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Catamount Community Radio - October 13, 2013

'Twas nice to be back on the air this morning. I didn't have a show last Sunday because I was on assignment, that is to say I was in the City gallivanting about, spending dollars left and right on oysters, beer and jazz. I forgot to mention that I would be away in my post two weeks ago, causing Jim to worry about me! That's what friends are for: to worry about you as you party down in New York.

I saw jazz every night I was there. Saxophonist Jimmy Greene Saturday night, Orrin Evans' big band doing a Sun Ra tribute Sunday, Mingus Dynasty Monday, and Emilio Valdés with Mark Whitfield Tuesday. I played each of these artists today. I'm planning a series of reviews called "Five Shows in Five Nights" (to include the Unknown Hinson show I saw in Asheville on Friday night) right here on this very blog.

Born Carol Klein, Carole King met her future husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin while attending Queens College. He was 20 and she was just 17 when they got married. They dropped out of school, took day jobs, and wrote songs together in the evening in an office belonging to Don Kirshner. (Do you remember a show in the mid seventies called, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”?) Their first big hit was in 1960 with “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” recorded by the Shirelles. Eventually they quit their day jobs to work on songwriting full time. Early hits include “The Loco-Motion,” and “Up on the Roof,” which both worked their way into today’s cover contest. Kirshner left Manhattan and settled in a mansion in the suburbs, in West Orange, New Jersey. He then convinced King and Goffin to move there as well. Things were fine for King, but Goffin hated the suburbs, which is why he wrote the lyric to “Pleasant Valley Sunday”:

The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
They serenade the weekend squire,
who just came out to mow his lawn

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care.

By the end of the seventies, they were separated and living in sunny California. King’s second solo album, “Tapestry” from 1971, was a huge success, full of big hits. She has been working ever since, but “Tapestry” has to be considered the apogee of her career.

King wrote all of the music on today’s cover contest. I did a double, with eight rather than the usual four questions. New contestant Therese cleaned up, but Dandy and Mary Ellen also finished strong.

1. Who had a hit with King and Goffin’s “Up on the Roof”? – The Drifters.

2. Who is covering King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”? – Al Green

3. Who is doing King and Goffin’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday” – The Monkees. The Monkees were a made-for-TV group formed by Don Kirshner to get in on the market created by the Beatles. I know that when I was a single-digit aged kid I thought of them as peers. At the start, they couldn’t play their instruments, so the precise musical arrangement of this tune is from a New Jersey group called “The Myddle Class,” which was produced by King and Goffin, and which also rehearsed in the basement on their West Orange house. Interesting, if trivial, fact: The Velvet Underground’s first performance was warming up for Myddle Class.

4. Who had this hit with King and Goffin’s “The Loco-Motion”?

a) Little Eva, who was King’s baby sitter in West Orange.

b) What Flint, Michigan band – popular with audiences, but not always loved by critics – covered the tune in the seventies? – Grand Funk Rail Road. I had a couple of guitar lessons – more like conversations in which I was taught a couple of licks, by a guitarist who used to often jam with Grand Funk Railroad. Anyway, the guitar solo on this cut is killer. I remember I had the 45 back in the day, and I would alternate it with McCartney and Wings' "Band on the run." I had a portable plastic record player.

5.We listened to King and Toni Stern’s “It’s Going to Take Some Time,” first King herself and then a cover by Dishwalla. The question was, who originally had a hit with it? – The Carpenters.

6. What tune was Dr. Lonnie Johnson covering? King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.”

7. Who had a hit with King and Goffin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman.” - Aretha Franklin

8. What Carole King tune is Hank Crawford covering? – “Corazón,” from 1973.

A couple of accordion numbers (five and 19) for Therese.

Catamount Community Radio, Sunday mornings (most of them) 10-12 (ET) on WWCU.

1. Harry Connick, Jr. – Blue Skies
2. Ballin’ the Jack – Mood Indigo
3. The Drifters – Up on the Roof
4. Al Green – You’ve Got a Friend
5. Accordéon Mélancolique – Petite fleur
6. The Monkees – Pleasant Valley Sunday
7. Lennie Tristano – Line Up
8. Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride & Mark Whitfield – Driftin’
9. Little Eva – The Loco-Motion
10. Grand Funk Railroad – The Loco-Motion
11. Carole King – It’s Going to Take Some Time (fragment)
12. Dishwalla – It’s Going to Take Some Time (fragment)
13. Steven Bernstein – Mazinka
14. Fred Frith – Norrgarden Nyvla
15. Mingus Dynasty – Boogie Stop Shuffle
16. Little Dragon – Twice
17. David Allyn – Down With Love
18. Dr. Lonnie Johnson – I Feel the Earth Move
19. Jean Conti – Courdes à courdes
20. Jimmy Green – I’ll Keep Loving You
21. Carole King – (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman
22. Mounir Mourad – The Factory Theme
23. Lounge Lizards – Carry Me Out
24. Hank Crawford – Corazón
25. Bob Marley – Mr. Chatterbox
26. The Vestibules –Bulbous Bouffant
27. Katie Lee – The Will to Fail
28. Orrin Evans Big Band – Big Jimmy

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