K-Chuck Radio: Saturday morning rock and roll!

Listen.  I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons.  The routine was simple.  Sneak into the living room.  Grab a bowl of Froot Loops or Alpha-Bits and watch, watch, watch until some parental authority came in, turned off the television and yelled at me to go outside and play, to get some fresh air and not sit in front of the idiot box.

Ah, 1970’s parenting skills.

But over the years, I’ve noticed something really intriguing – at one time or another, several rock bands have added a Saturday morning TV theme to their catalog.  Sometimes it’s part of a tie-in with a movie, other times it’s associated with a charity fundraiser.  I don’t care how it’s created … all I care about is that it’s fun.

So let’s start this episode of K-Chuck Radio with …

THE BC-52’s
Meet The Flintstones

Hey wait a second … is that Fred Schneider?  Is that Kate Pierson?  Yeah, it really IS the B-52’s!!  Surprisingly, we never got to hear the group’s follow-up track, “Bedrock Lobster.”  Ha.

Continue reading “K-Chuck Radio: Saturday morning rock and roll!”

K-Chuck Radio: The Arthur Baker Groove System

If you’ve never heard of Arthur Baker, you’ve missed out on a lot.  In the early 1980’s, the New York City producer was at the top of the club and dance music scene.  He created and operated Streetwise Records, which had a number of Top 10 R&B and dance hits, and he eventually crossed over to mainstream pop and rock.  His beats are instantaneously recognizable … trust me, you’ll know an Arthur Baker beat when you hear it.

And on K-Chuck Radio today, let’s show off a few Arthur Baker dance tracks – including rare 12″ remixes – for your enjoyment.

And let’s start with …

AFRIKA BAMBAATAA AND SOULSONIC FORCE
Planet Rock

This track mixed New York City hip-hop with German minimalist beats – even threw in a lyrical shoutout to Kraftwerk – and became a monster hit in 1982.  It also launched the Tommy Boy label to prominence.

Continue reading “K-Chuck Radio: The Arthur Baker Groove System”

K-Chuck Radio: Music to help pretty plants grow

As you know, I’m trying to grow some “skeleton flowers” – Diphylleia Grayi, to be more precise – and in addition to adding soil and fertilizer and sunlight and whatnot, I thought my plants deserved some soothing audiophonic music.  I’ve heard of such studies where relaxing music can actually cause plants to grow larger and bloom brighter; so why not try growing these plants with their own specific K-Chuck Radio blogcast?

Sounds like a plan to me, don’tcha think?

All right, little plants, let’s start with…

MAISEY RIKA
Tangaroa Whakamautai

This woman’s voice is incredible.  I have absolutely no idea what she’s saying in these lyrics (sorry, my Māori is a bit rusty), but damn this track is super-awesome.  Grow, little plants… Continue reading “K-Chuck Radio: Music to help pretty plants grow”

K-Chuck Radio: Forgotten AOR Rock and Roll

Back in the day, when I was a college student and worked at the college radio station, our main broadcast competition wasn’t the other college stations in the area.  Trust me, WHCL could kick WPNR’s tuchus just as easily as Hamilton College used to kick Utica College’s rear in basketball.

No, we had to go up against the two rock radio stations in the area, 96.9 WOUR and 107.3 WRCK (“OUR and Rock 107”).  Trust me, these stations could play “Stairway to Heaven” every hour on the hour.

And in their defense, there were plenty of songs on their playlists that – well – I kinda liked.  Shh.  Hard to believe, but yeah it was so.  And ironically, the songs that I liked seemed to only last on those stations for about three to six weeks — then they would disappear and never be heard again.  Interesting.

Such was the case with AOR (“Album Oriented Rock”) radio.  And today, I’m going to share a few examples of those long-forgotten tracks.

WRABIT
Anyway, Anytime

Somewhere in that mixture of glam-metal and hair-metal came the group Wrabit, who blasted onto rock radio stations for all of about three weeks with this track.  And then they went back down the wrabit hole.

HONEYMOON SUITE
New Girl Now

This Canadian band had a massive #1 hit in their homeland with this track, and it even snuck onto rock radio stations in 1984.  It even creased the bottom of the Top 40 on pop stations.  And then it just disappeared… I guess the honeymoon was over.

ORION THE HUNTER
So You Ran

This is what happens when the band Boston takes half a decade to record an album – several musicians who performed on Boston’s first two albums record their own LP.  “So You Ran” actually did quite well on Top 40 radio and on album-oriented rock stations, but a follow-up wasn’t in the stars.

GIUFFRIA
Call To The Heart

Close your eyes and listen, and you might think this is a Journey cover band.  Nope.  It’s Greg Giuffria and his band.  Would still like to hear him cover some Journey songs, though…

VIXEN
Edge of a Broken Heart

I vaguely remember Vixen, only that there was some big deal about an all-female hard rock band not being able to play riffs and chords like their male counterparts.  Well, there’s a lot of male rock bands out there that never even sniffed the Top 40, while these female foxes were one up on that total.

