Subj: awesome show!!!
Date: 11/6/2009 9:51:57 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Lara Elin Soderstrom
I adore your show - my first night running across it. I love this genre, but don’t know a whole lot about it - please play something for me that you think I should know…something particularly obscure, maybe? I can’t wait to share this program with my friend Lois, in England - she’ll know every single song you’ve played tonight!
Keep up the great work…
Subj: New Show!
Date: 11/5/2009 10:47:23 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Barbara Reading
My husband and myself are delighted with the new show. To have access for 2 hours at a (for us) prime time, is what we were hoping for. The only forseeable problem is Richard is a musician and all of his local gigs are on weekends, but things are slow for him at the moment, so we'll catch you when we can, and be grateful for it. On the 13th of this month, the band he plays with for over 30 years, The Hollywood Blue Flames, are playing a record release date at the Mozambique in Laguna Beach, it's comprised of most of the original Hollywood Fats band from the early 70's, until the demise of Fats. The music they have been playing for decades, is what we love to hear on the radio, but except for you, we have to play our ancient record collection, tuning in a radio is still fun for us, which is why we appreciate what you do.
Best regards, Barbara and Richard, fans for years.
Dear Barbara and Richard:
You can hear my show anytime you want. Rhapsody In Black is archived for a week. Music shows can only be archived for one week.
* go to www.kpfk.org
* click on Audio Archives
* click on the "Play" link next to Rhapsody In Black with Bill Gardner
Subj: Rhapsody in Black
Date: 10/21/2009 12:49:54 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Lashawn Cisse
Dear Mr. Bill Gardner,
My name is Lashawn. I came across a recording of your show on this website: www.livinginblack.ning. I am writing to say thank you so much for playing this genre of music spanning from the 1940's through the 1970's. The music I was currently listening to was from the likes of Louis Jordan, Julia Lee, The Ravens and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson just to name a few. While listening to the music, I became happy and energetic. Mind you, I'm only 29 years old. I was telling myself, "I wish my generation were taught this part of our history." Which explains the low level, suicidal music that is under the label "R&B/ Soul".
Anyway, I don't want to ramble on. Just want to say thank you!
C'est la vérité
Subj: Thank you for your program...
Date: 8/28/2009 4:56:52 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Miles Washington
I've been listening to KPFK for about 8 years or so, and I've come across commercials for your show several times, and would catch it portions of it occasionally, but never really sat down and *listened* to it. Just 10 minutes ago, I was going through the KPFK archives and subscribed to the Rhapsody podcast and am hooked. I'm 31 years old, and am not familiar with this era of music aside from snippets you hear in movies, commercials on tvs, etc. and have been pleasantly surprised how incredible this type of music is.
I know my father listened to this type of music when he was younger (he's like 67 now), but when I was actually growing up, most of the music he played that I was exposed to was from the 1960s - 1980s... and out of the stuff from that earlier period, it was mostly jazz (my dad is a huge Miles Davis person), or funk and R&B of that period (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder... and later stuff like Earth Wind & Fire, etc.).
What's most surprising/refreshing about the music you spin is to hear the *roots* and soul of where, well, just about all music nowadays has come from.
All this to say: You have a new listener and fan. Keep this good stuff coming!
Thank you so much for the kind words.
There is so much good music out there that hasn't seen the light of day in over 25 years. I am doing my best to bring that music to everyone; and especially young adults like you who have never heard old R&B--America's secret treasure.
Subj: congratulations from a listener!
Date: 8/19/2009 11:36:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Dear Mr. Bill Gardner,
I'm an Italian teacher, moved in LA last year from Italy.
Tonight is the first night I'm listening to your wonderful radio program and I'm so glad!!!!! I'm listening this amazing music which I love but I don't know so well.
I would love to know more about the 50s. Is there any place in LA where I could find records or cd about this music? Also I would love to continuing the swing and boogie woogie dance class I started in Italy last year. Do you know if there are places to dance this music here in LA? Sorry for these too many questions...I live in the west side and it would be great if there is something going on in this area.
I hope to here more from your radio.
I'll keep listening every Wednesday!!
Thank you so much!!!!!!
I am so happy to have you as a listener to Rhapsody In Black.
Amoeba Records in Hollywood and Canterbury Records in Pasadena are the best sources for old Rhythm and Blues.
One way to check out R&B artist from the 50's and 60's is to visit my web page.
Google: Bill Gardner Rhapsody In Black. Go to play list.
Subj: Re: Just a hello
Date: 7/27/09 6:29:54 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Mike Proffitt
Thanks for your responses, one last life long argument, which has probably been answered many times over the years.
Who was the male voice in "the Wallflower" singing to Etta James, Richard Berry or Johnny Otis. I always insisted Johnny Otis, but the older I get the more it sounds like Richard Berry in his mellow voice from then?
