Two Als Talking Tunes, Episode One: Perfect Spins for Halloween

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio alan 5 small

al sussman2 twoalanWelcome to the very first episode of our new, exclusive show, Two Als Talking Tunes. Once a month, give or take, Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman (pictured at far right) and I will get together to talk in-depth about three songs apiece. We’ll wax poetic about each song’s significance, relate pertinent chart information and anecdotes, and just generally rap about what makes our song choices oh so very special.

(Why not visit our Facebook page, where you can peruse our mugs and find out the latest news about Two Als Talking Tunes? Click here, and please Like us!)

This month, Al and I engage in a timely discussion of songs that are especially appropriate to play on and around Halloween. They’re not necessarily the songs you might normally hear on the radio at this time of year, although a few of them are; a few others are songs you might not necessarily associate with All Hallow’s Eve. All are very cool examples of the art of Halloween-appropriate pop.

Below you will find two official Two Als Talking Tunes playlists so you can listen to the songs we talk about (O.C. Smith and Dickey Lee’s songs are not available in their original versions on Spotify, so they are offered as YouTube links).

pprListen to the very first edition of Two Als Talking Tunes by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)

The Official Two Als Talking Tunes Playlists for Episode One: Perfect Spins for Halloween

Spotify Playlist:
https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1214510552/playlist/4OfbfWsaLcHci6ThYZ7ZEN

YouTube Playlist:
* “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp” | O.C. Smith

* “Laurie (Strange Things Happen)” | Dickey Lee

Please let your friends know about Two Als Talking Tunes. We hope you enjoy the show.

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

Two Als Talking Tunes Premieres Exclusively This Thursday on purepopradio.com

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio alan 5 small

alan2 twoal sussmanBuilding on previous duo shows broadcast under the Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation banner, Beatlefan Magazine Executive Editor Al Sussman (pictured at left) and yours truly have joined forces for a brand-new series of programs to be broadcast exclusively here on purepopradio.com, the first of which premieres this Thursday, October 26.

Our show, Two Als Talking Tunes, brings together hundreds of years (at least!) of pop music facts, figures and opinion logged by the show’s hosts, who’ve never met a catchy, memorable song they couldn’t chat about. Each show will have a theme, or not; the first episode concerns itself with songs that make spin sense in and around Halloween, which just happens to be poised to appear next Tuesday. According to the calendar, that is.

o.c. smith the son of hickory holler's trampOn the docket are six songs; Al and I have each chosen three. We talk about them and you listen to them by clicking on the supplied links in the official Two Als Talking Tunes playlist. You’ll thrill to tunes from Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Dickey Lee, Tiny Tim, and O.C. Smith, who essays the sad story of “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp.”

Al and I invite you to join us roughly once a month exclusively here on purepopradio.com for get-togethers that are sure to please one and all. Join us for the first go-round this Thursday, October 26, when we talk about songs that are pleasingly perfect for playing on or near Halloween. Spooky? Yes. Entertaining? You bet! It’s Two Als Talking Tunes, exclusively here on purepopradio.com.

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

Listen! Download! How About Doing Both? Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation with Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith is Now Posted on Our PodOMatic Podcast Page

Andy Klingensmith's Bright Again

Andy Klingensmith’s Bright Again

Missed it last week? No worries: Our exclusive Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interview with Andy Klingensmith and his pal and drummer Riley Smith is now posted on our PodOMatic podcast page. Listen! Download! Do both! We all love ya either way!

Andy and Riley talk exclusively to us about Andy’s latest smash EP, Bright Again. This is another hall-of-fame release from one of pop’s brightest new lights. Don’t miss our sit down with Andy and Riley!

Enjoy!

 

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

Listen to Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Listen to Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Jamie & Steve’s Circling: An Exciting Paradise

Jamie & Steve's Circling

Jamie & Steve’s Circling

Jamie & Steve | Circling | Loaded Goat (2014)

*****

There is a certain safety in knowing that you are in good hands–hands that have seen much the same landscape as you, hands and heads and hearts that have witnessed what you have, even if such witness comes from a slightly different perspective. In our lives, especially as we get older, we are either strong in our resolve to carry forth with a determined effort and create art that lives and breathes with a force of strong will, or we coast on our past triumphs, our heads held in our hands and pointing down, down, down.

Thankfully, the team of Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, Spongetones and Van DeLecki’s and writers and co-writers and solo and duo performers on the world music stage, have the strength and resolve to carry on swinging for the fences. Their guitars and mandolins and percussion instruments tuned and strung and subsequently alive, they continue to perfect their sound, always looking to raise their bar and achieve something new and grand and simply outstanding.

When, not too long ago, the power went out in the venue they were playing one fateful night, Jamie and Steve took the ball and punted. They created, on the spot and in the moment, the concept of circling, of eschewing the stage and performing on the floor, the patrons surrounding them–circling them–as they hung their acoustic guitars over their shoulders and simply played. Lit candles, their flames glowing, added more than a touch of intimacy to the proceedings. The duo played and sung their hearts out, and those patrons, witness to a new and exciting concept in performance, came away with an experience they would remember always.

In this newly-charged manner of performance, the audience circles around Jamie and Steve, who become the inner circle. This concept of circling, a term which, if all is fair, will enter the various dictionaries that watch the language of the world, has given way to the fourth Jamie and Steve release, an EP called Circling, a six-song collection in which the duo applies the very idea of circling to their always fertile imaginations. Just as they have invented a new way of performing, they have come up with new ways of giving birth to songs, of surrounding them with their deep skill and delivering a new experience to their audience. Thus, at least two of the songs on Circling take the collective output of Jamie and Steve and turn it on its very head.

Jamie & Steve's Circling (Back Cover)

Jamie & Steve’s Circling (Back Cover)

The opener, the upbeat, propulsive, sort-of psychedelic “Origami Woman,” is one example of Jamie and Steve’s bold new approach. With electric guitars that sound like they were borrowed from Queen’s Brian May, the song starts out with a pseudo-Who vibe and quickly sports a complex chord structure and a couple of rhythmic shifts. Steve’s bass is a standout as the story of the vision of a woman who appears through the smoke and mirrors of, perhaps, a dream is laid out: “like a paper just unfolding/turns to vapor as I’m holding/bits and pieces tiny creases/revealing secrets of/my Origami woman.” Mysterious and tantalizing–a dream turns to reality turns to…

Another song that surprises with new touches of bold creation is the rather amazing and vital “Spin Drift,” which begins life as a pretty ballad, telling the story of perhaps the most perfect place on earth and then the sudden, as the music turns dark and stormy and percussive, tumbling down into waves of turmoil: “Down down to see the headlights next to bones of Atlantic sea flights/Cold and darkness it bubbles up eventually to see the…Sunlight!” and then calmer seas and sky erase the scare of the ocean… “Such a perfect place to be found/Bleeding me of desire to ever go home/I’ll spin and drift.” The moral of the story: Even paradise has its dark corners. But never has paradise, even with its hidden treachery, seemed to exciting.

Two of Circling’s songs are straight-ahead, linear pop numbers with lovely melodies and, especially in the wonderful “You,” delicious chord changes and harmonies. “Wonder Girl” sits firmly in A Hard Day’s Night ballad territory, with a delectable guitar solo pulled straight out of the 1964 George Harrison playbook. The rather contemporary, upbeat pop song, “Skeletons,” and the gorgeous ’60’s vibe of the title song, a  jazzy specimen thanks to an understated horn arrangement, complete the latest Jamie and Steve package.

What occurred to me as Circling played through was that if musicians are on top of their game, they will deliver disc after disc of purely magical songs. Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel have been on top of their game for more than three decades. Here, for 21 minutes, they are more than on top of their game. They are just about floating above it. They have worked hard on these songs, and it shows. You, thankfully, don’t have to work as hard. You just have to listen.

Alan Haber

February 27, 2014

Visit the official page for Jamie & Steve’s Circling EP at Jamie & Steve’s website. And while you’re there, why not purchase a copy of the EP? It’s Pure Pop Radio approved!

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

Even the Snow Can’t Stop Us! Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing Brings Beatlemania to Pure Pop Radio This Coming Monday!

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab!

Yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s almost here! Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing is coming to Pure Pop Radio beginning this coming Monday, February 17 at 9 pm ET!  The show will air every Monday thereafter, also at 9 pm ET.

Ken has been behind the microphone presenting Every Little Thing for 31 years, so you might say that he knows a thing or two (or four!) about all things Fab! You’ll hear lots of classic Beatles tunes, solo releases and songs from groups associated with the Fab Four, like Badfinger. You’ll also be put to the test with Ken’s weekly trivia question (don’t worry–he provides the answer!). This is a lively, fun, enormously satisfying hour for every Beatles fan. It’s nothing less than appointment radio, and it’s very cool!

While you have the Fabs on your mind, why not make time to visit Ken’s great website, kenmichaelsradio.com. Click here for contests, interviews with top Beatles experts, and trivia questions. Very cool!

Set your alarm clocks for this coming Monday and every Monday thereafter at 9 pm ET so you’ll be sure not to miss Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing on Pure Pop Radio. It’s totally gear, man!

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

EXCLUSIVE: Walter Clevenger Guests on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation the Week of February 10; 3 New Songs to Be Played

Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings rock, pop and roll!We say it all the time, but that’s because it’s true: Our raison d’être is talking to pop music’s brightest lights and getting under the hood, so to speak. What makes these great artists tick? How do life’s twists and turns inform their art?

The great Walter Clevenger, who’s been releasing terrific records since 1997, is our guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation next week, February 10-13. During this fascinating two-part interview, Walter takes listeners on an A-Z tour of his life in music, from the first songs he heard and his early influences to getting his performing feet wet and overcoming obstacles as his life and art meet the future. And that’s not all.

Walter Clevenger makes his music sing!

Walter Clevenger makes his music sing!

During the second part of this landmark interview, we will be playing three brand new, as-yet-unreleased songs recorded by Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings. These songs are EXCLUSIVE to Pure Pop Radio and can’t be heard anywhere else, so if you’re a fan, you won’t want to miss this great opportunity to hear what’s next  from the pen and guitar of this talented, heritage music artist.

Part one of this special interview with Walter Clevenger will air on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation next Monday and Wednesday, February 10 and 12, at 8 pm ET. Part two, during which the three EXCLUSIVE songs will play, will air next Tuesday and Thursday, February 11 and 13, also at 8 pm ET. Click on any of the links below to listen.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Walter Clevenger speak from his heart in an interview you will simply not want to miss.

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