Monthly Archives: April 2015

John Borack Guests Tonight on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

john-borackEsteemed pop music journalist John Borack guests on tonight’s edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, discussing the momentous tribute to Elvis Costello that he produced with Olivia Frain. The program begins at 8 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. (Click on one of the links below to listen.)

beyond-beliefBeyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello presents 50 artists paying homage to the writer and performer of such classic songs as “Alison,” “Pump It Up,” “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Welcome to the Working Week,” and “Radio Sweetheart,” among so many others. Artists appearing on Beyond Belief, such as the Rubinoos, Matthew Sweet, David Myhr, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, and Bill Lloyd deliver classic performances that put the spotlight on an artist who has been setting the bar higher and higher since he exploded on the music scene nearly four decades ago.

elvis-costelloComprising 50 songs on three CDs, Beyond Belief is a standout example of the art of compilation. John goes in-depth with Alan Haber, detailing every step from the spark of the idea to the tribute’s release. Musicians, Elvis Costello fans, and lovers of great music alike will be fascinated by this engaging program, during which three songs from this hall-of-fame-worthy set, released by Spyderpop Records, will be played.

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation is Internet radio’s premiere melodic pop talk show. Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation puts the spotlight on artists, writers, music critics and record company executives who talk candidly with Alan Haber about their work. Archived, podcast versions of interviews are posted on the In Conversation PodOmatic podcast page; click here to listen to more than 60 shows previously broadcast on Pure Pop Radio.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Jeff Lynne’s Other Great Songs: 10 (Plus One) that are Top of the Pops

by Alan Haber jeff-lynne-photo

It’s usually “Mr. Blue Sky” or “Showdown” or “Evil Woman” or “Telephone Line” or “Don’t Bring Me Down” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll is King” that get singled out when someone writes about the magical, musical pen of Jeff Lynne, a matter of fact that got me to thinking about some of the man’s other songs–the ones that don’t get mentioned often enough or often at all; songs that may even be more delectable than the usual suspects. We used to refer to these “other” songs as deep tracks or buried treasures, but the truth of it is they’re neither deep nor buried. They are, in fact, right on top alongside the songs you may love perhaps a bit more; they simply don’t get as much attention.

So attention I shall pay. Here is a list, in no particular order, and I’m well aware that you may either disagree or beg to differ, of 11 of Jeff Lynne’s other songs–the ones that seem to bubble under the hits until, thanks to lists like this one, they bubble over the river and through the woods until they get to grandmother’s house and then they go, go, go to the top of the charts. Why 11 and not simply 10? Eleven is louder, isn’t it?

And here they are:

elo-discovery1. “Need Her Love” Discovery; Electric Light Orchestra, 1979. An intrinsically, clearly stated, pretty song with a classically-structured melody, “Need Her Love” is all about true love–about being in love and knowing you’re the luckiest person on the face of the earth because of it. And being grateful for all that being in love entails. What’s more, this is a romantic song. We should all be in such a state in our lives. Plus, there’s this lyric, which says it all so very well: “She came in from the west, a summer breeze I couldn’t rest.” There’s also a George Harrison-esque slide guitar solo and a lovely middle-eight with a gorgeous chord progression that just makes you feel all gooey inside, like your mate has just won you the great big teddy bear at the fair. Quite affecting.

elo-xanadu2. “All Over the World” Xanadu; Electric Light Orchestra, 1980. I have great affection for this movie, which never struck me as the slightest bit cheesy, as it has many others over the years. Jeff Lynne’s soundtrack songs are right up there with his best work. (Side note: John Farrar wrote the supremely fantastic big band-cum-rock showstopper “Dancin’,” which pairs Olivia Newton-John with the Tubes to exciting effect.) Lynne’s “All Over the World,” which was the triumphant opener at his Hyde Park concert last year, is an infectious, mid-tempo pop-rocker celebrating an all-night party that’s happening all over the world. A message of good cheer, then, set to a solid 4/4 beat. A perennial favorite around these parts.