Anyhow, thanks for the heads up about the archives of your show. I listened to July 22 the other day and AGAIN, you played a lot of things I had never heard. Nice to hear the music again.
Richard Berry is the voice on "The Wallflower."
Richard Berry is also the voice on the Robins' "Riot In Cell Block #9."
Subj: Young Genius
Date: 7/9/09 1:55:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Hi, what is the name of the song you played by a "young genius" tonight (Wed)-I think one of the lyrics was, "She gives me ice cream"
"Caldonia Boogie" by Frank "Sugarchild" Robinson.
Subj: Re: Young Genius
Date: 7/9/09 6:54:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time
YES!!! Thank you! SUCH great music that you were playing--all of it!
But I can't find the Frank "Sugarchild" Robinson version on Itunes--do you know where I can find it?
The CD is Blues and Rhythm Series Classics:
The Chronological Sugar Chile Robinson 1949-1952.
Subj: Rhapsody In Black with Bill Gardner, Wed, July 01, 2009
Date: 7/2/09 10:42:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Bill, yes this is even better than KPCC you played some of the best, I like it when Ray Regalado is with you cos you seem to have a good thing going, very happy hour and a half. happy listening from Ronnie Cox in Northampton, England , U.K.
Glad to hear from you and it's uplifting to hear that I have listeners in England over the net.
Subj: Your show
Date: 6/15/09 5:46:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: David Newman
I've found you at last!
I was a big fan of your show in the late 1990's at Pasadena City College, "Rhapsody in Black"..
I had several large "reel to reel" tape recorders, and would tape each show in it's entirety, then tape "John's Attic", after your show.
Your program taught me a lot, as a lover of "pre-rock and roll". I learned much, especially that there is "nothing new under the sun" where rock and roll is concerned, it's all been done before. I tuned into your show (on all-tube hi-fi equipment, I might add, still the best) one night and caught Tarheel Slim's "#9 Train", and been hooked ever since. I taped your very last show, and was extremely sad to see you leave the air at that time. I'm so glad to have researched you and found you again. I now live in the Barstow area, and want to ask if there is any way via the internet where I can hear your show??
For live feed and show archives on the Internet, go to www.kpfk.org.
Subj: Rhapsody in Black
Date: 5/17/09 8:40:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Ron Cox
Bill I have finally found you, I lived in upland Cal. for a long time and I used to listen to you show every Fri, nite also Jerry Nisley, when I moved back to England I missed your shows I love all your music that you used to play on KPCC Pasadena, I will be tuning in on Wed, KPFK I used to listen to Johnny Otis too. Thanks Bill, I appreciate all you are doing for the music world. Ron Cox.
So glad to get you back as a listener.
Our shows are archived for a week at www.kpfk.org - go to archives. So you can hear us at your convenience.
Date: 5/14/09 5:56:58 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: David Rosner
Hi Bill -
I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed your "Gloria" medley last night. I knew only the Cadillacs' version, so hearing the others was a revelation. I actually found I had the Mills Brothers version in a compilation (guess I never listened to all of it) and might have the Johnny Moore, as well (hope so). Terrific programming, which I very much appreciate.
That set was put together by "Old Hard Grind" Jim Dawson
Subj: Your Medallions Show
Date: 4/27/09 7:45:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Karen Little
I hope I emailed you at the time, but there's a chance I didn't. I just listened to my tape of the Medallions show (for at least the fourth time) today and loved it all over again. It was so enjoyable for me, more so because I've met the guys and have spent time talking with sweet, adorable Sammy Yates and that big, gorgeous hunk, Buddha Khan. Not only are they nice, humble men, but they are so fantastically talented and just get better with age. Having been in that studio with you, I can't for the life of me figure out how you got all of them, plus Gene, Jim and Ray in that small space. I loved their spontaneous a capella singing and it came over the radio beautifully.
I also enjoyed the show with Jeanette Baker last week. Great music and history. Every week I learn something new and fascinating from the dee jays or your guests. Thank you for continuing to provide us with wonderful shows each week.
Subj: Jesse Belvin
Date: 4/2/2009 6:16:18 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
From: Mike Ochsner
Thanks for mentioning my email on your March 4 show, it was fun to hear it. I am now writing because I wanted to download “Guess Who” by Jesse Belvin to my I-pod and found that they only had B.B. King’s version. Is there some dispute or controversy over this recording? Thanks for being such a great resource and keeping my need for real R&B satisfied.
There's no dispute that I'm aware of. Jesse's version has been on several CDs. Maybe RCA is restricting its inventory available for downloads.
