Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970 (And an Added Bonus)

Today I have a prime slab of MOR-leaning Top 40 radio, from right near the beginning of 1970. The station is WDAF-AM in Kansas City (now known as KCSP).

This is, admittedly, not the most scintillating tape of music radio that you're ever going to hear. The person recording it focused on the music, so there is not a ton of between song chatter/phone calls/jingles/ads/news and weather, etc. But there are moments of that stuff, which is the gold of such a tape, and enough of it that I decided to share the material. I hope you agree that it was worth it.

In addition, the tape captures an era in radio that is utterly gone, and which has been since at least the mid-'80's, an era where pop, rock, jazz, funk (although I suppose the jazzy tune, and the ten seconds of Sly and the Family Stone could be from another channel), country, show tunes and novelty records all existed within the same bandwidth.

The date of this recording is fairly well nailed down by the presence of what is described as a brand new hit, the thoroughly awful and indefensible "Welfare Cadillac" by Guy Drake. The juxtaposition of this song, at one point, with "Blowing in the Wind" is particularly jarring.

Whoever made these recordings was quite taken with Guy Drake's spoken word record - I never understand the multiple recordings of a song, when I come across it, but in the course of recording just over an hour's worth of songs off of this station (and maybe a bit from others), he or she taped "Welfare Cadillac" four times within this hour of tape. Even leaving out the hideousness of this particular track, one would think that once one has taped something, one doesn't need another copy. Other songs, including a truly ridiculous novelty record about a chicken, are also taped multiple times.

Download: Various Artists - WDAF-AM, Kansas City, Very Early 1970

And here, for those with a voyeuristic bent, is a short phone call from a very excited young college woman, to her parents - specifically, her mom. She seemingly has no interest in telling her dad her big news.

Download: Unknown - Art Contest Phone Call

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Life Under Castro, A Leadership Slide Show, and An Odd Tape

First, thanks to the good folks at Blogger, the problem with pop-up ads has, I'm told, been addressed. Please let me know if that's the case, or, especially, if that's NOT the case. 

I have another triple feature today, leading off with the tape whose box looks like this:

A large purchase of tapes many years ago contained several reels of Howard K. Smith interviews, most of them raw tapes meant to be edited down later. This is from that collection, and interview with a former resident of Cuba, Ernesto Aguiar (the name on the box is likely a misspelling), talking about life under Castro's regime on January 30, 1963 (the date is elsewhere on the box. I'll let the tape speak for itself:

Download: Howard K. Smith and Ernesto Aguiar: Life Under Castro


Next up, here's a slide show for your mind - picture the images that were being shown to schoolchildren while the following tape - undated, but labeled "Leading and Following" - was being heard:

Download: Unknown - Leading and Following


Finally, here is a tape, heard in its entirety, which simply baffles me. I'd welcome comments from anyone who thinks he or she knows what it might have been made for. The 13 minute tape starts with some slow, atmospheric music on a flute-type instrument, for the first 6 1/2 minutes, but the meat of the weirdness comes in the 6 1/2 minutes that make up the second half. None of the things record are odd in and of themselves, but their placement together seems random, and may have been so. But then again, maybe not.

Download: Weird Compendium of Music, Talking and Sounds

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Supremely Irritating Jack Eigen

First and foremost, Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, and to the fathers of everyone reading this!

It occurred to me a short time ago that I've neglected to post any of the tapes I have of Jack Eigen. This is a real oversight, because I know there are multiple people who visit this site who are particularly interested in radio recordings, and because I have a LOT of Jack Eigen.

The main reason it didn't occur to me is that I actually sold the reels on which these recordings were housed, several years ago. But before I did so, I made copies of all of them. And there were a lot of them.

Jack Eigen was an enormously popular late night radio talk show host on Chicago station WCFL for 20 years, 1951 to 1971. I'm actually not sure I understand why - I find him abrasive and, as indicated, supremely irritating. This is not based - as it would undoubtedly be today - on a political point of view or deliberate crassness. No, I just find his personality aggressively unappealing. When I first got these tapes, more than 20 years ago, I remember asking my mom about him, and she said that they would listen to him "all the time", and adding that his annoying qualities were one reason that people listened. It was a feature, not a bug.

