Yip Harburg was a songmaker. He was part of a select few in the early to mid-century who found their calling as lyricists, writing words that transformed music to story and story to film and Broadway spectacles. We could gloss over his contributions by simply saying “he’s the guy who wrote Over The Rainbow or April in Paris or Brother, Can You Spare a Dime”. But his career was more than that. It’s no secret that Yip’s politics were carefully crafted in song. The phrases “honky-tonk parade” and “Barnum and Bailey world” were veiled criticisms of the “phony as it can be” corporate and political leadership in America, written by a freethinking, socially conscious lyricist. Our show today will honor some of his best songs and include interview excerpts featuring both Yip and his son, Ernie.
This morning’s show finds a festive free form summer set featuring the usual suspects and a whole lot of fine sounds from the deeper wells. We’ll be sharing country classics from George Jones, Floyd Tillman, and Pee Wee King as well as some sweet upbeat R&B from Clyde McPhatter, Big Maybelle, and Ivory Joe. Taj Mahal, some doo wop pioneers, and the great Ella Fitzgerald will round things out in a free form fest on Sonoma County Community Radio. Tune in at 9am Pacific at www.kows.fm/listen.
Merle Travis’ influence on country music cannot be ignored. Along with a select few entertainers of the mid-century, he bridged the hillbilly and Appalachian folk institutions to the Golden Age of Country. His influences were not only the ‘picking style’, but also his keen sense of populist stories told from the front lines. We’ll hear from and early influence, Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, as well as those he influenced. All songs written by Merle and some performed by Merle himself. Our show will also feature Merle Travis interview excerpts from the sixties. It’s a Friday morning collection of the very best of Merle Travis.
It’s a free form episode that follows the American songbook stream of musical consciousness from the early twentieth century right up through some contemporary sounds. A river of rhythm and song…. doo wop shoo wops, the 88 key bounce of boogie woogie, master jelly roll bakers, and sweet confections for you on a warm summer Friday morning from the West County studios of KOWS radio. Performances will include Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Levon Helm, The Adderly Brothers, Jesse Winchester, and a couple dozen more of your favorites. Settle in for a free form collection of memories and musical gems from the past century with your host, Dave Stroud.
Answer songs. A novelty of the music business that has always had a place but it truly exploded, becoming habit-forming with the advent of Top 30 radio in the fifties and sixties. Seldom was there an answer song that responded to a question that was not a big success. This week on Deeper Roots, it will be a ’round robin’ of ‘question followed by answer’ songs including the obscure (which about 99% of the so-called answer songs were). You’ll be treated to the sounds of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Muddy Waters, Rufus Thomas, Dodie Stevens, and Elvis (of course) on a summer Friday in West Sonoma County.
The winds of social change become the storm from every direction when authoritarianism, tyranny, and facism begin to take shape. And music has always played a part when speaking truth to power. The most important role of an American citizen is to vote. There is no greater enemy than apathy. The songs we share on Deeper Roots today focus on Civil Rights, war for the cause of oil, voting as voice, and the fight for power in the New World Order. Tune in for performances from Phil Ochs, Ben Harper, Drive-By Truckers, Roy Zimmerman, and Iris DeMent on a show that explores some political science in harmony, vocals, and melodies to make a stand.
We’re taking this ‘Century of America’s Music’ theme quite serious this week. The tracks we’ll be playing are from the the first few decades of the 20th Century. Parlor music had lost its attraction by the turn of the century in favor of minstrel, vaudeville, and the emergence of Tin Pan Alley. Ragtime and jazz would evolve in an organic manner and blues would inform much of the jazz and band music that would become popular with the advent of the Victrola. Music today includes tracks from Vernon Dahlart, Billy Murray, Frank Crumit, and Ben Selvin & His Orchestra as we find the music of the teens and early 20s on a show that keeps our tagline strong. Tune in for this celebration of American popular music in its infancy.
We’ve got another free form collection of sounds for a Friday in Sonoma County. The July heat has us moving a little slower as everything around us appears to move at breakneck speed. So the idea is to help us find our center and we do that with sounds from the islands with Joe Keawe and Arthur Lyman, soul from the heart by Solomon Burke and Betty Everett, and some tradition with a mix of Johnny Cash, Ry Cooder, and Bob Wills. We find our muse throughout with David Lindley and El Rayo-X. Join us.
Their songs are iconic and their voices, unforgettable. From the deep south and southeast, from the church choirs to the small urban clubs, there were only a handful of female soul vocalists who hit it big with crossover chart sounds. But there were so many more whose voices did not find the venue or the right producer or label to take them to the next level. They were mostly unknown but in our show this week, we’ll try to share examples of what might have been. We’ll hear from Veda Brown, Carla Thomas, Ruby Johnson, and the great Judy Clay on a show full of upbeat and backbeat soul, brass, Stax, and Volt. Discover those female soul sounds that continue to inspire and influence…here on Deeper Roots on a Friday morning in West County.
Winsome sounds from every corner, opening with Johnny Horton and closing somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line with the soul of Barbara Lynn. Today’s show reaches into the jazz bins for something new and old…a Duke Ellington cover by Wynton Marsalis; gospel covers by Nick Lowe, tradition from Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash along with a number of so-called Cash-a-likes. It’s a free form collection in our Friday morning show from West County. So what’s it all got to do with Alaska, you ask. Not much, only a great song name to suggest cool music and a Friday full of colorful music.