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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reconsidering The Monkees, Part 2: Only True In Fairy Tales [A Three-CD BEST OF THE MONKEES]

Continuing a 50th anniversary reassessment of the best of The Monkees, factoring in tracks from the group's splendid 2016 album Good Times! alongside the rest of The Monkees' recorded legacy. We started with a 4-disc best-of set called Rows Of Houses That Are All The Same, and continue today with a 3-CD set we call Only True In Fairy Tales.  Like our 4-disc set, this is arranged in rough chronological order (albeit lightly tweaked here 'n' there); as we move to the 2-CD and single-disc sets, we will switch to more creative sequencing.

Only True In Fairy Tales (Carlgems 003)
A Three-CD Set Of The Best Of The Monkees


1. (Theme From) The Monkees
2. Last Train To Clarksville
3. I Don't Think You Know Me [Nesmith vocal]
4. I Wanna Be Free
5. Sweet Young Thing
6. Take A Giant Step
7. Papa Gene's Blues
8. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
9. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love
10. Your Auntie Grizelda
11. She
12. Sometime In The Morning
13. Mary Mary
14. Of You
15. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
16.I'm A Believer
17. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
18. All Of Your Toys
19. The Girl I Knew Somewhere
20.You Told Me
21. Forget That Girl
22. For Pete's Sake
23. Early Morning Blues And Greens
24. No Time
25. Shades Of Gray
26. You Just May Be The One
27. Sunny Girlfriend
28. Randy Scouse Git
29. Words


1. Pleasant Valley Sunday
2. Love Is Only Sleeping
3. Daily Nightly
4. Cuddly Toy
5. Salesman
6. Star Collectot
7. The Door Into Summer
8. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
9. Daydream Believer
10. Goin' Down
11. Valleri
12. Tapioca Tundra
13. I'll Be Back Up On My Feet
14. Auntie's Municipal Court
15. Zor And Zam
16. D.W. Washburn
17. Porpoise Song (Theme From "Head")
18. As We Go Along
19. Circle Sky [live]
20. Can You Dig It
21. Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again
22. Daddy's Song
23. Nine Times Blue
24. You And I
25. Some Of Shelly's Blues


1. Listen To The Band
2. Someday Man
3. If I Ever Get To Saginaw Again
4. A Man Without A Dream
5. St. Matthew
6. Changes
7. Little Girl
8. Good Clean Fun
9. Mommy And Daddy
10. Looking For The Good Times
11. Oh My My
12. I Love You Better
13. Steam Engine
14. Time And Time Again
15. That Was Then, This Is Now
16. Heart And Soul
17. Every Step Of The Way
18. Regional Girl
19. You And I
20. Birth Of An Accidental Hipster
21. She Makes Me Laugh
22. Terrifying
23. Love To Love
24. Me & Magdalena
25. Our Own World
26. You Bring The Summer

These are the tracks dropped in transition from 4 discs to 3 discs:

"Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere"
"Tear Drop City" (the first U.S. A-side to be sacrificed)
"Love's What I Want"
"She Hangs Out"
"I'll Spend My Life With You"
"I Never Thought It Peculiar"
"All The King's Horses"
"Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care)"
"She'll Be There"
"Saturday's Child"
"Wasn't Born To Follow"
"Naked Persimmon"
"P.O. Box 9847"
"Do It In The Name Of Love"
"It's Not Too Late"
"(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love"
"The Girl I Left Behind Me"
"Ditty Diego (War Chant)"
"Tear The Top Right Off My Head"
"Riu Chiu"
"Lady Jane"
"You Didn't Feel That Way Last Night (Don't You Remember)"
"I Remember The Feeling"

The last one in was--again--"Our Own World." We'll see if that can survive one more cut.

NEXT TIME:  Walking Down The Street, a two-CD set of The Best Of The Monkees. Once again, we ask everyone to remain too busy singing to put anybody down.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reconsidering THE MONKEES, Part 1: Rows Of Houses That Are All The Same [A Four-CD BEST OF THE MONKEES]

As 50th anniversary celebrations go, I'd say The Monkees have had a pretty damned good year. The Monkees' current album Good Times! earned both terrific reviews and terrific sales, the group's TV series was released in a lovely, comprehensive Blu-ray set, and their current tour (featuring Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, with Michael Nesmith set to join to rejoin his erstwhile prime mates for one farewell show on September 16th) has been shakin' all over like the late Davy Jones' red maracas. There has been renewed critical appraisal and appreciation of The Monkees' recorded legacy, and even increasing speculation that The Monkees might maybe possibly be considered for induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Well, I'm a believer, anyway.

Since you can't have a proper 50th anniversary without repacking old product, Rhino Records has compiled two new sets commemorating 50 years of The Monkees, a single-disc set called Forever and a three-CD set called The Monkees 50. Both sets include at least one track from Good Times!, acknowledging the consensus that The Monkees in 2016 have created a new record that stands with their best work.

But I'm going to ignore Forever and The Monkees 50, because it's the role--the duty, I say!--of obsessive fans to ignore official compilations and, y'know, concoct our own.  So I've set myself the task of slappin' together four new Monkees career anthologies, each charged with the task of summing up the best of The Monkees from 1966 to 2016. Four? Yeah, I'm putting together a four-disc set, a three-disc, a two-disc, and a single-disc. I believe we have already mentioned that word obsessive.

We start today with a four-CD set called Rows Of Houses That Are All The Same. The rules in effect require each disc to be approximately 74 minutes long, and the compilation must include at least one track from each of The Monkees' twelve albums. Originally-unreleased bonus tracks from the '60s are certainly fair game. There's no specific requirement to include all the singles, or even all the hits, but we'll make up our story as we go along. This first collection is arranged in (very) rough chronological order, but future sets will mix tracks from different years--and decades--at will. I've avoided live tracks (with one obvious exception, the live "Circle Sky" from Head), and generally avoided alternate versions of familiar tracks, too.

Ya ready? 'Cause it's 7:30, 6:30 Central; it's time for THE MONKEES! I wonder if anyone around here has a television set...?

