Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jim Stafford

Jim Stafford is a talented entertainer who enjoyed the bulk of his commercial record success in the space of three years. From 1973 to 1975, Stafford had six singles hit the Billboard Pop Singles Chart. His 1974 album, Jim Stafford, peaked at #6 on the Pop Albums Chart and #55 on the Country Albums Chart.

From Stafford's self-titled LP, which somehow found its way into my collection, came four hits--Swamp Witch, which was released as a single in 1973, My Girl Bill, Spiders & Snakes, and Wildwood Weed. One year later, Stafford hit with I Got Stoned And I Missed It, which was recorded in 1975 by Dr. Hook, and Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne.

Two other songs made it to the charts, but not very far--1977's Turn Loose Of My Leg made it to #98 on the Pop Singles Chart and Cow Patti from 1981 rose to #65 on the Country Singles Chart. The latter tune appeared on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood's movie, Any Which Way You Can, in which Stafford also appeared.

Since 1990, Stafford, who was married to Bobbie Gentry during the latter half of the 70's, has called Branson, Missouri home, where he owns a theater and still performs about 350 shows a year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So You Want to be a Volleyball Star

Besides being interested in radio, I excelled at volleyball in high school. I thought it might be interesting to post a photo of me soaring above a blocker and laying the smack down on my opponents.

This was from the fall of 1977. Waukesha North lost at Regionals that year, narrowly missing a bid to state. The following year, North made it to state.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Top of the Pops

Some Top of the Pops albums in the U.K. so perfectly encapsulate the moment they were recorded that it's like having your own private time machine. Others, though laden down with flotsam you wish you could forget, simply remind you why you stopped buying records that month.

Donny Osmond and The Partridge Family were inevitable, as hardly a week went by in the western world when one or both weren't somewhere near the top. Then, there's David Bowie's Starman to nail the chronology into place.

The July 1972 Top 40 included Slade, Gary Glitter, the Sweet, Alice Cooper, Hawkwind, T. Rex, The Kinks, Free, Wings, and B Bumble & the Stingers. It is an alternate universe that would select Dr Hook, Johnny Nash, Bruce Ruffin, and the Love Theme from “The Godfather” as a representative sampling of what the top pops really sounded like. Song for song, there are some reasonable versions included, although it will not escape the sharp-eared listener that the Osmond vocal is the blended tones of both a male and female singer, nor that the person performing Sylvia's Mother sounds a lot like the guy who also handles Rod Stewart covers.

As for true highlights, only the Jona Lewie-led Terry Dactyl & the Dinosaurs' one-hit wonder Seaside Shuffle, which closely resembles Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime, and Brandy by Looking Glass truly demand to be heard more than once. That leaves the remainder to creep back into relative obscurity, where they can't mess with your memory banks.

Title / Artist
Sylvia's Mother / Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do / Neil Sedaka
Mad About You / Bruce Ruffin
Circles / The New Seekers
Brandy / The Looking Glass
Puppy Love / Donny Osmond
Automatically Sunshine / The Supremes
Join Together / The Who
Love Theme from "The Godfather / Hugo Montenegro
Starman / David Bowie
Seaside Shuffle / Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vinyl Record Day 2008 Podcast

Enjoy my podcast for Vinyl Record Day 2008. It features some of my favorite artists all performing their hits live.

For more information on VRD 2008, check out
The Hits Just Keep On Comin'.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Unforgettable Moments From The Legendary Mr. Sports

In preparation for Vinyl Record Day 2008 on Tuesday, I stopped in at Zia Records & Tapes in Chandler, Arizona this afternoon and picked up a live album that was not in my collection, but certainly should have been. Rather spoil the fun, listen for a cut off this prized album during my VDR ’08 podcast.

In digging through the singles crates, I came across a 7” disc, Great Moments in Sports with Cookie "Chainsaw” Randolph. This $2.50 classic, purchased for a mere $.99, features the dated humor of Shebel & Larson, the morning duo in the mid-80s at KDKB 93.3, Arizona’s Classic Rock Radio.

While Keith Larson went on to unknown parts after their break-up, Chris Shebel is a well-recognized name in the radio industry. He’s the guy who replaced Tommy Edwards on the mid-day shift at WLS a gazillion years ago before relocating to the Valley of the Sun for a brief stay. Currently, Shebel is program director and 9-2 jock at 93.9 KISS-FM in Raleigh, North Carolina.