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Catamount Community Radio - September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to my brother Steve, who turns 175 today. But you gotta admit, he doesn't look a day over 125.

Last Tuesday I "voice tracked" today's show. It's the first time that I've done it. Fern, the program manager, showed me how to do it with a program called "Audition." I realize that it's quite similar to multi-tracking, when you record music.. I imported the songs from mix-tape CDs I had made with itunes, and then added voice tracks between them. Apparently the system can make up for differences in the "hotness" of the mixes and adjust volume so that spoken parts match the songs. I enjoyed learning how to it, and I can see how it could be a good tool to make some compelling radio. Multi-tracking several layers of sound would be a cinch. You could be a one-man (or one woman) Firesign Theatre. And ... you can "re-do" your breaks if you don't like them. Still, I prefer live radio, radio by the seat of your pants. There's something about knowing that the person on the radio is speaking at the same time as you're listening. Whenever I can, I listen to the Glen Jones Radio Programme live on WFMU, Sundays from 12 to 3. The show is archived, so theoretically, I could listen to it whenever I wanted, but as I've said, there's something about live radio.

The station's web site and live stream via the internet are down. I was looking forward to hearing my show as it aired, but I guess that is not going to happen.

The theme for today's show (which I hope is on the air at this very minute) is trains and trucks. The first hour is all train songs; the second hour, trucking songs. I've had this idea on the back burner for ages, and I figured since I would be out of town this weekend, it would be a good time to do it finally.

So the first hour I put on Duke Ellington and Count Basie with their train-inspired songs. Willie Nelson doing "Wabash Cannonball." Hank Snow's "Wreck of the Old 97." Al Green sang "Back Up, Train." Allison Krauss did "Steel Rails." And there were many more which I can't remember off the top of my head, since I'm sitting in a hotel room in Pittsburgh without a playlist at my side.



About 25 years I did a late-night drive from Lansing, MI to Boston in a 1971 Chrysler Newport. That night on the AM dial I was listening to a high-powered station out of Richmond, Virginia that was geared specifically toward truckers. There were regional weather reports, ads for oils and parts and other things truckers might need, and lots of old country music, including truck driving songs. Before that night I never realized that truck-driving songs constituted a sub-genre of country music. I remember a few years later as a student in North Carolina I heard a college kid either on WXYC or WXDU do a show on truck driving songs. Since then, I've accumulated quite a few, certainly enough for an hour of radio.

I played the quintessential truck-driving song: Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road." I spun Red Sovine's "Freightliner Fever." What else? Jim Croce with "Speedball Tucker," Commander Cody's "I Took Three Bennies and my Semi Truck Won't Start," Junior Brown's "Semi Crazy" and many more.



I may update this entry later with a complete playlist and quotations of some lyrics. But now it's time to pack my bags and hit the road.

Catamount Community Radio: live, free-form radio, Sunday mornings 10-12 on the East Coast on WWCU-FM.



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