A Four-CD Set Of The Best Of The Monkees


1. (Theme From) The Monkees
2. Last Train To Clarksville
3. All The King's Horses
4. I Don't Think You Know Me [Nesmith vocal]
5. Saturday's Child
6. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love [Jones vocal]
7. Sweet Young Thing
8. I Wanna Be Free
9. Take A Giant Step
10. Papa Gene's Blues
11. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
12. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love
13. Your Auntie Grizelda
14. She
15. Sometime In The Morning
16. Mary Mary
17. Of You
18. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
19. I'm A Believer
20. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
21. All Of Your Toys
22. The Girl I Knew Somewhere
23. You Told Me
24. Zilch
25. Forget That Girl
26. For Pete's Sake
27. She'll Be There
28. Early Morning Blues And Greens
29. No Time
30. Shades Of Gray


1. You Just May Be The One
2. I'll Spend My Life With You
3. Sunny Girlfriend
4. Randy Scouse Git
5. Pleasant Valley Sunday
6. Words
7. She Hangs Out [album version]
8. Love Is Only Sleeping
9. Daily Nightly
10. Cuddly Toy
11. Salesman
12. Star Collector
13. The Door Into Summer
14. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
15. Riu Chiu
16. Daydream Believer
17. Goin' Down
18. Tear The Top Right Off My Head
19. Valleri
20. Tapioca Tundra
21. I'll Be Back Up On My Feet
22. Auntie's Municipal Court
23. P.O. Box 9847
24. Zor And Zam
25. D.W. Washburn
26. Can You Dig It


1. Porpoise Song (Theme From "Head")
2. As We Go Along
3. Circle Sky [live]
4. Ditty Diego (War Chant)
5. Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again
6. Daddy's Song
7. Naked Persimmon
8. Tear Drop City
9. Nine Times Blue
10. You And I
11. Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care)
12. A Man Without A Dream
13. If I Ever Get To Saginaw Again
14. The Girl I Left Behind Me
15. Smile
16. St. Matthew
17. Some Of Shelly's Blues
18. Changes
19. Someday Man
20. Listen To The Band
21. Little Girl
22. Good Clean Fun
23. Mommy And Daddy [album version]
24. Looking For The Good Times
25. Oh My My
26. I Love You Better
27. I Never Thought It Peculiar
28. Steam Engine
29. MICKEY [sic] DOLENZ & DAVY JONES: Do It In The Name Of Love


1. Time And Time Again
2. MICKEY [sic] DOLENZ & DAVY JONES: Lady Jane
3. DOLENZ, JONES, BOYCE & HART: I Remember The Feeling
4. DOLENZ, JONES, BOYCE & HART: You Didn't Feel That Way Last Night (Don't You Remember)
6. MICKY DOLENZ & PETER TORK of THE MONKEES: Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere
7. Heart And Soul
8. Every Step Of The Way
9. Midnight
11. Regional Girl
12. You And I
13. It's Not Too Late
14. She Makes Me Laugh
15. You Bring The Summer
16. Me & Magdalena
17. Wasn't Born To Follow
18. Love To Love [Good Times! mix]
19. Terrifying
20. Birth Of An Accidental Hipster
21. Love's What I Want
22. Our Own World

Exclusive bonus 7" single: "Sunny Girlfriend [Acoustic Remix Of Master Vocal]"/"Me & Magdalena [Version 2]"

You will note that I included a few tracks that aren't really The Monkees, per se. It seems to me that a long-form Monkees set should consider the almost-Monkees tracks that were released in between periods of official Monkeedom. The "Do It In The Name Of Love"/"Rainy Jane" single, though credited to Micky and Davy rather than the group, is effectively Monkees material, since both tracks were created during the sessions for The Monkees' Changes album, and are included on Rhino's expanded CD reissue of Changes. Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart--The Guys Who Wrote 'Em And The Guys Who Sang 'Em--was the second closest thing to a Monkees reunion in the '70s; the first closest thing was the Dolenz, Jones & Tork holiday single "Christmas Is My Time Of Year" in 1976, but that didn't seem to fit here. And "Milkshake," from Tork's 1994 album Stranger Things Have Happened, reunited Tork, Dolenz and Nesmith on one track, at a time when such a reunion had seemed unlikely.

Since I know I'm not the only Monkees obsessive--MonkeeMen, AWAY!--here are the tracks that just missed the cut for this set:

"The Poster"
"Don't Call On Me"
"Gonna Buy Me A Dog"
"The Crippled Lion"
"Goldie Locks Sometime"
"Oklahoma Backroom Dancer"
"Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye"
"It's Nice To Be With You"
"Band 6"
"Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day"
"Let's Dance On"
"So Goes Love"
"Good Times"

And, in college basketball parlance, The Last One In was "Our Own World."

Comments are welcome. Next time out, we'll dispense with chronology, and we'll whittle it down to a mere three discs.  For now, please remember to save the Texas prairie chicken. Goin' down....

Monday, August 29, 2016

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 838

It's back! The annual This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio tradition called Dana's Funky Soul Pit returns, all set to move every corpuscle in your poor, poor body to the funk, the soul, and the rhythm & blues, and to all of the irresistible music playing on your radio. Grab a beverage, and grab your partner--this dancefloor won't fill itself!

NEXT WEEK: RADIO WORTH PAYING FOR! As we try to raise the raw bread we need to transition to a second home on the local FM dial, we wanna demonstrate why we're worthy of all that hard-earned cash we need you to fork over to us. $100 donors get to program a future show! You can start donating right now at our money-grubbing site http://sparksyracuse.org/support/ IN TWO WEEKS: On September 11th, the eve of the five-decade mark since the debut of their TV series, TIRnRR celebrates 50 YEARS OF THE MONKEES! And this is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a Funky Soul Pit Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org

