4 the past few months, my roommate & I have occasionally been listening 2 a new local Oldies radio station, KMCQ 104.5 FM based in Covington, somewhere 2 the northeast of Seattle. They just appeared on the dial without warning awhile back, Ghod knows who's responsible 4 them, & still the only commercials they seemta run R public service announcements. Nobody ever talks.
They play a LOT of music. Nothing's ever identified. & tho there R occasional lapses, they don't play a whole lot of The Same Old Stuff. With all my past bitching about radio, this comes as a suprise. They've suprised me a few times.
Not always in a GOOD way. B4 listening 2 KMCQ I can't remember the last time I heard Perry Como's "Seattle" on the radio (1970?). Or Frank Sinatra's "Come Dance With Me."
& I think any station that'd play "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" & "What's New, Pussycat?" is maybe a station I could live without.
But somebody at the station has a diabolical mind ... or is a pretty adventurous listener. The 1st shocker 4 me was hearing The Small Faces' "Lazy Sunday," which was never even close 2 a hit in America. It took me 'til the chorus B4 I could even place it, which doesn't happen 2 me 2 often with a station that's sposta B playing '60s & '70s hits. That's when I started thinking mayB they were Up To Something. There've been other songs they've played that I can't ID AT ALL.
That happened a coupla times on Sunday afternoon, the 2nd or 3rd "real" day of summer here, as temperatures FINALLY got close 2 80. I sat on the front porch wakin up, nursing a cuppa coffee while the roommate washed his cars & the radio blared. I got up occasionally 2 turn it up louder when stuff like "Be My Baby" & "I Wonder What She's Doin' Tonight" came on.
It's always a shocker 4 me 2 hear songs that weren't hits come outta the radio. I'm sure a lot of music bloggers have been programmed this way. There was a '60s R&B/Soul number I know I've never heard before, "That's the Way Love Is," possibly. They followed that with a sorta generic '70s soul/big-band number -- & it took me til the chorus 2 ID it as Earth, Wind & Fire's "Serpentine Fire," which I hadn't heard since about '79. I hadda pretty good idea WHO it was from the joyous vocal&horns sound of the thing, but couldn't ID WHICH EWF # it was.
Then the tricky programmers pounced: Springsteen's "Growin' Up" followed by Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money," & then the fake-Springsteenesque over-the-topness of something from Meat Loaf's BAT OUT OF HELL -- "All Revved Up and No Place to Go," maybe?
I'd heard NONE of these before, hadta wait til the choruses 2 guess the titles. It wasn't tough 2 figure out WHO it was, but WHAT was another matter. An oldies station that plays album trax! Great! Something diffrent!
They also played Jefferson Starship's "Play on Love" -- knew it was Grace Slick's voice right off, hadta wait 4 the chorus 4 the rest, never heard it B4. It was OK -- but I was mainly impressed by the station's adventurousness -- not just the same old crap!
Course they played some crap, too, tho I usually try 2 block that stuff out, find something else 2 do, hit the bathroom, etc. "Delta Dawn," no. "Witchy Woman," nah. I'd rather wash the dishes. Hadn't heard Robin Ward's "Wonderful Summer" since about 1972, & who cares? & "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" ... my roommate sez he's not a Beatles fan, but he liked that 1. & he knew every word of Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden."
They do slip up & play some stuff 2 often: I've heard "She's a Lady" & "Baker Street" 2wice without even trying, & I don't listen 2 radio that much. No complaints about either, really, especially "Baker Street" which still soars thanx 2 Raphael Ravenscroft's sax & Hugh Burns' guitar.
They nailed some good summer stuff on Sunday with "Sugar, Sugar" & "Who'll Stop the Rain" & "The Show Must Go On" & "Tumbling Dice" & "Signs" (tho they cut-off the guitar&keyboard intro) & "Donna the Prima Donna" & "Walk Away" & others. & they can keep playing old Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hits as long as they want, & "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," & "Bad Luck."
& I'll B hoping 4 more great suprises. I even like 2 hear Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling" now & then 4 a good laff.
But please, no more "Behind Closed Doors."
I've also noticed that these days I'm not so much enjoying the song (tho that happens 2), as thinking about who I was & what I was doing when the song was popular. The songs still bring back clear & vivid memories. I can't remember what I did last week, but I can still remember what year & what time of the year a song came out. I can still ID songs after a note or 2 or a word or 2. More useless information. But I'm not complaining. I'm happy 2 have something new 2 listen 2....
I'm sure all of you out there have joined me in reading & enjoying Rastronomicals' work over at LA HISTORIA DE LA MUSICA ROCK. He's always knowledgeable, insightful & funny.
He also has great taste.
I hadda chance awhile back 2 hear summa the music Rastro's written about over the last coupla years at LA HISTORIA, & I can tell ya -- a lotta the music he raves about is a lot more direct, more energetic, & more ALIVE than a lotta the stuff I've bn raving about here.
This at 1st suprised me & made me feel sorta old & outta touch. Which I am.
But then I just turned the music up.
I hope you've been paying attention 2 his writing, & among the many songs he's written posts about over the past 2-1/2 years I'd especially recommend Bailter Space's crashing "Retro," Cat Power's hypnotic "He War," The Sonics' rockin' "The Witch," Ween's marvelous twisted-Genesis-like "Buckingham Green," & Pee Shy's sweet "Little Dudes."
Rastro, Ghod bless him, also connected me 2 some other things he hasn't written about (yet?) -- like Argent's Xcellent "Circus," The Fall's fun-filled cover of The Kinks' "Victoria," The Pixies' hushed "Wave of Mutilation," The Groundhogs' powerful "Cherry Red," & more.
There were some things that maybe didn't grab me by the throat but that I still thot were intresting: Modeski Martin & Wood's "Whatever Happened to Gus?" is a sorta jazzy rap about Jazz & The Meaning Of It All; The Velvet Underground's "I'm Not A Young Man Anymore" sounds like some kinda forgotten stone-age blues; Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" sounds JUST LIKE them, it was nice 2 finally hear it; Songs: Ohia's "Blue Factory Flame" reminded me of summa Bruce Cockburn's spacier stuff; Bob Dylan's "Catfish" is a hilarious number about the famous Oakland A's/NY Yankees pitcher of the '70s....
Summa the stuff Rastro writes about is a lot gutsier, a lot more spontaneous, & takes a lot more chances than mosta the stuff I usually listen 2. Which shows me I've got a lotta listenin' still 2 do.
This music brightened-up my April & May when things got a little tough. & I just wanted 2 tell Rastro Thanx in print.
& if you're reading this, R -- I'm still looking forward 2 that free-verse poem you were gonna write about Soft Machine's THIRD album....