elo-secret-messages3. “Four Little Diamonds” Secret Messages; Electric Light Orchestra, 1983. A driving pop-rocker about love gone wrong, this is Jeff Lynne in succinct storyteller mode. The picaresque tale of the cheating woman who got away and can’t be found features pounding drums that keep the beat steady, great harmony vocals, a satisfying cold ending, and a bit of a musicianly countdown joke at the beginning (Lynne bangs on his microphone and asks, “Is this on?” “Okay, after four.” Pause. “Four!”). Gets the blood pumping, this one.

elo-a-new-world-record4. “Rockaria!” A New World Record; Electric Light Orchestra, 1976. Speaking of driving pop-rockers, this nifty 4/4 song adds a spot and a half of opera to the mix for a tantalizing tale about rockin’ with the classical crowd and being keen on the singer who’s “sweet on Wagner,” Beethoven, Puccini, and Verdi. The mix of old world and then-current music styles is perfectly balanced and realized. It’s worth its weight in clever, in other words. And, like “Four Little Diamonds,” it starts off with a bit of a giggle when the opera singer flubs her first note.

elo-eldorado5. “Illusions in G Major” Eldorado; Electric Light Orchestra, 1974. A somewhat leisurely rocker with strings and horns and a fat and juicy fuzz guitar solo, this yesterday’s-poets-meet-today’s-rock-and-roll-kings barn burner gets it all done in an economical two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. “It’s all good entertainment, it doesn’t cost a penny,” Lynne sings, and he’s right, you know. A kitchen sink approach strikes gold in them there hills, for sure.

elo-balance-of-power6. “Calling America” Balance of Power; Electric Light Orchestra, 1986. An Electric Light Orchestra album without strings? It was, and depending on your viewpoint, it may have been all the better for it, for it allowed Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy to shine from a musicianly standpoint. Arguably the obvious single amongst the 10 songs on the original record, “Calling America” is a shining example of the work of someone who knows how to craft a catchy pop song that demands repeat listening. Plus, it’s crafted with care, particularly in regard to the wonderfully rich, deeply-stacked background vocal harmonies that elevate the careful song construction at every turn. The beautiful melody makes an imprint on your brain. Once heard, you simply can’t forget it. And you’ll be moved to sing along, always a good thing. A triumph in a song catalog full of them.

elo-zoom7. “Easy Money” Zoom; Electric Light Orchestra, 2001. Essentially a Jeff Lynne solo album, Zoom collected a baker’s dozen songs reflecting the many musical moods of its star attraction. “Easy Money” found Jeff Lynne in pure fun, bluesy, old-style rocker mode, with the steady backbeat provided by the one and only Ringo Starr. At its lyrical heart, the song is about kicking a selfish lover to the curb (“Funny thing about it/Don’t even make me blue/’Cause there’s no better deal around/Than saying goodbye to you”), but it’s also about the fun of bashing about, having a musical laugh on the way toward turning out a catchy, rocking number. And here’s another tune with a bit of a joke positioned just before the guitar solo: Lynne hands off the solo…to himself (“Take it Jeff!”).

elo-time8. “The Way Life’s Meant to Be” Time; Electric Light Orchestra; 1981. The castanets add a lively touch to a lively song that was a standout track featuring one of Jeff Lynne’s great melodies (and echoes of future Traveling Wilburys bandmate Roy Orbison). Happily strummed acoustic guitars carry this song effortlessly from its joyous opening verses and chorus through to its very ’60s middle-eight and guitar solo and on to its very satisfying, cold ending. A particular favorite here at Pure Pop Radio headquarters.

jeff-lynne-armchair-theatre9. “Save Me Now” Armchair Theatre; Jeff Lynne, 1990. A deceptively simple ecological message in the form of an plaintive folk song in the style of Woody Guthrie, “Save Me Now” is understated with spare instrumentation and not much more than Jeff Lynne’s acoustic guitar in the mix. The achingly beautiful melody and simply direct lyric lead the charge; the close-miked, rich lead vocal and harmonies in the chorus are quite affecting. “Sometimes I wish my guests/Would move away somewhere/Yes I’m burning up all over/I can’t even breathe the air,” the earth sings. There’s never a dry eye in this house when this song is played.

