Got The Fever

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guest Post: Fufu Stew

It is always refreshing to have another point of view to help you realize just how much further you have left to grow.

A short while ago, Vincent at Fufu Stew graciously agreed to host this blog. The reason I specifically asked him to host is because he has a certain unique slant on music – he develops lists based on a loose theme that I hungrily devour each time he updates. And it’s with a theme that I challenged him with.

I asked him

I have something particular in mind which I think plays into your strong suit. I'm looking for a post with a theme of music that could be played while rinsing off the days grime and sweat in a pool. Basically, music that can be played around the pool - something that doesn't require your rapt attention and something that isn't way mellow.

I went on to add

Some details: how about maybe 30-45 minutes of music ... all with the purpose of being played around the pool during the sweat entrenched radiating heat of August ... no more than one or two tracks of your choosing that might be (to most others) a bit obscure, but still have that congruity with the theme ... making sure that the music is neither too loud to scream over but not languid enough to fall asleep - all beat music to make someone say "Hey - what IS this track?" ... don't think that they have to have the word 'summer' or 'heat' or water' or whatever in the title ... something we can nod our heads to while sipping beer, flipping the ribs and staring at the one florescent bikini top.

I don't need anyone to recognize even 1/4 of the tunes - I'd rather have someone say "Hey Kev - GREAT tune, who does that?" Accessible.

And guess what? The man has topped himself. On first listen, I knew right away that this was my summer party/brewing/pool/barbeque play list for 2007. This bubbling stew gyrates the hips, tosses the cranium and curls the lips into a smile. WAY more than I expected.

Vincent says
I think this little mix satisfies the image you're looking for. A chilled out pool party with lots of good food and drink and plenty of good folks digging the sounds.


I will not be able to express just how fortunate I am, and how honored we are here in blog-land, to have a resource as deep and as knowledgeable as Vincent to generously and willing give of his already overextended time to produce this spectacular guest post here on Got The Fever.

Download with fervent glee this treasure, wait until about halfway through the grill and chill session and lightly toss this one on the speakers. Wait for a short amount of time to go by until someone in the throng perks up and asks if they can have a copy. Burn some ahead of time to allow yourself time to shake your hips around the pool with a burger and ribs platter on one hand, an unconventional beer in the other, comfortable friends and a loved one smirking sideways at the lame way you dance.

Download: “Fufu Stew Gets The Fever" (515)

The playlist for Fufu Stew Gets The Fever:

01-Groovin' With Mr. Bloe-Cool Heat (Forward)
02-Cloud Nine-Mongo Santamaria (Columbia)
03-Feels So Good-Alvin Cash (Mar V Lus)
04-Thinking Black-Ike Turner (Pompeii)
05-Broasted Or Fried-Willie Bobo (Now-Again)
06-Gittin' A Little Hipper Pt. 2-James Brown (King)
07-Wade In The Water-Willie Mitchell (Hi)
08-Mama Soul-Harold Alexander (Bluebird)
09-Babylonia-Ricardo Barrero (Luv N Haight)
10-Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Calling You-Jimmy Castor (Smash)
11-Burning Spear-S.O.U.L. (Metro import)
12-Country Slicker Joe-Young Holt Unlimited (Brunswick)
13-Keep Loose-Jimmy McGriff (Solid State)
14-Hotcha- Brother Jack McDuff (Atlantic)
15-Emavungwini-Miriam Makeba (Reprise)

Get over to Vincent at Fufu Stew and sample his wares. If you're any kind of music lover, you will find his lists a very rare and welcome treat.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Surf's Up!

There is something to be said about the right genre of music for the mood.

This certainly evokes thoughts of wet salty hair stuck to the back of my neck, hiding beers from the beach patrols in the cooler, the skill of tossing a Frisbee against the wind and not hitting sunbathers, rows of guys sucking in their bellies as bikini-clad breasts and ass saunter by and of just lying there on a towel feeling the heat through my eyelids while the sounds of frothy curling surf lap the shore in the background.

Surf music is spot-on for this moment and nothing else comes close.

The kids that live in my neighborhood jostled me into the mood for surf music recently. There are a few skate punks among them and they had their music blaring as usual while they navigated the downhill. But one of the sets had all this music that was way before their time! These kids were listening to the summer surf music of their fathers and possibly their grandfathers! I chose a few directly from the set they were listening to in an effort to spotlight and emphasize that the music has proven to be timeless. They underscore the point I make in the bar to the right titled 'About Me'.

For me, this track by The Chantays is the pinnacle of surf classic. The thunderous reverb and the haunting use of echo chill my spine every time it’s played. Do you realize that it’s been 44 years since this came out? It still sounds as raw and invigorating as it did when I was a kid, let alone what charges it gave to one’s spirit when it came out in 1963! You can picture yourself hovering low over your board, hands out for balance while the crest of the wave curls over and around you – daring you to escape in one piece!