You can read a few bits about Jack Eigen here and here.

Regardless, these tapes are fascinating in that they present a world of show business, talk show style and radio presentation which all ceased to exist a long time ago.

This is a LONG tape, containing excerpts from several of Eigen's broadcasts - I have not re-listened to this whole tape, this time around, or even 1/10th of it. I'm guessing that buried within are references that will tell you when it is from. Like most of the tapes I can share from the Eigen collection, this is well over three hours long. I've labeled this one "volume one", simply because it's the first one I prepared for posting here - I have no idea what order they truly belong in.

I'm going to guess that there are those of you who want to hear more of this, and if so, by all means, ask - let me know. I have upwards of 25 of these tapes, or if you prefer, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 hours plus of Jack Eigen. Some of them are interspersed with latter day episodes of the Arthur Godfrey show (of the same vintage) and also episodes of "Theatre Five", which was an afternoon half-hour radio drama in the mid '60's, but most of them are pure Eigen - and yes, that means I have 75 plus hours of this stuff....

Download: Jack Eigen - The Jack Eigen Show, Volume One

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Different Types of Personal Recordings

I often label tapes that I'm sharing as "Home Recordings" - if that's what they are, or seem to be. But that covers a lot of ground. While I was looking for material to share today, I chose three tapes, and at that point, realized that they were all personal recordings of this type, but really had nothing else in common. 

The first is a tape I've labeled "Stargazing", which is from October of 1958. I know virtually nothing about astronomy, but perhaps people out there will find this interesting, or those inclined to ferret out the details from what is said (and what's on the tape box), can do so. And it seems at least possible to me, based on some of the things said here, that this is a tape made in conjunction with a school or a neighborhood, what with the woman in charge being so very much.... in charge. Just an interesting, sort of different, few minutes of tape. 


Oh, and here's that tape box. Two more tapes below. 

Next up, a very different home recording, featuring a curious little performance of a brief song. The introduction and explanation, in which the person speaking (then singing) indicates that she's written a new song - her first in a while - makes it sound like this is directed towards someone. But this short bit of tape comes in the middle of a solid 90 minute side of a reel, the rest of which is entirely filled up with the sorts of MOR and Jazz which were common in the 1950's, recorded off of records or the radio. It doesn't seem like something that she'd have sent to someone else, OR that she'd consider easy to find if she went back and looked for it.

Download: Unknown - When You're Dreamin'


And finally, one of the most common types of home recordings, the audio letter. Here's someone named Charles, sending Christmas greetings, in the form of an audio letter, interspersed with Christmas music, to a friend named Larry Ward:

Download: Charles - Audio Letter to Larry Ward

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

When I started this project, nearly three years ago, it was on the occasion of the closing of WFMU's "Beware of the Blog", where I'd been posting, among other things, an item (or more) from my reel to reel tape collection once a month or so.

The very first thing I shared here was one I had been excited to post at WFMU, but never got the chance. I called it "A Gaggle of Giggling Twelve Year Olds". Between what I heard on the tape and (mostly) what others dug around and found out, we determined that the family lived on the far South Side of Chicago, in the Roseland area. I even had one person who not only determined the name of the family, but knew an extended family member, and got us in touch. However, further conversations (including what was potentially another batch of tapes) fizzled out quickly, with little more said.

Since then, I've found that my collection houses multiple further tapes from the same family, some identified largely by the presence of the same bird heard in the post linked above (as well as familiar voices), and a few which contain more recordings of the children in the family and, in this case, their friends.

And while I initially labeled the previous tape to having been from the 1950's, it's clear from this recording, which seems to be from a short while later (based on the similar ages of the girls to that first tape), that we're at least in the second half of 1961.

And this is another smorgasbord of fun. The clue to the year comes early, with some recreations of Bill Dana's character Jose Jimenez. There follows a litany of names and ages from the girls, including at least one home address in, yes, Roseland. Later, a rendition of Dick Biondi's "On Top of a Pizza", again places us in Chicago, and at least in 1961. And the same dad heard as on the first tape, takes part, from time to time, in the fun.