TIRnRR # 838: Dana's Funky Soul Pit 8/28/16

THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
THE ISLEY BROTHERS: It's Your Thing (Sony, The Essential Isley Brothers)
MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS: Nowhere To Run (Motown, The Definitive Collection)
IKE & TINA TURNER: He's The One (Kent, single)
JUNIOR WALKER & THE ALL STARS: (I'm A) Road Runner (Motown, The Definitive Collection)
RAY CHARLES: Mess Around (Rhino, Pure Genius)
THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH: Mama, I Got A Brand New Thing (Motown, Motown Milestones)
ARETHA FRANKLIN: Do Right Woman-Do Right Man (Atlantic, 30 Greatest Hits)
ETTA JAMES: I'd Rather Go Blind (Geffen, 20th Century Masters)
CARLA THOMAS: My Man Believes Me (Stax, Stax Profiles)
BIG MAMA THORNTON: They Call Me Big Mama (MCA, Hound Dog)
THE MARVELETTES: Beechwood 4-5789 (Motown, 20th Century Masters)
MARY WELLS: My Guy (Motown, 20th Century Masters)
EARTH, WIND & FIRE: September (Columbia, The Eternal Dance)
THE JACKSON FIVE: Dancing Machine (Motown, The Ultimate Collection)
PARLIAMENT: Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) (Mercury, Gold)
THE SPINNERS: Magic In The Moonlight (Warner Special Products, VA: Rare Soul: Beach Music Classics, Vol. 3)
JAMES BROWN: Get On The Good Foot [live] (Snapper, James Brown At Studio 54)
CURTIS MAYFIELD: Freddie's Dead (Rhino, Superfly)
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE: Hot Fun In The Summertime (Epic, Greatest Hits)
THE FIFTH DIMENSION: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures) (Arista, Up-Up And Away)
THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS: I Can't Stand It (Sony, Time)
JIMI HENDRIX: Let Me Move You (Legacy, People, Hell And Angels)
MACEO & ALL THE KING'S MEN: Funky Women (Snapper, Doing Their Own Thing)
OTIS REDDING: Mr. Pitiful (Rhino, Otis!)
BETTY WRIGHT: Clean Up Woman (Rhino, VA: Billboard Top R & B Hits-1971)
THE FOUR TOPS: I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (Motown, The Definitive Collection)
JEAN KNIGHT: Mr. Big Stuff (Rhino, VA: Billboard Top R & B Hits-1971)
THE MIRACLES: The Tracks Of My Tears (Motown, SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES: The Definitive Collection)
THE PERSUADERS: Thin Line Between Love & Hate (Rhino, VA: Billboard Top R & B Hits-1971)
WILSON PICKETT: Hey Jude (Rhino, A Man And A Half)
AL GREEN: I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Right Stuff, Green Is Blues)
THE STAPLE SINGERS: I'll Take You There (Stax, The Best Of The Staple Singers)
RONNIE SPECTOR & THE E STREET BAND: Say Goodbye To Hollywood (Lemon, Unfinished Business)
ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Anna (Go To Him) (Razor & Tie, The Ultimate Arthur Alexander)
THE DIXIE CUPS: Iko Iko (Varese Sarabande, The Complete Red Bird Recordings)
THE DONAYS: Devil In His Heart (Brent, single)
LEE DORSEY: Working In The Coalmine (Camden International, The Definitive Collection)
SAM COOKE: Chain Gang (RCA, The Best Of Sam Cooke)
THE FIVE DU-TONES: Shake A Tail Feather (Charly, VA: The Scene Club)
EDDIE FLOYD: Knock On Wood (Charly, VA: This Is Soul)
THE EQUALS: Police On My Back (Sequel, Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys)
DESMOND DEKKER: The Israelites (Rhino, Rockin' Steady)
THE SHARPEES: Do The 45 (Charly, VA: The Twisted Wheel)
VICKI ANDERSON: If You Don't Give Me What I Want (I Gonna Get It Some Other Place) (Universal, Mother Popcorn)
THE ESQUIRES: And Get Away (Charly, VA: The Twisted Wheel)
BESSIE BANKS: Go Now (Charly, VA: The Scene Club)
BO DIDDLEY: Pretty Thing (MCA, The Chess Box)
GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Motown, The Definitive Collection)
JOE TEX: Show Me (Varese Vintage, 25 All-Time Greatest Hits)
SLIM HARPO: I've Got Love If You Want It (Hip-O, The Best Of Slim Harpo)
NINA SIMONE: Love Me Or Leave Me (Bethlehem, Little Girl Blue)
BOBBY DAY: Over And Over (Charly, VA: The Scene Club)
JOEY RAMONE & GENERAL JOHNSON: Rockaway Beach (Rhino, VA: Godchildren Of Soul)
BILLY PRESTON: Billy's Bag (Cleopatra, Retrospective)

Sunday, August 28, 2016


You've waited long enough! Put your HANDS together! SING! SWAY! And delight in the annual wonder that is DANA'S FUNKY SOUL PIT, a three-hour celebration of soul, funk, R & B, and frankly, whatever else Dana feels like playing. I'll be there in a strictly advisory capacity--I'll be advising my waiter on what beers I enjoy--and you'll be there to soak up the sweet soulsations. Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org

Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE EVERLASTING FIRST, Part 4b: My First Exposures To Some Singers And Superheroes

Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

Yesterday's coverage of The Damned and Doc Savage ran a bit long, so we've saved the letter D's Quick Takes for a separate post.

Quick Takes For D:

DAREDEVIL BATTLES HITLER: On a trip to New York City in the sweltering hot summer of '72, Dad agreed to take me to 909 Third Avenue for a visit to the office of National Periodical Publications, better known as DC Comics. I was hoping for a tour, but we were informed that there wasn't any such thing. I guess we needed some reason to justify why we were there, so Dad asked how I could buy back issues. The gentleman who greeted us gave me the information for a comics dealer named Bill Thailing, and I ordered Thailing's catalog. The back cover of the catalog featured black and white reproductions of a quartet of Golden Age comics, including Daredevil Battles Hitler # 1. I was fascinated by that book, with its cover image of Der Fuhrer being assailed by Daredevil and his heroic compatriots. A few years later, I was able to buy a black-and-white reprint of Daredevil Battles Hitler, published by an outfit called DynaPubs. I was initially disappointed by the book, but it's become one of my all-time favorite comic books. (Oh, and the Golden Age Daredevil, originally published by Lev Gleason, was no relation whatsoever to the familiar Marvel Comics hero of the same name.  But be honest now: wouldn't ya love to see a Netflix adaptation of Daredevil Battles Hitler?)

DAWN: "Knock Three Times" was a huge AM radio hit when I was in sixth grade. When it played in the lunchroom at school, all the kids there naturally pounded on the table when the song prompted us to, y'know, knock three times. We were warned of dire consequences if we didn't stop that infernal pounding, you worthless kids! As the song continued, I figured that I could toe the line and continue enjoying myself by playing air drums, and silently swatting the air instead of smacking the table.  Perfect plan, right? But Mr. Shannon saw the downward movement of my arms, and pronounced me guilty, my protests to the contrary be damned. I've never forgiven him, the rat!

THE dB's: As a voracious reader of Trouser Press magazine in the early '80s, I must have read all about The dB's and their first two albums, Stands For Decibels and Repercussions. Probably. My first exposure to the group was two live tracks, "We Should Be In Bed" and "Death Garage," on a live sampler LP called Start Swimming. A couple of years later, I fell in love with a dB's album called Like This, which we played in-store when I worked at a record store in Buffalo circa 1985.  A few years later still, a reissue of Like This would become (with Past Masters, Volume Two by The Beatles) one of the first pair of CDs I ever owned. Saw The dB's at Syracuse's Lost Horizon in the late '80s, as the final incarnation of the group was touring in support of its last album,  The Sound Of Music.

DC SPECIAL:  Ah, I loved this one!  I bought DC Special # 1 off the supermarket spinner rack in Aurora, Missouri during the summer of 1968. That first issue spotlighted the work of artist (and soon-to-be DC Comics publisher) Carmine Infantino, with choice reprints of Batman, The Flash, Adam Strange, Detective freaking Chimp, and even an episode of Strange Sports Stories. I dug many of the subsequent issues just as much, including a collection of police stories in DC Special # 10 and an epic Plastic Man assortment in DC Special # 15.

:  Yesterday's discussion of The Damned mentioned an album called New Wave, a sampler LP put out by the good folks at the Vertigo label. We'll be coming back to that album in at least two more future editions of The Everlasting First, but it's also where I first heard The Dead Boys (specifically "Sonic Reducer" and "All This And More," two tracks from The Dead Boys' debut album, Young, Loud & Snotty). My favorite Dead Boys track would ultimately be "Third Generation Nation," the lead-off track from their second and final album, We Have Come For Your Children. Dead Boys lead singer Stiv Bators would later release an incredible cover of The Choir's pop classic "It's Cold Outside," and his version is The Greatest Record Ever Made


DEADMAN:  1968 again! The Brave And The Bold # 79 was among a short stack of comics my parents bought for me to read while traveling that summer. I had previously seen DC Comics house ads for Deadman's appearances in Strange Adventures, but this issue's team-up of Batman and Deadman was my first direct exposure to the character. It was also the first time artist Neal Adams was allowed to draw a Batman story; that would ultimately have a positively seismic effect on my development as a comics fan. 

DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK & TICH:  I guess it's easy to be snarky about the clunky pop music of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, but I was intrigued by them. I believe the first mention of 'em I ever saw was in the booklet that accompanied a Sire Records double-album sampler called The History Of British Rock, Volume Two. That set didn't contain any DDDBM&T, but just the mention of the group and a manic record called "Bend It" was enough to whet my appetite. I later found a used copy of the "Bend It" 45, but it didn't make much of an impression on me, I fear. "Zabadak" also left me cold. But when I heard their song "Hold Tight" a few years later, I knew I'd found a new favorite. I've purchased CD reissues of three DDDBM&T albums, but the debut album (which includes "Hold Tight" and "You Make It Move") is my go-to.

THE DEFENDERS:  The Sub-Mariner, The Hulk, and Dr. Strange had appeared in a couple of previous adventures together, but I caught up with them in Marvel Feature # 1 (December 1971). This was the first time this team-that-wasn't-a-team was billed as The Defenders, and I thought it was so, so cool. I mean, look at that cover! Yeah, penciled by that Neal Adams guy, again. I don't think I quite knew who he was yet, but from those issues of The Brave And The Bold and X-Men in the '60s, through his early '70s work on Batman, The Mighty Avengers, and Green Lantern/Green Arrow (plus some awesome Superman covers), he was sure making an impression. Interior art was by Ross Andru and Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett, while writer Roy Thomas put our heroes through their paces. The Defenders appeared in Marvel Feature a couple more times I think, and then graduated to their own regular title. Netflix's current Marvel TV universe is building to The Defenders, but the group streaming into your living room will not include any of the original Defenders; the TV group will be Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. It might not be my Defenders as I remember them, but it oughtta be really good, I betcha.  

DETECTIVE COMICS: Batman made his debut appearance in Detective Comics # 27 (May 1939), and I wish I could tell you a mint copy of that issue, lovingly preserved for me by an uncle or grandparent or kindly random bystander, was also my first issue of Detective Comics. But no, I jumped on the 'Tec bandwagon with the relatively unremarkable Detective Comics # 362 (April 1967), which featured the villainy of my then-favorite Bat-foe The Riddler (and a back-up story starring that stretchable sleuth, The Elongated Man). I have, of course, purchased many more issues of Detective Comics since then, including several older than ol' # 362 (but not anywhere near as old as # 27). In the '70s, my all-time favorite Batman story, "Night Of The Stalker!," was published in Detective Comics # 439 (February-March 1974); just a bit later, Detective Comics # 469-476 housed my all-time favorite arc of Batman stories, all written by Steve Englehart (who had also written "Night Of The Stalker!"). I dropped Detective Comics (and all Batman titles) from my pull list at Comix Zone a while back, but reinstated them in the wake of the current DC Comics: Rebirth, and they've been pretty good again.

THE DICKIES: I'm sure I saw print ads for The Dickies' album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies, and I probably saw it on the racks at various fine record retailers in the late '70s. I knew the group's repertoire of supercharged covers included a take on The Monkees' ace garage nugget "She," but I don't remember hearing any of it at the time. Which means my first Dickies sighting was on the Don Rickles sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey in 1978. My memory of that episode is that it was condescending and smarmy in its dismissal of punk rock, so screw 'em anyway. My favorite Don Rickles appearance was alongside his comic-book doppelganger Goody Rickels in the pages of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, written and drawn by the King, Jack Kirby. The Dickies went on to much better thing beyond the aegis of C.P.O. Sharkey, and the group's cover of The Banana Splits theme song has long been a favorite. TRAAA-LA-LAAAA, TRAAA-LA-LA-LAAAA! The Dickies also did an original power pop tune called "Rosemary" on their 1983 album Stukas Over Disneyland, and it's one of the all-time great underrated pop tunes. 

THE DICTATORS: Another group I first heard of via Phonograph Record Magazine, but my first taste of The Dictators' music came via the unlikely venue of a film called Jabberwalk in 1977. My only memory of this weird, disjointed documentary (if that's even what it was) is that it was...um, weird and disjointed. That, and it included footage of The Dictators performing a live rendition of "America The Beautiful" at the Miss Nude America beauty pageant. See, that's how you break a band! At college in Brockport that September, I pestered campus station WBSU to play me some Dictators, and the jocks responded with the pretty ballad "Sleepin' With The TV On," from the group's then-current Manifest Destiny album. Subsequent WBSU requests yielded tracks from The Dictators' first album, Go Girl Crazy!


DOLL MAN: It's easy to dismiss the worth of a tiny superhero with a seemingly-precious name, but Doll Man was originally quite popular. The character made his short-statured debut in Feature Comics # 27 (December 1939), and he remained a Feature feature through its 139th issue in 1949. His solo title, Doll Man Quarterly, racked up 47 issues from 1941 until 1953. Doll Man was one of a number of characters (including Plastic Man and Blackhawk) sold by original publisher Quality Comics to DC Comics in the mid-'50s. DC had no real use for the character (and subsequently developed its own shrinking superhero called The Atom), so Doll Man lay dormant with the rest of yesterday's playthings. Doll Man's DC debut was in Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains! # 5 (January 1973), reprinting a Golden Age Doll Man adventure. As an adolescent devotee of Golden Age superhero reprints, I considered Wanted my favorite comic book at the time, and I never missed an issue. Wanted's perch at the toppermost of my poppermost was toppled by the return of the DC 100-Page Super-Spectaculars in '73, and Doll Man appeared in the first issue of that revived series. In the summer of '73, Doll Man appeared in his first new adventure since 1953, fighting alongside fellow Quality Comics alumna The Ray, The Black Condor, The Human Bomb, Uncle Sam, and--swoon!--The Phantom Lady in that year's Justice League/Justice Society team-up.  


THE DOOM PATROL: A group of misfit superheroes led by a man in a wheelchair. Sounds familiar, but DC's Doom Patrol just barely beat Marvel's X-Men to the newsstands. Neither title was particularly successful in the '60s--The X-Men's big success came later--but both are remembered with fondness by Silver Age comics fans. The Doom Patrol was in some ways the closest DC had to a Marvel book at the time; writer Arnold Drake frequently had his bickering stars--The Chief, Robotman, Negative Man, and Elasti-Girl--at each others' throats. This was a very interesting series, and I aim to read the whole thing from beginning to end one of these days. I didn't catch much of it in the '60s, though. I think I first heard of The Doom Patrol in a DC house ad for The Brave And The Bold # 65, which teamed The Doom Patrol with The Flash. My first (and perhaps only) Doom Patrol adventure during the original run was Doom Patrol # 115 (October-November 1967). This book was weird, maybe too weird for me when I was seven (or maybe not). The Doom Patrol apparently perished in their final original appearance, Doom Patrol # 121 (September-October 1968). Nonetheless, they've been revived periodically in various less-odd and much-odder incarnations ever since.

THE DRIFTERS:  My first Drifters record was The Drifters' Golden Greats, which I purchased in the mid-'80s (and which prompted me to remark with some frequency that, if we presume there must be music in Heaven, then we must presume the music in Heaven sounds like The Drifters). But my first exposure to The Drifters? "On Broadway." That TV commercial for Radio Free Europe in the '60s and '70s. On Broadvay...!  'Nuff said.


Friday, August 26, 2016

THE EVERLASTING FIRST, Part 4a: My First Exposures To Some Singers And Superheroes

Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.



Phonograph Record Magazine figures into my first exposure to British punks The Damned, but a larger role in that introduction was ultimately played by a green-eyed girl named Mary Ellen. We'll get to her in just a sec, but we'll start with PRM.  Phonograph Record Magazine's coverage of this exotic, scary, mysteriously intoxicating music called punk captivated me as a senior in high school, 1976-77. I didn't know what any of it sounded like, but I was aching to find out.

I was intrigued by so many of these bands that PRM name-checked so casually in its tabloid pages. The Ramones! Blondie! The Sex Pistols! Eddie and the Hot Rods! Chris Spedding and the Vibrators! It was a long, long list of acts I'd never heard of before, from The New York Dolls, The Dictators, and Milk 'n Cookies through Cheap Trick, Elvis CostelloTom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Yesterday and Today (later shortened to Y & T). I was desperate to learn more.

Even if you're my age or older, it may be difficult to remember just how different the world was just four decades ago. Today, if you encounter a reference to some new musical act, the great 'n' powerful internet can put that act's complete c.v. at your disposal instantly. YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a bunch of other cloud-borne resources that would have been the stuff of science fiction during the Bicentennial are now humdrum, banal fixtures of everyday living. Hell, a YouTube video was likely your introduction to this new act in the first place. The thrill of the hunt has long since been replaced by the smug, jaded smirk of entitlement.

Heh. I'm a curmudgeon at 56.

With that all said, I have to admit I enjoy the convenience of easily-accessible information. But there was something intangibly thrilling about the sheer mystique and wonder conjured in a young man's mind by the hype and glory of fevered ramblin' in the pages of mid-'70s rock rags like PRM. You couldn't hear the music; you could only imagine how amazing it must sound.

The Damned were among the many loud and angry punks mentioned in the pages of Phonograph Record Magazine. I don't recall the group necessarily getting a lot of ink in the few PRMs I was fortunate enough to grab, but I do remember Flo & Eddie discussing (and dismissing) one of The Damned's singles--either "New Rose" or "Neat Neat Neat"--in their Blind Date column. Flo & Eddie were not impressed with British punk on first exposure.

In the fall of '76, I met Mary Ellen at the ESSPA (Empire State School Press Association) Convention in Syracuse. I was there with a cadre of my fellow North Syracuse High School literary insurgents--Dan Bacich, Tim Schueler, and Sue Caldwell--representing our school literary magazine, The NorthCaster.  At the banquet and awards ceremony, we shared a table with a group representing a magazine from a Rochester area high school, and Mary Ellen was part of that group. I think their magazine was called Brown Bag, and I'm pretty sure they won top honors at ESSPA that year.

Our two groups hit it off pretty well, and it turned out that Mary Ellen was a big rock 'n' roll fan. She was especially fond of The Who; I'd remembered reading ads for some Who bootlegs (probably in The Buyer's Guide For Comics Fandom). I said I'd send her the information, and we exchanged addresses.

She wound up writing to me first, saying she was listening to Montrose and slipping into the terra incognita, a favorite phrase of hers. Starry-eyed teen that I was--I was kinda like Davy Jones on any random episode of The Monkees, except usually without reciprocation--I immediately began to imagine True Love. I was--what's the word?--an idiot. On a January bus ride from Cleveland to Syracuse, traveling back home solo after visiting my sister, I daydreamed about Mary Ellen, about singing Beatles songs together and maybe exchanging a playful kiss.

But this was all just fancy on my part. I wrote her a long, presumably witty letter, devoid of any attempt at romantic content--I wasn't quite that much of an idiot--and she responded with delight. Further correspondence revealed that we would be switching neighborhoods in the fall; I would be starting college in Brockport, a mere 19 miles from Rochester, while she would be attending Syracuse University. She sent me her phone number at SU.

One fall evening in Brockport, I called Mary Ellen, and we spoke on the phone for about an hour. It was a breezy, banter-filled conversation. I remember mentioning The Raspberries (whom she didn't know all that well) and The Bay City Rollers (which horrified her, since she saw them as not far removed from the dreaded "D-I-S-C-O!"). We had both discovered punk. I don't know how The Damned came up in the conversation, but she asked me if I'd heard them yet; I hadn't, so she cranked up the stereo in her dorm room and played The Damned's LP track "Stab Yor Back" for me. So that was my true, lo-fi introduction to the music of The Damned.

We mentioned earlier how much easier it is nowadays to find out about something or anything. You wanna know what else has changed since 1977? The cost of long-distance phone calls. My 60-minute call to Mary Ellen cost a whompin', stompin' fifty dollars, which is an awful lot of money to spend for a few seconds of The Damned. My parents weren't real happy about paying that bill for me, so that was my Christmas present that year; they threw in a copy of the Alive II album by KISS, because they were really great parents.

But that phone call (and, I think, one subsequent shorter one) were my last positive communications with Mary Ellen. I tried to get in touch with her the next time we were both in Syracuse, but she'd figured out by now that I mighta possibly had hearts in my eyes, and she didn't need that at all. And honestly, I can't blame her. In any case, I was soon involved with Sharon, a girl I met in Brockport, and then also with Theresa (another girl I met in Brockport), and significant complications loomed on my immediate horizon.

It was more than a year until I would be in the same room as a Damned song playing on a damned stereo near me. In the Spring of '78, a friend at school loaned me a compilation album called New Wave. New Wave included The Damned's debut single "New Rose," and I liked it a lot. It turned out that there would be a number of songs by The Damned that I like a lot, especially "Wait For The Blackout" on the group's 1980 LP The Black Album. I'll have to try listening to that over a $50 phone call some day.


I wish I could remember where or how I first heard of Doc Savage. In the early '70s, even before reading about The Man of Bronze in Steranko's History Of The Comics, I somehow already knew Doc was a precursor to Superman. But I hadn't had any exposure to the character, and I knew nothing at all about him.

When I was 11 or 12, maybe as old as 13 or thereabouts, I would occasionally help my Dad when he worked in the visitors' clubhouse at MacArthur Stadium. MacArthur was the home of our AAA baseball team the Syracuse Chiefs, and Dad ran the clubhouse for the visiting team's players. Dad was responsible for keeping the place clean and stocked, unpacking the players' uniforms and arranging their individual lockers, and making sure there was an ample supply of food and beverage. Dad did this for years and years, and it was something he loved doing. Someday, I'll tell you more about how this connection gave me an opportunity to meet Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Whitey Ford, among others. My older brothers had helped Dad at the clubhouse in previous years, so I also gave it a shot when I grew old enough to try.

God. I was inept.

My recollection is that Dad was pretty patient with my woeful efforts to do the damned job. I tried, but I was just too slow. Still, I spent a lot of time at the ballpark, and I unearthed a few treasures in my spare moments. I found an old Detroit Tigers uniform, which I combined with a skull mask one year to create a Halloween costume as The Ghost Of Ty Cobb. And one day, I found a paperback novel: specifically, a Doc Savage novel, The Land Of Terror by Kenneth Robeson.

I had never read a pulp novel before. My heroes were the heroes of comic books, with strict codes against killing. So I was surprised to read this early Doc Savage adventure, and to see our hero Doc dispense with a bad guy. Permanently. Clearly, this was not how The Justice League of America would handle things!

Subsequently, I learned that the character of Doc Savage would himself regret this early use of fatal force, and would later eschew killing entirely. This copy of The Land Of Terror was missing a page, but it served as my initiation into a whole new world of heroic fiction, a world in which I would immerse myself through much of the '70s.

Doc Savage had flourished originally in the 1930s and '40s, the star of his own pulp magazine. Each issue of Doc Savage featured a complete purple-prose pulp adventure novel, credited to the Kenneth Robeson pseudonym, and usually written by main Doc Savage scribe Lester Dent. In the '60s, Bantam Books began a very successful line of Doc Savage paperback novels, each book reprinting one of Doc's old pulp adventures, generally wrapped in a stunning new cover painted by James Bama. Bama's chiseled, gritty rendition of Doc looked nothing like Doc's original likeness in the pulps, but it was irresistible, and it sold a lot of paperbacks.

I couldn't tell you the name of my second Doc Savage novel, but I sure read a bunch of 'em. My parents even got me a box of them as my Christmas gift one year, and that was really cool. As noted above, I read more about the history of pulp magazines in Steranko's History Of The Comics, and learned about just how much Doc Savage influenced the creation of Superman, right down to both characters having the same first name ("Clark Savage, Jr., meet Clark Kent. Kent, Savage. Savage, Kent."). The Man of Bronze and the Man of Steel even shared a fondness for Arctic retreats, which they both referred to as a Fortress of Solitude. Doc's fightin' entourage, which Bantam hype referred to as "The Fabulous Five," was also a big influence on both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, especially on their earliest work with The Fantastic Four.

Doc Savage's paperback success was sufficient to prompt Marvel Comics to license the character for his own comic book series in 1972, and a feature film, Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze, was released in 1975. I liked the comic books, and really wanted to see the movie (starring Ron Ely, who had been TV's Tarzan in the '60s), but I don't know if it even played in Syracuse. My cousins in Florida saw it and loved it, but reports that it was a campy take on the character dimmed my enthusiasm. I have yet to be able to sit through the film in its entirety.

I never exactly lost interest in Doc Savage, but I did kind of move on. The Shadow became my favorite pulp character, manifested in a terrific DC Comics series and some paperback pulp reprints courtesy of Pyramid Books. Bantam's Doc Savage books had those gorgeous James Bama covers, but Pyramid's Shadow books offered equally eye-popping cover paintings by Steranko. The '70s were a golden age of vintage paperback pulp, with Doc and The Shadow joined on drugstore spinner racks by the likes of The Avenger, Tarzan (with cover art by my then-favorite comics artist, Neal Adams), The Phantom, Flash Gordon, The Lone RangerOperator 5, and G-8 And His Battle Aces. I can't tell you how much I loved this stuff at the age of 15. I wanted there to be new Batman pulp novels, and I wanted to write pulp novels. In high school, I wrote two short stories starring The Shadow for publication in The NorthCaster, and I even started writing a pulp novel called The Snowman. (The only decent, original pulp work I ever finished writing remains The Undersea World Of Mr. Freeze, which was completed for this blog.)

But it all started with a Doc Savage paperback, a battered little book I discovered when I probably should have been cleaning or sweeping or unpacking a visiting player's bag. That was my Fortress of Solitude.

Say, I've been a bit wordy today, haven't I? We'll save the Quick Takes For D for tomorrow's post.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vote For ME! THIS Blog! AND My Friends!

Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) has been nominated as Best Blog in The Syracuse New Times' Best Of Syracuse '16 readers poll. My chances of winning this are not terrific--the competition includes some established and well-known local blogs--but I'm here to beg for your vote anyway. You can vote once per e-mail address, and you can vote in as many or as few categories as you wish.

