my way to work, I lol as a wine connoisseur.   I thought it was by some old black American blues dude, until I looked it up on youtube!

My wife got tired of me runnin ’round
So she tried to keep me home
Well, she broke my nose and hid my clothes
But I continued to roam
Then she finally hit my weak spot
Threatened to throw my bottle out
Well, from the basement to the rooftop
Everybody could hear me shout…

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
‘Cause I can’t cut loose without my juice
Gotta have hot lucy when I go walkin’ y’know

Well, one day while crossin’ the avenue
A big car knocked me down
While I was stretched out tyin’ up traffic
And crowds came from blocks around
Now the po-lice were searchin’ my pockets
Before they sent me to the funeral parlor
But when one o’ those cops took my bottle
Jack, I jumped straight up
And commenced to holler

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
‘Cause I can’t get well without Muscatel
I only drink for medicinal purposes anyway

Well, now, one real dark and dreary night
As I was staggerin’ home to bed
Well, a bandit jumped from the shadows
And put a blackjack ‘side my head
That cat took my watch, my ring, my money
And I didn’t make a sound
But when he reached an’ got my bottle
You could hear me for blocks around

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
Beat my head outta shape, but leave my grape
Watch, ring and money ain’t nothin’ but don mess with my wine, Jim

Well one day my house caught fire
While I was layin’ down sleepin’ off a nap
An’ when I woke up everything was burnin’
With a pop an’ a crackle an’ a snap
Now the fireman chopped up my TV set
And tore my apartment apart
But when he raised his axe to my bottle
I screamed with all my heart…

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
So I can drink one toast before I roast
No sense goin’ out half baked, Might as well be Alll tore up

You can take all those Hollywood glamor girls
Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth Bridget Bardot, an’ Lucille Ball
And all them chicks ‘n line ’em upside the wall
Put a gigantic jug beside ’em
Tell me to take my choice
Well, there’d be no doubt which one I chose
The minute I raised my voice

Chorus: Gimme that wine (Unhand that bottle) (3 times)
Well those chicks look fine, but I love my wine

Now some folks like money
Some like to dance and dine
But I’ll be happy
If you give me that wine
Gimme that wine (unhand that bottle)”

I laughed out loud several times and vowed to find it.  From the CBS Collection of Jazz Masterpieces, several of the vinyl albums of which are in my library, you gotta get this one!   Impromptu and spontaneous props.