Surfin’ Bird
Probably one of the best representatives of punky garage music brought to you by The Trashmen. As this track was blaring out of the sound cannons of those kids on the street, they were vigorously lurching their heads up and down, twisting their knuckles playing air guitar and working up a frenzied sweat any cardio-guru would be proud of! What little words to memorize were repeated over and over to all in the neighborhood. Again – amazing considering this one came out in 1964! I mentioned this to an older woman at work (she’s about 62-63 or so) and she launched into her dance and air guitar routine, then telling me tales of beach parties gone out of bounds! HER? But damn, this song gets around!

Hawaii 5-0
I remember this TV show in the reruns. I vividly remember the opening spot showing (among a million other snapshots) the hula girl running on the beach tossing off the flowers in her hair. This is another chilling instrumental that so accurately delivers on the mood and spirit of all that is summer on the beach - perfect waves, perfect girls and budget beer. Of course, for The Ventures, this was their bread and butter.

Yea, there are so many more that I could have delivered – most notably from Dick Dale or the Surfaris. But you already have that on your Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

Lie back in the sun. Close your eyes. Hear the pounding of the surf. Hear the giggles of the girls playing in the water. If there’s more to it than that, well, let me enjoy this scene to the fullest first.

But, don’t wait for me.

The Chantays: Pipeline [1963]
From: Two Sides of the Chantays/Pipeline [IMPORT]

The Trashmen: Surfin’ Bird [1964]
From: Bird Call!: The Twin City Stomp of the Trashmen [BOX SET]

The Ventures: Hawaii 5-0 [1969]
The Ventures Play the Greatest Surfin' Hits of All Time

Addendum: While sometimes I don't even have the time to look at my own blog, I do want to mention the glowing achievement of a few others. The good DJ over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin' celebrated - what - three years online! A must read, especially with his recent blogs on "A Day In Your Life". Darcy over at Feel It continues to just awe me with his encyclopedic knowledge of material. Quite simply, it is music commentary at its most entertaining. whiteray at Echoes In The Wind brings a smile to me each and every time I get there, based on his posts that bring originality and surprise to the screen. Red Kelly at The "B" Side exhaustively researches a track and gives you a comprehensive but readable lowdown that is pure gold on screen. Homercat over at Good Rockin' Tonight provides humor and an easy writing style that is hard to resist - he's also a faithful purveyor of all that is Canadian rock. Finally, AK over at Soul Shower has thankfully been back for a short while - as always, smart writing about great soul music.

Get to these blogs.
Get to these blogs often.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Nothing fancy here, just a post designed to burn off energy via the guitar, and Prince on the fret-board.

I was more of a casual fan of Prince until I met Eric. He’s a tall, strapping, shaved-headed, mustachioed, white brut of a hulk that you would most likely at first glance take for a heavy metal freak. But damn, this guy knew and lived funk! And Prince was his favorite. He’d revel in delight as I turned him on to all sorts of gems, while he in turn would bath me in all that is funk or Prince.

I was re-educated as to how good the man actually is. And what a gifted musician he truly is. The man can swoon. The man can jive. The man can funk. The man can hop.

But I am here to tell you; the man can play that guitar!

Three chord rock with all the frills of a master musician! A playful romp with an irresistible pounding, he revs up and tears this apart with some snarling fuzz and attitude of plenty. There’s the bass that threatens to spring through the speakers, drums so bright that it sounds like someone pounding on coffee cans, but the guitar solo alone is enough to have you longing to see it live. Heck, the whole guitar track is flawless.

Summertime, feelin’ fine, getting wild
All that’s on my mind
Here she come, dressed in red
Get her done is all that’s in my head
Her hot pants can’t hide her cheeks
She’s a peach

Purple House
I am the first to admit that I don’t understand his obsession with the color purple, but whatever. Here, maybe it’s appropriate enough with how he destructs and re-constructs this Jimi Hendrix tune, to take the liberty of slightly renaming it – spritzing his scent so to speak.

From the opening wah-wah strains (got me already) to the voluptuous and sensual lead he has taken all those present and led them successfully down the path to guitar righteousness. He’s putting on a show here.

Pay attention to the almost gospel feel of the vocal track that calls back and forth making all bounce in their chair. It is at once stunning in its simplicity and grandiose in its power.

Wait a minute, something’s wrong!
This key won’t unlock this door.
I got a bad, bad feeling.
That my baby don’t live here no more.
That’s alright – I still got my guitar!

