A Black Friday Gift That Keeps On Giving

 

Today being the official, traditional launch of the December holidays gift giving season, it was while playing back a CD and preparing my breakfast this early a.m. that I found my thoughts fondly flashing back to my own, all-time fave, “Black Friday” shopping experience.

It was on this very day, back in 1973, that my father and I had been shopping at a locally owned appliance store… one which was just beginning to branch out into audio / video gear. We had momentarily gone off in different directions… little doubt… catching my ear was a progressive rock FM station’s broadcast blasting forth a Track from the (then) newest Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) LP.

My eyes eventually caught up with my ears and they instantly widened upon spotting the Fisher™ 180 receiver connected to ElectroVoice™ model-13 speakers and a Garrard™ 40B turntable. My own Sears™ turntable having died mere days earlier (coincidentally while playing a two years older ELP Track), I recognized this sound system to be an audiophile’s dream come true.

At that moment, the only sound that could’ve possibly brought me back down to earth was my dad’s own voice. Seeing how I was already familiar with the reliability / durability of these manufacturers’ products, before any sales associate had even approached us, I was already delivering my own sales pitch.

My father… [1] knowing that his community college attending son was working towards his broadcast arts degree… [2] understanding how vital it was for me to stay connected to the radio and music industry… and [3] agreeing that this high quality, hi-tech had a low price tag attached… well… he knew he had found his gift to me. Even better… seeing how I had already seen it… he didn’t even make me wait until Christmas morn to “unwrap it”.

And while the Garrard™ turntable had eventually proven to be the most vulnerable to the ravages of old age… the amplification of my morning, wake-up music… on this very day (45 years later!)… was courtesy of my father… courtesy of that vintage, very same Fisher™ receiver… still the driving force behind those ElectoVoice™ tweeters and woofers!

And while my dad lived on only fifteen years beyond his Christmas ’73 present to me… my feeling of connection transcends the tech… transcends time.

Indeed, there is that connection to Christmases past… that genetic connection, too… for, dad’s gift just keeps on giving!

 

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 3

Mere words can hardly describe the mighty mind and vibrant voice of singer / song writer / guitarist and progressive rock pioneer Greg Lake. During his nearly five decade long professional career he played in the bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).

Considering how much life Lake breathed into damned nearly every song he ever performed and recorded… how his subject matter was typically “dark”… how the body of his mind-blowing work, which he leaves behind, still gives off so much figurative heat… the reports of his death on Wednesday, December 7, 2016… even now, one year later… still seems surreal.

Since highlighting Lake’s music is the best way to pay tribute to him, I’m offering up a linked to YouTube mini-discography. These five compositions do support the undeniable truth… Lake had been a force to be reckoned with.

Stated in sixties vernacular, the five tracks to follow are the quintessence of “progressive rock”… terminology that not only aptly describes the music, itself, but also the radio stations that originally aired it. Courtesy of those bygone broadcast towers, us “hippies” first heard the King Crimson track, Epitaph and the ELP tracks Lucky Man, Battlefield, From The Beginning and Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2.

True, it’ll mostly be diehard Lake fans (such as yours truly), who will gleefully playback these songs, in their entirety. Still, I do encourage everyone else to sample each track. Even if this isn’t your “cup of tea”, musically, consider the lyrics themselves. I know that many of my readers and followers who are poets will be impressed in that latter regard.

I do know that my being fully impressed by both Lake’s music and lyrics weighed heavily in my decision to BlogCast his compostion… I Believe In Father Christmas… his take on the over-commercialization of this holiday… an overall POV I share with him.

On a more personal note… there was one other consideration in my BlogCasting his holiday commentary.

You see, on this very day 43 years ago, (@5 p.m. in the U.S. Eastern timezone) ELP’s Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 became the very first song I played on my very first on the air radio broadcast. My substitute DJ, weeklong gig, which followed, certainly made my Christmas 1974 extra special… all of that ranking right up there as one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Returning now to the music… while auditioning YouTube offerings, I did discover a couple more view-worthy vids… the first clip features Lake’s reprise of I Believe In Father Christmas set to alternative imagery… the second performance features Thomas McKanna’s fine piano cover medley.

I now thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you back for the remainder of my Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas… where I’ll be presenting select holiday classics… one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

You’re also cordially invited to click back here for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

Till next time…

 

Here’s hoping that you have a

Merry Melodious Christmas and Happy Harmonious Holiday Season!

 

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

 

 

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…”

Once upon a time… in fact on this very day way back in 1974… I found myself hanging out in the control room of a student staffed, 5 watt FM college radio station. Within minutes of hanging up my winter coat and F.C.C. License, I had logged in and parked my butt on the padded swivel chair behind an audio board… an audio mixer that was lit up like a Christmas Tree.

While a layperson would’ve felt a bit overwhelmed, I was already trained to recognize the general layout of the controls. I quickly acclimated and donned a set of headphones to cue up what was to become the first song of my very first ever, live, On The Air radio show.

While waiting for the going off duty DJ’s final song to track to it’s conclusion, my eyes were glued, intently to the spinning vinyl LP and the sweep hand of an analogue clock. At 5 o’clock p.m., sharp, I opened my microphone to announce the station ID and introduce myself to my audience. Within mere seconds of my engaging turntable #1… Greg Lake began belting out this opening lyric…

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…”

Wow, what a trip that show had been. Off to my right I had access to a record library, which boasted multiple thousands of (more or less alphabetized) shelved albums… had complete freedom to program any music my little ol’ heart desired.

At that point, it didn’t even matter to me, in the least, that this was a non-paying gig.

My only regrets? Contrary to vocalist Lake’s sentiments… by the end of the week, my show did end… you see… I was merely a substitute DJ during winter break… filling in only when my Program Director found gaps (a.k.a. “dead air”) in his broadcast schedule.

But… it was a blast while it lasted.

The four tracks I’ve selected for today’s Blogcast are a blast from my past… songs culled from my first program’s playlist… beginning, appropriately enough, with that 5 p.m. leadoff Emerson, Lake & Palmer recording.

Thank you in advance for indulging me as I relive this experience… as I go rockin’ down memory lane.

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer ~ Karn Evil 9 / 1st Impression (Part 2)

REO Speedwagon ~ Being Kind Can Hurt Someone Sometimes

Stanley Clarke ~ Vulcan Princess

Chick Corea & Return To Forever ~ Beyond The 7th Galaxy

If you like what you heard, stay tuned for my future Blogcasts.