AUTOGRAPH
Turn Up The Radio

The only thing I remember about Autograph was that at one point in time, they actually toured the Soviet Union while a Soviet band named Autograph toured America.  I think this is the American group.  😀

ENUFF Z’NUFF
New Thing

Yes, you too can write a song that only has four notes.  And yes, if you write this song, it could actually hit the charts.  Case in point?  E’Nuff Z’Nuff.

NIGHT TRAIN
Never To Old (To Rock and Roll)

Of course, there were the regional hits that WOUR and WRCK played to death, including this group Night Train.  Look, I could play this or I could dust off an old track by the Todd Hobin Band, don’t threaten me with a good time, kids…

WHITE LION
Wait

Not to be confused with Whitesnake.  Or Great White.  Or Glass Tiger.  Or Coppermouith.  Okay, so I made that last one up.  Or did I?

GREAT WHITE
Once Bitten, Twice Shy

And let’s wrap up this edition of K-Chuck Radio with Great White’s hit that was so big, it hasn’t been heard since.  Really.  Have you heard this on any of the Sirius/XM oldies stations?  Yeah, me neither.

And just for a kicker to end the K-Chuck Radio bloglist for today, howzabout some classic radio banter and commercials from the dearly departed Rock 107 in Utica?

 

K-Chuck Radio: The 80’s college hits even I completely forgot I ever played…

From 1981 to 1985 – my college years – I spent most of my free time buried in the basement of the Minor Theater, playing music on the powerful (well, it started out as five watts of powerful) WHCL 88.7 college radio station.  You could only pick up the station on half the campus, and there was a tendency for graduating seniors to pilfer the remaining station library LP’s for their own parting graduation gifts.

But by 1985, we were cruising at 250 watts of power, and people throughout Oneida County could hear our station.

I say this because yesterday I remembered that some of our tabulated college playlists were reprinted in the archives of the Clinton Courier weekly newspaper … and lo and behold, the digital archive fultonhistory.com has the run of the Courier from that time period.

Ooh, this ought to be fun.  I can look and see the songs that were popular on our station at that time, including …

Wait.  I don’t recognize that song.  And here’s another … it says we played that song in massive rotation, but I can’t for the life of me recall a note or a lyric or anything.  And I remember this band – and that band – but  not those songs.  Hmm…

Well… I guess it’s time to fire up the old K-Chuck Radio blogcast and refresh my failing memory.  And in addition to the songs referenced, I’ll even post the notes about the songs themselves, as taken directly from the Clinton Courier from three decades ago.

ABSOLUTE GREY
Memory of You

“From Rochester, Absolute Grey were the headliners in a benefit concert at Hamilton College. This former #1 WHCL band is another graduate of the neo-psychedelic sound pioneered by bands like R.E.M. and the Dream Syndicate.” (Clinton Courier, February 27, 1985)

FLIPPER
Way of the World

“For those of the faint of heart, I should warn you that Flipper now has the no. 10 song. Flipper is now the highest charting hardcore punk group on WHCL in the past two years.” (Clinton Courier, October 24, 1984)

THE MARCH VIOLETS
Religious As Hell

I don’t remember writing about the March Violets, but I do recall them as a labelmate of another band we used to play a lot, the Sisters of Mercy.  Apparently this song did get a ton of plays on WHCL, but when I found it on YouTube, it was as if I had heard it for the first time.

THE SMITHS
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

How popular were the Smiths on WHCL?  This song hit #1 – as an imported 45 from the UK.  Imports making big dents on our college playlist were rare occurrences, but hey this is the Smiths we’re talking about.

MALCOLM X feat. KEITH LeBLANC
No Sell Out

This was a unique little record.  Remixer Keith LeBlanc spliced together speeches and phrases from Malcolm X’s interviews and speeches, and soldered them to a funky dance beat.  A great dance beat for those who didn’t get it, and a solid message for those who did.

MADE FOR TV
So Afraid of the Russians

Another spoken-word industrial record, this was produced by John Cale.  This was a huge hit on college radio stations throughout the early 1980’s, but the group just completely disappeared after this track.

THE ASSEMBLY
Never Never

The Assembly was a studio collaboration featuring Vince Clarke (Yaz, Erasure) and Feargal Sharkey (The Undertones).  This ballad was the big hit, but the Assembly never recorded with that lineup ever again.

AZTEC CAMERA
All I Need Is Everything

Wow.  At one point, Aztec Camera was the most popular group on WHCL – so popular, in fact, that nearly every track on their LP found fans with our on-air talent.  They even did a ballad version of Van Halen’s “Jump” that got plenty of play.  I think this was their most popular track on the station.

NATIVE
Love Ain’t No Holiday

We played a lot of electronica on WHCL.  We also played a lot of reggae and dub.  And on occasion, we acquired records that contained both electronica and dub.  Such as this slow-groove track by the New York City group Native.

GIL SCOTT-HERON
Re-Ron

Truth.  This record was created during the 1984 Presidential campaign, where Gil Scott-Heron satirized the re-election of Ronald Reagan.  Man, I wish Gil Scott-Heron was alive today.  He would have a field day with the political situation in 2016.