There are songs (a variation of "Tavern in the Town" and, at the end, the singing of "Tonight" directly over the Ferrente and Teicher version). There are MANY skits (a number of which, oddly enough, involve someone pretending to be a toddler wetting her pants), Donald Duck impressions, and several badly played piano solos by one of the participants (leading to multiple sketches pretending to be at a recital, or interviewing people afterwards). And there are, unfortunately, a few moments where the casual racial stereotypes common to the day and age crop up for a moment.

And, at one point (about 25:45), someone makes the odd threat, a phrase which I can find nowhere else in my memory (or on Google), saying, regarding some unnamed person, that she'd like to "Choke Him In the Heart".

This is another really fun, really special recording. I hope you enjoy it.

Download: Unknown - A Gaggle of Giggling Girls - The Sequel

Monday, April 30, 2018

Denver Radio, Australian Shortwave and TV Commercial Work


I remain far busier than I'd like to be, but wanted to get another post going here. Since there's not a lot to actually have to say here, I'll explain what I have in a few words and just let you listen. Since postings have been sort of few and far between, and since many of you seem to really like my media tapes, I'll feature three of them today.

First up is some vintage top 40 radio, from a very specific date - 12/11/64 - and place - the radio station at 710 AM in Denver, Colorado, KBTR - and an exciting time it must have been for Beatles fans. This date happens to have fallen between the English release of the "Beatles For Sale" album, one week earlier, and the US release of some of those same tracks on "Beatles '65", four days later.

The tape is rather choppy, and it will not be a favorite of those who collect DJ tapes - the person recording, as is often the case, cut much of the DJ chatter, trying to get the songs rather than the talking. But there's enough there to know (in the second half of the tape) that the DJ was featuring songs that no listener was likely to own yet, from a Beatles' album none of the listeners likely had a chance to own yet. And hey, there's even a newsbreak preserved for posterity.

Download: KBTR, 710 AM, Denver, Colorado, 12/11/64

Okay, here's the second clip - this is another segment of Shortwave recordings made from an Australian station which was specifically broadcasting to America. Two previously posted shortwave broadcasts from Australia can be found by clicking the "Australia" link at the bottom of this post.

Download: Even More Shortwave from Australia

Finally, here is about 15 minutes featuring a few folks trying to film a commercial for Lux soap.

Download: Filming a Lux Commercial


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slides and the Hit Parade

This has been another one of those ridiculously busy months at home and at work, and I can't believe I've not posted here in three weeks. I still don't have much time, so I'll be short in my comments, but I did want to thank two people who posted comments with better information about my last post - the 1958-59 cornucopia of TV sound.

First, thanks to Martinf, for identifying the man talking about Berlin as being Willy Brandt, the Governing Mayor of Berlin. Thanks also to Eric, for identifying that the Charlie Weaver segment was not from Weaver's own show, but from an episode of the Tennessee Ernie Ford show on 11/13/58.

As I said, I'll be brief with my comments. Very brief. To further answer the requests I received for more slide show narrations, here is another one. This one is incomplete at both ends - the beginning of it was erased by someone's record collection, and then, after about 25 seconds, more of it was erased by more music (which I have edited out). And then, the end has been lost over time with the deterioration of the end of the tape reel. The whole tape is just over 30 minutes long.

In this case, we're going to go to several tourist destinations in various parts of the country, in some cases quite a ways away from each other.

Download: Unknown - Slide Show Narration

On a completely different subject, and for those who enjoy vintage media recordings, here is an episode, complete with commercials (and as with the above tape, again, this is just over 30 minutes long - so this seems to be almost the entire episode), of an episode of "Your Hit Parade", which is, based on the songs here, from late 1958., which would place this episode near the final days of this venerable programs 25 years on the air (radio and TV). The tape extends into the start of the next show, "Trackdown", starring Robert Culp, as well as its first commercial.

Download: Various Artists - Your Hit Parade

Oh, and here's a picture of the tape recorder I was able to get, to replace my busted one. As you can see, my daughter's elderly cat Angel is already fond of it.