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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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

TIRnRR # 4, Track By Track: Michael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave Merritt, "You Won't Do"

This is part of a series of short pieces discussing each of the 29 tracks on our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4The CD can be ordered at Kool Kat Musik.


Credit the assist on this one to Ms. Elizabeth Racz. She may be surprised to learn that she earned it.

Elizabeth--aka "Baby"--was officially listed as our A & R Gal on our previous compilation, 2013's This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3. On TIRnRR # 3, Elizabeth helped us get (or just flat-out dragged in all on her own) Uncle Green, Stephen Lawrenson, The Sun Sawed In 1/2The Connection, Kurt Baker, and Sounds Like Digging, and those are just the ones I remember specifically. She also got us Graham Alexander, though a last-minute complication prevented him from appearing on the finished CD. Baby was a whirlwind presence in the making of that CD, and we couldn't have done it without her.

During the construction of TIRnRR # 3, Baby suggested at least a few other possibilities for us to consider, and one of those possibilities was Michael Oliver. Michael was no stranger to TIRnRRPop And Circumstances, the 1999 album by Buffalo's Phenomenal Pop Combo Michael Oliver and Go, Dog, Go!, was a consistent fave rave in the early days of this show, and we likewise fell hard for "Love While It Lasted," a gem from the 2011 album Yin & Yanxiety by Michael Oliver & the Sacred Band. Baby said Michael would love to be on our compilation. Well, Baby, we'd love to have him!

Unfortanately, although we reached out to Michael immediately, the timing was against us; he didn't have a track we could use within our deadline. That was a shame. I don't recall ever seeing any of Michael's tracks appear on anyone's compilation CD, and we woulda loved to have been the first. Or the third. Or the hundredth. Michael makes great records, and any comp is lucky to have him, whenever whatever.

Due to purely logistical reasons, Baby hasn't been directly involved in the creation of our current project, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4. It's been a busy year, Baby people, though the lovely 'n' vivacious Ms. Racz did suggest a few possibilities for us (Lisa Mychols, for one). But we also remembered her petition on behalf of Michael Oliver in 2013, so we got back in touch with him. He replied that yeah, he did have a couple of tracks he was working on, and he could get us something within a few weeks.

He sent us a song the next day.

He sent us a song the next day, and it was produced by Ducky Carlisle.

Lemme give you a baseball analogy: I felt like a major league pitcher, with a batting average of .006, stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and hitting a grand slam. Rounding third he was headin' for home, he was a brown-eyed handsome man.

Ducky Carlisle is The Mark Of Quality to us, from his days as drummer for local heroes The Ohms, through his sterling work as producer and occasional deputy member of The Flashcubes, and his ongoing mastery of studio wizardry on roughly a gazillion fine pop albums. This song came with a pedigree! An unexpected pedigree, even.

But Ducky's participation wasn't the best part. My jaw dropped the first time I listened to this new song called "You Won't Do." Oh. My. God! As great as Michael's previous work had been, "You Won't Do" reached a whole new level of sheer pop transcendence. This was a hit single. If no else ever heard it, it would be a crime, but it would still sound like a big hit single. I contacted Dana and Kool Kat Musik's Ray Gianchetti and effectively said, Fellas, we just received a track that single-handedly justifies the existence of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4.

I was not exaggerating. I meant every syllable, and I still do.

If you're not familiar with Michael Oliver's music, we humbly but firmly recommend you check out everything he's done in the past, and keep your ears perked for anything he does in the future. Credit the assist to Baby. Credit the pedigree to Ducky. Credit the magic to Michael and his crew. It will do just fine, thanks. It will do just fine.

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