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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.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


This week, we finally made an official announcement that Dana and I are working on another new compilation CD, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4, to be released later this year by the always-fab Kool Kat Musik label. But paid supporters [$2 a month] of this blog found out about it almost two months ago, via this Private Post on March 9th. Here's that original announcement, and some recent updates:

L-R: Dana, Spongebob, Carl

Do you want to know a secret?

Do you promise not to tell?

Ah, I can trust you lot.

It's certainly no secret that our long-running radio show This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl has released three compilation CDs; Volumes 1 and 2 were released by JAM Recordings in 2004 and 2006, and Volume 3 was released by Kool Kat Musik in 2013. Between those three discs, we were able to collect and present some stunning rockin' pop music from The Flashcubes, John Wicks & the Records, The Cowsills, Eytan Mirsky, Blotto, The Grip Weeds, Chris von Sneidern, DM3, The Catholic Girls, Lisa Mychols, The Spongetones, The Rooks, Kurt Baker, and Sex Clark Five, among a long list of others. It's been, at best, an open secret that we'd like to do Volume 4.

Shhh. We're working on Volume 4 right now.

We have begun the work of quietly assembling our new CD. We are working slowly, approaching acts privately, in an attempt to avoid overbooking. Barring any mishaps, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 should be released by Kool Kat Musik some time later this year. We are tentatively planning to master in May, but we'll adjust our schedule as we see fit. Here's who's in so far:

THE RUBINOOS: Major victory here! I've been a fan of The Rubinoos since my senior year of high school in 1977, when their cover of Tommy James & the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now" made the charts. I was more interested in the original tunes on their debut album The Rubinoos, particularly the raucous "Rock 'n' Roll Is Dead" and the yearning "Wouldn't It Be Nice;" I dedicated the latter tune to every girl I ever had a crush on. Rubes guitarist Tommy Dunbar has been so nice to us. Our current plan is to use a track from a Rubinoos EP that was only released in Spain, and the track will be making its domestic CD debut on TIRnRR # 4.

RAY PAUL:  Well, Ray's been with us since the early days of TIRnRR, both as a performer and as the proprietor of a cool pop label, Permanent Press. He's wanted to be on one of our comps, we've wanted to have him on our comps, but the timing never worked out until now. Ray is recording a brand-new track for us, and he describes the track as sporting a Cheap Trick influence. We're all all right!

THE FLASHCUBES: My all-time favorite power pop group wrote a song called "Carl (You Da Man)" for our first compilation. The 'Cubes celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, with a Record Store Day 45, a track on a forthcoming Monkees tribute album, and a 40th anniversary live show in Syracuse on September 1st. With all that going on, they're still going to contribute a track to TIRnRR # 4, possibly something from a scorching, unreleased 1979 live recording.

POP CO-OP: We've been billing Pop Co-Op's debut CD Four State Solution as "Your Favorite Album Of 2017." Don't argue; we know what we're doing. This ace collective of Steve Stoeckel (from The Spongetones), Bruce Gordon (from Mr. Encrypto), the incredible Agent J Joel Tinnel, and percussion expert Stacy Carson is contributing an unreleased track called "You Don't Love Me Anymore" to TIRnRR # 4.

THE LEGAL MATTERS: One of the most capable pop recording acts on the scene today. You know 'em! You love 'em! You can't live without 'em! We're still sorting out which track we're going to use, but we're ecstatic to have The Legal Matters on our new compilation.

MR. ENCRYPTO & THE CYPHERS: Bruce is another long-time friend of the show, and the two Mr. Encrypto albums (Hero And Villain and Secret Identity Crisis) are staples of TIRnRR's long and storied history. Bruce has given us a fab exclusive track called "Home On The Radio."

IRENE PENA: We discovered Irene through journalist pal John Borack, who has been layin' down the drums for the divine Ms. P. She's working on her debut album, I love all three of the tracks I've heard so far, and she makes a stellar addition to TIRnRR # 4.

VEGAS WITH RANDOLPH: A treasure among current pop acts, I don't think we play Vegas With Randolph anywhere near as often as we should. We just debuted their new single, "Women In Airports," on this week's show, and we aim t' give 'em some significant spinnage this year. They deserve it! They just accepted our invitation to be on TIRnRR # 4, and we're both honored and lucky to have them.

THE KENNEDYS: Oh, we love Pete and Maura Kennedy! Maura's a former North Syracuse girl herself, and they've agreed to let us use a fabulous unreleased track called "Maybe Someday." In their incarnation as Maura & the Bright Lights, they debuted this song live at our BRIGHT LIGHTS! Syracuse new wave reunion party last July. The recorded version includes Gary FrenayArty Lenin, and Tommy Allen from The Flashcubes, and--I think--John Wicks from The Records. See? You love it already! We do, too.

Not a bad start to a pop comp, huh? We have a tentative agreement with another all-time great pop act, but I won't announce that (even in a secret post) until we've confirmed. And we always send an inquiry to Michael Nesmith, just for the hell of it; he never responds, but there's no harm in asking.

And that's where we stand at this early stage. As noted, please keep this beneath the ol' chapeau for the time being. We'll announce when the time's right. In the mean time, if you have questions or comments, we're a-listenin'. Don't touch that dial.

MAY 2017 POSTSCRIPT: It's safe to say we probably won't be mastering in May. June seems more likely. Its status has evolved even just over the past few days, so let's see where it stands as of now.

THE RUBINOOS: "Nowheresville," from above-cited This Is The Rubinoos EP.

RAY PAUL: Ray is taking extra delight and pride in "I Need Your Love Tonight," a Cheap Trick-inspired manifesto that he's crafting with the help of Klaatu's Terry Draper. You can't wait to hear it? That's an appropriate response. We want you to want it.

THE FLASHCUBES: Pending the availability of a usable master, we're now looking at the original 1979 4-track recording of my favorite Flashcubes song, "No Promise." This version has only appeared on a cassette compilation called The Gary Frenay Songbook. I love the familiar version on the group's Bright Lights CD, but this 4-track recording is the one I fell for first, a long, long time ago.

POP CO-OP: The lads have been working on finishing up "You Don't Love Me Anymore." Even as I'm writing this, I just received word that the completed master has been sent to me. Let's listen...WHOA..!! Um...yeah. Yeah! YEAH!

THE LEGAL MATTERS: The CD debut of a wonderful cover of Teenage Fanclub's "Don't Look Back."

MR. ENCRYPTO & THE CYPHERS: "Home On The Radio" This song wasn't written about This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, but it coulda been.

IRENE PENA: "Must've Been Good," from her forthcoming EP.

VEGAS WITH RANDOLPH: VWR is mourning the passing of founding member Dan Aylestock. Our condolences to these fine people and all of their loved ones.

MAURA & THE BRIGHT LIGHTS: Change in billing from The Kennedys, reflecting the genesis and the instrumentation of the track "Maybe Someday." The song was written by Maura Kennedy and local legend B.D. Love.

Since the initial private post, we added these tracks to TIRnRR # 4:

POPDUDES: "She Is Funny (In That Way)" Torbjorn Petersson from Tor Guides, Keith Klingensmith from The Legal Matters, Karen Bassett from The Pandoras, and Popdude # 1 John Borack.

P. HUX: "Better Than Good," from Parthenon Huxley and company's Kiss The Monster album.

CIRCE LINK & CHRISTIAN NESMITH: "I'm On Your Side," a heavenly track from their limited release The Pop EP. Incidentally, Circe has a fabulous new album called Enchanted Objects And Ordinary Things, and smarter consumers are already flocking to circelink.com to acquire personal copies. Tell 'em Dana & Carl sent ya.

MICHAEL OLIVER & THE SACRED BAND, FEATURING DAVE MERRITT: "You Won't Do" is a sublime, unreleased pop tune. When I first heard it, I contacted both Dana and Kool Kat's Ray Gianchetti to say that this track justifies our compilation all by itself. Wait 'til you hear this!

THE RULERS: "I Want My Ramones Records Back" This unreleased track has been on our wish list for TIRnRR compilation tracks since the end of the century.

THE GRIP WEEDS: "Strange Bird," to be heard here in a remix of the original German single version.

LISA MYCHOLS: "Almost Didn't Happen," killer track from Lisa's forthcoming album.

1.4.5.: "Your Own World" First-ever CD release for TIRnRR's # 1 most-played track in 2016, from the group's 1987 Rhythm n' Booze album.

CHRIS VON SNEIDERN: new track from the should-be-famous CVS.

PAUL COLLINS BEAT: Just confirmed since our last post, this power pop legend is allowing us to use a track from his wonderful Ribbon Of Gold album. We have it narrowed down to a few choices, but remain in the a-hemmin' and a-haulin' stage for now.

There are still a handful of other pending tracks that I can't talk about yet, but I hope to remedy that soon. In fact, we should have either confirmation or denial of one of them today. The "tentative agreement with another all-time great pop act" mentioned in the original note remains only tentative at this late date, but possible. We're still moving all the pretty pieces around, but man, I can't wait until everyone can hear this compilation. There's a better than even chance it will live up to our own breathless hype.

Alas, still no word from Michael Nesmith. Is there an emoji for a sad face with a wool hat?

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