Monday, February 21, 2011

Show #51 February 19, 2011

For Lorraine and the bonnie lassies of Scotland...

Lorraine- Durango 95 Lose Control
Another Sunny Day- Belle and Sebastian The Life Pursuit
Pure And Easy- The Neighborhoods The Last Rat
Ticket To Paradise- Pushtwangers Here We Go Again
Head Gone Astray- The Soup Dragons Hang Ten
Bad Times- Sorrows Teenage Heartbreak
Another Happy Ending- Someloves Something Or Other
I Could Break Your Heart- Oranjuly Oranjuly
^Always The Last To Know- Del Amitri Hatful Of Rain - The Best Of
My Baby Does Her Hairdo Long- Kimberley Rew The Bible Of Bop
What Keeps Your Heart Beatin'?- The Rattlers What Keeps Your Heart Beatin'? 7"
Love Lies Dying- The Del-Lords Johnny Comes Marching Home
Watching The Tears- The Pencils Watching The Tears 7"
In The Night- Contraband In The Night 45
*Top of the Pops- The Rezillos DIY Teenage Kicks: UK Pop I
*All The Boys Love- Carrie Another Pretty Face s/t 7"
*Can't Get Over You- The Questions Can't Get Over You Single
*On The Run- TV21 On The Run 7"
Troubadour- The Adicts Smart Alex
Pop Art- Screams Screams
Mannequin- Wire Mannequin Single
Pop Goes Mandy- Pills The Pills Kick In
You Never Have Fun- The Locals You Never Have Fun Single
Take Your Chances- The Neat Hormones In Action 7"
>Saturday Night- Bay City Rollers The Definitive Collection
Rollers Show- Nick Lowe Jesus Of Cool
Tennessee, I'm Trying- Van Duren Idiot Optimism
Fool Like You- Yachts S.O.S Singles 1977-1981
Waiting For You- The Last Ones Number One Again
Metal Baby- Teenage Fanclub Bandwagonesque

^Power Pop Peak: #13 Billboard Hot 100 10/17/92

*SacroSet: Edinburgh, Scotland 1978-81


>Power Pop Prototype: 1975

While the Boston Irish Catholicness of my father's family tends to hog the genealogical spotlight, I'm fully half Scottish on my mother's side. In other words: Ya dinnaeken I'm Scots onme maw's side? While I certainly fit the Scottish stereotype of tight-fistedness with money, I don't have much use for whiskey or golf. My family is part of the highland Clan MacFarlane and that's a particularly heavy metal version of our crest above. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about my ancestors:

Clan MacFarlane took part in several conflicts including brutal fighting for Scottish Independence alongside Robert The Bruce. The clan was also noted for its daring night time raiding on English army divisions, and as such, it is said that the full moon became known throughout the highlands as "MacFarlane's Lantern."

That sounds pretty noble, but here's the first, even cooler explanation I heard for the "Lantern" reference from the clan website:

For much of their history, the MacFarlanes were a very turbulent lot. Their rallying cry, "Loch Sloy," signalled many a night raid to "collect" cattle from richer neighbors to the south and east (especially Clan Colquhoun). Their march- "Thogail Nam Bo Theid Sinn" (To Lift the Cows We Shall Go) gives ample notice of intent. They were so competent that the full moon was known as "MacFarlane's Lantern."

LOVE this!
So, Scottish freedom fighters or cattle rustlers, but most likely Scottish freedom fighters AND cattle rustlers. After I showed my son Jack Braveheart a few years back he wanted to know all about Clan MacFarlane. I showed him the crests I have, one from a cool stick pin my mom gave me and another that fell
MacFarlane Tartan
off a belt buckle when I was a kid, as well as a necktie in the Clan Tartan that I always wear at Christmas time. Like me, Jack thought it was pretty cool to be part of something that has been around for centuries.

While I have a clear picture of Irish Power Pop in my
The Rezillos
head, largely driven by The Boomtown Rats and all the great releases on Belfast's Good Vibrations label, Scottish Power Pop is a lot harder to pin down. When I decided to dedicate tonight's features to the music of Scotland the only thing I knew for sure was that I'd be playing The Rezillos and The Bay City Rollers. I wanted the SacroSet to focus on late 70's bands, but it was a coincidence that they all ended up being from Edinburgh. (The Headboys could have made it as well.) That said, Glasgow also produced some great bands in the era like Subs and The Jolt. The Glaswegians got their due tonight however as I played Del Amitri, Belle and Sebastian, Soup Dragons and Teenage Fanclub. Those last two bands were part of "The Bellshill Sound" (named for their suburb of Glasgow) that created quite a stir in UK and US indie circles in the mid-80's.

Teenage Fanclub

The Rezillos will always remind me of my friend Ted Maguire who introduced me to the group when we were both in high school. As a huge Ramones fan, I
appreciate music with a sense of humor and The Rezillos have it in spades. Plus the playing on their first album, Can't Stand The Rezillos, is unbelievable, especially from bass master general William Mysterious (Alastair Donaldson). In fact, when Sire records was marketing the CD reissue in the 90's they put a blurb from Dinosaur Jr's Jay Mascis on the cover saying something like "the best bass playing I've ever heard."

I'm pretty sure Ted Maguire heard about The Rezillos from Phil Fontaine, an older guy he worked with at The Chart House restaurant in Duxbury. I don't know Phil at all, but he is local artisan creating nostalgic collectibles for people who grew up in the Boston/South Shore area. My sister Sarah gave me a
Paragon Park!
magnet Phil made showing the roller coaster at Paragon Park in Nantasket with this cool car ride in the foreground that was long gone before I ever visited the park. For Christmas this year Sarah gave me another Phil Fontaine creation: two MBTA stop bookends, "Symphony" (near my first apartment) and "North Station" (near Boston Garden where the Celtics and Bruins used to play).

I love my sister Sarah dearly, but growing up we had our differences- especially when it came to music. My dad would occasionally by us records that highlighted our diverging tastes: one time Elton John's Greatest Hits for me and John Denver's Greatest Hits for her and later, Kiss Alive! for me and Fleetwood Mac Rumors for her. (I don't know how he knew, but Dad always got it right.) The two records I remember
Sarah playing the most though are Shaun Cassidy (featuring his version of "Da Doo Run Run") and The Grease Soundtrack. Sweet God in heaven she played those records over and over (later on it was Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" so her tastes eventually improved).

Anyway, it was quite a surprise that Sarah and I both had such a strong reaction to seeing The Bay City Rollers' American television debut (by satellite link I
later learned) on ABC's Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell. First it was a surprise that we were allowed to watch the show at all- my dad HATED Howard Cosell. (How much you ask? If Cosell was calling a game on television, my dad would turn the TV sound down and watch while listening to the game on the radio- that's how much.) Anyway, somehow there we were on September 20, 1975 watching The Bay City Rollers perform "Saturday Night." Perhaps influenced by the MacFarlane blood in our veins, Sarah and I loved the song and pooled our money to go and buy the single at Woolworth's the next day:  I loved the song but the subsequent media coverage of the "tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh" made them seem like Shaun Cassidy x 5, so I had renounced the Bay City Rollers by Christmas. I still think it's a great record though which is why "Saturday Night" is this evening's Power Pop Prototype and kicks off the new All Kindsa Girls intro that my friend Joe Koch put together. It took some time, but The Bay City Rollers are now back in my good graces. Now, I wonder if Sarah remembers any of this...

Click the link below to stream this show or to down load, right click and "Save Link As:"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Show #50 February 5, 2011

Our 50th Show is dedicated to (who else?) SHARONA!!

My Sharona- The Knack Get The Knack [#1 6/23/79]
867-5309/Jenny- Tommy Tutone Tommy Tutone-2 [#4 1/23/82]
Go All The Way- Raspberries Raspberries [#5 7/1/72]
Your Love- The Outfield Play Deep [#6 2/15/86]
No Matter What- Badfinger No Dice [#8 10/31/70]
Just The Girl- The Click Five Greetings From Imrie House [#11 8/16/05]
Brass In Pocket- The Pretenders Pretenders [#14 2/16/80]
The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)- Greg Kihn Band Rockihnroll [#15 5/23/81]
I'm On Fire- Dwight Twilley Band Sincerely [#16 4/26/75]
Veronica- Elvis Costello Spike [#19 4/22/89]
Is She Really Going Out with Him?- Joe Jackson Look Sharp! [#21 6/9/79]
Our Lips Are Sealed- The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat [#20 8/29/81]
And We Danced- The Hooters Nervous Night [#21 8/10/85]
Precious To Me- Phil Seymour Phil Seymour [#22 1/24/81]
Found Out About You- Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience [#25 1/15/94]
Dreaming- Blondie The Complete Picture [#27 9/29/79]
Cherry Baby- Starz Violation [#33 3/19/77]
Turning Japanese- The Vapors Anthology [#36 9/27/80]
Someday, Someway- Marshall Crenshaw Marshall Crenshaw [#36 7/10/82]
Girl of My Dreams- Bram Tchaikovsky Strange Man/Changed Man [#37 7/7/79]
Sugar Baby Love- The Rubettes Very Best of The Rubettes #37 7/20/74]
Here It Goes Again- Ok Go Oh No [#38 9/25/06]
I Think We're Alone Now- The Rubinoos Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About [#45 3/5/77]
Who Listens To The Radio- The Sports Don't Throw Stones [#45 10/13/79]
What I Like About You- The Romantics The Romantics [#49 2/16/80]
Stay In Time- Off Broadway On [#51 3/22/80]
Starry Eyes- The Records The Records [#56 9/29/79]
Teacher Teacher- Rockpile Seconds Of Pleasure [#51 11/22/80]
Surrender- Cheap Trick Heaven Tonight [#62 7/22/78]

