Ed Ward http://kcur.org en The Animals: The British Invasion That Wasn't http://kcur.org/post/animals-british-invasion-wasnt <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDlrRQ6Yzis</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxNEiZhpinY</p> Thu, 01 May 2014 16:54:00 +0000 Ed Ward 55070 at http://kcur.org The Animals: The British Invasion That Wasn't The Soul Singer Who Never Quite Made It http://kcur.org/post/soul-singer-who-never-quite-made-it <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysdrbd3LeGM</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:54:00 +0000 Ed Ward 49800 at http://kcur.org The Soul Singer Who Never Quite Made It When Memphis Made A Move On Nashville's Country Monopoly http://kcur.org/post/when-memphis-made-move-nashvilles-country-monopoly <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2u94Feswfw</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al6P75kscBw</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orz0jU8pcP0</p> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 19:51:00 +0000 Ed Ward 49184 at http://kcur.org When Memphis Made A Move On Nashville's Country Monopoly A Nostalgic — But Bumpy — Journey With The Beach Boys http://kcur.org/post/nostalgic-yet-tainted-journey-beach-boys <em>All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released </em>Made in California<em>, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Tue, 10 Dec 2013 18:56:00 +0000 Ed Ward 48113 at http://kcur.org A Nostalgic — But Bumpy — Journey With The Beach Boys Bumpy, Bikers And The Story Behind 'Leader Of The Pack' http://kcur.org/post/bumpy-bikers-and-story-behind-leader-pack <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faIlLD61Okg</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_rYLoIR08</p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 19:11:00 +0000 Ed Ward 44258 at http://kcur.org Bumpy, Bikers And The Story Behind 'Leader Of The Pack' The Dawn Of Sun Records: 15 Hours Of Blues http://kcur.org/post/dawn-sun-records-15-hours-blues Sam Phillips is famous for saying that if he could find a white boy with the authentic Negro sound and feel, he'd make a billion dollars. Seeing Phillips in his striped sport coat and tie in 1950, you might well wonder if he'd know that sound and feel if it came up and bit him. But he'd been a fan of blues and country music since childhood, and he bet that his technical knowledge and feeling for this music could make him money.<p>So in January 1950, Phillips, a red-haired Alabama boy who'd learned about radio and electronics in the U.S. Fri, 06 Sep 2013 17:42:00 +0000 Ed Ward 43230 at http://kcur.org The Dawn Of Sun Records: 15 Hours Of Blues Fame Studios And The Road To Nashville Songwriting Glory http://kcur.org/post/fame-studios-and-road-nashville-songwriting-glory <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15398372/dan-penn">Wallace Daniel Pennington</a> grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.<p>As his family's only boy, Penn got his own room, and in it was a little green radio he used to smuggle beneath the sheets at night so he could listen to WLAC from Chicago. Wed, 12 Jun 2013 17:28:00 +0000 Ed Ward 38388 at http://kcur.org Fame Studios And The Road To Nashville Songwriting Glory Arctic Records: Drafting A Blueprint For The Philly Sound http://kcur.org/post/arctic-records-drafting-blueprint-philly-sound Arctic Records opened for business late in 1964. The label was the brainchild of Jimmy Bishop, the program director of WDAS — at the time Philadelphia's No. 1 black radio station. If that sounds like a conflict of interest, you don't know much about the music business in Philadelphia back then. Besides, it didn't help Arctic's first single, "Happiest Girl in the World" by the Tiffanys, three local teenagers who sang backup in various studios. Mon, 10 Jun 2013 17:06:00 +0000 Ed Ward 38253 at http://kcur.org Arctic Records: Drafting A Blueprint For The Philly Sound Jerry Lee Lewis: Live, Singing As If Life Depended On It http://kcur.org/post/jerry-lee-lewis-live-singing-if-life-depended-it It was April 4, 1964, and Jerry Lee Lewis had officially bottomed out. He hadn't charted a record in years, and now, on tour in England and Germany, he was getting paid so little that he couldn't afford to bring his own musicians. Instead, he was forced to use pickup bands in England, and then, when he arrived in Hamburg, a British band called the Nashville Teens was waiting for him. The venue was the Star Club, where The Beatles, who had just leaped into stardom in America, had played not long before. Fri, 17 May 2013 17:40:00 +0000 Ed Ward 36950 at http://kcur.org Jerry Lee Lewis: Live, Singing As If Life Depended On It Johnny Cash's Columbia Catalog Out Now — As A 64-Disc Box Set http://kcur.org/post/johnny-cashs-columbia-catalog-out-now-64-disc-box-set In 1955, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15165794/johnny-cash">John R. Cash</a> was a sometime auto mechanic, sometime appliance salesman who liked to play the guitar and sing, mostly gospel songs. The "R" in his name didn't stand for anything — and, in fact, he'd been named J.R. at birth and had to come up with "John" when he joined the Air Force. He'd spend the rest of his life reinventing himself.<p>At first, though, what he wanted to do was make a record. So John and his two-piece band went to Memphis to record for Sun Records. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:07:00 +0000 Ed Ward 34848 at http://kcur.org Johnny Cash's Columbia Catalog Out Now — As A 64-Disc Box Set The Moving Sidewalks: Where The British Invasion Met Texas Blues http://kcur.org/post/moving-sidewalks-where-british-invasion-met-texas-blues There must be something in the water — or the beer — in Texas that caused the huge eruption of garage bands and psychedelic bands in the mid-1960s, because there sure were a lot of them, and their records on obscure labels have kept collectors busy for decades. Most of them were amateurs, but the Coachmen, who came together around 1964, were different.<p>Billy Gibbons had grown up in Houston as the son of top society orchestra leader Fred Gibbons, and had watched his father deal with getting and playing jobs, and with musicians. Wed, 13 Mar 2013 16:26:00 +0000 Ed Ward 33408 at http://kcur.org The Moving Sidewalks: Where The British Invasion Met Texas Blues Aretha Franklin Before Atlantic: The Columbia Years http://kcur.org/post/aretha-franklin-atlantic-columbia-years <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15662553/aretha-franklin">Aretha Franklin</a> made her first record when she was 14, singing some gospel standards in the church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, an easygoing Detroit pastor who was friends with Martin Luther King and just about every gospel singer you could name. One of the stars who visited a lot was <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15402012/sam-cooke">Sam Cooke</a>, who convinced Aretha that she could be a hit singing popular music. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:22:00 +0000 Ed Ward 32655 at http://kcur.org Aretha Franklin Before Atlantic: The Columbia Years The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop http://kcur.org/post/unsung-pioneer-louisiana-swamp-pop Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.<p>Joseph Barrios Jr. was born in the aptly named town of Cut Off, La., in 1939, and almost immediately started fooling around with a guitar that was in the house. Tue, 08 Jan 2013 17:47:00 +0000 Ed Ward 30096 at http://kcur.org The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop Turning Up The Volume On The Electric Blues http://kcur.org/post/turning-volume-electric-blues Blues is so much a part of the fabric of American music and American culture — not only as a defined musical form, but also as a springboard for all kinds of creativity — that it seems crazy to try to encapsulate it in any way. Bear Family Records, though, has just released a 12-disc survey of electric blues called<em> Plug It In! Turn It Up! </em>that does a great job of illuminating one particular aspect of the blues.<p>That said, if you want to hear the first blues solo recorded on an electric guitar — "Floyd's Guitar Blues," the first track on the first disc — it's not very good. Thu, 29 Nov 2012 20:21:00 +0000 Ed Ward 28306 at http://kcur.org Turning Up The Volume On The Electric Blues The Insect Trust: An American Band Deconstructed http://kcur.org/post/insect-trust-american-band-deconstructed <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXPkG8M0fT4</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NLr7XSHrgs</p> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 17:52:00 +0000 Ed Ward 27890 at http://kcur.org The Insect Trust: An American Band Deconstructed The Big Man Behind 'Shake, Rattle And Roll' http://kcur.org/post/big-man-behind-shake-rattle-and-roll <em>Big Joe Turner's hardest-hitting singles have been collected on a new compilation, titled </em>Big Joe Turner Rocks<em>.</em><p>Here's how it would work, night after night in Kansas City. The band onstage would start a tune, introduced by the piano player, Pete Johnson. After the first chorus, the bartender, a big guy just out of his teens, would start singing blues. He didn't really need a microphone, but he'd work his way to the one on stage anyway and carry on for a few more numbers. Mon, 22 Oct 2012 16:35:00 +0000 Ed Ward 26368 at http://kcur.org The Big Man Behind 'Shake, Rattle And Roll' More Than This: The 'Complete' Roxy Music http://kcur.org/post/more-complete-roxy-music <em>Roxy Music's eight studio albums have just been collected in one box set, titled</em> The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982.<p><a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/95667902/roxy-music">Roxy Music</a> is the only band I can think of that had an oboe player in it, and that's because the oboe player, Andy MacKay, knew the manager of another band, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/17078570/king-crimson">King Crimson</a>. Mon, 15 Oct 2012 17:11:00 +0000 Ed Ward 26020 at http://kcur.org More Than This: The 'Complete' Roxy Music Out Of Industrial Wasteland, The English Beat Was Born http://kcur.org/post/out-industrial-wasteland-english-beat-was-born In 1978, it seemed that every kid in Britain wanted to be in a punk band. But in Birmingham, that blighted industrial scar in the middle of the island, there wasn't much punk to be seen. The oasis was a club called Barbarella's, and that's where Dave Wakeling and Andy Cox hung out.<p>The two friends started writing songs together — and then, needing jobs, were recruited by a firm making solar panels on the Isle of Wight. There, they rehearsed with a group hoping to make some extra money, only to find out that it was going to be a Thin Lizzy tribute band. Mon, 01 Oct 2012 19:52:00 +0000 Ed Ward 25357 at http://kcur.org Out Of Industrial Wasteland, The English Beat Was Born The Forgotten Story Of Memphis' American Studios http://kcur.org/post/forgotten-story-memphis-american-studios Memphis has been a music town since anyone can remember, and it's had places to record that music since there have been records. Some of its studios — Sun, Stax and Hi — are well-known, but American Studios produced its share of hits, and yet it remains obscure. Mon, 10 Sep 2012 16:42:00 +0000 Ed Ward 24248 at http://kcur.org The Forgotten Story Of Memphis' American Studios Harmony, Teenagers And 'The Complete Story Of Doo-Wop' http://kcur.org/post/harmony-teenagers-and-complete-story-doo-wop <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UZhPKydKcY</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNUMpWp1KsY</p> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 16:14:00 +0000 Ed Ward 24067 at http://kcur.org Harmony, Teenagers And 'The Complete Story Of Doo-Wop' Autosalvage: The Psychedelic Band That Vanished http://kcur.org/post/autosalvage-psychedelic-band-vanished A little over 10 years ago, a friend with a small record company in England called me and asked if I wanted to do liner notes for an album he was re-releasing. When he told me it was the Autosalvage album, I flipped. Of course I did!<p>There was a small problem: I didn't have any idea how to get in touch with any of the band members. I'd heard, though, that Rick Turner, one of their guitarists, had made some instruments for the <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15440218/grateful-dead">Grateful Dead</a>, and so I contacted an authority on that band, David Gans. Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:06:00 +0000 Ed Ward 22930 at http://kcur.org Autosalvage: The Psychedelic Band That Vanished The Untold Story Of Singer Bobby Charles http://kcur.org/post/untold-story-singer-bobby-charles When he was around 13, Robert Charles Guidry began singing with a band around his hometown of Abbeville, La., deep in the Cajun swamps. The group played Cajun and country music and, after he passed through town and played a show, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15588686/fats-domino">Fats Domino</a>'s music. Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:16:00 +0000 Ed Ward 19312 at http://kcur.org The Untold Story Of Singer Bobby Charles James Burton: The Teen Who Invented American Guitar http://kcur.org/post/james-burton-teen-who-invented-american-guitar What were you doing when you were 16?<p>When he was 16, James Burton was inventing the American guitar. He'd been born in Dubberly, La., in 1939, and was apparently self-taught on his instrument. At 15, he cut a single backing local singer Carol Williams, and then one day he came up with a guitar riff that he liked. He took it to a singer from Shreveport he was touring with, and they worked out a song to use in his act. Fri, 25 May 2012 16:19:00 +0000 Ed Ward 18301 at http://kcur.org James Burton: The Teen Who Invented American Guitar Howlin' Wolf: A Blues Legend With An Earthy Sound http://kcur.org/post/howlin-wolf-blues-legend-earthy-sound <em>Howlin' Wolf's masters from the Chess label have just been released on a four-disc set titled </em>Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1931-1960.<p>When your father has worked a good piece of bottomland into producing crops that support the family and he dies young, if you're the oldest son you have to take over, no matter what. That's one theory of why Chester Arthur Burnett didn't make his first recording until he was 41. Thu, 26 Apr 2012 15:40:00 +0000 Ed Ward 16635 at http://kcur.org Finding And Curating The Roots Of Soul Music http://kcur.org/post/finding-and-curating-roots-soul-music Some years back, I was driving across the South with a German friend, leaving early Sunday morning from Athens, Ga., and heading to Louisiana. I turned on the radio and found a black church service in progress, and a woman with a remarkable voice singing. "Who's that?" my friend asked. I told him I had no idea. "But with a voice like that, she must be famous," he said. Some miles down the road, when the station had faded out, he still didn't believe me.<p>Of course, that's no reason to believe that she didn't make a record. Fri, 06 Apr 2012 15:35:00 +0000 Ed Ward 15562 at http://kcur.org Finding And Curating The Roots Of Soul Music A Studio On The Road To 'Fame' For Soul Musicians http://kcur.org/post/studio-road-fame-soul-musicians Rick Hall and Billy Sherrill were a couple of Alabama boys in their teens when they started writing songs. At first, the only place they had to record was in a room in the back of the Trailways bus station in Florence, Ala. But one of the songs they recorded there, "Sweet and Innocent," became a small local hit, and a guy named Tom Stafford read about it in the local paper. He built a recording studio above City Drugs in Florence and went into business with the two young men. It didn't last long: Sherrill was hugely ambitious and was soon off to Nashville. Fri, 03 Feb 2012 16:17:00 +0000 Ed Ward 11870 at http://kcur.org A Studio On The Road To 'Fame' For Soul Musicians Long Live The Smiths' 'Complete Works' http://kcur.org/post/long-live-smiths-complete-works When Steven Patrick Morrissey was 13, he was watching <em>The Old Grey Whistle Test</em>, a BBC rock television show, when the New York Dolls came on. Later, he called it "my first real emotional experience." It was hardly his last: Growing up awkward, tall and shy in suburban Manchester, he was the archetypal kid who didn't fit in, writing poetry and letters to members of the British rock press, disagreeing articulately with their critics.<p>Years before, Manchester had lost out to Liverpool as Britain's provincial rock capital, but with the arrival of punk, it snatched the crown back. Wed, 25 Jan 2012 16:17:00 +0000 Ed Ward 11448 at http://kcur.org Long Live The Smiths' 'Complete Works' Dore: The Little Studio That Could (Produce Hits) http://kcur.org/post/dore-little-studio-could-produce-hits Someday, some genius is going to do a <em>Mad Men</em>-type show about the little record labels of the late 1950s. Yes, I'll happily serve as a consultant.<p>My first suggestion is that the L.A. part be set in what was known as Record Row, a bunch of cheap studios, record-company offices, promotion companies and music publishers essentially bounded by Selma, Sunset, Argyle and Vine in Hollywood. It was here, in 1955, that Era Records opened an office on North Vine. Mon, 09 Jan 2012 17:08:00 +0000 Ed Ward 10448 at http://kcur.org Dore: The Little Studio That Could (Produce Hits) The Story Of The Chitlin' Circuit's Great Performers http://kcur.org/post/story-chitlin-circuits-great-performers <em> During the years before the Civil Rights movement got underway, segregated American cities helped give birth to a touring circuit that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians and eventually brought about the birth of rock 'n' roll. Today, rock historian Ed Ward looks at two books, Preston Lauterbach's </em>The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll<em> and </em>Fever, <em>Susan Whitall's biography of Little Willie John, one of the Chitlin' Circuit's last stars. </em><p>Bronzeville, some of them were called, or Little Harlem. Tue, 20 Dec 2011 19:03:00 +0000 Ed Ward 9362 at http://kcur.org The Story Of The Chitlin' Circuit's Great Performers The Left Banke: Teenage Pioneers Of Jangle-Pop http://kcur.org/post/left-banke-60s-teenage-band-two-hits If you were a New York teenager who played an instrument and wanted to be in a band, and all of a sudden British groups were coming to town and attracting rioting mobs of teenage girls, you might feel a certain urgency to get something together. Tom Finn had already had a band, The Magic Plants, when he ran into a guy named Steve Martin-Caro, a Spanish high-school student who recently arrived in the city, as they attempted to navigate the scene outside the hotel where The Rolling Stones' members were staying in 1965. The two became friends and decided to form another band. Mon, 19 Dec 2011 16:58:00 +0000 Ed Ward 9276 at http://kcur.org The Left Banke: Teenage Pioneers Of Jangle-Pop