The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Song I.D. Request

1-31-08 Traditional / Song I.D. Request

I also used to find out about music by reading Melody Maker, Sounds and N.M.E. – all music newspapers from England. I was never overly interested in Rolling Stone magazine – too much opinion, nothing ‘local’ etc. I did enjoy Crawdaddy – I remember a great article by William S. Burroughs called “It Belongs Probably To The Cucumbers”, an article about how mysterious voices turned up on supposedly ‘blank’ magnetic tape.

AM radio could really only yield a certain kind of result, when discovering new music – they played mostly singles. I did listen to a lot of AM radio in the 60’s – KHJ, KFWB – “Boss Radio”. By the end of the 60’s, I got on to FM radio – KABC, KMET, and our own local KNAC. Music in stereo! Laid-back (i.e. stoned) DJ’s. Things really kicked in to gear when I started staying up late – or waking up early – and spinning the FM dial!

I gave up on hippy FM forever when I discovered KPFK (90.7) about 1971 or so. There were interesting late night DJ’s, early morning comedians (!)…and The Firesign Theatre! The early Sunday morning comedians were known as “The Sunday Gummies” – guys that both played comedy records and wrote and performed their own stuff. I used to call in to their show – I mean, how many people that time of the morning called in to radio stations? (We’re talking 6:00am-ish, Sunday morning).

Somehow, I got invited up to KPFK by The Sunday Gummies (Joe Adams was the name of the nice guy that I always talked to). I was about 13 or 14 – my dad drove me from Long Beach to Lankershim Blvd. in the Cahuenga Pass, and waited patiently for me. I must have a cassette around here somewhere of my radio debut, circa ’72.

I subscribed to KPFK – for something like $12; my ‘premium’ was a giant 6’ wooden phonograph record that said, “The Firesign Theatre” on it – it had been used as a backdrop for a live performance they gave upstairs at KPFK – you can actually see part of it on the back cover of their “Not Insane” LP cover! Again, my dad (patiently) drove from Long Beach to North Hollywood – and we strapped the big record into the trunk of his car and drove home down Alameda Ave., as it proved too unstable on the freeway. I still have it! (Photo shows them standing in front of one of the giant records)

The comedy guys seemed to have decent musical taste – I believe they were who played something from “Foxtrot” by Genesis, which served as my introduction to that band. They were also very into Monty Python – years before their TV show ever appeared in the U.S.

Late nights at KPFK also (eventually) yielded Alan Watts recordings – but that’s another tale to tell. Incidentally, I have a recording of a song that I got off of KPFK that I have still never been able to identify, since approx. 1972. It’s rock music, an instrumental – about 5 or 6 minutes long – Hammond organ featured prominently (sounds a little bit like Atomic Rooster). If you think you can ID it, drop me a line. I’d be happy to send you a cassette or CD-R of the song in question.


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