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Show #73: The Shazam Hour

Posted September 19, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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I love the smart phone app, Shazam. In case you don’t know Shazam, it listens to music and identifies the artist and song. And not just pop stuff but also world music, tropical music from Brazil and the Caribbean, and even can identify which recording of classical pieces by Bach or Mozart or Schoenberg you’re hearing. It is an amazing app, and like other …

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Show #72: Overlooked and Unusual Songs, Part 3

Posted September 12, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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I pulled more records out to finish up this 3-part mini-series. The songs on this show are simply great examples of songwriting and singing. Songs that are timeless but sometimes not that well known or even forgotten. We begin with a 1976 song by Candi Staton, a great soul singer who muses on relationship problems with a dose of co-dependency. The great Oleta Adams …

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John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass: Still Amazing

Posted September 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Earlier this year, I got a copy of the Speakers Corner LP reissue of Coltrane’s incandescent 1961 classic, Africa/Brass. The other night I listened to it after listening to some straight-ahead, more mainstream jazz. I was amazed, even though I’ve heard this album many, many times. It was recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, produced by Bob Thiele, and the Speakers Corner vinyl reissue …

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Show #71: Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 2

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, I did a show where I pulled older songs that still need some love. Now it’s time for Part 2!
We start with an R-rated Tahitian song from 1931: a love song chosen by illustrator and melomane Robert Crumb from an old 78 rpm record he found in France. After that, an album that David Byrne once gave to his friends at Christmas …

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Dick Dale’s Surf Anthem Is Remake Of Traditional Greek Song

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The surf’s up in California (thanks to Hurricane Marie from Mexico) as 15-foot waves have been pounding beaches from Mexico to Malibu. I just heard Dick Dale‘s most famous surf song, “Misirlou” and was reminded that its roots lie far away from our local beaches.
This legendary tune originated as a traditional Mediterranean song from 1920s Greece. It may have even first performed in the late …

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Show #64: Remembering Charlie Haden (1937–2014)

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 6 Comments
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Charlie Haden died last Friday at the age of 77. He had contracted polio as a teenager in Springfield, Missouri, and the dreaded disease returned in 2011 like Faust from Hell.
Charlie was a great friend of KCRW. He probably visited both myself and Chris Douridas at least 30 times on Morning Becomes Eclectic. But he didn’t want us just to play his music; he …

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Show #59: Brazilian Futebol & Music

Posted June 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I bought a caxirola the other day. This is the official noisemaker for the 2014 World Cup games hosted in Brazil. Alas, they’ve already been banned from the games because supposedly they can be hurled like missiles and could hurt somebody. Nonetheless, it’s time for World Cup! This week’s show celebrates Brazilian Futebol and its music.
I’ve been to Brazil numerous times. Once I went up to …

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Record Sleeves as Time Capsules

Posted June 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Old albums on vinyl can be time capsules. You can’t put much into a CD jewel case and can’t do anything with a digital music collection. When my CD player was in the shop, I went through my vinyl collection in search of analog LPs I haven’t visited in a long time. Some funny things turn up in LP jackets. A friend of mine …

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Show #58: African Sax Kings

Posted June 6, 2014 by | 6 Comments
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Many of us know the great guitarists of Africa: Mali’s Ali Farka Toure, Guinea’s Sekou “Diamond Fingers” Diabate, the great bass players of South Africa (Bakhiti Kumalo who played with Paul Simon on Graceland, Sipho Gumede who worked with Dollar Brand and others). But we don’t know much about African saxophone players. I had to do some thinking about this too.
The impetus was a …

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Russian Rock: Then and Now

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I was Music Director of KCRW and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic during the 1980s and we did regular programs featuring the latest in Soviet-era Russian pop and rock music. Back then, the Cold War was alive and well, with Reagan and Brezhnev regularly rattling their swords. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once told me that as a kid in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, he played near …

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