elo-face-the-music10. “Nightrider” Face the Music; Electric Light Orchestra, 1975. A grand musical statement, pairing relatively low-key verses with more aggressive, pop choruses, “Nightrider” gets the full, early ELO treatment–notably, strings aplenty, and plenty of them. This song packs a solid punch that is full of life, and remains one of my favorite Jeff Lynne songs to this day.

elo-out-of-the-blue11. “Wild West Hero” Out of the Blue; Electric Light Orchestra, 1977. Out of all of Jeff Lynne’s ballads, this is my favorite–a romantic tale of nostalgic freedom, of roaming the prairie lands “tryin’ to do what’s right,” when, all the while, this boy is just aching to “be with my western girl round the fire, oh so bright.” The a cappella section that starts at 2:47 is among the most joyous expressions of harmony to appear on a record ever. A grand statement? Yes, it is. Different from other of Jeff Lynne’s grand musical statements through the years, but grand nonetheless.

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Ken Michaels Shares Ringo Starr’s Postcards from Paradise on Tonight’s Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Tonight, on Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, you’ll be treated to a song from Ringo Starr’s just-released album, get Anthologized, and learn a word or two in some foreign languages. The fun begins at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

The first, varied segment kicks things off with a John Lennon track, a live take from George Harrison, and the title song from Ringo’s latest album, Postcards from Paradise. See how many Beatles song titles you can pick out in Ringo’s tune!

Tonight’s second segment features a pair of songs from various Anthology releases, including an alternate version of the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” from Anthology Vol. 3, and an alternate version of “Goodnight Vienna” from John’s Anthology box set. A track from the Weeklings’ debut album, a cover of “You Know What to Do,” caps off this terrific set.

Get ready to learn a thing or two during tonight’s third segment, which serves up songs employing foreign languages. The Beatles lead off with “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand,” and Paul McCartney finishes things off with “Ou Est Le Soleil.” An interview with Ringo’s ex-girlfriend, Nancy Lee Andrews, runs during this segment.

Be at your Internet radio machine tonight at 9 pm ET for show 62 of Every Little Thing. A fab time is guaranteed for all!

Every Little Thing is the premiere, syndicated program playing Beatles group and solo recordings. Hosted by longtime radio personality Ken Michaels, the show airs every Monday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

John Lennon’s Mind Games Album Goes Under the Microscope on Tomorrow Night’s Edition of Things We Said Today

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayOn tomorrow night’s edition of Things We Said Today, the usual gang of Beatles experts, joined by WFUV on-air host Darren DeVivo, gets together to talk about John Lennon’s 1973 album, Mind Games. The thought-provoking discussion gets underway at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

john-lennon-mind-gamesA top 10 album in the United States and top 20 in the UK, Mind Games was Lennon’s next release after the politically-charged Some Time in New York City.

john-lennon-some-time-in-new-york-cityAs with all of their get-togethers, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, Allan Kozinn and guest DeVivo shed informative light on their topic at hand, an album that sought to rectify the icy reception that Some Time in New York City received from both critics and fans. Was Lennon successful? Listen to the experts’ opinions tomorrow night at 9 pm ET and see what you think.

Things We Said Today is a weekly survey of all things Beatles that is hosted by a quartet of Beatles experts–today’s Fab Four, if you will. Ken Michaels, host of Every Little Thing, is joined by Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman, Steve Marinucci (Beatles Examiner), and Allan Kozinn, longtime music critic. Other well-known Beatles experts sometimes sit in with the core group. Things We Said Today airs every Tuesday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Live Track Sizzles at Philadelphia’s Fire Venue and Bar. It’s the Latest Timmy Sean Song of the Week!

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekFor this week’s Song of the Week, a fun project we’ve been covering since its inception at the beginning of January, Timmy Sean delivers a sizzling track, recorded at Philadelphia’s Fire Venue and Bar last October–a live, full band version of “There’s No Other Way,” a track from Timmy’s so fine 2010 album, Noisewater.

“There’s No Other Way” is a mid-tempo tune that sounds like a leisurely, melodic slice of heaven that could have come out of the Beatles’ White Album sessions. An enticing chord progression and lead guitar lines that, especially around 2:28, sound quite George Harrison-esque, propel this one into your consciousness. The melody is the usual top-notch specimen that we’ve come to expect from this master of pop and rock forms.

