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Catamount Community Radio Radio - April 24, 2011

Happy Easter. To celebrate the day, we listened to a good bit of gospel today, nine tunes by my count.

It was great to be back on the radio this morning, for the first time in a couple of weeks. I've become a creature of habit, as they say, and Sunday mornings I like to be behind the microphone and spinning discs for my people's dining (breakfast) and dancing pleasure.

As for the gospel, we heard "Jesus on the Main Line," a tune I heard for the first time on Ry Cooder's Paradise and Lunch album, but which has stuck with me. It's one of those tunes that you can sing to yourself as you're doing something, like like climbing a steep hill on a bicycle. Mahalia Jackson, the Radio Gospel Kings, the Blind Boys of Alabama doing "People Get Ready." I admit that my favorite version of this tune is by Al Green, but the BB of A do a great job. I especially like the falsetto and the fuzz guitar solo. Aaron Thomas plays some great organ on "Blessed Assurance," which, by the way, is part of my piano repertoire. The Staple Singers, and the Dixie Hummingbirds, doing "Christian Automobile."

You gotta check on your tires
(You got a rough road ahead)
You gotta check on your brakes
And stop your wicked ways
You’ve gotta check on your lights
And see your own faults
You gotta check on your generator
You need more strength and power
You can’t do nothing without the man
You need him every hour.
Oh, Christians
Press on your starters
And start your automobile
Put it in first gear
And go on up the hill
Drive on, children
If I never see you no more
I’ll meet you when I pull in
On the other shore
And I’m not worried
About my parking space
I just want to see
See my Savior face to face.

In honor of the cab driver who drove me in West Palm Beach, we heard three Haitian-themed tunes, including Les Gypsies de Petion Ville's "Haiti."

We heard Dámaso Pérez Prado de "Martinica." It kills me how everybody refers to him as "Pérez Prado," as if "Pérez" were his first name. I guess that's the way they started marketing him in the fifties and it stuck.

I played one by David "Fathead" Newman, a saxophonist associated with Ray Charles. He got his nickname in high school when his music teacher, Mr. Miller, saw his music upside down on his stand. Knowing that Newman was not a good reader, he tapped him on the head with his conductor's baton, and called him "fathead." The whole band cracked up, and Newman himself didn't seem to mind.

Edwin Armstrong was the father of FM radio. He was an inventor who never worked for any corporation. As a child he loved heights and built tall radio antennae that he would work on sitting in a bosun's chair, to the consternation of his neighbors. He served in both world wars, giving the US military free use of patents (which helped the war efforts).



He is known mostly for his discovery of "wide-band frequency modulation." RCA was impressed with the elimination of static ("no static at all") but decided against going with it, because it was not compatible with its AM empire. After the second war, he had legal battles with RCA and others, which he lost. It cost him a lot of money. Frustrated, one day he hit his wife in the arm with a fireplace poker. She left him. Depressed, Armstrong removed the air conditioner from the window of his 13th floor apartment and, dressed in his coat and hat, leapt to his death. In court battles after his death, Armstrong was vindicated, but what good did it do him? All this to introduce the Steely Dan tune, "FM." (I think I called him "Irwin" instead of "Edwin" on the air this morning.)

A couple by Nancy Wilson, a jazzer and a pop number. Something about her style always got me.

Roy Baker sang about the tornado disaster in Xenia, Ohio, from 1974. It was the worst day for tornados in US history. 34 people died in Xenia.


Tornado closes in on Xenia, Ohio, April 3, 1974.

Catamount Community Radio, Sunday mornings, 10-12 (EST), on WWCU-FM (no static at all).

1. Deacon John & the Zion Harmonizers – Jesus on the Main Line
2. Mahalia Jackson – Just a Little While to Stay Here
3. Oscar Peterson – Tenderly
4. Thelonious Monk – Evidence
5. Mizik-Mizik – Blakawout
6. Radio Gospel Kings – Glad News
7. Jimmie Lunceford – Swanee River
8. Aaron Thomas – Blessed Assurance
9. Steely Dan – FM
10. Nancy Wilson – You’ve Got Your Troubles
11. Roy Baker & the Gospel Tones – The Tornado Disaster
12. The Magnetic Fields – Asleep and Dreaming
13. Blind Boys of Alabama – People Get Ready
14. Southside Johnny – Harder than It Looks
15. David “Fathead” Newman – Hard Times
16. The Lee Boys – Joyful Sounds
17. John Zorn – Haiti
18. Les Gypsies de Petion Ville – Haiti
19. Dámaso Pérez Prado – Martinica
20. The Staple Singers – Samson & Deliah
21. Elvis Presley – Such a Night
22. George Cables – Tasshi’s Night Out
23. Paul Desmond – 59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
24. James Brown – Stone to the Bone
25. Nancy Wilson – In a Sentimental Mood
26. Bruce Springsteen – Ain’t Good Enough for You
27. The Dixie Hummingbirds – Christian Automobile
28. Jesse Thomas – Gonna Write You a Letter
29. Randy Newman – I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today
30. Coleman Hawkins – While We’re Young
31. James Brown – Funky Drummer (fragment)
32. Sonny Smith – This is my Story, This is my Song


David "Fathead" Newman


Mahalia Jackson, singing to the tape recorder

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