Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Starflight is the Winner!

The winner of the other important election of November is the 1979 K-Tel classic, Starflight. This will be the featured album on Adventures in Vinyl in December.

So take a trip back to the last year of the 1970s---a time when Blondie was tearing up the airwaves with "Heart of Glass," Sigourney Weaver was battling a creature in space and a Chicago DJ was blowing up disco records in a ballpark.  Yep.  The 70s were just about over.

Even K-Tel noticed that things were changing. Before 1979, the label they slapped on their discs looked like this:

In 1979, it changed to this:

I am not sure where I got Starflight. I think I may have picked it up in a Goodwill store. It's not in great shape.  I spent a lot of time cleaning it and it sounds pretty good.  A couple of scratches, though. That's okay---it makes it more authentic.  The album is over 30 years old, after all.

Eclectic to it's core, Starflight offers up a variety of 70s hits.  It features some prominent disco in a time when disco was on the way out:  Peaches & Herb, Abba, Atlanta Rhythm Section.  Some 70s pop:  Elton John, Robert John, Suzi Quatro.  And some rock and roll as well:  Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton.

Here's the commercial:

So join us on this music time trip through the magic of K-Tel.  Adventures in Vinyl can be heard at the following times (all times Central)

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

Adventures inVinyl:  The only radio show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  Only on Vinyl Voyage Radio.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This week: K-Tel's Power House from 1976

As we glide into the last week of November, we will be taking a trip back to 1976 with K-Tel's Power House on Adventures in Vinyl.  Silver Convention and Styx.  Hall and Oates and Seals and Crofts.  Roxy Music and Heart.  This is pure K-Tel eclecticism.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard:

Saturday, 12 pm (central)
Sunday, 4 pm
Tuesday, 1 pm
Wednesday 2 am
Thursday, 10 am


Don't forget: Next month's K-Tel album will be determined by you.  Make sure you vote.  Voting closes on November 25.  Vote NOW!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck

About two weeks ago, the local radio station here in Chicago flipped to all Christmas music all the time.  Now, for me, that is way too early. I don't necessarily like Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  I happen to really like Thanksgiving and don't like the fact that Christmas is overshadowing this equally important holiday.  Plus, my wife's birthday falls around this time, so the Christmas encroachment is pretty nefarious.

I do like Christmas music, however.  But good Christmas music, not the kind played on the radio-station-that-shall-not-be named (For those of you who live in the Chicago area, you know what I am talking about.  This station literally sucks the life out of Christmas.)  How many times a day can a person hear Wham's "Last Christmas" before wanting to harm himself or others?

Some of my best memories of Christmas as a kid involves music.  Good music.

My parents had a rather large collection of Christmas albums.  They took those albums and made mix tapes---real mix tapes---on a reel-to-reel player.  It was an eclectic mix of music:  Percy Faith, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and many more.  To put it frankly:  it was Christmas music that did not suck.

For a generation of people, these songs came to represent Christmas.  To this day, whenever I hear "What Child is This?" by Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops Orchestra I can suddenly smell the burning of pine incense that my parents had from a little log cabin on the fireplace mantle.   Today, such memories have been overshadowed by "corporate Christmas;"  the kind that drones on for twenty-four hours a day on the station-that-shall-not-be-named.

This year on Vinyl Voyage Radio, we are going to try and recapture the magic of Christmas past.  Consider this a "Retro Christmas."  Currently, I am recording all of my Christmas records into the computer so that you, too, can relive the years when Christmas music was good.  Last night, for example, I placed into the computer a vinyl copy of the classic 1958 Christmas album, The Little Drummer Boy by The Harry Simeone Chorale.  You'll hear that, plus much more.  The music will span the 1940s through the 1980s, with much of the emphasis on the 50s and 60s--the "Golden Age" of Christmas music.  Come on, when was the last time you heard a Ferrante and Teicher Christmas song?  Or Percy Faith?  Or Dinah Shore, Perry Como or Mantovani?

Next month, we will begin sneaking in some of this music here and there.  Then, starting December 23, we will go totally Christmas, playing for you Christmas music that does not suck.

This will continue through December 26.  The one thing I have always disliked about corporate radio is that the Christmas music stops promptly at 12 am on December 26.  I still like to hears some Christmas music the next day; I can't be cut off, cold turkey. I need some Christmas music at least for a day or two.

So, there it is:  the Vinyl Voyage Christmas plan.

Hope you like it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vote for the Next K-Tel Album!

I know:  we just finished up an election cycle and, if you're like me, very glad it is over.  No more awful commercials, robo-calls or arguments with friends and colleagues.

However, we have one more important vote to make.

December is coming quick and I am indecisive as ever.  Help me choose the next K-Tel album for Adventures in Vinyl.  The winning album will be featured on the show in December.

Here are your choices:

Super Bad is Back!  This album is from 1973 and features the Manhattans, Millie Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire, James Brown and Curtis Mayfield.

Out of Sight  This 1975 release features carl Douglas, Elton John, Stealers Wheel, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Kool & the Gang.

Starflight  From 1979, this features a collection of disco and soft rock, including Robert John, Abba, David Naughton, Dr. Hook and Peter Frampton.

High Voltage  This is from 1981 and features Gino Vannelli, Kool & the Gang, Pat Benatar, Loverboy and the Police.

Blast Off  Another 80s classic, from 1982.  This features Genesis, .38 Special, Billy Idol, John Cougar and Joan Jett.

Vote below.  Voting will close on November 25!

This Week: Super Bad!

What better K-Tel album this Thanksgiving week than the 1974 K-Tel classic, Super-Bad?