Timmy says: “While I put the final touches on some brand new studio recordings of originals for the next couple weeks, I wanted to drop this one in the ‘ol ‘Song of the Week’ queue.

“…I wanted to feature another live recording from the last time I performed in PA. Back in February I featured an acoustic version of a song from Noisewater, ‘Hold On,’ so here is the opposite–a full-band version of a song that was originally just acoustic and vocals on the album. Recorded this past October at the Fire in Philadelphia, PA, here is ‘There’s No Other Way,’ featuring my east coast line-up of the Celebrities–Frankie Pedano on keys and backup vocals, Michael Vivas on bass, Michael J. Roxx on lead guitar, and John Tiedemann on drums.”

Add Timmy Sean’s live version of “There’s No Other Way” to your collection by clicking here. To get all of Timmy’s music, click here. Highly, so very highly recommended by your friends here at Pure Pop Radio.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Record Store Day 2015: Crazy, Man. Crazy Good.

frederick-street-catonsville-maryland

Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland

by Alan Haber

It’s after lunch on this sunny Saturday, sometime after the regular crowd shuffles in to the various quick- and long-stop eateries along Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland. A woman, probably in her late thirties, maybe her early forties, walks carefully around the tight corners and through the narrow walkways separating the fully-stocked shelves and displays populating Objects Found, a neighborhood antique store within which shiny, happy jewelry pieces and Elvis Presley collectibles sit happily side by side in nooks and crannies and behind glass doors in crowded cases.

patsy-cline-crazy-45-label-sized-for-web-storyThe woman, looking here and over there, but not too far afield, is hearing the songs played through the store’s audio system, and they are coming one after the other and, what with her looking for just the right item or items to bring home, wrapped in tissue paper and put in bags at the counter, it is hard to distinguish one song from the other, but as if by some magical means, one song catches the woman’s ear and burrows into it. “Crazy,” the woman sings, “I’m crazy for feeling so lonely.” Whether she knows it or not, the woman is singing something approaching a duet with Patsy Cline; the woman matches Patsy word for word, perhaps not exactly in meter or in key, but she is right on the button with her.

“I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue…” All the while, as the melody flows through her, her face never betrays the feeling; she knows the song, has lived with that song for at least a time; maybe she heard it when she was growing up or discovered it at a friend’s house. Maybe she heard it on the radio, on some country station or oldies outlet. It doesn’t matter; she knows that song, and the act of singing it as she is shopping for something to cherish, however large or small, means that she cherishes the song, too. And then, as “Crazy” fades into another song that perhaps doesn’t strike a chord with her, the woman stops singing and moves forward through the store; a ring or a doll that looks vaguely Victorian is calling out to her, the way that music, the way that particular songs call out to people and burrow in and, really, what can you do about that other than sing along?

spot's-watering-holeThere was a lot of singing along, mostly, probably, silently, and tapping of feet at the famed Catonsville depot for vinyl records old and new and newer still on this Saturday in April, round about mid-month, just after tax day–a beautiful day, with the temperature rolling around the 80-degree mark; a day when even Fido could cool off with a tasty drink; shirt-sleeve weather delighting passersby and record geeks and music fans and folks who love the oldies or the latest hits or some kind of thing in between; people both young and older; people whose high-end sound systems can blow the roof off of their houses and their neighbors’ houses, and people with entry-level, all-in-one turntable systems; people for whom only the finest vinyl pressings will do and those who aren’t quite so fussy.

happy-birthday-golden-recordAll of these people are gathered at Trax on Wax in Catonsville, Maryland at about 11:30 in the morning, gathered together as one like-minded group, even if they don’t know it, snapping up the special Record Store Day releases and thumbing through the stacks that house upwards of somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 albums, give or take. Even a stack of old Golden Record 45s and other single delights shines brightly with one entitled Happy Birthday on top; the record inside of the brightly colored sleeve, depicting a kids’ party complete with lit candles on a festive cake, has part one of “Happy Birthday” on the a-side and part two on the b-side. The record, which advertises on the back of the sleeve other Golden Records–“3 Little Golden Records on a 45 RPM EP – 6 Songs and Famous Littles on Both 78 RPM and 45 RPM”–features the song stylings of the Sandpipers and Mitch Miller and his Orchestra and is from about 1960, when it could be had for a measly 29 cents. The Famous Littles were priced slightly higher in Canada–35 cents, to be exact. “Ask for the Fabulous Golden LP records, only $1.98 ea.” You could get a lot for so little back in the day.