And that’s a sample of some of the music that populated our little college radio station in the early 1980’s.  Hope you enjoy.

Another spin – from the crew at WHCL – er – um – the crew at K-Chuck Radio!

K-Chuck Radio: Uplifting music for troubled souls

As you may know, lately my spirit and motivation have been lower than the bottom of a muddy tire tread.  And it was suggested by my blog buddy Roger Green that I should find some happy music to listen to – you know, songs that make me smile.  Singalong material, if you will.  Audiophonic energy.

Okay.  I’m game with that.  And while I’m listening … I can turn the tracklist into a K-Chuck Radio bloglist, too.

Starting with …

UTOPIA
Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

Music genius Todd Rundgren and his band Utopia certainly have a wry sense of humor.  They can take this cool power-pop song and make a music video where they’re dressed up as cockroaches and centipedes.  Yeah, I don’t see Jay-Z ever doing this…

ROGER GLOVER AND FRIENDS
Love Is All

I used to see this clip all the time on the USA Network’s Night Flight overnight video show.  Took a few years to figure out the title of the song (it wasn’t “Butterfly Ball”) and who was singing the song (apparently the guitar-playing frog’s name is Roger Glover).

RAY STEVENS
Misty

I could have listed any one of a dozen Ray Stevens comedy songs.  But this is probably his most brilliant idea – turning the Errol Gardner classic into a bluegrass / honky tonk interpretation.  Awesome.    Seriously awesome.

CLAIRE LYNCH AND THE FRONT PORCH STRINGS
Wabash Cannonball

Now this is cool.  A complete bluegrass / fusion cover of the old country and western track.  This is kind of the stuff I need to pick u my spirits.  Don’tcha think?

DOC AND CHICKIE WILLIAMS
Polka Dots and Polka Dreams

I think we need a little polka music.  At least something peppy and energetic, don’t cha think?  Hey look, I could either play this or the Jimmy Sturr Band, be thankful I went with this track.

BLOTTO
I Wanna Be A Lifeguard

It’s silly, it’s surfy, it’s a great singalong song and it makes me feel happy just listening to it again and again and again and again…

GRANDMASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE
Superrappin’

This is what I listened to in high school.  And I enjoyed every single lyric of it.  And I still enjoy it today.  And if you have an issue with my enjoyment of  Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, go stand in a corner and confess your failings.

LOGAN WHITEHURST AND THE JUNIOR SCIENCE CLUB
The Robot Cat

Probably one of the best nerdrock songs of the past couple of decades.  Plus, it’s a cool little track in and of itself.  When I say Ro, you say Bot… Ro… Bot…

STAN BUSH
The Touch

And here we have the quintessential hair-rock power-ballad anthem of the 1980’s.  And it was the love theme from the animated Transformers movie, so yeah it has that as well.

Okay.  This helps me get through the day.

How about you?

K-Chuck Radio: Draw that bow, my son…

I’ve had experience with string-and-bow musical instruments.  I played bass violin for two years at Veeder Elementary School (School 7 on the list of the Twelve), so I do appreciate the complicated and beautiful sounds that a violin or cello or viola or string bass can bring to a composition.

With that in mind, let me share on K-Chuck Radio several “stringed symphonies” for the modern crowd.  And let’s start with…

BLACK VIOLIN
A Flat

My first experience with Black Violin was when I heard their music on the “woman becomes first pitcher in major league baseball” show Pitch.  The music is artful and powerful, and definitely worth hearing.

BOND
Explosive

Here’s a recipe for success – put together a string quartet in slipdresses and toussled hair.  Yeah, no reason why this group shouldn’t get lots of exposure.  Pun intended.

KANSAS
Dust In The Wind

Yes, this is Kansas’ “other” hit about mortality and fatality – despite another teacher’s opinion of my interpretation – but still, it’s a powerful and emotive piece.

2CELLOS
Thunderstruck

These guys pretty much tear the horsehide off their bows in their awesome re-interpretation of an AC/DC classic.  Swank.

LINDSEY STERLING
Roundtable Rival

This is what we need.  An old fashioned Wild West battle between some guitar-toting desperados and a souped-up violin-toting barmaid.  Forget any devil going down to Georgia.

Oh yeah, since I mentioned it…

CHARLIE DANIELS BAND
The Devil Went Down To Georgia

The “Devil and Daniel Webster” battle translated into a three-minute #1 pop and country hit, and if any song helped get the Charlie Daniels Band into the Grand Ole Opry, certainly it was this track.

MEYTAL COHEN
Toxicity

Probably the first time I’ve ever heard System of a Down without needing aspirin afterward.

STEPAN GRYTSAY
Memories

Canadian heavy metal violinist who just shreds this song to bits.

So that should give you a start for the day… and maybe you might want to take that old, forgotten violin out of your closet, rosin up your French bow, and give another spin to those old skills.

I mean, look at what these artists are doing.

Yeah.  That’s what I mean.

Now where did I put that old bass violin…