We would like to take the opportunity to say ‘welcome back’ or just plain ‘welcome’ to our regular and/or new listeners. WOAS-FM 88.5 went on the air in December of 1978 making this year the beginning of our 40th year on the air. It would be great to tell you there is a big party planned to celebrate this milestone, but hey, there are still three and a half months to think of a suitable way to mark the occasion. When the station turned 30 in 2008 we asked former volunteers and listeners to tell us some stories to share and it was so much fun, it might just be time to run that idea around the track one more time. We will keep you posted and if someone out there in radioland has any suggestions, we are all ears!
Having officially retired on June 30th from my main teaching gig with the Ontonagon Area Schools, I am looking forward to taking care of some of the nagging problems that have been sitting on the back burner for a couple of years. One of the first will be the return of our studio video feed. Our previous platform dropped the service without notification and it took a while to figure out why our stream was gone (the audio feed carried on just fine). It should just be a matter of transferring our feed to YouTube, but yours truly will need a little technical assistance to make this happen. Our tech help comes through the ISD in Hancock and there will be bigger fish to fry at the beginning of the school year. Keep checking our web site at www.woas-fm.org to listen to the station live and we will keep working on the video stream. Our new station email is email@example.com but you can still reach the manager (that would be me) at our older address firstname.lastname@example.org. Our day shift will take a little time to assemble, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our staff: we have always been and will continue to be a 100% volunteer outfit. Once our day shift has been settled, we may even have a couple of slots open for community volunteers during the school day. Our door is always open to those folks who have a yen to share music, no experience necessary. I always tell new recruits, “Remember, if I learned how to do this, so can you!” Every year brings a new scheduling challenge, so we will keep you posted.
During our summer hiatus, I am always on the lookout for new music to get on the air when the fall broadcast season gets underway. Here is a sneak preview of some of the music that came our way during the late spring and summer. It may not all get on the air the first week of September, but it will all be heard as we roll toward our 40th Anniversary in December of 2018!
In May of 2018, several older musical projects came into our possession. Reissues of the first two Montrose albums arrived and we gave them some spins. With Ronnie Montrose joining the (much too) long list of musicians who passed away in the past year, we will give both of these remarkable albums more airtime. At the time of his passing, Montrose was working on a project called 10 X 10 that was to feature 10 different guitarists and vocalists, many of whom had previously performed with Montrose. Bassist Ricky Phillips (The Babys, Styx) finished the project with the blessings of Ronnie’s wife and it is a a fitting memorial to a guitarist who inspired many generations of guitarists with both his tone and technique (see FTV 2-7-18 for more on 10 X 10).
The other old project was a couple of CDs by a Canadian band called Klaatu. They rode the lightning for a while after their rather obscure first album (3:14) sank out of sight, at least until a newspaper reporter in Rhode Island postulated that they might have connections to The Beatles. We aired the two album CD set a little in May and will have to spin it some more so you can see for yourself whether or not the “is it The Beatles or not” controversy was justified (again, see FTV 5-23-18 for the full story on Klaatu).
On the way to the CMX (the airport in Hancock) to begin my two week trip to inspect the West Coast Bureau in Eugene, OR, my wife had the radio on one of her favorite stations, WTIP from the north shore of Lake Superior. ‘TIP is a close relative of WOAS-FM 88.5 on the low 90s MHz area of the spectrum and like WOAS, they have quite an eclectic playlist. On this early August morning, they were playing the title track of Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio album Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here. The namesake track is a great political commentary to be sure, but the whole CD is populated by some great music. Drummer/Cajon player and co-vocalist Willie Jordan and multi-instrumentalist Bob Welsh (piano, guitar, organ) compliment Elvin Bishop’s musical sense in every way. Smart lyrics on the original songs and inventive interpretations of some covers (including (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher and Another Mule) make this an entertaining album. Jordan’s vocal on Higher and Higher will give you goosebumps. I almost bought the CD in Oregon until I realized I could get it as a ‘value plus’ part of my renewal packet for Blues Blast Magazine. The first time I listened to it, I had to spin the CD twice because the Big Fun Trio are just terrific!
While visiting the WCB, we make it one of our official duties to visit the two main record shops in Eugene: The House of Records and and Skip’s Records & CDs. Todd and Elizabeth have gotten into vinyl again but I tend to stick to CDs as they are much easier to pack for the return trip. Todd was tickled pink to pick up two flawless Dr John LPs (Gris Gris and Gumbo) as well as a well preserved copy of Metamorphosis by The Rolling Stones. My ‘Wayback Machine’ must have been stuck on 1991 because as I was able to pick up a couple of gems from that year. The first was Union by Yes. Interestingly enough, the official ‘Yes’ band was recording some new material and looking for designated vocalist to record the material with them. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe (or ABWH for short as Chris Squire controls the Yes band name) were doing the same. Yes invited Anderson to sing on a couple of their new tracks and when he heard what Chris Squire, Alan White, Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye were writing, he suggested a grand ‘Union’ of them all, thus the album of that name and the subsequent tour that followed was born. When it was released, I wasn’t all that much into Yes, but in a nostalgic moment, I scooped it up and am very happy I did.
Another 1991 find was Still Feel Gone by Uncle Tupelo featuring Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. I only knew of this band from hearing the band Son Volt which was made up of ‘former members of Uncle Tupelo’, according to the liner notes. Once I heard Still Feel Gone, the music recorded by Son Volt and later by Tweedy with Wilco made more sense to me because the roots of both bands can be heard in Uncle Tupelo. Stepping back just a tad further, The Best of the Youngbloods (1980) jumped off the shelf and suggested it would be a good compliment to the Lowell Levinger compilation we picked up last spring. Levinger did his own homage album to the music of the Youngbloods so with will be fun to compare what he did then with the band then compared to how he interprets the same music today.
A little closer to ‘today’ on my music collecting timeline were Prequelle by the Swedish band Ghost (see next week’s FTV as the album will be covered extensively in that addition). The other new entry here is a nod to the past by Randy Bachman (The Guess Who, Bachman – Turner Overdrive / BTO). Bachman revisited one of his guitar heros work by doing his best take on the music of George Harrison (By George – By Bachman). Randy Bachman loved playing songs by ‘the quiet Beatle’ in early bands because he too, was not one to be the center of attention. How big of a George fan is Bachman? “I even wanted to call my first son Harrison, but my wife vetoed that. We called him Talmage instead, which was just as cool.” Bachman bookends eleven Harrison songs like Taxman, Something, and Here Comes the Sun with an original tune called Between Two Mountains. Bachman always thought that George was kind of positioned between two giant personalities in Lennon and McCartney, so the opening track and the closing reprise are a tip of the hat to where George stood in The Beatles. Bachman didn’t want to do an album of George Covers, explaining, “As a true fan, these tracks are my re-visioning of my favorite George songs in different styles to show how they stand up as compositions. Someone said, ‘A good song is a good song no matter what you do to it.’ Well, I certainly pushed that statement off the cliff!” We will let you decide if you feel the same way after we air By George – By Bachman this fall.
What other goodies will we have in store for our listeners? We will revisit our Australian Hammond B-3 playing friend Lachy Doley. He has some new music out and a great touring band featuring drummer Jackie James Barnes, formerly of The Dead Daisies. We have a ten song download covering his career that he wanted to share with his fans. Joe Bonamassa has a new studio recording coming out in mid-September which has already been pre-ordered. We will no doubt be picking up some music by another guitarist that Bonamassa is high on named Jack Broadbent. Broadbent may not be a household name, but when Charlie Parr had to cancel his appearance at the 14th Porcupine Mountain Music Festival after breaking some bones in a recreational accident, Broadbent happened to be doing some dates in the eastern United States before heading back to Europe for some dates on that side of the pond. When Festival Director Cheryl dropped his name and the Joe B endorsement on me in early August, I looked up some of his YouTube stuff and was knocked flat. It is always great to catch a potential musical superstar on their way up.
The last new entries we will be sharing all came out of the WCB. Todd had the good fortune to see Dead and Company at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium this summer. The three CD soundboard recording of this show features some terrific playing by the whole band, especially guitarist John Mayer. Todd has also provide us with some great Humble Pie tracks when he learned I was reading Pie drummer Jerry Shirley’s autobiography The Best Seat in the House. Last but certainly no least, Todd has been anxiously awaiting the first all original Magpie Salute CD. With former Black Crowes members Mark Ford, Sven Pipien joining Rich Robinson, Magpie Salute toured behind some of their favorite songs (including Crowes tunes) and one original, Obsession. There has been a lot of anticipation what the first album created by this new band would sound like. High Water – Part 1 dropped in mid-August and a couple of days later, the WCB had a copy delivered to the mothership in Ontonagon. The companion album High Water – Part 2 will be forthcoming during the new broadcast year.
There you have it – a new year, new music and more of your favorite syndicated shows like Beale St. Caravan, Acoustic Rainbow, and The Midnight Special. It always takes a little while to get the day schedule together, but we will be on the air each day that school is in session and hope you will join YOUR SOUND CHOICE, WOAS-FM 88.5 both on the FM airwaves and on the internet at www.woas-fm.org.
Top Piece Video – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio doing (Your Love is Lifting Me) Higher and Higher live