But these Golden treasures, stacked on the floor in the back of the store, were only the tip of a very large iceberg; rock, pop, jazz, specialty, soul, comedy and just about anything you could want ruled the day and lined the shelves. Special Record Store Day releases were displayed on the walls to the left of Trax’s entrance.

trax-on-wax-full-of-customersAmidst the Record Store day chatter, you could probably hear people saying, “Hey, there’s the Sly and the Family Stone live album recorded at the Fillmore and never released until now!”, “Man, I love the White Stripes!”, or “Those Kinks EPs look rather tasty!” And “Do you have–” Well, that was probably the number one question asked of Trax on Wax owner Gary Gebler and his manager Jeff Ball and the other knowledgeable, passionate-about-music-just-like-you folks working that day. It was a day all about family; it was a day all about people who like the feeling they get when they are around other music and vinyl fans, people who grew up with the sounds of music and carried those deeply-set feelings through adulthood and people who just discovered the joy of holding a record album in their hands, of looking at people-sized artwork and included posters and stickers and full credits that tell you who played what and twiddled the knobs in the studio.

david-harris-and-gary-at-trax-on-wax-from-2014-sized-for-website-story

(Left to right) Vinyl collector and music fan David Harris with Trax on Wax owner Gary Gebler

It was a day about the extended family of vinyl hounds and casual music fans converging on the little store that does in Catonsville, and, really, it was a day of getting together and turning each other on to some band or singer or spoken word artist who really rings the magic bell time and time again. It was a day of joy for  David Harris, a collector of records played on fine audio equipment who knows what’s what, who is like a moth drawn to a flame when color pressings are in his sights; a man who lives and breathes music and for whom vinyl is a way of life–a man who talks about his favorite records and vinyl finds and lights up with such strength that he could probably power a city like Las Vegas, if such a thing were possible.

For David Harris, vinyl is king, as he explains in the following interview:

gwen-mister

Longtime music fan Gwen Mister shows off the special 180 gram mono edition of the Doors’ Strange Days album at Trax on Wax

The first 45 that Gwen Mister owned was “Shop Around” by the Miracles (actually, by the Miracles featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson, as the credits read on the Tamla single label). Gwen was at Trax on Wax looking for Record Store Day releases such as the 180 gram mono pressing of the Doors’ Strange Days album, which she found and proudly shows off in the picture at left.

shop-around-tamla-45-resizedIn a perfect world, if you looked in the dictionary under “dedicated music fan,” you would probably find a photo of Miss Mister. A retired accountant, who used to study the violin and loves Diana Ross, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Motown, Grace Slick, Bonnie Raitt and, perhaps most especially, John Lennon, Miss Mister is a gracious and dedicated music fan, as is obvious by listening to the following interview:

In a perfect world, and this world of vinyl hounds and fans of Diana Ross and fans of just plain good music is about as perfect as it gets, every day would be Record Store Day–that is, a day to visit local, independent record stores to visit with the staff, talk to the owner, greet the day with a new vinyl find and pledge to come back again soon now, you hear?

gary-gebler-and-alan

(Left to right) Trax on Wax Owner Gary Gebler tells Alan Haber that Record Store Day 2015 was a great day

For Gary Gebler of Trax on Wax, Record Store Day 2015 was as perfect a day as he has had the pleasure to experience. Listen to Gary wax poetic:

frederick-road-2-small

Frederick Road, Catonsville, Maryland

On April 18, 2015, a sunny day, a beautiful day along Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland, at the center, the hub of vinyl experience for vinyl hounds and music fans who know what’s what and what’s up and what to look for in a sea of treasures, Record Store Day shone. It was a crazy day, a great day, a day that will stand among other days that came before and will come after. This day, this quite sunny and spectacular day, will be remembered by the people who were there. These people will play their records and think back to this day, and next year, around the same time, they will hope for sunny skies still, but really, really, it’s all a state of mind; every day is a sunny day when the music is playing and the beat, ultimately, will go on.