[Billboard Hot 100 peak position and peak date]

I've always loved radio show features, what the industry calls "benchmarks." Before he made it big on WBCN, Boston radio legend Oedipus had the "Suck Hit" on his WMBR show THE DEMIMONDE ("We love it, but it sucks"). Years later I paid homage with "The Screw Hit" on my WMBR show THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW ("It's screwed up, but it's a hit"). After my first few weeks on ALL KINDSA GIRLS I decided I needed to try to get some known hit records on the show. In Show #4 (3/7/09) I did a "Theme Set" (I hadn't come up with the name "SacroSet" yet) celebrating 1979- Power Pop's banner year featuring "The Shape Of Things To Come," "Starry Eyes," "Girl Of My Dreams" and The Knack's "Good Girls Don't." I realized that I needed to ration the hits better or I'd run out. So, I came up with "The Power Pop Peak," with the hope that each show will feature at least one song my listeners will know.

Working in radio for 25 years, the last 17 on the research side, has shown me how important familiarity is to listeners. In most adult formats (AC, Classic Rock, etc.) familiarity is as important as appeal. In fact, if people don't know the song being tested, they usually aren't asked how much they like it. At WMJX in Boston, my first real job out of college, one of my duties was creating the music hooks for our twice yearly auditorium tests. Think of all those TV commercials for albums you've seen over the years- where the titles and artists scroll down, while snippets of every third or fourth song play in the background. That was my job- making 700 of those song snippets we call hooks to be played for 80-100 people in a ballroom at the Embassy Suites in Allston or Holiday Inn across the river in Cambridge.

Making the hooks was a fun job and I got very good at it- always trying to get them as short as possible. One year I got a little overzealous: rather than "Yesterday...all my troubles seemed so far away" and "Operator, well, could you help me place this call" I just went with "Yesterday" and "Operator." My friend Paul was the production guy and he would put numbers between each hook so people could follow along on their music test sheets without getting lost. I proudly told him that I had cut the full 700 hooks from 45 minutes down to 30. After spending some time with the tape, Paul called me back into the studio and politely pointed out that not only had I destroyed any melodic continuity but in many cases I'd reduced some of the most popular songs of all time to nearly subliminal echoes. Needless to say, I had to re-do the job and every time after that I was very careful to capture the entire musical phrase in each hook.

On music test night I would get to see the room full of people respond to the hooks I'd made. They would smile and tap their #2 pencil in time or grimace and look like they smelled something bad. Every now and then they'd laugh- it was great to see. Then afterwards my Program Director Phil would take me, Nancy (the Assistant Program Director/Music Director) and the research person out to dinner. If it was at the Holiday Inn we'd go to the Benihana in the hotel and that was always fun. I really loved working at that station and I got a wife out of the deal, so bonus.

It's funny but when I hear those WMJX songs I still mentally pick out the part I'd capture for the hook. A lot of the time it was the first chorus, but in others I had to take the second or third chorus, or perhaps the first line of the first verse. With Wham's "Careless Whisper" I didn't even take a vocal part, but hooked the saxophone break. And even today, when I hear the rare CD commercial with the hooks and scroll, I think of my days back in the music library at WMJX.

Anyway, with the 50th ALL KINDSA GIRLS I reward your patience with the obscure music I usually play and present a show of all hit music- all Power Pop Peaks- starting with My Sharona, the biggest Power Pop hit of all time. Thanks again for listening!

You can download Hour 1 of this week's show here.
And Hour 2 is here.