Subj: To the Host of the Best Wednesday Night Party in Los Angeles
Date: 4/1/09 10:15:01 PM Pacific Standard Time
Thank you so very much for inviting me and all your listeners to the "Best Wednesday Night Party in L.A.!!". I really love tonight's show, because these particular sets bring me back to one of the happiest times in my life -- my Jr. High days at Mt.Vernon here in L.A. from 1956 to 1959.
Thanks again, Bill. Love this show!!
If you miss the show, it is archived for a week at KPFK.
Go to http://www.kpfk.org
go to archives. Unfortunately music shows are only allowed to be heard for a week.
Subj: Recent L A Times article re: children Social Workers
Date: 3/12/09 2:28:48 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Richard Higginson
Dear Mr. Gardner:
Are you aware of the recent Los Angeles Times article (last Sunday, front page) concerning Social Workers concerned with the children's hotline? As I recall, your bio states that you worked with an aspect of children's services; therefore, I imagine that this article may be of interest to you. If you missed this article, let me know & I'll send it to you.
Thank you for your program. Last night I listened to last week's program before your regular show came on. At times, though, it's difficult to stay awake long enough to hear the entire show. It's fortunate that there is a week during which one can bring up & listen to your last show.
I wish that KPFK would keep your show [archived online] for more than one week, and that one could scan the program in order to replay a portion, without having to replay the entire program. What we have, though, is very helpful.
I enjoyed your show highlighting 1958. I was 9 years old at the time. My folks played the top 40 radio stations at the time (but not the R&B oriented stations, such as KGFJ). I recall the hits, such as Bill Haley's, and songs such as "The Purple People Eater" and "Little Star."
In a sense, it's been mystifying to me how an artist (or group) can come up with a really great, popular recording, and then disappear completely. The Elegants are a good example. Their big hit was very popular - radio at the time couldn't play it enough - and then, as far as I know, they never cracked the Top 100 again. Perhaps it's a reflection of absolute talent - once in awhile, artists with good but "average" abilities stumble upon or develop a really great idea, but are unable to repeat the process. I suppose that we should be thankful for what we get!
Subj: 1958 show
Date: 3/9/09 10:28:35 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: William C. Briggs, Jr.
I really enjoyed the R & B time-capsule of 1958 you did last week.
I remember early 1958 as a great time for music on the radio here in L.A.
Of course, there was Art Laboe, Hunter Hancock, & other old favorites.
But I think it was in very early 1958 that KFWB switched to a Top-40 format (remember "Color Radio"?).
And there was the Mexican station which billed itself as "The Mighty 690!"
How is it that I remember that music and that time period as though it were yesterday, but I can't remember where I put my car-keys five minutes ago?
Same thing happens to me Bill.
I can remember who won all the world series (baseball) 50's and 60's but I don't have a clue about 2000-07.
Subj: Email comment from a fan
Date: 1/25/09 5:11:12 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Michael Ward
Love your show! Since I discovered I could download the podcast, I haven't missed a broadcast.
You made my day when you played "Ride Your Pony" by Dee Dee Sharp. I was thinking of requesting that song, but never got around to emailing you. You read my mind!
When I was 10 or 11 growing up in Bozeman, Montana in the early 60s, I used to take my 25 cent weekly allowance down to the local record store, where they had a bin of 45s that were 5 cents each or 6 for a quarter. I was too young to know much about music in those days, and chose records pretty much at random. I've forgotten most of the titles, and the records are long gone, but one I remember was "Ride Your Pony." Thanks for bringing back a childhood memory.
As I recall, that store also had a whole wall of country & western 78s, but at 50 cents apiece they were out of my price range.
M I C H A E L W A R D D E S I G N
Subj: I found you on KPFK!!
Date: 12/3/08 10:19:43 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Jake Salazar
Hello, Bill Gardner!
I couldn't believe it had been over 8 years since I last heard you on Rhapsody in Black when you were on KPCC! My wife was curious last Wednesday night and looked up "Rhapsody in Black" on Google, which led her to the Pacifica Radio site and then to KPFK, and we listened to your show.
I love the early rock and R&B music of the pre-rock and early rock era, and as a musician, I love the chords and structures of the arrangements of those songs. You do not find many of the old-style R&B in this over-rapped over-synthesized music industry, and the renditions of the older songs by today's stars pale in comparison many times to the original song, even in arrangement and tempo.
I've been listening to oldies programs on the Internet for about five or six years now, and some of those do feature doo-wop and 1950's R&B; I need to say that Bill, you are an original with Rhapsody in Black playing not only early, rare, and hard-to-find, but also the very best of the later genre as well. KPFK reaches down into my area (Northern San Diego County), but the signal is not very strong since I live in a hillside neighborhood and about 8 miles inland, so I've bookmarked the KPFK site and we can meet again! I have truly missed you and Rhapsody in Black and I look forward to many a Wednesday night listening to those great songs!