*     *     *     *     *

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Ken, Steve, Al, and Darren Discuss Grammy Awards-Related Beatles Happenings and More on Tonight’s Things We Said Today

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayThe usual gang of Beatles experts–Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci and Al Sussman, along with guest Darren DeVivo from WFUV radio, jump in and talk about Beatles-related happenings at this year’s Grammy awards ceremony on tonight’s edition of Things We Said Today. The discussion begins at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Of course, Paul McCartney’s performance, with Rhianna and Kanye West, of the hit song “Four Five Seconds” is under discussion during the program, as is the Lifetime Achievement Award honoring George Harrison that was presented during the Grammy telecast. Also on tonight’s docket: the gang picks the best years that the Beatles had as a group. It’s another winning get-together with the best Beatles brains out there.

Tune in tonight at 9 pm ET for Things We Said Today, airing on Pure Pop Radio. A splendid time, etc.!

Things We Said Today is a weekly survey of all things Beatles that is hosted by a quartet of Beatles experts–today’s Fab Four, if you will. Ken Michaels, host of Every Little Thing, is joined by Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman, Steve Marinucci (Beatles Examiner), and Allan Kozinn, longtime music critic. Other well-known Beatles experts sometimes sit in with the core group. Things We Said Today airs every Tuesday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ringo Starr Chats with Ken Michaels on Tonight’s Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ringo Starr chats with Ken Michaels in part two of their lively conversation on tonight’s Every Little Thing, airing at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

The greatest drummer in rock and roll history also turns in a trio of great performances when Ken spins two songs from Ringo’s new album, Postcards from Paradise, and a classic number from the Ringo album, “Photograph.” It all happens in tonight’s third, themed segment, always a highlight of these Every Little Thing shows.

Ken gets the ball rolling during segment one with the usual contingent of Beatles and solo Beatles tunes, starting off this time with the Fabs’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” and concluding with Wings’ “Tomorrow,” from the Wild Life album. In tonight’s second segment, Ken spins the first Lennon and McCartney recording that hit the U.S. charts, plus classics from the Traveling Wilburys, the Beatles, and Paul McCartney.

It’s another top-flight show for Beatles fans: Episode 65 of Every Little Thing. Tune in at 9 pm ET tonight for another great hour with your host, Ken Michaels. See you on the radio!

Every Little Thing is the premiere, syndicated program playing Beatles group and solo recordings. Hosted by longtime radio personality Ken Michaels, the show airs every Monday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Friday. Tomorrow’s the Day.

record-store-day-2015-smallAll this week, I’ve been musing about the effect that vinyl records have had on me since childhood. I’ve written about some prized finds, my mission to complete my collection of the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders series, turntables I’ve known and loved and lost and gained, and now, the day before the big event that is Record Store Day 2015, I’ve saved the best for last.

everly-brothers-78At least, that’s how I see it. Come with me on a journey: My parents had lived through the 78 rpm album days; I remember discovering some discs, packaged as fat, heavy albums, on a shelf in the closet across from the laundry room in our house. I picked up one of the albums, thumbed through it, and decided it was too heavy to deal with! Later on, while working in radio in Delaware, my wife and I spent many weekends going to antique shops, where consoles incorporating radios and turntables could be had for relative cheap. I found an Everly Brothers 78 at a yard sale, I think, and paid around five dollars for it. It was all scratched up, but it was mine, a pretty nice collectible. You could hear the thick needle crash against the surface gashes as it played. But, still. Look what it was; it was the Everly Brothers trying to sing “Wake Up Little Susie” from the grooves of a disc that was succumbing to the weight of a strong tide of mishandling through the years. But, still.