I'd also like to solicit support on behalf of some near 'n' dears who have also been nominated in various other categories. My lovely wife Brenda's school Jowonio School has been nominated as Best Pre-School Program and as Best After-School Program; Spark Syracuse, the near-future FM radio home of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl, has been nominated as Best Not For Profit; and our pal Ronnie Dark of The Wax Museum with Ronnie Dark has been nominated as Best Radio Personality. Ronnie's band Darkroom has been nominated as Best Rock Group, and Wax Museum sponsor Music And More has been nominated as Best Place To Buy Music. Oh, and my funnybook supplier, Comix Zone, is up for Best Comics Shop. Your friendly neighborhood blogkeeper humbly requests you consider a vote for each of these worthy parties.

(I confess to a tough choice for Best Radio Personality, since Ronnie is up against local legend Dave Frisina, who deserves something on the order of a zillion awards for all he's done and continues to do on behalf of Syracuse radio and Syracuse music. Given my druthers, Ronnie and Dave would both win the award.)

If anyone has questions, or if anyone wants more vote recommendations, please contact me at ccdatsme@aol.com, or on Facebook. Or here. Or there. Or everywhere, man. Vote early. Vote often. Vote Boppin'.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WHO NEEDS DANA & CARL? The Return Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO's Money-Grubbin' Guest Programmer Gimmick

As part of Spark Syracuse's fundraising efforts, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl will be reviving our most popular fundraising pitch:  WHO NEEDS DANA & CARL? This Guest Programmer gimmick allows folks who donate $100 or more the opportunity to program the music for one three-hour slot on Westcott Radio and/or Spark Syracuse/WSPJ-FM. The money raised will help fund Spark's efforts to begin (and continue!) broadcasting as WSPJ 93.5 and 103.3 FM in Syracuse. This is the near-future terrestrial radio home of Westcott Radio programming; the webcast will continue at the same time.  

PLEASE NOTE!! Yep, that's "note" with TWO exclamation points! As always, SIGNIFICANT RESTRICTIONS WILL APPLY. We're still in the process of fine-tuning the details, but it should wind up pretty similar to how we've done this in the past. We reserve the right to reject, in whole or in part, any programming that we deem inappropriate for any reason. Yes, even imaginary reasons. This is especially true after we've taken your money--no refunds! Bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa! Our previous Guest Programmers have been pretty happy with the deal, and we expect that you will be, too. 

This fresh (and how!) edition of WHO NEEDS DANA & CARL? kicks off officially with our September 4th edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, which we're billing as "Radio Worth Paying For." Consider this the soft opening; if you wanna get your Guest Programming slot in now, operators are standing by. We encourage them to have a seat, and to turn up the music. 

Got questions? Contact me! And here's a look back at our first big WHO NEEDS DANA & CARL? pitch in 2012. I've edited a few things here and there, but it's still worth reiterating that this is the old pitch from 2012, so therefore some details have changed, fercryinoutloud. QUESTIONS? CONTACT ME!
Meanwhile, here's a blast from our money-grubbin' past:

FROM 2012: 

Once again, Syracuse Community Radio finds itself in a tight budget crunch, and is in need of a cash influx, stat.  Although Westcott Radio and This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio remain independent of Syracuse Community Radio, we still support SCR's goal of establishing and maintaining a community FM radio station that can be heard throughout the Syracuse area; in fact, we hope to someday provide content for that station.  Toward that end, Dana & Carl are sponsoring a fundraiser for Syracuse Community Radio, and at least two lucky donors will each win a chance to program a future episode of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio.

From now until the end of February 2012, for every $10 donated to SCR, the donor will get one entry into our Who Needs Dana & Carl? contest.  You donate $10, you get one entry; you donate $30, you get three entries.  On or about March 1st, 2012, we will draw the names of two winners, and each of those folks will choose all of the songs to be played on a future TIRnRR. [2016 NOTE: currently, we are NOT planning a similar drawing; we will only be offering the $100 Guest Programmer option. We encourage you to donate whatever amount works for your budget, but only donations totaling at least $100 will qualify for Guest Programming.]

In addition to the sweepstakes, anyone who donates $100 or more will bypass the contest, and will AUTOMATICALLY be awarded the opportunity to program a future TIRnRR.  These spots will be awarded separately from and in addition to the two winners of the drawing, and there is no preset limit to how many automatic winners will be named.  The same February 29, 2012 deadline applies to both categories. To qualify, you must make a donation to Syracuse Community Radio, which is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization.

DETAILS:  Each winner will be able to program all of the songs for a future installment of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl.  If you will be in the Syracuse area and would like to join us and physically co-host your show in person, we'd love to have ya!  Otherwise, you can send us the list of songs you want us to play, and we'll play 'em for you. 

THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS THAT APPLY.  We presume anyone interested in winning this thing would also want to stay within TIRnRR's vague, broadly-defined power pop format, but this is not a requirement; if you win and you wanna play polka, disco, prog or opera, we'll think you've got the wrong show, but we'll gladly take your money and play your songs anyway.

REQUIREMENTS FOR WINNERS:  Current Westcott Radio personnel are not eligible for the drawing.  All song selections must be FCC-friendly, so no cussing or hate speech.  In order to play a song, we have to actually have it; you are responsible for either bringing your selections to our studio in person, or for supplying your tracks to Dana & Carl in advance.  Your show MUST include at least TWO different artists, and cannot include any albums in their entirety.  NO BOB SEGER SONGS!  TIRnRR's format calls for sets consisting of six songs each, usually with a longer set at the end of the show, followed by a closing instrumental.  You are welcome to choose specific sequencing, or you can leave that up to us, whichever you prefer.   Your show must fit within our approximate three-hour time slot, including between-set banter; that's usually about 50 pop songs, give or take, plus the instrumental.  Choose wisely!

There may be other common-sense or outta-left-field conditions to be named later, but that oughtta cover it for now.  Got a question?  Don't be shy!  We did something like this a few years back, and it was a lot of fun for us and for our lucky winner.  This time out, we've already had one listener step up as an Automatic Winner; we hope others will join her, and that still others will opt for smaller donations to get in the drawing.

As always, we only want to talk to those who want to hear from us, so let us know if you need to be deleted from future greetings.    And now it's YOUR turn to determine what rock 'n' roll radio will sound like on a future Sunday night in Syracuse.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Looking Back: My Daughter And THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO


This past Sunday, my wife Brenda and I brought our daughter Meghan back to Ithaca for the start of her senor year in college. In some ways, the transition has gotten easier, but it can still be difficult to let go.

Three years ago, Meghan joined me on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio for the first annual Meghan & Carl Show. Meghan had co-hosted the show before; she'd co-hosted with me, with Dana, and even once with Brenda. But this was the first time that it was part of saying goodbye, and I was a big ol' puddle of feels by show's end. We have done three more of these since then, the most recent on August 14th (as detailed here, and available for download here). Today, we look back at what I called The Last Assembly, from August 18th, 2013, as Meghan prepared to leave Syracuse and begin her new journey.

"Music is the heartbeat of the universe."
--Meghan Jean Cafarelli

My daughter Meghan was born on June 12th, 1995.  You might expect me to call that the happiest day of my life, but it was, of course, merely the beginning.  The happiest days came after, an 18-plus year blur of dizzying emotion, a kaleidoscope of vivid, living color, and the happiest, most fulfilling time that my wife Brenda and I could ever have imagined.

On Meghan's 18th birthday, I wrote:  "How in the world could 18 years have flown away so quickly? Has it really been that long since this beautiful baby girl first entered our lives, introducing us to a joy we never knew we were missing? We remember every moment with clarity, from day trips to every children's farm in Central New York to dance recitals where the air conditioning didn't work quite right; from reading Sesame Street and Barney books together, to reading (and digging) each of the Harry Potter books, always together, as a family; from vacations to staycations, school and work days, sick days when our worries felt like they'd overwhelm our fragile hearts, better days when it seemed like nothing could stop us, or even slow us down. Swimming. Ice skating. Music. TV. Leaving the movie theater early because Shrek was "mean." Band concerts. Wicked live on stage in London. Friends. Family. A love we wouldn't trade for any thing at any time. The boundless, giddy thrill of being the proudest parents God has ever blessed. As college beckons and an empty nest looms, this wonderful young woman who used to be our baby girl...will ALWAYS be our baby girl, and more. We love you Meghan."

College begins next week.  A love of music runs deep within our family, so this seemed a good time for Meghan to co-host This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio one last time before she matriculates her way outta here.  Though our tastes differ (just as my tastes differ from those of my Dixieland-loving Mom), it is always a delight to share time and music with my daughter.  Some hearts just get lucky some time.  My heart has been lucky ALL of the time.  This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like for The Last Assembly on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

(And, as always, many thanks to Dana for indulging us with this gimmick.  He'll call all of the shots next week, as TIRnRR presents THE MANY MOODS OF DANA BONN.  Be there or be missing.)

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org.

TIRnRR # 687:  The Meghan & Carl Show 8/18/13

HALESTORM:  "Rock Show" (Atlantic, The Strange Case Of...)
JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS:  "Light Of Day" (Blackheart, Fit To Be Tied)
CARRIE UNDERWOOD:  "One Way Ticket" (Arista, Blown Away)
EYTAN MIRSKY:  "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" (M-Squared, Year Of The Mouse)
TAYLOR SWIFT:  "Long Live" (Big Machine, Speak Now)
THE KINKS:  "Waterloo Sunset" (Essential, Something Else)
THE BAND PERRY:  "Forever Mine, Nevermind" (Republic Nashville, Pioneer)
EELS:  "Eyes Down" (Disney, VA:  Holes OST)
FLORENCE & THE MACHINE:  "Dog Days Are Over" (Universal Republic, Lungs)
TEGAN & SARA:  "Walking With A Ghost" (Sire, So Jealous)
CARRIE UNDERWOOD:  "Blown Away" (Arista, Blown Away)
R.E.M.:  "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (IRS, Eponymous)
IMAGINE DRAGONS:  "Radioactive" (Interscope, Night Visions)
GUADALCANAL DIARY:  "Litany (Life Goes One)" (Elektra, 2 x 4)
CARRIE UNDERWOOD:  "The Night Before (Life Goes On)" (Arista, Some Hearts)
PLAY:  "Us Against The World" (Columbia, Play)
DEVICE:  "Vilify" (Warner Brothers, Device)
THE POWERPUFF GIRLS:  "Love Makes The World Go 'Round" (unreleased)
THE BAND PERRY:  "Done" (Republic Nashville, Pioneer)
THE RAMONES:  "I Don't Want To Grow Up" (Radioactive, Adios Amigos!)
THREE DAYS GRACE:  "Time That Remains" (RCA, Transit Of Venus)
MIRANDA LAMBERT:  "Kerosene" (Sony, Kerosene)
BLAKE SHELTON:  "Austin" (Warner Brothers, Blake Shelton)
BIG STAR:  "The Ballad Of El Goodo" (Ardent, # 1 Record/Radio City)
FLORENCE & THE MACHINE:  "What The Water Gave Me [demo]" (Universal Republic, Lungs)
THE ROLLING STONES:  "Ruby Tuesday" (Abkco, Between The Buttons)
CARRIE UNDERWOOD:  "Whenever You Remember" (Arista, Some Hearts)
MR. ENCRYPTO:  "The Last Time [a cappella]" (unreleased mix)
IMAGINE DRAGONS:  "It's Time" (Interscope, Night Visions)
THE ZOMBIES:  "This Will Be Our Year" (Big Beat, Zombie Heaven)
THE CAST OF WICKED:  "One Short Day" (Decca, Wicked Original Cast Recording)
GREEN DAY:  "Welcome To Paradise" (Reprise, Dookie)
THREE DAYS GRACE:  "Operate" (RCA, Transit Of Venus)
GENERATION X:  "Your Generation" (Chrysalis, Perfect Hits)
HALESTORM:  "Here's To Us" (iTunes)
THE FOUR TOPS:  "Reach Out I'll Be There" (Motown, The Ultimate Collection)
STEPHANIE BENTLEY:  "I Will Survive" (Disney, VA:  Holes OST)
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE:  "Everybody Is A Star" (Sony, Greatest Hits)
HALESTORM:  "Mz Hyde" (Atlantic, The Strange Case Of...)
THE HOLLIES:  "On A Carousel" (EMI, Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years)
KELLY CLARKSON: "People Like Us" (RCA, Greatest Hits, Chapter 1)
BILLY J. KRAMER & THE DAKOTAS:  "I'll Be On My Way" (EMI, The Definitive Collection)
EVANESCENCE:  "Call Me When You're Sober" (Wind-Up, The Open Door)
THE BEATLES:  "Thank You Girl" (Apple, Past Masters)
FOSTER THE PEOPLE:  "Miss You" (Columbia, Torches)
THE KINKS:  "The Last Assembly" (Velvel, Schoolboys In Disgrace)
THE CAST OF WICKED:  "For Good" (Decca, Wicked Original Cast Recording)
Meghan, I know that I've been changed for the better.  And because I knew you, I have been changed for good.  As we near the end of this last assembly, I hope you'll remember these few important things:

Never drive faster than the car in front of you.

You would do well in Slytherin, or Gryffindor, or any place you choose.

And, above all else, remember this:

THE FLASHCUBES:  "Do Anything You Wanna Do" (Northside, Brilliant)
MAYNARD FERGUSON:  "Birdland" (Sony, The Essential Maynard Ferguson)