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Catamount Community Radio - December 2, 2012

I haven't started playing Christmas music quite yet. Maybe next week. The students haven't yet abandoned the shorts and flip flops in favor of long pants and jackets, so how am I going to break out "Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer" and "Jingle Bells"? As for the students, they strike me as a little foolish, but I can't help but admire their eternal optimism.

I played a little doo-wop today. I think part of this music's charm is the fact that the singers are often just slightly out-of-tune. That's my opinion at least. That, and the intrinsic value that vocal harmonies have for provoking happiness.

I played the usual jazz today, Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson swinging like mad. Every time I listen to a cut from that album I can't help but think of this raw bar I went to Philadelphia some years ago. I walked in, and there was Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson on the sound system. I ordered some oysters and some beer. Oysters, beer, and Oscar Peterson? That will get you high.

Listening to the local AM station, 540 on the dial (my latest thing to listen to as I drive), I heard them play a Hank Williams tune that I liked. I couldn't remember the title, but I did remember that the word "saddle" was included in every verse. So I googled "hank williams lyrics saddle" and up it came, immediately. "Dear John" is the title." On the same station I heard a pop hit from a couple years back, Jason Mraz and Colby Caillat doing "Lucky." The lyrics are kinda silly, but the song really works. First of all, the vocal harmonies are wonderful. And second, it has a memorable, hummable, hook-laden bridge. Can't go wrong. And it's not overly produced. The spousal unit laughed at me when she found out I was going to play it on the radio.

We listened to Hot Lips Page and Pearl Bailey goof on "Baby, It's Cold Outside." At one point Hot Lips tells her to stick around, he'll show her his etchings. I always quip, "I'll show you my etchings, and we'll listen to some Django Reinhardt records." Who could resist that? ... "The only etchings I've seen have been under glass," sings Eartha Kitt in "I Want to be Evil."

"Linger," that's a wonderful word, if you think about it. And how 'bout if you add a little alliteration? "Linger in my arms a little longer." We heard Louis Armstrong do that, and followed it up with Ben Webster, playing "Linger Awhile."

Nick Hornby's book, 31 Songs, has a chapter on Ian Dury and the Blockhead's "Reasons to be Cheerful, Pt. 3" where he writes

"You could, if you were perverse, argue that you'll never hear England by listening to English pop music. The Beatles and the Stones were, in their formative years, American cover bands ... ; the Sex Pistols were the Stooges with bad teeth ... and Bowie was an art school version of Jackson Browne until he saw the New York Dolls.... Where's the lager-fueled violence? Where's the lip? Where's the self-deprecation or the lethargy or the irreverence? Where are the jokes? Where's the curry? ... if you're English the odds are that you'll eat a curry more often than you'll see an ascending lark.

"You really couldn't find anything more American sounding than the music Ian Dury's band The Blockheads play on Reasons to be Cheerful, pt. 3.... [yet] the more I listen to [it], the more it sounds like the best sort of national anthem. Just imagine: before each England i, David international, David Beckham sings, 'Summer, Buddy Holly, Good Golly Miss Molly and Goats' while the rest of the team chants, 'why don't you get back into bed.' The boost to national morale would be incalculable."

And just what are some of the other reasons to be cheerful? Well, to start with...

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You're welcome, we can spare it - yellow socks
Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on 40 - no electric shocks

The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot
A little drop of claret - anything that rocks
Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain't spotty,
Sitting on the potty - curing smallpox


And so on and so forth. Freakin' Porter Wagoner released an album when he was eighty, and it's not bad at all. We head a cut from that. We heard Loretta Lynn. A jazz piano trio can play remarkable music: sophisticated, intricate, complex, melodic, rhythmic. But sometimes it just leaves you cold. You're wanting a little more texture: some twangy guitar, some pedal steel ... That's why I can never be a pure jazz guy.

Oh boy, all this and more, on Catamount Community Radio, Sunday mornings 10-12 (ET) on WWCU-FM.

1. Larry Goldings & Harry Allen – Morning Has Broken
2. Wynton Marsalis – Fire in the Night
3. Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride & Mark Whitfield – Chameleon
4. The Meadowlarks – Please Love a Fool
5. Average White Band – Cut the Cake
6. Coleman Hawkins – I Only Have Eyes for You
7. Hank Williams – Dear John
8. Arthur Prysock – Teardrops in the Rain
9. Roberta Flack – In my Life
10. Porter Wagoner – Be a Little Quieter
11. Hot Lips Page & Pearl Bailey – Baby, It’s Cold Outside
12. Bo Diddley – Bo’s Bounce
13. Jason Mraz & Colby Caillat – Lucky
14. Tony Bennett – Last Night When We Were Young
15. The Spaniels – Do Wah
16. Gene Ammons & Sonny Stitt – There is no Greater Love
17. Charles Mingus – Roland Kirk’s Message
18. Count Basie – Jive at Five
19. Nemour Jean Baptiste – Manman tyoul la sou
20. Black Star Sound – Nite Safarie
21. James Moody – Workshop
22. Benny Green – Chant
23. Louis Armstrong – Linger in my Arms a Little Longer
24. Ben Webster – Linger Awhile
25. The Titans – So Hard to Laugh
26. Loretta Lynn – Wine, Women and Song
27. Merle Travis – Sixteen Tons
28. John Lee Hooker – Back Biters & Syndicators
29. Stan Getz & Oscar Peterson – Three Little Words
30. Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Reasons to be Cheerful, Pt. 3
31. Deacon John & the Zion Harmonizers – Jesus on the Main Line

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Loretta Lynn

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