Prince: Peach (50)
From: Prince – The Hits: ‘B’ Sides, Disk 2 [1993]

Prince: Purple House (64)
From: Power of a Soul: Tribute to Jimi Hendrix [2004]

Saturday, July 07, 2007

1776: Original Broadway Cast Recording

First of all, I want to thank once more the good DJ from The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ for taking time out of his schedule to guest post. Maybe, one day ahead we might be able to try to tap into his brain for another unique perspective. Thank you sir!

This is music that I really want to lay out here before the July season passes. The splendid and stirring original cast recording of 1776 that starred William Daniels, Paul Hecht, Clifford David, Roy Poole, Rex Everhart and Ken Howard. I know that Daniels went on to TV’s ‘St. Elsewhere’ and Howard was later TV’s ‘The White Shadow’. Lyrics and music both by Sherman Edwards. In the debut year of 1969, 1776 beat out Hair for the Tony award!

Very appropriate music for this particular month, but something that I play at least two or three times a year. I can’t tell you exactly why I love it so, but you know what I mean when I say that there are certain pieces of music that you love that not every one else knows. And, especially if you love going to musical plays, you know the rush of being almost involved from the audience.

A quick thought – I’ve seen (many times) the movie version, but it doesn’t really get it right. The music is still fantastic though! As always, click on the pictures for the original sizing. You see a few great shots of the action.

But, Mr. Adams
John Adams is portrayed as the irascible force behind getting the Declaration of Independence written. He was actually one of the main driving forces behind getting the damn document put down to pen. Eventually the primary architect of this remarkable piece of parchment ended up being Thomas Jefferson who wrote it in only 17 days!

This song has Sam Adams going from representative to representative trying to goad them – anyone! - into finally writing it. However, their witty repartees begin to corner him. A thoroughly enjoyable and jaunty tune!

(Thomas Jefferson singing his reply back to Mr. Adams)
Mr. Adams, damn you Mr. Adams.
You’re obnoxious and disliked; that cannot be denied.
Once again you stand between me and my lovely bride.
Oh, Mr. Adams, you are driving me to homicide!

Mama Look Sharp
Very few songs can make me well up in tears - “If I Were Your Woman” by Gladys Knight, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” by Melanie and the original recording of “And I Am Telling You” from ‘Dream Girls all rapidly come to mind. “Mama Look Sharp” easily ranks with those above.

This is told from the point of view of a soldier (a courier of General Washington with only servants to listen) who has seen his friends shot on the battlefield. The second half has his friends singing tenderly of how they’ll bury him. I’ve heard it said that even grown men whisper for Mom as they die in combat. This vividly paints the personal emotional burden of youth violently extinguished - a stingingly poignant and deeply emotional song of the loss of life during war. And, he’s singing to his Mother to come see him before he dies.

Them soldiers they fired,
Oh Ma did we run!
But then we turned round,
And the battle begun.
Then I went under,
Oh Ma, am I done!
Hey, hey, Mama look sharp.

My eyes are wide open,
My faith to the sky.
Is that you I’m hearin’,
In the tall grass nearby?
Mama come find me before I do die!
Hey, hey, Mama look sharp.

Is Anybody There?
After the final document is written, changes are made. Changes by the score. Not much different from what happens with legislation even today. But, what is pissing off Adams this time is the ‘watering down to please everybody’ frenzy. Especially when language is taken out that outlaws slavery. He sees the bar being lowered a degree at a time and is filled with rage and anguish. Thinking on this, I am always amazed at how towering the bar stands now – imagine how unattainably lofty it must have been in its original state?

They want me to quit; they say
John, give up the fight.
Still to England I say
Good night, forever, goodnight!
For I have crossed the Rubicon
Let the bridge be burned behind me
Come what may, come what may!

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?

But, Mr. Adams (10)
Mama Look Sharp (12)
Is Anybody There? (10)
1776 - Original Broadway Cast Recording

Addendum: I want to yell to everyone about the great Jazz mix over at Fufu Stew. He continues to WOW me with his tracks, but this one really has me bouncing on the way to and from work these last few days.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Guest Post: The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

I often wondered what it was like for a DJ to have to hear the same songs over and over again. More specifically, can a DJ play the same songs shift after shift, day after day, through a whole season and ever have one or two become a great memory or a personal favorite? Especially in summer when so many of our memories are tied to cookouts, friends, end of school, vacations, parties, the beach and, most certainly, the soundtrack to the summer that is always on the radio?

I am fortunate that I have someone that I know online that is an actual DJ. J.A. Bartlett runs his own blog over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin', and I have mentioned him in this blog many times before. He is one of the major forces who left comments and emailed me personally, encouraged me to start up my own blog after guesting elsewhere. So, I wrote and asked him the very same questions I ask above – I wanted a perspective that is unique - a view from the voice over the airwaves. Fortunately, he has been kind and gracious enough to take time to write us of that experience right here on Got The Fever.

It is with great pride that I present for you, on this holiday weekend, the good DJ.

