Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Even though I wish I could...

There's a fine line between "hobby" and "disease"...

Most everyone who knows me knows that if they have a question about pop music of the 60s or 70s (and some 80s), I can usually provide the answer. But, I'm such an antique anymore, that I still consider music after 1985 as "new" music. So I am now 20 years behind the times. Hmmm, I was just sitting here, passing the time, and all of a sudden, time passed me by! Strange how that works...anyway, when I was a kid, KVNI Radio here in CDA aired a little two-hour pop-music program from 9pm to 11pm Monday thru Saturday called "Sounds of the Town", and I listened religiously, almost every night between 1964 and 1969, when the program was unceremoniously dumped from the station's repertoire. I wrote KVNI an angry letter because they dumped my favorite radio program, but who listens to a 15-year old kid? But much of my musical education came from that show. It was a cool program; KVNI seemed to play the "cream of the crop" songs...and that little radio show provided a substantial part of my musical education. I bought my first two pop singles, "Turn Turn Turn" by the Byrds, and "She's Just My Style" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys at CDA's downtown J.C. Penney Store in 1965. I'd heard 'em on KVNI, after all. A friend of mine who runs a record shop says "record collecting is a DISEASE"...I'm afraid he's RIGHT.

Much later on, I would go record-buying at area 2nd-hand stores, and when I did, I realized how incomplete that little 2-hour KVNI radio show really was. An example...KVNI played "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, and I've got both of those 45's. But, at the thrift shops, I found copies of "But You're Mine" and "Little Man", also by Sonny and Cher. Those records didn't chart very highly, but they were hits just the same. I never knew they were SINGLES until I found 'em at the thrift shop in the '80's! And, now that I'm dubbing a lot of my old 45's onto CD (giving away the 45's I don't wanna keep), I'm finding how much of that undervalued music is actually pretty good.

"Nobody But Me" by the "Human Beinz" was a huge hit in 1967...but I never knew that another song from that album, "Turn On Your Lovelight" was also released as a single until I found it in a thrift shop. The "Happenings" had a big late-60's hit with "I Got Rhythm", itself an updated version of an old George Gershwin song. Well, I was surprised to find a "Happenings" 45 of "Go Away Little Girl" which evidently also received airplay. I never even knew that single existed! So it's my theory that the Spokane Radio Stations, who played pop music all day long, played all kinds of stuff that the little 2-hour KVNI program missed! KVNI just covered the high spots, and they did a good job, but I'm finding I've missed a lot of music that I'm supposed to actually know about.

Other obscure singles I found at thrift shops include:

"Ballad of a Thin Man", the old Bob Dylan tune, done by the GRASS ROOTS, which came out before their first chart hit, "Let's Live For Today". How about that!

"Take What You Need" by Steppenwolf, released before the Wolf's first big hit, "Born To Be Wild". Again, I never knew that was even issued on a single!

"Tulsa", by Billy Joe Royal, the same guy who had previously sung "Down In The Boondocks"; I wasn't even AWARE of "Tulsa" until recently. It came out around 1970. Royal also released a song called "Hush" as a single. I know the song because the rock group DEEP PURPLE did it. Yep, I heard the re-make before I heard the original version!

The Hollies were a big group, and KVNI played their record, "Bus Stop" a LOT...but they never played their followup single, "Stop! Stop! Stop!" I found that song in a thrift-shop, and it's an odd little song, but it would've sounded great on the radio, as "Oldies-101' proves almost daily.

KVNI played "Little Things" by Bobby Goldsboro, but his first big hit was evidently a song called "See The Funny Little Clown", that I never even HEARD until just a few years ago. Why KVNI skipped that one, who knows? They played earlier AND later Goldsboro 45's, after all.

Remember "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs? KVNI played it to death, I loved it. Later on, KVNI played "Little Red Riding Hood" by the same group. But, I found Sam the Sham's single, "Ring-Dang-Doo" that was released in-between the other two; it's a great song, but I hadn't ever heard it until just a short time ago. Another single I never KNEW existed.

KVNI never played "Cloud Nine" by the Temptations; in fact, KVNI didn't play any Temptations songs that came out after 1967's "I Wish It Would Rain"; yet "Cloud Nine" was a big hit from 1969, when KVNI's rock and roll show was still on the air. So I'm getting around to further educating myself, hearing a lot of these old songs for the first time. There are many other such tunes I've dubbed onto CD, and I think, "I should keep this, and this, and this, and this..." But, I can't collect EVERYTHING!!!, I have to keep telling myself.

As far as the KINKS, that well-known British group, KVNI played "A Well Respected Man", their 1965 hit, but they didn't play other Kinks' songs that came out before and after. So, I missed such "Kinks Klassics" as "All Day and All Of The Night", "You Really Got Me", "Waterloo Sunset" and others. I never even HEARD another Kinks song on the radio until 1970, when the Spokane stations were playing "Lola".

I think I made a mistake by trying to collect EVERYTHING; it's impossible, it can't be done. I've made a conscious effort to try and hear every pop record I come across, and I've heard a lot of stuff. And I would buy PILES thrift-shop singles for cheap prices, even though I had quite a lot of those same songs on albums. Call me crazy. I'm still trying to rationalize that. So far, I can't. I would say that I'm probably giving away about half of my 45's, just keeping the ones I really treasure. Not that what I'm giving away is bad music; quite the contrary, but I can't collect everything. TOO MUCH! A few years back I gave away 14 BOXES of albums I didn't need, keeping the good stuff, which is still enough to fill up the bed of a pickup truck.

So I've decided to specialize in collecting Beatles' stuff (and the collection is still growing; it's amazing the many Beatles items out there that I WANT); I've pretty much put the kibosh on buying any other music for a while. Lately when I go to the junk shops, I buy less and less, just looking for the odd recorded artifact that can fill a hole in my collection. But I think there's hope for me. I am still interested in learning all I can about the 60's and 70's music I find so fascinating. Nowadays, KVNI features a "doo-wop" oldies format, so once again, I'm hearing a lot of music from the 50's that I'd never even been aware of. Old music that's new to me. Hey, I was just a lil' baby when some of that stuff came out. That's how I ran across the eternally WEIRD song by Jody Reynolds, "Endless Sleep", in which his girlfriend walks out in the ocean to drown herself, and he saves her from drowning. That song STILL makes me shiverrrrrr.

The plan is, for me to record a lot of 45's onto CD. When I play those CD's, yeah, the scratches and wear can be heard, but that's part of the charm of records. I plan to get a 200-CD changer and have my own "condensed" jukebox. It'll be fascinating to put it on 'random-play' and listen to it for hours. And it'll sound just like an old jukebox full of records.!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remembe KVNI playing " Rock around the Clock " for two hours one night . 'course you was young then .


10:40 PM  
Anonymous Kick Shoe said...

You should write a book. You're a fountain of knowledge on this subject.

I hope you're doing okay. I've been busy doing wedding mother chores, but now, it's over. It's so over.


5:43 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hey Mr. What's-yer-name (anonymous)...KVNI DID THAT? I'll bet I was jes' a lil' baby when that happened. But I do have the original single in my collection! It's grrrrreat! I remember when oldies-101 was observing its anniversary, and they played different versions of "Louie, Louie" for 48 hours straight. Enough to make ya wanna hack off yer ears!

Hi, Cathy...on a lot of my LP's, on the paper innersleeves, I've written comments about the album, and I've thought of putting those together. But I'm just another raving loony...who'd listen to me? So you've been doing wedding-mom chores? How long until you start doing grand-mom chores. I'm kinda thinkin, in yer case, It's NOT over. But you'll have fun. Think of all the blogging material you'll have after babysitting rowdy grandkids for 48 hours straight, or longer...ack ack aaaaack.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Kick Shoe said...

Jeez, Dave. Now you're just being mean. The only grandkid I have is a sweet little baby. And he's GOING TO STAY that way. I now command it!!!!!!!!


12:13 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

...uhhh, Cathy...those "sweet little babies" have a way of growing up. But look on the bright side, there's only about a 25% chance that he will grow up to be a homicidal maniac. There. That oughta help you sleep nites....


10:46 PM  

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