Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Let's hear it for the monkey!!"

About a week ago, my good friend Bill - you all remember my good friend Bill - informed me that the legendary Dr. Demento, the King of Novelty Records and Comedy Recordings, is giving up his weekly radio show after nearly forty years on the air. Apparently, the Good Doctor will still be available somewhere online, but the traditional radio show is finished. Several web-based reviewers have expressed concern about the future of the novelty song and its place in the age of satellite radio and YouTube.

Well, for what it's worth, the novelty record will always have a home on my dinky little radio show; I try to play one on every show. Novelty records experienced their peak popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Artists like Allan Sherman and Bobby "Boris" Pickett went to the top of the charts with records like "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!" and "The Monster Mash." There were also lots of great one-hit-wonders in the novelty business.

Today on "Strictly the Sixties," I showcased ten of the best novelty songs of the 1960s. In no particular order, that playlist included:

"Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh" by Allan Sherman
"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
"My Boyfriend Got A Beatle Haircut" by Donna Lynn
"The Lurch" by Ted Cassidy
"Tip Toe Through the Tulips" by Tiny Tim
"Snoopy vs the Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen
"Wild Thing" by Senator Bobby
"They're Coming To Take Me Away" by Napoleon XIV
"Gitarzan" by Ray Stevens
"The Martian Hop" by The Ran-Dells

It was lots of fun putting together this little tribute and I even got a few emails from listeners who enjoyed the set. So thanks to Dr. Demento and all of the artists who toiled in the realm of novelty. We're still listening and we're still laughing!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

George, Martin

Remember, you heard it here first. The 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Film goes to Martin Scorsese for his film Living In the Material World: George Harrison.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Beat Goes On: Summer 2010

This week's edition of "Strictly the Sixties" will air on Friday, May 21 from 10:00 a.m. until noon (EST). Beginning May 27, 2010 and continuing throughout the summer, "Strictly the Sixties" will air on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon (EST). Comments, questions, requests and all forms of correspondence are welcome and can be emailed to Thanks for listening!

Rebound For Glory!

Well, I went away for a while, but now I'm back. As you might have noticed, my last blog entry corresponded with the beginning of the Fall Semester at UC. But now summer's here and the time is right for bloggin' on the web. Summer is also the time when I try to get caught up on all of last year's films. To that end, I recently purchased An Education on DVD and was blown away by the instrumental piano track that opens the film. As the film is set in England in the early 1960s, I figured the song had to be by some obscure British jazz pianist who had previously escaped my attention. To my surprise, when the end credits rolled, I discovered the opening track was "On the Rebound" by the legendary, Louisiana-born "country" piano player, Floyd Cramer.

Back in 1961, Cramer took "On the Rebound" to the Number 4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and to the Number 16 spot on the R&B Singles chart. Ironically, the song never made it to the Country charts. Too pop? Too jazzy? Anyway, the song made me want to treat Floyd Cramer with a little more respect. In truth, I had always written him off as the Roger Williams of country piano. I thought of him as a musician who was more in tune with Lawrence Welk than Vince Guaraldi. As usual, I stand corrected! Rediscovering "On the Rebound" and the rest of Cramer's greatest hits, including "Last Date" and "Lovesick Blues" has been an ear-opening experience.

I have always been a sucker for the great instrumental tracks of the 1960s. Is there a greater track in the world than Mason Williams' "Classical Gas?" And thanks to director Lone Scherfig's wonderful film, I now count "On the Rebound" in my top ten instrumental favorites! What an education! Click here to listen!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two More Cents!

Back in the early part of September, I was asked to write a review of The Beatles Stereo Remasters (Boxed Set) for The Patriot - the official campus newspaper of the University of the Cumberlands. I was glad to comply. So, just in case you absolutely have to read one more critique of the new CDs, my review is available online at "Getting Better: The Beatles Stereo Remasters." Thanks to everyone at The Patriot for publishing this review and posting it on their website!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

WCCR Fall Schedule Update

WCCR officially launched its fall schedule on September 8th. "Strictly the Sixties" is on the air twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. until noon (EST). I'm looking forward to the new season and the opportunity to play some of the recently remastered Beatles music in both mono and stereo. The Beatles are back on top in a lot of ways; of course, every day is Beatles Day on "Strictly the Sixties." Turn on, tune in, Get Back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What? No Tijuana Brass??

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a poll to determine America's favorite all time musical acts and the results were revealed today (August 12, 2009). The Beatles won the battle of the bands, ranking in the top four of all age groups surveyed.

The choice for number one varied by age group, with Michael Jackson topping the list for those under 30. Respondents in the 30-49 age bracket chose The Eagles as their top pick. The 50-64 year olds went with The Beatles. And those over 65 named Frank Sinatra their top choice. The overall list of Top Twenty musical acts is a mixed bag, to say the least, but the music of the 1960s seems to be exerting some influence across the generations. The Top Twenty includes:
  1. The Beatles

  2. The Eagles
  3. Johnny Cash
  4. Michael Jackson

  5. Elvis Presley

  6. The Rolling Stones

  7. Aretha Franklin
  8. Frank Sinatra

  9. Carrie Underwood

  10. Garth Brooks

  11. Jimi Hendrix

  12. Bruce Springsteen

  13. Mariah Carey
  14. Bob Dylan

  15. Jefferson Airplane
  16. Nirvana
  17. Madonna

  18. Coldplay

  19. Kanye West

  20. The Grateful Dead

Like all good lists, this one could (should) start some arguments. At best, well, at least Garth Brooks didn't outrank The Beatles.