At a junk shop or somewhere similar, we found a lovely turntable that played only 78s. It was housed in a beautifully-constructed all-wood case rising above four thick yet spindly legs, carved in a fluid pattern by a visionary craftsman who was clearly inspired to do good work, even great work. The legs reminded me of my father, who built a blonde wood television case with all sorts of patterned cuts and raised effects on the sliding doors. My father was very proud of his work; the cabinet had pride of place in our den for many years.

And so it was with the case that housed the 78 turntable. The person, or persons, who built the case clearly were taking their time and worked from inspiration, not perspiration. The artists whose voices and playing sprung from the discs had the same idea–their mission was to create their art and pass it on to the masses, a decent proportion of which might enjoy what they’d done.

records-bobby-darin-45When I was a boy, 78s had run their course; my generation would have nothing to do with them. For my friends and I and all of the other pint-sized, striped t-shirted boys and proper girls wearing cute dresses, for whom music and records were king, 45s, presenting a- and b-sides, around four-and-a-half minutes long total, and LPs by our favorite artists were our currency. We played them over and over and over again at home, brought them to parties with our portable turntables with tinny sound and brightly-decorated outsides, brought them to school to play our favorite songs during Show and Tell, and just generally annoyed our parents with music they didn’t understand because they didn’t want to–because that was how the gap between parents and their children stayed rigid and in force.

Our currency was vinyl and those of us for whom vinyl was a way of life–more important than school, church or state, or breakfast, lunch and dinner combined–made early determinations of how we would spend our allowances and birthday gifts–always gift certificates, thank you very much–and rearranged the furniture in our rooms, picked out by our mothers, so that there was room to store our growing collections. First there was one, then two, then 10, then more 45s and a couple of albums here and there, and then a flood of them when we joined the Columbia Record Club and quit the club and then joined it again, and then 10 or more used 45s picked up at a yard sale for a nickel or a dime apiece, and then, well, and then we were off to the races, us kids who were collectors and didn’t really know it. Yet.

records-the-beatles-lpThe seeds were planted. We talked about the latest records we got for birthday gifts or at holidays or just because when we accompanied our parents to the department store and, ooh, look there, it’s the new Beatles album! We had a lot of relatives–more than we knew we had, to be honest, and we trained all of them to buy us records for gifts–not shirts or socks or pants or hats or combs or shoes or shiny new pencils for school. “Can you get me the new Elton John album?” It was a lot of that–planting more seeds…making sure the relatives and the parents knew where we stood.

We lived through the 8-track years, a shaky period of music delivery for kids back in our day; my aunt bought me the Beatles’ Let It Be album for a holiday present and I hated everything about it, because it wasn’t a record. What was that thing? It made a loud noise–a kind of click! when it got to the end of a program, and sometimes a song was too long and had to be faded out and faded up after the click! brought you to the next program. Ruined the flow, man. Ruined the flow!

duane-readeThose of us who were well under vinyl’s spell spent every last penny we had on records that were from our favorite artists, from artists we heard about from friends, from cousins, from anywhere, really. I worked for my father at his law practice on lower Broadway in Manhattan when I was a kid and spent every penny he gave me at the end of each week on records in a long bin at the front of the Duane Reade drug store across the street from his office. “If you spend your money on records every week, you won’t have any left and you’ll have to wait until next week to get more.” More records? Yes, that was fine with me.

After a while, and after the seasons changed and winter became spring and spring became summer and other obsessions took root, like comic books and stamps and tropical fish and CB radio and picture taking with my Polaroid Swinger camera and then, later on, video games and video tapes and video discs and laser discs and on and on and on, records still ruled the roost. Records were still the number one obsession. Nothing could compete with the hunt. And the hunt only took on more prominence in my life when I got my drivers license and began to map out routes to used record stores, both prominent and underground in nature, which is when I got turned on to the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders series and vowed to never rest until every release in that series was procured.

records-hundredsWhen I started college, I had hundreds of albums, which I lugged to school and lugged home before vacations and holidays and then lugged them back to school again. After graduation, I had many hundreds more, which I lugged to Delaware. The many hundreds more became many hundreds more than that, and then there were thousands and it never stopped.

