Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tom Flannery has done it again, this time with a little help from his friends

Tom Flannery’s new album, Under the Covers, is one of the most unique albums released by the singer-songwriter. Flannery himself only appears on one track; the rest are his songs interpreted by other artists. The result is magical and truly captures Flannery’s brilliance as a songwriter.

There is not a bad song on this album. Artists include many of Flannery’s friends, including Lorne Clarke, whose rendition of “The Show” beautifully harbors the feelings of a big league baseball player unwittingly reaching his end in the game. Kris and Julie Kehr kick off the album with "Fool For You Again," a melancholy ode to relationships:

Outside it's cold...the wind united
it's blowing us to and fro
we're growing old like a landscape blighted
whispering "even though...

Likewise, “In Lieu of You,” is another agonizingly realistic slice of life and love Flannery does so well and captured with an emotional intensity by John Canjar. There’s “Leaving Home” sung by George Wesley and “Don’t Kill My Heart,” by Tim McGurl, sounding a bit like Neil Young on that track. Josh Pratt lends his voice to a song he co-wrote with Flannery entitled “The Auctioneer.” Other artists include Neil Luckett, Joe “Wiggy” Wegleski, Van Wagner, Bret Alexander, Michael Jerling, Shannon Marsyada and Lisa Moscatiello.

Hearing some of Flannery’s words sung in the female voice is the most wonderful thing about this album, and several artists take their turn with the material. The standout is 17-year-old Asialena, from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She knocks it out of the park with “12 O’Clock Whistle,” singing in a voice that betrays her actual age:

Not sure how it happened
years come creeping
like the color fading
from a radio flyer
promises made
promises broken
like rollin' and tumblin'
from an old circus wire

Flannery himself closes the album with “Mud Run,” a song about an 1888 train wreck that took the lives of more than 60 people. Leave it to Flannery to take a disaster and turn it into poetry.

Flannery has always been able to draw me in with his lyrics, striking personal cords that ring with a truth in my own life. Under the Covers highlights the best of Flannery and hearing the different interpretations of a voice I have come to know and love over the years gives this album and Flannery’s music a fresh perspective.

Under the Covers will be available for download from Fool’s Hill Music.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July! And it's Funky Feel Good Friday!

Happy 4th of July!  We are in the midst of another great Funky, Feel-Good Friday---all 70s music, all day long!

For those of you who grew up in the 70s, relive you childhood today with music, news clips and commercials from the 70s.  We are even extending the day, continuing the music theme until 9pm Central.

Get out your grill, your sparklers and tune in for some great 70s tunes from Barry Manilow to the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor to Shaun Cassidy, Fleetwood Mac to Paul Simon....we've got a great mix perfect for a 4th of July Celebration.

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

K-Tel's Dynamic Hits, This Month on Vinyl Voyage

This month on Adventures in Vinyl, we will highlight 20 Dynamic Hits, Volume 2 from 1972.  I bought this album brand-new.  When you listen to this episode, you will hear the first time it was ever played.

The album came out in 1972 and was advertised like any other K-Tel album on television.  It contains hits from James Taylor, Elton John, the Osmonds, Rod Stewart and many, many more--another great sampling of music from the time.

And, as a special treat, it also has a very rare recording of Aretha Franklin covering Frank Sinatra's "My Way."  This was never released until 2008.  How K-Tel got a hold of that recording, I do not know.

The album begins with a song that actually began as a television commercial jingle. Remember "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke"?  That song proved so popular it was worked into a hit song and was covered by two bands in 1972:  the New Seekers and the Hillside Singers.  The version performed by the Hillside Singers starts off the album.  If there is a better song to bring you back to that time, I have yet to hear it.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard at the following times (central):

Tuesday 1 pm 
Wednesday 2 am
Thursday 10 am
Saturday 12 pm
Sunday 4 pm

Adventures in Vinyl:  the only radio show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

K-Tel's "Rock 80" this month on AiV

This is by far my favorite K-Tel album.  It introduced me to the Romones. The Pretenders.  Blondie. Pat Benatar.

This is K-Tel's Rock 80.  I got this album on cassette for Christmas in 1980 and wore that tape out.  I must say, it was this album that shaped my musical tastes in the early 80s.  I was drawn more to the new wave music and early alternative music thanks, in part, to Rock 80.

This album will be streamed in its entirety on Adventures in Vinyl for the month of May.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard at the following times:

Saturday, 12:30 pm (Central)  
Sunday, 4 pm (Central)
Tuesday, 1:30 pm (Central)
Wednesday, 2 am (Central)
Thursday, 10 am (Central)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

WCFL, Dick Biondi and "30 Double Gold"

This album cost me 50¢ from Half Price Books.  It was in great shape and had a huge selection of hits from the mid-to-late 60s (plus three 50s tunes thrown in as well).  The album was a promotional album from Chicago's WCFL, 1000 AM.  The station was known as the "Voice of Labor" and was originally owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor.  Broadcasting from Marina Towers, WCFL turned toward rock and roll music in 1966 and in just a matter of years it was the number one radio station in Chicago.  It was branded as "The Big 10."

The DJs of WCFL were known as the "Men From 10" and included some of Chicago's legendary on-air personalities:

After spending years at rival WLS and then hosting a syndicated show from Los Angeles, Dick Biondi returned to Chicago and joined WCFL in 1967.  He remained at the station until 1971 and then moved to Boston.

He returned in 1983 and has been on Chicago radio ever since.

Biondi is a radio legend, the first American DJ to play the Beatles in 1963.  At 81 years young, Biondi is still on the airwaves, now broadcasting again on WLS at the 11pm to 2 am time slot.

Earlier, I had highlighted another WCFL album that I had found in a thrift store.  This one is better.  Not only is it a double album, it is in better shape than the earlier album.  It has some great tunes as well, including the Turtles, the Righteous Brothers, Chuck Berry, the Association and James Brown.

I believe this album was distributed in either 1970 or 71.

WCFL continued broadcasting rock and roll until 1976 when it switched over to "Muzak" format, making WLS the only AM station to play rock and roll.  Today, AM1000 is a sports/talk station.

Thanks to the internet, WCFL is still alive and kicking.  You can listen to actual streams of the radio station from its glory days.  Click the player below to listen to a composite of WCFL from 1966-1971, featuring jingles, news and air checks:

Here is an hour of WCFL from 1970:

Here is another hour of WCFL from 1971:

Selections from WCFL's 30 Double Gold can be heard on Vinyl Voyage Radio.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

1977, the Year of the Robot and the year of "Music Machine"

In 1977, robots invaded pop culture with the release of Star Wars.  And K-Tel jumped on that bandwagon big-time.  Music Machine features one of the most famous robots in history on its cover: Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet.  How K-Tel was able to feature that robot on the cover AND in the commercial is beyond me:

The album features an eclectic mix (as usual) of music from the time:  the disco hits of Andy Gibb, ABBA and K.C. and the Sunshine Band, a Kiss ballad, Kenny Rogers, Alice Cooper and the theme from Rocky.  K-tel spared no expense with this album.  It even has bonus Andy Gibb and K.C. and the Sunshine Band posters!

Music Machine from 1977 is the featured K-Tel album this month on Adventures in Vinyl, the only radio show dedicated to the glory of the K-Tel record compilation.  We will listen to the album in its entirety and even flip the record for you. Adventures in Vinyl can be heard at the following times (central):

Sunday 4 pm
Tuesday 1:30 pm
Wednesday 2 am
Thursday 10 am
Saturday 12:30 pm

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Block Buster from 1976, this month on AiV

This month, we are traveling back to 1976 for K-Tel's Block Buster. This was one of my favorite albums when I was a kid.  Not only did it have K.C. and the Sunshine band, the Silver Convention and Jigsaw, the cover was adorned with flaming meteor-like blocks.  As if the designers at K-Tel decided, "We need flaming blocks for this one."

Like many of the K-Tel albums from this time, it was advertised on TV. And here is the delightful commercial:

Adventures in Vinyl is the only radio show dedicated to the glory of the K-Tel record compilation.

Catch Block Buster at the following times throughout the month of March (all times Central)

Saturday: 12:30 pm
Sunday: 4 pm
Tuesday: 1 pm
Wednesday: 2 am
Thursday: 10 am