In the last installment, I detailed how I got a chance to make an audition tape. These were the songs I played on the 1981 audition tape, that KLON General Manager would listen to and make a decision whether or not to put my show on the air. He must have liked it well enough to run the show.
1. Rock N Roll by Red Prysock, my instrumental theme for years.
2. Georgia Slop by Al Downing, a great black rocker.
3. New Orleans by U.S. Bonds, a giant hit, and a lame attempt at a geographic theme. Years later, Bonds would be an in-studio interview guest.
4. Rip Van Winkle by the Devotions, uptempo east coast doo wop, which would later eat the show alive.
5. There’s A Moon Out Tonight by the Capris, see above.
6. Later Alligator by Bobby Charles, swamp rock became a hit by Bill Haley.
7. One Night by Smiley Lewis, New Orleans original of Elvis hit. Originals, another theme.
8. You Can’t Catch Me by Chuck Berry, “here comes old flattop…” Berry later sued the Beatles for the same lyric in “Come Together”…Lennon counter-sued over the original settlement, it was a mess.
9. Come To Me by Marv Johnson, early hit example of Motown.
Interviewed Marv by phone… he didn’t want anyone to know where he was calling from… his business… don’t ask.
10. Duke Of Earl by Gene Chandler, Chicago doo wop #1.
11. A Casual Look by the Six Teens, L.A. doo wop top 20.
12. Raindrops by Dee Clark, Chicago R&B #1
13. Trickle Trickle by the Videos, NY doo wop, a weather theme…get it?
14. Stormy Weather by the Leaders, NY doo wop, see above.
15. Buick ’59 by the Medallions, great rockin’ L.A. R&B/doo wop
I’d interview the writer/vocalist Vernon Green sooner than I thought I would or maybe should have.
16. Motor Head Baby by Chuck Higgins, Johnny Guitar Watson on piano and vocals.
Higgins was another interview subject who showed up with Vernon Green. Goodness gracious, another theme. I had a million.
17. Jail Bait by Andre Williams, Detroit fist-in-your-mouth R&B.
18. A Fool In Love by Ike & Tina Turner.
Ike Turner visited years later and provided a lengthy and descriptive interview in which he detailed the good, bad and possibly illegal as well as reacting to the first rock and roll record, which he and his band recorded.
19. My Tears by Andre Williams, see above, must’ve brought the 45.
20. We Belong Together by Robert & Johnny, NY doo wop by duet, big hit.
21. The Honeydripper by Joe Liggins, first important L.A. race music hit in 1944.
Liggins granted a three-hour interview, a full retrospective, except it was pre-recorded for play on my vacation and was aired on the wrong week, which upset Joe, which I sincerely regretted; Joe died soon after. Still sorry, Joe.
That tape never aired. I don’t know if it still exists, and if it does, it should be destroyed with no last rites or appeal.
KLON General Manager Dave Creagh accepted this flawed presentation, my DJ chops, not the music and I was given a 9-to-noon slot on Sundays, which was good and bad, considering the Capitol Tower record show was conducted on Sunday mornings and I always was there to get more vinyl. Bernie Pearl had the Saturday 9-to-noon slot for the blues. I was ready.
Now to name the show. Understand the premise. In those days, the early 1980s, the major oldies stations were KRTH and KRLA, which insistently played records by acts they deemed surf bands – we should be so lucky, no? – and the leading exponents of this sound were the Beach Boys and “Surf City” by Jan & Dean, the biggest example of the overplayed music of Southern California summers… not that there’s anything wrong with that. My beat was rhythm and blues – mainly black music from the 1940s and 1950s, sort of a counter to what was commonly heard on the radio.
To emphasize this distinction, I chose as a show title, “We Don’t Play No Jan & Dean.” Station management laughed. It was a go. Now to wait for audience reaction…including bomb threats.
How many of the above listed songs have you ever heard? Write me at [email protected] if you know of any, or leave a comment below. I’d be surprised if more than a few readers know any of these songs. If you do, good for you; if not, better brush up on your rock and roll history.