Owing to the passing years and shrinking storage space and the emergence of new formats and just the ides of March, May, July and October, and then some, the thousands became many hundreds and the many hundreds became a few hundreds and the number of 45s and LPs hit their new water level. But now, with the resurgence of vinyl and a newly-christened, growing interest in spinning vinyl more prominently again, and the emergence of Record Store Day as a way to celebrate the joy of listening to and collecting 45s and LPs, the future is once again so bright I may well have to wear…well, you know.

records-record-store-dayWhich brings us back to the tomorrow of it all–Record Store Day 2015 and all of the joy that it brings, from special releases to the camaraderie amongst music fans and vinyl collectors and music fans who are vinyl collectors, who all gather in their local, independent record stores and confab with each other, touting records by artists the other guy may not have heard, spouting the phrase “Did you hear–” at least a few times during a quick conversation that often leads to a pile of records in hand on its way to the register and a conversation with the shop’s owner that begins with “Did you have fun today?” and moves on to “Did you find everything you were looking for?” and moves on further to “I see you’ve got this great album by the Kinks; have you heard anything by–” and it’s back to the stacks for you, young man or young woman, for another round of musical discovery.

Mine is a life defined by music and vinyl records and sharing my good fortune with others–the good fortune that allows me to discover great music and write about it and play it on the radio in an effort to spread the word in the only way I know how–through the joy of the act of having my life changed by a single song or a single artist or an actual single, a 45 rpm record, or its long playing cousin, the album, and then turning to someone and saying “Oh man, your life is about to be changed by this thing.” It really is as easy as that. And it really is as important as that.

Daily Planet ace photographer Janet Haber and Pure Pop Radio's Alan Haber

Daily Planet ace photographer Janet Haber and Pure Pop Radio’s Alan Haber

Record Store Day is a day to celebrate our joy. It is a way to share our joy. It is a day to just jump into it all and swirl around in it, like jumping in a huge pile of leaves in the colder fall months as a bonfire lights the night sky a couple of feet away from you. It’s like the leaves shoot up in the air and fall down on top of you and all around you, and it’s a lot like how music does that–how music makes the air around you come alive and changes your life, and it’s easy, really as easy as that. When music makes you happy, you’re happy–just look at the two crazy kids to the right!

Tomorrow, on Record Store Day 2015, remember your journey to this point and go into that shop and shake lots of hands and talk to a lot of people and smile, smile, smile, and pick up some new records and some old ones and take them home and place them carefully on your turntable and let the music become you.

For us music hounds, the best is yet to come.

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

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Timmy Sean Records a Lovely Version of “God Only Knows” for the latest Song of the Week

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekIt’s not often that we find ourselves unable to come up with a way to frame a particular song or performance, but that’s where we are today, right here and now, as the light shines down from above on a lovely interpretation of Brian Wilson’s immortal song, “God Only Knows”; we know better than to say something when someone else has already figured it out, so the floor is yours, Timmy Sean, as this week’s Song of the Week plays…

“Well, there’s not many people that really deserve the title of ‘legend,’ but Brian Wilson is without a doubt one of those few. I had the supreme pleasure of meeting Brian (truly one of my musical heroes in every sense of the word) this past weekend, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by recording one of his songs. What else can be said about this song that hasn’t been said before. ‘God Only Knows’ is quite possibly the most prolific piece of pop music of all time, one of a select few songs that I believe will be known hundreds of years in the future.

timmy-sean-brian-wilson“I almost feel it to be sacrilege to reinterpret a classic like this, but without even planning to release it for a Song of the Week, I found myself starting to lay down a bunch of ideas for a slightly different arrangement than Brian’s, including some Brian May-inspired guitar work…realizing after the fact that Brian May was just recently involved in an ‘all star’ version of the song himself…well…at least my version of it doesn’t feature One Direction. 😉 Before I knew it I had a completed tune, so here’s one for Brian. It was really great meeting you, man!”

Timmy’s wonderful version of “God Only Knows” brings us to week 16 of the Songs of the Week project. What will Timmy bring next week? Be here and find out!

Add Timmy Sean’s version of “God Only Knows” to your collection by clicking here. To get all of Timmy’s music, click here.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes