Sunday, November 6, 2011

November is "Power House" Month!

This month on Adventures in Vinyl, we are going back to 1976 for the K-Tel classic, Power House.  This is a great album, eclectic and odd---just as you would expect from K-Tel.   The variety on this album is pretty impressive.  From some early disco hits by Silver Convention and Andrea True Connection, to Heart and Styx, to Glen Campbell and Seals and Crofts, Roxy Music to Hall & Oates.  Actor Keith Carradine also makes an appearance with his hit song, "I'm Easy" from the film Nashville.

As they say in the commercial:  "20 Original Hits, Original stars!"  Fifteen of the songs on this album made the Billboard Year End Chart for either 1976 or 1975. 

Join us this month for K-Tel's Power House.  As usual, we'll play the album in its entirety.  Plus, visit some of the events of 1976, review the music and movies as well.

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

Times:  Saturday, 11 am (CT); Sunday, 4 pm (CT); Tuesday 1 pm (CT) Thursday 10 am (CT) and Wednesday 2 am (CT).

Don't forget, if you can't hear Adventures in Vinyl at any of these times, just let us know when you would like to hear it and we'll play it for you them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

K-Tel's "Hit Express" This Month on Adventures in Vinyl

After a Retro Repeat September, Adventures in Vinyl returns in October with a new episode.  This K-Tel selection comes from 1982, a big year for me.  It was the year I started high school.  Later that year I got my first real computer:  a Commodore 64 (which I still have, by the way).  It was the year of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and Poltergeist.  It was also the year of Hit Express.

This is the second 80s album we have played on Adventures in Vinyl.  By the 1980s, K-Tel had changed it's format.  Instead of editing songs in order to fit as much as possible on a side, the 1980s saw K-Tel offering more complete songs (at least the radio versions).  Therefore, there aren't as many songs on a K-Tel album as there were a decade earlier.  This album has fourteen songs; about seven less than a 70's K-Tel.  But that's okay.  There are some great treasures on this album from the early 80s:
  • Human League
  • Phil Collins
  • Rick Springfield
  • Loverboy
  • Joan Jett and the Black Hearts
  • The Police
....and, as they used to say in the commercials:  "And Many More!" 

Join us for a nostalgic trip back to 1982.  We'll play the album in it's entirety, plus sample trivia, history and movie memories from 1982 as well.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard at 11 am (CT) Saturday and 4 pm (CT) Sunday.  You can also catch Adventures in Vinyl during the week:  Tuesday at 1 pm and Thursday at 10 am.

Plus, if you can't catch Adventures in Vinyl at these times, let us know when you would like to hear it and we will play it for you at your convenience.  How's that for a personal playlist?

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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Retro Repeat on Adventures in Vinyl

We have been on the air now for 7 months.  That's 7 K-Tel albums on Adventures in Vinyl.

Over the months we have gained listeners from all over the world:  Canada, Israel, Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa and many others.

Even Syria.

This month we are going to take a break on Adventures in Vinyl and replay the 7 past episodes as we catch our breath and give people an opportunity to listen to some albums they may have missed.

Here's the schedule (all times CENTRAL):

Saturday, September 3 (11 am)
Tuesday, September 6 (1 pm)
Sunday, September 25 (4 pm)

Sunday, September 4 (4 pm)
Thursday, September 8 (1 pm)
Wednesday, September 21 (10 am)

Music Power
Saturday, September 10 (11 am)
Tuesday, September 13 (1 pm)

Music Express
Sunday, September 11 (4 pm)
Thursday, September 15 (1 pm)
Wednesday, September 28 (10 am)

Disco Mania
Wednesday, September 14 (10 am)
Saturday, September 17 (11 am)
Tuesday, September 20 (1 pm)

Block Buster
Sunday, September 18 (4 pm)
Thursday, September 22 (1 pm)
Thursday, September 29 (1 pm)

Rock 80
Wednesday, September 7 (10 am)
Saturday, September 24 (11 am)
Tuesday, September 27 (1 pm)

Up next in October:  back to the 80s with Hit Express.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rock 80: K-Tel's Best Album, this month on Adventures in Vinyl

Prior to 1980, my musical tastes generally sucked.  Oh, I listened to the standard hits on the radio, but had no coherent musical wants or likes---outside, that is, of what was always played in my house:  John Denver, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow.  Yes, I admit it, I could sing along to several Manilow tunes.  Remember, I didn't have any older brothers or sisters to show me the way (Think: Almost Famous). But then, in 1980, everything changed.  I discovered good music.

And I can thank K-Tel for that.

For Christmas in 1980, I received a cassette from my parents.  It was K-Tel's Rock 80.  And this album introduced me for the first time to what would become some of my favorite bands:  Cheap Trick, the Ramones, the Pretenders.  I started listening more to rock radio.  I would sit sometimes for hours, waiting patiently for a single song to add to my collection of mix tapes. 

This is a classic K-Tel album.  It only had fourteen songs, unlike the other K-Tel albums in my collection.  Most of the K-Tel albums had over 20 songs, the result of sometimes very bad edits and song crunching.  Not this one; this one has the full radio versions of the songs.

This album features the Pretenders, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, Joe Jackson, Blondie, Nick Lowe, the Knack and many more.  Here's the commercial:

Unfortunately, this cassette no longer works.  Thank God for Ebay.  A couple of years ago, I was able to purchase a nice copy on vinyl.  And that Rock 80 album is the featured selection on this month's edition of Adventures in Vinyl.  We will play the album in its entirety.  Plus, music and movie trivia from 1980 as well.

Adventures in Vinyl is the only radio show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  It can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage radio channel Saturdays at 11 am (CT) and Sundays at 4 pm (CT).  So join us for this nostalgic rip back to 1980.   Remember, if you can't hear it at those times, no worries:  just let us know when you would like to hear it and we'll play it for you at that time.  How's that for a personal playlist?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beer, Brats, Fireworks and K-Tel

Having a backyard Independence Day celebration?  What better accompaniment than classic K-Tel?

Starting at 1 pm (CT) on the Fourth of July, the Vinyl Voyage will present a marathon of all episodes of Adventures in Vinyl, featuring classic K-Tel albums from the 1970s--a great soundtrack to your Fourth of July Celebrations.

We will be featuring the following albums starting at 1 pm, central:

Music Power, 1975 
Music Express, 1975
Disco Mania, 1975
Dynamite, 1975
Fantastic, 1973
Block Buster, 1976

These are full episodes of Adventures in Vinyl and include not only the K-Tel albums but also trivia, headlines and movie clips.  You'll hear over 130 classic tracks from K-Tel---that's over 7 1/2 hours of music!

As they say in the commercials: "All Original Hits!  Original Stars!"

Take an extended trip to the past with the magic of K-Tel.

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

Friday, July 1, 2011

Next Up: Block Buster, 1976

I was 8 years old when I got Block Buster.  It was 1976.  The year before Star Wars.  Yeah, that was a defining moment in my life.  Up until then, all I had was K-Tel albums like this. 

And this is a good one:  Block Buster.  It must have been released early 1976 as most of the songs are from the previous year.  "Fly, Robin, Fly" by the Silver Convention.  "Sky High," by Jigsaw.  "Swearin' to God" by Frankie Valli.  "That's the Way (I Like It" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

And my favorite in this collection:  "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War.

Block Buster is the featured K-Tel album on Adventures in Vinyl this month. You can hear the album in its entirety on Saturday mornings at 11 am (CT) and Sunday afternoons at 4 pm (CT).

In addition, Adventures in Vinyl can be heard whenever you want.  That's right. If you want to hear Adventures in Vinyl on Wednesday at 1 pm, you can.  Just send us an email or call us at 206-350-9978 and we will play the episode at your convenience.  How's that for service?

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

Now, Hear Adventures in Vinyl Whenever YOU Want

Adventures in Vinyl, the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-tel record compilation, can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage Saturday mornings at 11 am (CT) and Sunday afternoons at 4 pm (CT).  However, for many people, those times just might not work out so well.

So, if you would like to hear it at a different time, let us know.  Want to hear it at 1 pm Wednesday?  No problem.  3 am?  Again, no problem.  Today, we introduce the "Personal Playlist" here at the Vinyl Voyage. 

Let us know when you would like to hear Adventures in Vinyl and we will play it at that time---just for you.  Want to hear an earlier episode?  Let us know. 

That is the beauty of internet radio.  It can readily be personalized.

Send us a message at to request a personal time for Adventures in Vinyl.  We will email you back with a confirmation.  Or, simply use the "Shout Out" form at the bottom of our page.  It's that easy.  (Note:  be sure to let us know the time zone you will be listening in so that we can make sure we get it to you at the right time)

How's that for service?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thanks, Dave Aklinski

It was the last day of school.  I was planning on heading down to the Chicago Blues Fest with some co-workers, but I had to clean my desk and haul some books down to the "rebind" room.  That took longer than I had anticipated.  Plus, the weather didn't look so great.  So, I decided to skip that trip and just head home.

On the way, I stopped off at my local record store, Rainbow Records in Barrington, to treat myself to a little vinyl.  There are always albums that I want, but inevitably, when I get to the record store, I never seem to be able to remember any of them.  Been looking for some Cure, but vinyl Cure is a little difficult to find.  Saw Sting's debut album, but I have that on cd and decided against it

Browsing through the Rs, I came across Tattoo You, the 1981 release from the Rolling Stones.  Back when the album was released, I checked it out at the library and made a copy on cassette.  That cassette has long since vanished. 

So there it was:  my vinyl choice of the day:  The Rolling Stones.

There were two copies of Tattoo You.  After inspecting the vinyl, I chose the better.  After all, this album is 30 years old.  This copy was almost pristine: no noticeable scratches or smudges.  The only thing is that the previous owner's name was written not only on the cover, but also on the sleeve and on the record label itself:

Dave Aklinski

He was the owner of the record.  A proud owner, I must say.  Why else would he have written his name over all parts of the album?

Over the course of the last several months as I have rediscovered my love for vinyl, that is one thing that I have noticed about many of the used albums I have come across:  people liked to put their names on them.  To mark their territory, so to speak.  As if to say, "Hey, this is mine."  Of course, people shared albums all of the time and placing one's name on the album assured that the album would be returned  There are still some albums that I know I had in my collection that are now noticeably absent.  I never placed my name on any of my albums.  And look where that's gotten me, wondering whatever happened to Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, among others.

Writing names on albums was more than just marking territory though.  It was more than just saying, "This album belongs to me." It was as if that name becomes a declaration of  faith in the artist and what that artist represents.  We all develop very personal relationships with music and it is music that marks very specific moments in our lives.  Years later a song can trigger a memory.  A feeling.  A moment that may have been lost and suddenly returned as if it were yesterday by a few chords from a guitar riff.  That is power and we come to feel that we own the music itself on that record.  Once it is made by the artists it becomes ours.  We're attached to it as if it were made just for us.  Which is why we sometimes feel slighted when we feel that an artist has "sold out."  When I first heard Robert Plant's voice selling Cadillac I almost fell off my seat.  Are you kidding me?  Led Zeppelin and Cadillac? 

That's not all music, of course.  I can't imagine a time down the road when I worry that Lady Gaga has sold out.  Or having some Britney Spears' song sparking a memory. 

Music is such a personal thing.  Dave Aklinski was not just declaring that Tattoo You was his.  It was a little more than that.  I assume that there must have been several Stones albums in his collection.  He was a Stones fan and that mark on the cover was a declaration of "fandome," if that is even a word.  If not, it should be.    Someone who puts their name on an album no doubt has had some very vigorous discussions about that band--perhaps defending them against some naysayers or discussing the virtues of one album over another.  That's what it means to be a fan.

So I paid $3.21 for Dave Arlinksi's Tattoo You album.  You can't get a better deal than that.  I played it for my two boys when I got home and we danced in the basement to "Start Me Up."  And I was reminded of the time back in 1981 when I watched a Stones concert on pay-per-view with some friends.  I can still see Mick Jagger running around the stage in tight yellow pants and an orange tank top.  Yep, that's the power of music.

Thanks, Dave Aklinski, for taking such good care of that album. 

And if anyone knows a Dave Aklinski in the Chicago area who at one time owned this Tattoo You album, tell him that I now have it.

And I am taking good care of it.


You can hear selections from Tattoo You and other Rolling Stones' albums on The Vinyl Voyage, where all music is played on vinyl---just as music should be.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fantastic, a K-Tel Classic from 1973

In 1973, Vicki Lawrence had a hit with "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia." Of course, who knew that a decade later she would be starring in Mama's Family.  Most people know her from her stint on the Carol Burnett Show.

It was also a big year for Elton John:  "Rocket Man" and "Crocodile Rock" were quite popular.  Gary Glitter had "Rock and Roll Part Two."  Tony Orlando was tying yellow ribbons on oak trees.  Donny Osmond was singing something about the "Twelfth of Never,"  whatever that means.

K-Tel's 1973 compilation Fantastic had these hits and many more.  As the commercial states:  "22 Original Hits! 22 Original Stars!"

This is a very interesting album.  It has some great hits and many misses---typical K-Tel actually.  I was 5 years old when this album came out.  I remember listening to some of the songs--Elton John and Tony Orlando in particular.   As I listened to it again recently, I realized there were many songs that I simply do not remember.  Blue Mink?  New York City?  Gunhill Road?  Whatever happened to these bands?

More than any other K-Tel album I own, this album suffers from short versions of the songs.  K-Tel managed to fit a lot of music onto their vinyl.  This was often accomplished by making the gaps between the songs shorter and the grooves not as wide.  K-Tel albums were not known for their fidelity.  Many of the songs on this album fade early or are edited shorter.  Some of the songs are less than two minutes long. 

But that's okay.  They still manage to give us almost 45 minutes of music on a single album.  And the thing that Fantastic demonstrates about K-Tel is the eclectic variety that often appeared among the tracks.  Nothing like going from Maureen McGovern with "The Morning After" to Rod Stewart's "Twisting the Night Away."  K-Tel was the early version of the iPod "shuffle."

Join us in the month of June for a nostalgic trip to 1973, complete with music and movie trivia and much more. Fantastic will be featured on Adventures in Vinyl:  the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  We'll play the entire album---and we'll even flip it over for you.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard Saturday mornings at 11 am (central)  and on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm (central).  And, as always, this program is completely commercial free.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Marathon: Adventures in Vinyl

Did you miss any episode of Adventures in Vinyl?  Here is your chance to catch up.  On Memorial Day, starting at 10 am CT, we will be broadcasting the last four episodes in a row---about 5 hours or so of nothing but pure K-Tel.

Here are the albums:

Music Power (1975)
Music Express (1975)
Disco Mania (1975)
Dynamite (1974)

Adventures in Vinyl is the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  Join us for a nostalgic trip to the past.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surviving the Apocalypse--a Song for Harold Camping

Well, we made it---much to the dismay of Harold Camping and his minions who believed the world was to end on May 21.  I actually somewhat feel sorry for them. Not that I wanted the world to end, but I can't imagine what it must be like---sitting and waiting for something that you are so sure is going to happen.  And watch it pass by.  I can honestly say, I do not know what that is like.  Is it like learning there is no Santa Claus?  I don't actually remember that moment---it probably wasn't a moment, but a gradual realization.  Not the same thing at all.  So, no.  I have never believed in something so heartedly that I was willing to quit my job and give up everything:  money, friends, all possessions---all for a belief that was not to happen.  Bummer.

This whole thing reminded me of a song (of course, this is The Vinyl Voyage, after all).  The Eurogliders released "Heaven (It Must Be There)" in 1984.  Formed in Australia in 1981, this song was really their only hit to reach the U.S. charts.  It peaked at #26 that year.

The Eurogliders never became much here in the States.  Probably wanted to make it big here, though.  A modest hit, "Heaven" was not to draw attention to the band like it did in their native Australia.  The band broke up shortly after.  In 2005, they reformed.  Briefly.  Their new album failed to produce any hits and they broke up again.  Perhaps this song nicely summarizes the band's existence.

Oooooh! Ooh I want to find a better place
Oooooh! Ooh I'm searching for a better place
Oooooh! Ooh I'm tired of living in the sand
Oooooh! Ooh I'm searching for a better land
Heaven, must be there-ere
Well, it's just got to be there-ere
I've never - never seen Eden
I don't wanna live in this place 

This could be Harold Camping's theme, actually.   Nothing like a feel-good, hopeful pop song to make one forget about the anticipated--but misguided---apocalypse.

"Heaven" is just one of the songs that can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage.  We stream an eclectic mix of music 24 hours a day.  And all of it on glorious vinyl.  Just as music should be.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DYNAMITE--this month on Adventures in Vinyl

Dynamite is one of the better K-Tel record compilations.  It was the album that introduced me to Eric Clapton, Elton John and Al Capone.

When a man named Al Capone
Tried to make that town his own
He called his gang to war
With the forces of the law.

You remember that song:  "The Night Chicago Died," a one-hit wonder by British band, Paper Lace.  I loved that song.  It was the song that I played most from Dynamite and it opens side one of this 20-track album.  Much of the song is historically inaccurate ("East Side of Chicago?").  I can say that with confidence because my real job is that of a history teacher.   In fact, when I discuss prohibition and the 1920s, I always play it for my students.

And I may sing a little as well.

And perhaps dance a bit.

They look at me usually with horrified expressions. But at least it exposes them to Paper Lace.  What's more important than that?    I just hope that somewhere down the line when they hear that song later in life they think of me.  That's really what it's all about.

Check out the commercial from 1974:

I was 6 years old in 1974.  I don't remember getting the album...but I do remember playing it.  And I'll be playing the album in it's entirety this month on Adventures in Vinyl---the only radio show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.

Every month we highlight a particular K-Tel album.  And this month, it is Dynamite, played from its original vinyl.

Adventures in Vinyl airs on Saturday mornings, 11 am (ct) and Sunday afternoons at 4 pm (ct) only on Vinyl Voyage radio.

Join us.

"Waiting on a Friend" (Or, when the Rolling Stones invaded the Sesame Street set)--Vinyl Voyage Video of the Day

Okay, this isn't quite the Sesame Street set.  But it's close.  At any moment you expect Elmo to come walking by or Oscar the Grouch to jump out of a garbage can.  Plus, Mick Jagger does resemble a muppet, doesn't he? 

"Waiting on a Friend" is the final track on The Rolling Stones' 1981 album, Tattoo You.  Truth be told, it's my favorite song on the album.   It's got a cool rhythm; a groove that gets me moving a bit.  It also has an uncharacteristic sax solo.  The song was actually written some 10 years earlier but lacked lyrics.  And when those lyrics were finally written by Jagger, they represent a softer side of rock and roll's principle "bad boys."  The song is about settling down; about friendships.

This is the first video the Stones made and was played constantly on MTV.  You may recognize the building:  it is the building featured on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album from 1975.  That's reggae legend Peter Tosh sitting with Jagger on the steps.  And Keith Richards looks particularly stoned---more than his usual, actually.   But you couldn't expect anything less from Keith.

"Waiting on a Friend" can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage. Tune in to the Vinyl Voyage for an eclectic mix of tunes spanning the last several decades, all on glorious vinyl.   We stream music 24/7--commercial free during the day. Tune us in.

We're like your iPod. Only better.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Wouldn't it Be Good"--Vinyl Voyage Video of the Day

Remember this one? It's from 1984 and MTv played the hell out of it.

Nik Kershaw had his first (and only) U.S. hit with "Wouldn't it Be Good." In the video, he plays an alien with a white suit that is actually a very poorly designed green screen that begins to play images from his life on earth. Make sense? Not at all.

But this is classic 80s---a time when videos dominated the music industry and attempts were being made to make the videos more movie-like; often-times telling stories that have nothing to do at all with the lyrics of the song. This video falls into that category.

Tune in to the Vinyl Voyage for an eclectic mix of tunes spanning the last several decades, all on glorious vinyl.  Including "Wouldn't it Be Good.  We stream music 24/7--commercial free during the day. Tune us in.

We're like your iPod. Only better.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vinyl Brunch: A Beltane Celebration

Beltane is an ancient Celtic celebration that celebrates the beginning of summer.  Beltane literally means "bright fire" and for the ancient Celts, fire was a way to bring about purification.  So, bonfires were--and still are--an important Celtic tradition during this time of the year.  In fact, on April 30th, thousands of people attend the traditional burning of the bonfires in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I am about 1/3 or so Irish.  And I am also a celtophile, I must say.  I like all things Celtic.  In 2001, I got engaged in Ireland.  We had Celtic-themed wedding.  My vest was made in the traditional tartan pattern of my wife's family. And it was in a bar in Dublin where I became acquainted with Dougie MacLean.  Dougie MacLean has often been called "Scotland's James Taylor."  No, he wasn't performing in the bar that evening.  But a singer performed one of his tunes.  It was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  That song is "Caledonia," Dougie MacLean's love song to his native Scotland.  If you have never heard the song, tune in to this week's Vinyl Brunch.  We'll be playing it.

In honor of Beltane, this Sunday on the Vinyl Brunch we will be featuring several Celtic performers to help us usher in the summer and celebrate this Celtic tradition.  We will be playing several tracks from performers such as Dougie MacLean, Clannad, Van Morrison and the Chieftains.  Plus, an eclectic mix of music perfect for a Sunday.

The Vinyl Brunch airs every Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm (CT) on Vinyl Voyage radio.

Join us.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dena's Mix--Friday Night in Mix Tape Memories

This should really be called the "Rick Springfield Mix."  On a 1 hour mix tape, the Aussie/Soap Opera Star/Rock Star/Author appears some 7 times.  And most of the songs that my friend, Dena, placed of Rick Springfield's are those that you did not hear on the radio.  No "Jesse's Girl," for example.

This will be very interesting broadcast, from a logistic point of view.  You see, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has defined the standards for internet radio.  And you can only play 3 songs by a single artist in a 3 hour time period.  Ooops.  Playing Dena's Mix will, therefore, break copyright law.  And I can be fined upwards of $500,000 if caught.

But what the hell.  Let's live life on the edge, shall we?

This mix was made most likely in 1984.  Many of the songs come from that year.  And it was the year I began to drive and I distinctly remember playing this in the car--which happened to be a Ford Pinto station wagon.   Otherwise known as my "chick magnet."

I remember getting this Mix Tap from Dena.  She was (and still is, of course) a Rick Springfield fan.  As a result, I have seen Rick Springfield numerous times.  I can still sing along to some of the songs.  Funny story:  we were involved in Tech Theatre (any "techies" out there?) and she had placed a large Rick Springfield poster up in the tool room.  There it remained for many, many years. 

So, there is a lot of Rick Springfield here.  But there is more as well:  Genesis,  the Beatles,  Styx, the Police, Duran Duran, and Pink Floyd.

So join us at 9 pm CT on Mix Tape Memories for "Dena's Mix."

An encore broadcast will air on Monday evening, 8 pm CT.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Special Easter Presentation of the The Vinyl Brunch--Jesus Christ Superstar

The Vinyl Brunch, heard ever Sunday from 10 AM to 1 PM CT will feature a special broadcast this Sunday, April 24.  In honor of Easter, we will play, in its entirety, the original concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar from 1970.  Known by aficionados of the musical as the "brown album," this recording was made before the stage shows were mounted in London or New York.   It features Ian Gillian as Jesus, Murray Head a Judas and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene.  The musical is unique in that it does not focus on the religious nature of the Gospels too much, but on the political situation and the interpersonal relationships between the three main characters.  As a result, many accused it of being sacrilegious.  It was even banned for awhile by the BBC.

The album shot to the top of the Billboard charts in 1970 and produced two hit songs:  "Superstar" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him."

If you are only familiar with the Ted Neeley version from the 1973 film, you will find this one to be very different.  So join us at 10 AM for this special presentation of The Vinyl Brunch.

After the album, we'll continue with the theme by playing some tracks from Godspell as well.  Plus other tunes perfect for relaxing Easter Sunday.  ALl of it on glorious vinyl, of course.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"The Warrior" (Or Apocalyptic Cats)--The Vinyl Voyage Video of the Day

The other day, I added "The Warrior" into rotation. Had the song on a 45 rpm single. You know the song: "Shooting at the walls of heartache. BANG! BANG! I am the warrior!" The song was released in 1984 and peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts. Not a terrible song, to be sure. Very 80s. The video, however, is atrocious. It's like an apocalyptic Cats:  dancers in ragged tights dance-fighting in an alley.  I've seen various renditions of this over the years at high school orchesis performances.  At one point in the video, Patty Smyth's hair changes into a bizarre Bride of Frankenstein doo.  Why?  Who knows. She battles too, but stops in time to lip-sync the important lines in song.  The video is so bad, it's actually fun to watch:

After Sammy Hagar left Van Halen, supposedly Eddie Van Halen asked Patty Smyth to front the band.  Could you imagine Van Halen doing a rendition of this song?

On the Vinyl Voyage you can hear an eclectic mix of tunes from over the last several decades.  Yes, including "The Warrior."  We are adding more songs every day.  Give us a listen.

And remember:  Vinyl was the original CD.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Under Pressure"---The Vinyl Voyage Video of the Day

Remember this one from the days when MTV actually played music videos?  This was one of my favorite songs from the era and I particularly love the clips from Nosferatu within this video.  This collaboration between Queen and David Bowie was released 1981.  Of course, Vanilla Ice ripped the famous baseline off in his single "Ice, Ice, Baby" ten years later. 

"Under Pressure" can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage. Give us a listen. Streaming commercial-free all day long.

Vinyl: The Original CD

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Daily Vinyl

I recently came across this site while exploring YouTube, avoiding the task of doing some actual work. On this site, a guy who calls himself "The Dude" shows his appreciation for vinyl by creating some pretty creative videos of vinyl being played in the most unlikely of places:  on a beach, in a field, cooking on a stove--just to name a few.

Here's an example:

How about this for Bowie's "Suffragette City?"

Pink Floyd's "Us and Them:"

There's more there as well--a nice mixture of the old and new:  Wilco, The Beatles, Kansas, The Rolling Stones, Phish...and many more.

Check out the Daily Vinyl's YouTube page here.

Also, check out the website.  Some cool stuff there as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Careless Whisper--The Number 1 Song of 1985

Yes, "Careless Whisper" was the #1 song of 1985.  It is a song you will not hear on Mix Tape Memories.  Tune in tonight for an encore broadcast of Mix Tape Memories---we'll take you back to 1985 for a decidingly non-Wham nostalgic trip to the past.

Even so, who can ever forget that classic saxophone riff at the beginning of the song?  Apparently, not this guy:

An encore broadcast of Mix Tape Memories airs tonight at 8 pm, Central. If you like early 80s alternative/New Wave, this is the show for you.

Sorry, but no George Michael.  Instead:  Boomtown Rats, Psychedelic Furs, The Thompson Twins, Nick Heyward, General Public, Time Zone, Corey Heart, Real Life, Berlin.

Oh, and also Alien Sex Fiend.

For more information about tonight's encore performance, click here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On the Turntable Today

Records.  Lots and lots of records.

We are going to try it again, folks.  Got everything working (hopefully).  Listen live to The Vinyl Voyage all day without commercial interruptions.  We have the most eclectic mix out there and are adding more each day.

Then, stay tuned at 9 pm (CT) for Mix Tape Memories.  Tonight, we will be playing a mix from 1985 with some of the best new wave/alternative of the early 80s.  Time Zone.  The Fixx.  Real Life.  Boomtown Rats.

And, of course, Alien Sex Fiend.

Join us at 9.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vinyl Voyage is Live and Commercial Free During the Day

Starting today, the Vinyl Voyage will be live and commercial free, streaming the best music on vinyl throughout the day.  Perfect for listening at work.  Growing up during the 70s and 80s, I have a large record collection, so most of the music will be from those eras---with a few new modern hits thrown in as well.  We offer an eclectic mix of the best tunes from the last several decades plus deep tracks, rarities and oldies as well.  And we are constantly adding to our collection.  You never know what might end up on the Vinyl Voyage turntable.

Give us a listen.

Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alien Sex Fiend and Time Zone--This Friday on Mix Tape Memories

This was my favorite mix tape from the 1980s; it was the one I was most proud of.  We all had mix tapes like that:  the ones we cranked up in the car when we drove with the windows down, showing off our taste in music.    This was the tape that made me feel cool, in my highschool--"look at me, I'm an individual"---way.

This is the tape with Alien Sex Fiend.

I bought that Alien Sex Fiend album at a record store in Northbrook.  I didn't know anything about them.  Just thought it would be cool to own.  It's not very good, yet I put a couple of tracks on this mix---probably just to show that I was "cutting edge,"  or something like that.  The album is called "Who's Been Sleeping in My Brain?" and contains some classic punk/death metal songs, such as "Drive My Rocket (Up Uranus)."  Don't worry, that one is not on this mix.

But "Black Rabbit" is.

The mix begins with a classic 80s song that really captures the spirit of the 80s Cold War.  This was the age of "The Evil Empire" and The Day After.  In high school, I truly believed that the end was going to come at the end of a mushroom cloud.  And no song captures this more than "World Destruction" by Time Zone.

Time Zone was a collaboration between early hip-hop artist Afrika Bambaataa and the Sex Pistol's Johnny Rotten.  It was a unique song, one that I loved to play loud.  Really loud.

It's a world destruction
Your life ain't nothing
the human race is becoming a disgrace

The mix starts with that song.  Other artists include The Fixx.  Corey Hart.  Orchestra Maneuvers in the Dark.  The Plimsouls.  Real Life.   Alphaville.  Ministry.  Nick Heyward.  And many more. 

This is a good mix. If you like early 80s alternative or New Wave--if you want to call it that--join us on Friday night for Mix Tape Memories for a nostalgic trip to 1985.  We'll be talking 80s trivia and "Name that Movie" segment as well.

Mix Tape Memories airs every Friday night at 9 pm CT on the Vinyl Voyage.  Encore broadcast airs on the following Monday night at 8 pm.

Click here for more information.

Monday, April 11, 2011

On the Turntable Today

Tonight, we will be an encore broadcast of Mix Tape Memories, Episode 1.  This mix is called "Many Songs #4" from 1986 and includes such 80s bands as Oingo Boingo, Tones on Tail and R.E.M.

Broadcast begins at 8 pm CT.

Join us for this nostalgic trip back to the mid-80s--commercial free.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Over the Rhine on The Vinyl Brunch

This week on The Vinyl Brunch, we will be featuring Over the Rhine.  Over the Rhine has been making music together for 20 years.  Their new album, The Long Surrender, is perhaps one of their best.

The core of the band is husband and wife team, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist. They are, perhaps, the most literate of bands, making music that spans many genres.  Karin's voice radiates passion and there is no finer vocalist today, in my opinion. In fact, Over the Rhine provided some inspiration for a novel that I am writing as well.

The Long Surrender was released on vinyl this year and we will be playing several selections during The Vinyl Brunch. Broadcasting every Sunday morning from 10 am to 1 pm CT, The Vinyl Brunch offers an eclectic mix of music perfect for a Sunday morning. 

Join us.

More information about The Vinyl Brunch can be found here.

When KISS Rocked My Junior High

I used to doodle the faces of all of the members of the band KISS. We’d debate among friends who was our favorite band member. Mine: the drummer, Peter Criss. He was the “cat,” in case you’re wondering.

There was something magical about a band that wore bizarre costumes and make-up. I longed to go to a concert and imagined the fireworks, the spitting blood and the sound. Oh, that sound. I could only imagine how loud it actually was. The only thing I knew was that it would have been louder than my record player.

I first became acquainted with KISS in 1976 with, believe or not, a K-Tel album called Disco Mania. That’s right---you read correctly: Disco Mania. The song “Rock and Roll All Nite” appeared late on the second side. And I loved it. I played it all the time. I got other KISS albums. I imagined what it would be like to see them in concert.

In 1976, KISS played a concert at my soon-to-be junior high. River Trails Junior High in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, had recently won a promotion sponsored by a local radio station. The contest: the school that collected the most 3 x 5 cards with the word “snickers” on it would have KISS play a show in their gym. The kids at River Trails anteed up and KISS was coming. The concert occurred on May 4, 1976.

And I did not go.

I knew kids who went. In fact, the concert became legendary. By the time I got there in 1980, people were still talking about it. Kids my age were now claiming that they had attended with older brothers or sisters. Gene Simmons killed a chicken on stage, it was said.

There’s not much about this event online. But there is a Facebook discussion and someone posted a couple of pictures:

Photo by Ken Jenks

Photo by Ken Jenks

This month on Adventures in Vinyl, we will be taking a nostalgic trip back to 1976 through K-Tel’s Disco Mania album. Like all K-Tel albums, this one contains a diverse mix of tunes. There are, of course, some big early disco hits here, such as the ubiquitous “The Hustle.” Of course, Gloria Gaynor makes an appearance.

But then there’s Styx. Bachman Turner Overdrive.

And of course, KISS.

“Rock and Roll All Nite.”

I always wondered what Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley thought about that.


Adventures in Vinyl can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage Saturday Mornings at 11 AM CT with encore broadcasts throughout the week. This is the only radio show dedicated to a K-Tel record compilation. Each month, a new K-Tel album is featured.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A K-Tel Gem from 1976: Disco Mania

I turned 8 years old in 1976. And that was the year I got K-Tel’s classic compilation, Disco Mania. I have fond memories of this album---not because I was a huge fan of disco.  Quite the opposite, actually.  This was the album that introduced me to Kiss. Yes, you read correctly. An album called Disco Mania introduced me to the make-up wearing, hard-rocking, blood-spitting band, Kiss.

That is what makes this album pure K-Tel nuttiness. Sure, there are some early bona fide disco hits here: “The Hustle,” “Walkin’ in Rhythm,” “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Disco Queen.” But then, there are some songs that are gloriously out of place: “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, “Lady” by Styx and “Hey You” by Bachman Turner Overdrive.

There are 19 songs on this album and it begins with the classic disco song, “The Hustle.” This song was all over the place in 1976.  I remember dancing to it in my living room.

Included are other Disco hits: “Kung Fu Fighting,” “Shame Shame Shame,” “Doctor’s Orders” and “Spirit of the Boogie.”

What’s interesting about this collection is that it was sold under a different title in Canada. In Canada, it was called Disco Rock.

Disco Rock? Are you kidding me?

That--in a nutshell--is what K-Tel was all about.

Disco Mania is the featured album this month on Adventures in Vinyl.   Join us for a nostalgic trip through this K-Tel album, played for you on original vinyl.  Catch the premiere broadcast this Saturday---April 9 at 11 AM CT. Encore broadcasts are available all month. Check the schedule here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Encore Broadcast of Mix Tape Memories: Alane's Mix Tonight!

If you missed last Friday's Mix Tape Memories, you can catch an encore broadcast tonight at 8 pm CT---live and commercial free.  This is a great mix tape from 1986 and features some eclectic music, including Belinda Carlisle, the Stray Cats, Duran Duran, INXS and the Monkees.  Plus a song from West Side Story, as well.  I did say it was eclectic, didn't I?

Join us for a nostalgic trip to when music was shared...on mix tapes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Vinyl Brunch--Here Comes the Sun!

This week on the Vinyl Brunch, we will be featuring songs about the sun and sunshine.  As we shake these winter blues, these songs will be a perfect accompaniment to your relaxing Sunday morning.

So pour some coffee, open the Sunday paper and lose yourself in this eclectic mix of music---all played on glorious vinyl.  What will you hear this Sunday?  The Beatles.  John Denver.  Cowboy Junkies.  Neil Young.  Billie Holiday.  Bobby Darin. Ray Charles. Vikki Carr.

Just to name a few.

The Vinyl Brunch airs every Sunday morning from 10 am to 1 pm (Central.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tonight on Mix Tape Memories: "Alane's Mix"

I am not exactly sure when "Alane's Mix" was created.  Sometime in 1986, I believe.  In that year, Belinda Carlisle released her first post-Go-Go's solo album, Belinda.  A couple of songs from that album appear on this mix including the hit, "Mad About You."  So I assume it was made around this time---summer, 1986.

This is a nice mix and very Alane.  I basically grew up with Alane.  We went to elementary school, junior high and high school together.  Our families camped together a couple of times.  We went on road trips into the city and once got lost while singing songs from Jesus Christ Super Star and didn't realize we were lost until well into the second act. (Yeah, we liked musicals and she got me hooked not just on JCSS, as we called it, but also on West Side Story as well.  Sometimes we'd act out scenes in the hall in high school.  We were Glee before Glee.)

Tonight, on Mix Tape Memories, we will feature "Alane's Mix."  This is a very eclectic mix of tunes, as all good mix tapes are.  Here's just a few of the artists you will hear tonight:

Barbara Streisand.
The Smiths.
Corey Hart.
Stray Cats.
Duran Duran.
Belinda Carlisle.

And many more.  Plus, of course, a song from West Side Story.  80's Trivia and the "Name that Movie" segment are on tap as well.  So join us for a nostalgic trip back to the age of Reagan, New Wave and big hair on Mix Tape Memories.

Mix Tape Memories airs live at 9 pm CT tonight (April 1). Catch a repeat of this show, Monday night at 8 pm CT.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mix Tape Memories--Repeat of First Show Tonight!

Oingo Boingo.  Depeche Mode.  Tones on Tail. R.E.M. Jethro Tull.  Need I say more?

This is "Mix Tape #4" created in 1986 and airs exclusively on Mix Tape Memories.  If you missed the first show on Friday, you can hear a rebroadcast TONIGHT at 8 pm Central. 

For more on "Mix Tape Memories" and a schedule of future shows, click here.

Join us on April 1 for "Alane's Mix"---another eclectic mix tape from 1986.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Coming Sunday: The Vinyl Brunch!

Pour some coffee, open the Sunday paper and lose yourself in The Vinyl Brunch every Sunday starting at 10 am central.  The Vinyl Brunch features an eclectic mix of music perfect for Sunday mornings. 

Jazz.  Soft-rock.  Motown.  Folk.  Showtunes.  Classical.  All played on original vinyl and commercial free.  Tomorrow you'll hear a song from the original cast recording of Hair.  Frank Sinatra will make an appearance or two.  So will Billie Holiday and Dionne Warwick.  Burt Bacharach, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Gordon Lightfoot and Carly Simon---to name a few.  Remember Nadia's Theme from the 1976 Summer Olympics?  You'll hear that, too, on the Vinyl Brunch.

So join us.  The Vinyl Brunch streams live every Sunday morning from 10 am to 1 pm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mix Tape Memories---First Show TONIGHT!

Just a few weeks ago, I collected two boxes labeled, "cassettes" from my basement.

And these boxes were full guessed it, old cassette tapes. Hundreds of them. Many of them old mix tapes spanning the last thirty or so years.

Mix tapes. What a concept---a concept that is completely lost on this new generation of kids who know only their iPods. Kids don't make mixes for each other. They create playlists, to be sure. But these are not necessarily designed to share. The mix tape was a collective art form. Mix tapes were meant to share. They were meant to be heard by more than just the person who put it together. There was a certain amount of pride that went into the mix tapes we created. Mix tapes given as gifts contained cryptic messages in the form of songs, and much agonizing thought went into the creation of these.

I pulled out an old Walkman and listened to some of my tapes. The tapes reflect me at certain times in my life. A diary told through song.  Listening to these tapes brought back memories of sitting in the bus, of driving to a friend's house, of parties, of driving alone through the neighborhood late at night.

So that gave me an idea....

I want to share my tapes again. Tonight at 9 pm Central will be the first installment of "Mix Tape Memories." It will air every Friday night, live and commercial free. I will play one of my many mix tapes all the way through and comment a little on the songs and the history. So join us. But catch the stream early, since we are going live and without commercials, there are fewer "slots" available. But don't worry. If you miss it, you can catch it at a different time. The schedule can be found here.

On tap tonight is "Many Songs #4." I know, not a very creative title. In fact, most of my early mix tapes are simply numbered. But that's alright, it's the music that matters.

Oingo Boingo. R.E.M. Tones on Tail. David Bowie. Depeche Mode. Boomtown Rats. B-52s. Jethro Tull.

And Grand Funk Railroad?

Yes, that's the glory of Mix Tapes. You never know what to expect.

Mix Tape Memories can be heard Friday nights at 9 pm central only on the Vinyl Voyage.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother": The Story of a Song

We all have those songs which touch us in certain ways. Music has that ability---to stir emotions, to wrangle memories. We have the tendency to claim songs as our own for what they do within us. For me, no song is more poignant and powerful than “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

The song was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, their only collaboration as songwriters. Russell was dying of cancer at the time and his lyrics for this song would be the last he ever wrote. The origin of the phrase is unknown, but it did appear as the title of an article in Kiwanis magazine in 1924 and then later became the motto for Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town in the 1940s.

Written in the late 60s, the song conjures images of the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam. In fact, every year when I teach Vietnam, I use music to tell the story and “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” highlights 1970, the year of it’s release. However, for me, the song has nothing to do with Vietnam.

For me, the song is about my brother.

My brother, Christopher, had recently turned three when he was tragically stuck and killed by a car in 1974. I was just a month away from turning six and, although it had happened almost 40 years ago, the details of that day are seared into my memory as if it had occurred not years, but moments ago. If I close my eyes I can still see that sunny Sunday afternoon. My brother was riding his big wheel; I could see him from the top of an A-frame tree house recently constructed in a friend’s back yard. In my excitement over the tree house, I called out to him.  A train had recently rumbled along the tracks behind the house. Other children were playing, their laughs could be heard echoing throughout the neighborhood.

And then…..then our lives changed forever.

It’s not something I often talk about. In fact, I didn’t talk about it much growing up. I kept to myself.

It was in music where I found refuge.

I first heard “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” sometime in 1975 or so. My parents had recently bought Olivia Newton-John’s release, Clearly Love. I can still picture the album cover: Olivia standing in a denim jacket, a slight smile on her face as wind blows through her feathered hair. Olivia Newton-John may have been my first crush. The song is the final song on the album and it would be the first song in my life to become emotionally significant.

I may not have understood the true meaning of the song at the time, but the refrain struck a chord. I thought the song was about losing a brother and being sad about it. Olivia sang it so mournfully. And so beautifully. It must have been about me.

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness.

I listened to the song whenever I could. When it came on the reel to reel my parents had, I stopped and listened. When I got older, I played it myself—sometimes over and over.

Most people are familiar with the more famous Hollies version. I, however, wouldn’t be aware of that version for many years. But when I bought The Hollies’ Greatest Hits on cassette in the early 80s, it would be that version that would carry me through the next decade or so. As a teacher, I would play the Hollies’ version to my classes. My students may have been thinking about Vietnam, but not me. I sat in the back of the classroom, thinking about my brother. Sometimes doing all I could to hold back the tears, staring at the image I had placed on the overhead of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade through the jungle.

I recently became familiar with the very first recording of the song. Neil Diamond actually recorded the song before the Hollies, but would release it later.   It appears on his 1970 release Tap Root Manuscript, which I just recently picked up in a used record store.  Although it is the oldest, my relationship with Neil Diamond’s version is still in its infancy. But I like it. In many ways, it is better than the Hollies version. It is better than Olivia’s. Neil Diamond may not be the best singer, but his voice exudes emotion. As a man in my early 40s, it is this version that I turn to more often. It speaks to me in a way the others don't.

My brother would have turned 40 this year.  As I get older, his presence in my life grows more significant.  I look upon my two boys and sometimes see subtle reflections of Chris.  When you think about it, people never really die---they live on in our lives in numerous ways, shades of them appearing unexpectedly in others.  And songs like "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" help us cope and, in turn, keep the memory alive.   In the end, it doesn't matter the original intent of the song.  True art transcends purpose and becomes something more---much, much more.  Art has the ability to help us deal with life's curve balls.  It can calm us and excite us.  But, most of all, art makes us pause every now and then, especially when we are consumed with the minutiae of everyday living, to remind us about what is truly important.

In honor of what would have been my brother's 40th birthday, I created a video dedicated to his memory. Of course, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" is the soundtrack. It couldn't have been anything else.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mix Tape Memories

If you grew up in the 80s, no doubt you took your vinyl collection and made mix tapes.  The Sony Walkman went on sale in the United States in 1980 and nearly everyone I knew eventually had one.  I brought it to school, listened to it on the bus---not too different from kids today with their iPods and mp3 players.

The only difference is that more thought went into a mix tape--after all, you only had 60-90 minutes for all of the songs you wanted to include.  A mix tape was all about mood.  It was about current feelings.  It was about friends.  Mix tapes were more inter-relational.  We would make mix tapes for road trips into the city; mix tapes for special events.  We would give mix tapes as gifts.  iPods are about the individual; mix tapes were more about friends. Mix tapes were meant to be shared.

I had a special mix tape entitled, "Depression Songs."  Too bad I no longer have that one.  It was a tape with songs that would make me more depressed when I was depressed.  We tried to be creative with our mix tapes by making names for them to highlight the particular mood we were in when making them. I recently pulled out my cassette collection and there are mix tapes entitled, "Songs I Made When I Had Nothing to Do,"  "A Rainy Evening, Sipping Coffee in Front of a Fire," and "Oh For a Muse of Fire."  Of course, I was not all that creative most of the time:  most of my mix tapes are simply titled, "Many Songs #1" and so on.

I still have many of my mix tapes.  I wish I had more.  Unfortunately, my car was broken into one night at the mall and my tape collection was stolen.  That was about 1988, I think.  But I still have many.  Of course, mix tapes turned into mix cds--but I think that, too, is a thing of the past.

Before high school, I made mix tapes by simply recording songs off of the radio.  How many of you did that?  I still have some of those tapes and they are very interesting---a musical snapshot of a particular time in my life.

Starting this month, the Vinyl Voyage will begin a new show entitled, "Mix Tape Memories."  Currently, I am listening to a mix tape I made on October 18, 1986.  I had just started college and no doubt made it for the ride downstate.  As a freshman I didn't have a car, so I often took a bus.  I couldn't have survived without my Walkman.

This will be the first mix tape on "Mix Tape Memories."  It includes artists such as Oingo Boingo, R.E.M., Tones on Tails, Shriekback, Boomtown Rats, Depeche Mode and the B-52's----just to name a few.

Check back for more details.

Friday, March 4, 2011

K-Tel’s Classic Music Express: This month on Adventures in Vinyl

One of my favorite albums as a kid was K-Tel’s classic 1975 compilation, Music Express. It’s typical K-Tel: cheesy 70s graphics, a few bona fide hits and obscure never-again-heard-from artists. Who the hell is Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes anyway? But there are some 70s powerhouses on this album to be sure: Captain and Tennille, Elton John and Barry Manilow.

I think the Captain and Tennille may have been the first band that I could recognize by name. Yes, I admit it. Before the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or any other classic rock band---I remember Captain and Tennille. How could I not? They were all over the place. My parents had their albums, the first of which came out in 1975 and contained the title song which appears on K-Tel’s Music Express, “Love Will Keep Us Together.” And they were all over tv as well, even appearing on their own variety show. I remember watching that show, actually. And the segment that stands out was the “Bionic Watermelon.”

The album also features examples from a unique American musical genre: the “splatter platter,” or teenage tragedy song. You remember these songs: a narrative in which a person is tragically killed, usually because of an illicit love. This album has two: David Geddes’ “Run Joey Run” and Austin Roberts’ “Rocky.” In “Run Joey Run” a father accidentally kills his daughter after she dives in front of the bullet intended for her older lover. “Daddy please don’t,” she cries, “It wasn’t his fault. He means so much to me. Daddy please don’t, we’re going to get married…”

In “Rocky,” the protagonist tells the story of the love of his life who dies leaving him with a young daughter.

And she said,
“Rocky I never had to die before.
Don’t know if I can do it..”

There were other songs like these scattered throughout the 70s: Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun,” “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods and “Blind Man in the Bleachers,” another hit by David Geddes. And all of these appear on other K-Tel compilations as well.

Music Express is being featured on this month’s episode of Adventures in Vinyl. Join us. We will spin the album in its entirety on original vinyl----hiss, crackle, pops and all. So grab your bean bag, open a Tab and join us.

The episode will premiere Saturday, March 5 at 11 am.   You can catch repeats of the episode throughout the week.  Check out the schedule here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Livin' the Dream: Vinyl Voyage goes Live!

Today, the Vinyl Voyage went live for a period of time, playing tracks from 1979-1982.  Those were the years of junior high for me.  Probably the worst years of my life; who ever liked junior high, anyway?  Even so, this period of time provided the foundation to my musical tastes and as my allowance increased, so did my record-buying.

For about an hour and a half today, I spun tracks from that period of time in my life.  Currently, many of these songs can now be heard on the Vinyl Voyage:

Cars---Gary Numan
Loverboy---Turn Me Loose
Billy Squier---My Kinda Lover
Stevie Nicks---Edge of Seventeen
Pat Benatar---Fire and Ice
Quarterflash---Harden My Heart
Shooting Star---Flesh and Blood
Pete Townshend---Let My Love Open the Door
John Cougar---Ain't Even Done With the Night
John Lennon---Watching the Wheels
Pretenders---Brass in Pocket
Sniff 'n' the Tears---Driver's Seat
Journey---Still They Ride

I had a little help at the controls from my two boys, Brennan and Quinn, who were home from school today for President's Day.

Many of these tracks are streaming now on the Vinyl Voyage on a regular basis.  Check us out.  We now have over 9 hours of music and are constantly adding more.  Click here to listen.  We have music going 24/7.

And, as usual, all of it on vinyl.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thank You Benny Mardones

This is Benny Mardones
I know nothing about Benny Mardones. Nothing. I don't know any albums. I don't know if he still makes music. I don't know if he ever was a member of a band. Until recently, I had no idea what he looks like. And I don't know any of his songs. Except, that is, for one.

That song is "Into the Night." It originally came out in 1980 but was rereleased in 1989. Both times it made the charts; one of the few times a single song had made the charts for the same recording. It happened with the Righteous Brothers and their song "Unchained Melody" and also Chubby Checkers made the charts twice with "The Twist." So this is quite a feat for Mr. Mardones.

I first heard "Into the Night" sometime in the early 80s. And the thing that I remember about hearing the song for the first time was that I thought it was Steve Perry. At that time, I was a huge Journey fan (and, frankly, still like the band an awful lot. Old Journey. Not the new Journey) and believed "Into the Night" was either a new Journey song I hadn't heard or solo Steve Perry. I quickly discovered that it was not a new new Steve Perry song; I would have to wait a couple of years for "Oh Sherrie." And it wasn't Journey.

It was some dude named Benny.

Nonetheless, I bought the 45. Played it for awhile and put it away. Occasionally, I hear the song on the radio and still think to myself, "Man, that guy sounds like Steve Perry." And then I feel sorry for Benny Mardones. I think I should probably know more about him.

I still have that 45. I dusted it off recently and placed it on the turntable after spending a ridiculously long time looking for one of those annoying 45 adapters. Through the crackle and the pops of the old 45, "Into the Night" reignited memories that only vinyl can. Sure, music has a tremendous ability to spark memories---but music played on its original source with the tactile experience of pulling the record from the sleeve and gently placing it on the turntable, perhaps wiping away the dust. Lifting the tone arm and setting it gently on the shiny rim of the jet black vinyl. Hearing the initial crackle and pop as the needle sets itself into the groove. That's a complete sensory experience that goes beyond the song. And it is a powerful memory reclaimer.

So there I was, a man in my 40s, sitting in my basement and feeling again like a 14 year old kid.  And that was cool.

Thank you Benny Mardones. Whoever you are.

This video features Benny Mardones and the song "Into the Night." Check out that tie. I had that tie in high school.

"Into the Night" is now streaming on The Vinyl Voyage from the original 45.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Vinyl Oddity: Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space

Each month on the Vinyl Voyage, we highlight a rare and often strange oddity from the world of vinyl. This month, it is Leonard Nimoy's debut album (yes, he had more) from 1967, Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space.  Riding on the popularity of Star Trek at the time, the album features instrumentals, poetry and songs---all with a space theme.

There was even a single from the album released.  It contained the strange reading, "A Visit to a Sad Planet" with the "Theme from Star Trek" on the B side.

Excerpt:  "A Visit to a Sad Planet"
Excerpt:  "Theme from Star Trek"

There are some very sixties-type instrumentals, such as "Music to Watch Space Girls By" and a spaced-out version of "Mission Impossible."  Also, Leonard Nimoy takes his turn  singing with "Where is Love?" from the musical Oliver and a sad tune entitled "Lost in the Stars"

Leonard Nimoy had five releases from Dot records, the last of which was released in 1970 and includes a version of "Abraham, Martin and John."

Excerpt:  "Abraham, Martin and John"

Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space is the Vinyl Oddity for the month.  You can hear several tracks streaming on the station.  Plus, the album will be spotlighted during this month's episode of Adventures in Vinyl.

Listen to Adventures in Vinyl  on Saturday, 11 am (central) and Sunday, 4 pm (central).  Check out the schedule for other times.