(Let me say before I begin: Few bloggers write about their music with as much passion as Kevin here at Got the Fever, so it’s both an honor and a challenge to be invited to take up space on this holiday weekend.)

The summer of 1986 was my last great radio summer, although it wasn’t my last summer in the business. I worked in Macomb, Illinois, at a typical mid-80s Top 40 station. We were slammin’ the hits, the ballads, the dance music, and the rockers - your Billy Oceans, your Janet Jacksons, your Van Halens - with a few album cuts thrown in at night, all aimed squarely at the students attending Western Illinois University. By that time, I’d been in the business four years, not counting college. I was the program director, and since late in 1985, the morning-show host. In fact, I was the only full-time DJ on the station, which was run the rest of the day by computer, with all the music on giant reels of tape.

As a DJ, I was largely self-taught. I’d gotten precious little outside guidance at my previous job, and I wasn’t getting any at this place, either. As a result, the morning show kind of blundered along. I played a lot of music, my newsman and I cracked wise, or tried to. I am guessing a lot of what Mitch and I thought was funny was probably fairly stupid. There were no ratings in our market, so we had no idea how many people were listening. But based on one small-town radio metric - are businesses buying advertising, and once they buy it, do they buy it again? - we felt pretty confident.

By summer, we had another metric we could rely on: The station was becoming an important presence around town. People who put on community events wanted us to be involved. We would provide promotional muscle in advance of an event, but our presence seemed to stamp the events with an extra degree of importance. That spring, the university put on an all-day rock festival on campus. I took the station vehicle and camped out all day, doing some on-air reports but mostly just being there. It was the first time in Macomb that people ever seemed impressed with my personal presence - the first time it became clear to me that I was a local celebrity. We promoted the infamous Hands Across America event held that Memorial Day weekend. It was cheesy and doomed to fail - we couldn’t even link Hands Across Macomb - but it sounded good on the radio nevertheless, as we broadcast from different spots around town and tried to get people to show up there to fill in the gaps. Sometime in July, Mitch and I did play-by-play at a celebrity cow-chip throwing contest. We took it as a golden opportunity to tease nearly every contestant, all of whom were prominent figures in the community, live on the radio. That we felt comfortable enough to do it was a measure of just how entrenched in the community our station (and Mitch and I) had become.

The Mrs. and I were rattling around in a big ol’ rented house, the first house we’d ever lived in together. (It had the first lawn I was ever responsible for, and a corner lot at that. I remember coming in one time after mowing it and telling her, “We must have children immediately,” so I’d have somebody to mow it for me.) She worked at the radio station, too. Working in the same office was never a problem for us; we’d met in a radio station, after all. We had a rule that what happened at home stayed at home, and it must have worked. There were several people around the office who didn’t know we were married. Many of our summer evenings were spent watching Cubs baseball on TV, although I didn’t usually see the end of night games: I suffered from what I call “morning man’s disease” - the inability to stay up much past 9:00, a consequence of getting up for work at 4:20 every morning. (I got up at 4:20 because 4:15 was just too early.) As a result, I treasured my Sundays, because they meant I could sleep decadently late - although that usually meant 7AM.

What about the music? It was the summer of movie songs: “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins and “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, from Top Gun; “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera from The Karate Kid II; “Live to Tell” by Madonna from At Close Range; “Love Touch” by Rod Stewart from Legal Eagles; “Modern Woman” by Billy Joel from Ruthless People; “Sweet Freedom” by Michael McDonald from Running Scared; “If You Leave” by OMD from Pretty in Pink, and likely a few more I’m forgetting. Individually, few of them are memorable. (Rather like the movies from which they came, although I remember liking Ruthless People and Running Scared.) Collectively, they form the backdrop on which memories of that summer are projected.

If forced to pick a favorite song from that summer, I’d have to cheat a little. “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys had come out in the spring, but we kept playing it far into the summer, and it can still put me back in the living room of our big ol’ rented house with my radio station blasting from the stereo. But the song that brings back the summer most vividly is an entirely different thing. Summer songs are supposed to represent either the feeling of roaring down a highway with the windows open and the radio up (which “West End Girls” can do), or the sweetness of summer romance. This one is neither of those. It reminds me, instead, of the day-to-day work of a radio guy in the summer - a show every morning, the various tasks of programming a station all day, an event broadcast every weekend, those precious moments of leisure at home. It was the only life I’d ever seriously wanted for myself, and even though it had brought me to a nondescript college town in the middle of nowhere, that was merely the price I had to pay for the life I wanted to lead. Why “No One Is to Blame” should remind me of all this, I don’t know. It just does, and it has for 21 years now.

Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls (18)
Howard Jones: No One Is to Blame (13)

Addendum: I quickly looked up what stations might be in the general area and came up with this: