Archive for the ‘WSAY’ Category

Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Listen: Where’s The Place / Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Anything with Huey P. Meaux’s name attached should heighten your radar immediately. From what I know, he’s never made a bad record.

The former music director from a one of a kind, progressive 60′s / early 70′s Rochester AM Top 40, WSAY, brought me two massive burlap bags of promo 45′s when the station sadly lost steam in ’79, by then churning out a weak country format to deaf ears. The aged and nasty private owner was selling. Everyone was losing their jobs.

It was a drag, this guy was so distraught and worried, yet clearly wanted to share some decency via the truly unexpected gifts. He knew I had drooled over the thousands of singles locked behind management’s doors, and decided to just say fuck them, grabbing me several hundred. At the time, I was a local promotion rep for MCA, and always took good care of him while most others were dismissive and disinterested. It was a massive surprise when he buzzed me from my apartment building lobby, huge burlap bags in each fist and certainly a most kind repayment.

Impossible to wait, halfway up the stairs, I pulled out a couple. ‘Please Stay’ by The Cryin’ Shames on an orange swirl US London was one, this was the other.

About then, my interest in Loma was beginning to fully form, and anything from the label bugged my eyes. Alton Joseph & The Jokers, produced by Huey P. Meaux, well I couldn’t get upstairs and to my turntable fast enough.

This was April ’79. The thirteen year gap between a Spring ’66 release of ‘Where’s The Place’ and my first listen already created a euphoric walk back into time. Nowadays, it’s a total rocket ship ride to the past, in a good way.

I swear, this was a one take, live in the studio natural for these guys.

Listen: The Other Place / Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Never could I find any comprehensive information about Alton Joseph & The Jokers, their lineup or origins. Bob Krasnow, who ran Loma and years later, Elektra during my time there, couldn’t remember many details either, barring an almost complete certainty that they were Texas beer joint locals, and broke musician friends of Heuy P. Meaux on the three boogie woogie sets a night treadmill.

‘The Other Place’ might indeed verify Bob’s instinct, given it’s a penny pinching instrumental of the A side, only shortened a bit and given a slighty different mix.

Magic was made.

The Frankie Miller Band / Frank Miller’s Full House

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

A Fool In Love / The Frankie Miller Band

Listen: A Fool In Love / The Frankie Miller Band FrankieMillerFoolInLove.mp3

Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever / Frankie Miller's

Listen: Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever / Frankie Miller's FrankieMillerLovingYou.mp3

I saw Ray LaMontagne on SNL last night. I’d heard endless raves about the guy. With an 10 piece band, and an exhausting ‘mean it’ delivery, I realised I’d already seen it back in ’76 from Frankie Miller. I didn’t bother watching his second song, but instead went to the record library.

Often sighted as a blue eyed, gravel voiced soul legend, Frankie Miller successfully survived punk during the late 70′s, being nicely accepted along with Thin Lizzy and Jess Roden as ‘ok to like’ – well he was really good so not such a surprise.

I was interested in just about anything from Chrysalis back then. Must have been the lime green generic sleeves, but being a hip indie of the day was a plus. Yes, I was an indie snob in my youth too. Between The Winkies, Blodwyn Pig, Tir Na Nog, early Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span and Robin Trower – they were fine label.

I remember Tommy Nast, then the overnight DJ on WBBF, playing this as his first song of 1976, just after midnight on New Year’s morning. Why I was listening baffles me – I think we were in the car. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. They were a strict mainstream Top 40 station with a dependably wretched playlist – but I did hear this happen. Tommy had previously been with WSAY, a twisted AM progressive rock anomaly – and his taste plus knowledge of music were a logical path to playing Frankie Miller. He must’ve gotten shit for it.

Marsha Gee

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Baby I Need You / Marsha Gee

Listen: Baby I Need You / Marsha Gee

I know very little about Marsha Gee. Actually, I know nothing about her. I got this record from a radio station PD in ’79. The said station, WSAY, had an extensive record library that was simply off limits to everyone but employees from the ’60′s onwards.

When the original owner decided to sell and leave the staff high and dry, that music director decided to take care of a few of the nice promotion people he had dealt with over the years. Luckily I was one and he brought round two huge burlap bags full of 7″ singles to my place one spring day.

It was a selection never to forget. And this record by Marsha Gee was one of them. I always loved it, little did I know it was Northern Soul waiting to be. To be honest, I truly always had a hunch it was valuable and now, if and when it goes up for sale, the ticket clocks in around $300. But as Duane has told me many times, that doesn’t mean any money in the bank for me. You see, I can’t part with a thing, making all this stuff basically worthles until I croak of course, which I have no plans on doing for another hundred years.