We will stream Super Bad this week at the following times (all times CTS):

Saturday, November 17 12 pm
Sunday, November 18 4 pm
Tuesday, November 20 1 pm
Wednesday, November 21 2 am
Thursday, November 22 10 am

Next weekend, we will pull from our vaults for another classic episode.  Stay tuned for information of the December choice--you will get to vote on the album!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Music: Love and Streets

We here at the Vinyl Voyage love music.  Even music that is not on vinyl (but should be).  I recently wrote a review for Tom Flannery's new album, Love and Streets.  I've been a fan of Flannery's music for years.  And with each album he gets better.

Here is the review I posted on Amazon.  The album is also available in iTunes and Google Play.

It’s always a good day when Tom Flannery releases a new album. Earlier in 2012, he rocked it out with Teen Angst and the Green Flannel, his first venture into old school rock and roll. Now he returns to his roots with Love and Streets, a solo acoustic mediation about love, streets and much more. Ultimately, Flannery is a storyteller—the best of story tellers---and Love and Streets skillfully weaves narratives and emotions, producing an album that feels more like a novel than a collection of songs. And that is what Flannery has always done extremely well: by the time the final guitar sounds on the last track, we feel that we have been taken somewhere different and we have lived life through many eyes.

The album starts with “Love and Streets,” a song—you guessed it---about love and streets. But these aren’t your normal streets. These are streets where love is hard to find; where kids with “heroin eyes” roam among broken windows and “lies and cheats.” There is a certain realism to the song that speaks not only of despair, but of the possibilities of love among those streets as well. Under the surface of the grit and dirt, there is a hope. This is a theme that can often be found in Flannery’s work. It appears again in songs such as “Road Weary” and “Drunk Driving” as well. “Road Weary” is a personal favorite of mine and speaks to the long road of life where we spend much time toiling and working for others and want nothing more than to return home to our “easy chair.” The realization, though, that we have spent our life on the wrong road is palpable:

I'm road weary baby
simply bought and sold
spying from the rear-view
and scared of being old

“I Hate Getting Up in the Morning” appears five tracks later, but is a perfect companion to “Road Weary.” This song was actually included on an earlier album entitled Love in the Present Tense, released in 2007. But now, on this album, the two songs bridge an idea: after coming home from the road the cycle starts all over again as we have to get up and do it all over again:

oh I hate getting up in the morning
and putting on a shirt and tie
like a whore in church I feel besmirched
so lonesome I could cry

Throughout the album are songs that tell stories; specific stories about people and events. In “The Indianapolis,” the plight of the doomed ship, torpedoed in World War II is told through the eyes of an old veteran who still cannot “get further than the sand” but hears the cries of his comrades whenever he holds a seashell to his ear.

The next track tells the story of another incident of war, this time the massacre at My Lai, told through the perspective of another soldier. Pain, regret and the hope of forgiveness bubbles underneath the surface:

I remember the little children
and the women who held them tight
and the smoke rising from the village
that turned morning into night
my eyes just rolled back in my head
and with all that that implies
I too was KIA....
that morning in My Lai

There is a song about baseball and the hope of moving up to the big leagues (“The Show”); a song about boxing and the very real threat of dying in the ring for a small paycheck that would barely pay the rent (“The Fighter”). And, of course, there are songs about love, or something like it. “Suzie” is about distant, unrequited love—something we have all experienced at one time or another:

Your dark eyes give nothing away
I never know just what to say
to compete with all the other guys
with their fancy cars and desperate lies
I'll never need an alibi, Suzie

“Love is a Four Letter Word” ends the album, completing our journey through love and streets and everything in between. This song, like all of the songs in Flannery’s repertoire, demonstrates that nothing is as simple as it seems:

Love is an anchor that holds your place
and keeps you from drifting away
but the captain on the bridge
takes all the pain you give
because love is a four letter word

Love and Streets is an exceptional album from a master storyteller. Flannery here is at his best: plain spoken and real; intense and subtle. Life is a complex, sometimes unforgiving and painful journey that we are lucky to undertake. And Love and Streets captures that essence perfectly.

Vinyl Voyage is Back! Here's Why We Took a Break---

Thanks for your patience.  The Vinyl Voyage is back, streaming live from my basement studio.

Why did we take a little hiatus?  Well, the station runs from a computer that also serves as my video editing station.  I recently was working on a music video for the Civil Wars and needed the complete RAM arsenal of the computer to render this high definition video.

The video was created for a competition sponsored by genero.tv.  The winning video becomes the official video for the band.  The song is "20 Years," which is off Barton Hallow, the debut album from the Civil Wars.  I wanted to do something different, so I created a video that is part music video and part documentary.  The real star of the video is Jayne Bartlett Kerr, a woman who was born in the 19th century, but lives on through the faded images of a photo album she put together at the turn of the century.

Check out the video below:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Basic Broadcast---Temporary

Good morning, Vinyl Voyagers!

Currently, we are running the station in "Basic" mode.  That means that the playlist is playing from the Live365 servers and not from the Vinyl Voyage studio (which is really a computer in my basement).  That means that you will hear commercials and less variety.

Don't worry, this is only temporary.

The station computer is being used for some heavy-duty video editing at the moment and can't also stream vinyl-ripped mp3s.  The station will come back in full-force in two weeks when the project that I am working on is done.   At that time, the station will go into full "Live" mode once again and with some new programming in store.  Be on the lookout for the return of the "Vinyl Brunch" and a new program entitled, "Soundtrack Spin."

We'll be adjusting our playlist on Live365 as well to provide more vinyl variety.

Thanks for your patience.