Subj: Radio Show / Huggie Boy etc.
Date: 12/15/06 10:40:14 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Jon Wittman
Bill, Ray & Jim
Thank you very much for your dedication to Date St & My friends the other night. My friend was out of town and wasn't able to tape your show. I had told him I would tape it for him. I'm converting it to CD and he will hear you guys talking about Date Street, this will be his Xmas present. I thought you guys might like to see a picture of Huggie Boy the night he came to see my collection. This was in the mid 80's and the same friend I told you about on Date St. used to see Huggie Boy at the race track. He mentioned my collection and Huggie Boy said he was looking for certain records. Out of the blue he called & said he was looking for songs he owned the rights to and wanted to release them on lp's. From the picture you can see him and I with my collection (the only lasting proof of what I had). At this time he was just starting a new "oldies" show at the station that broadcasted from T. J. . He found records on Caddy and Ebb and I went with him to the studio. He would tape the show by himself and in the A.M. they would messenger it to T.J. While at the station some guys came from England and they were looking to put some very obscure songs on LP's. I of course I remember Huggie's show in the fifties. I would hide under the covers and listen to him SCREAMING "All Night Long" over the air. When we had a ride we went to Dolphins of Hollywood to see him in the Window usually with a blond babe at his side. Many recording artists would be there and I actually remember meeting Googi Rene right at the time he made your famous "Scumbo" & was there promoting it. Thank you again for helping bring back some great memories. Keep up the good work and remember some of my requests from last week.
Huggy Boy [Dick Hugg] visits with Jon Wittman in the mid-1980s.
(For more on Huggy Boy, see the Doo-Wop Society site.)
Date: 10/25/06 10:52:58 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Thomas Palmer
I am genuinely shocked and saddened to hear of Jennell Hawkins' passing. I heard it no place else other than your show.
It resonates with meaning for me, and brings back pleasant memories, some now bittersweet.
Jennell was the first person to hire me when I initially came to LA---the first time, around--in 1976--'77. We were working the "Parisian Room" on Monday nights, and it was a jam session. Cardella DeMilo was there, "Big" Dee Irwin came around a lot, and I met quite a few people (Rudy Ray Moore, Reynaldo Rey, Lady Reed, and countless singers (...once ZZ Hill came through, as did Ernie Andrews)...things were still a little busy then. The drummers were either Johnny Kirkwood and/or Eddie Burrell.
Jennell was a real talent, a real sweetheart, and she was a terrific musician. She handled blues, R&B, and jazz with ease. She knew lots of tunes. She was playing organ and she didn't really need me on bass, but I came by often, and I knew lots of tunes myself and called out some of the changes to her as we played. It must have impressed her...because she hired me, and I worked with her off and on for six or seven months...until I left town with "The Wiz" National company in the summer of '77. She was generous and flexible with the job...if I got another job that was substantial (we did not make much $$ at the Parisian, but the group was good !), she'd let me take off, and I'd still have a gig when I came back. What a wonderful woman.
Jennell was a good jazz player, and everything she did she did with soul. She was one of the real musical lights around L.A., and I am sorry to see her go. I last spoke to her summer of '05. I last played with her spring of '05. Vocalist Dahle Scott was putting on Jazz sets on Sunday afternoons at the Mosaic Hotel over in Beverly Hills, and Jennell came through and sat in for a complete set during one of the few times I played there. It was fabulous. Her health was not good, and I called her last year after hearing she had suffered a series of strokes. We spoke for nearly half an hour. She was in good spirits, and her faith kept her strong till the end.
I will miss her. Good night, Jennell.
God bless Jennell Hawkins.
"Chicago" Tommy Palmer
Subj: Love the show---Always Have---A Question
Date: 9/28/06 2:49:22 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Allen Levy
Bill: Love the show. It's been one of my favorites since the old days on KPCC. I love the celebratory nature of the show---it's like a party, but it teaches me things, too. Congrats. And now my question: a long time ago, when you were on KPCC, I think I heard a song called "White Women" on the show. It was very politically incorrect, all about how white women flirt and tease, but don't "come across." Forgive me for being vulgar. It sounded like an r&b girls group singing the song. Was I dreaming? I hope you can clear up this mystery for me after all these years. As politically incorrect as it was, it was also very funny. Please advise. Allen Levy
I'm completely stumped.
Date: 9/19/06 4:56:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Dan Williams
Just wanted to thank you and Jim Dawson and Ray Regalado for making Wednesday nights special with all the great shows. We love the music and also really enjoy hearing the history behind the songs and the stories and memories the 3 of you share with the audience. You're a terrific team.
We also wanted to thank you for all the memorable shows over the years. Whether you're playing music, sharing experiences, or interviewing some of music's finest performers, you have that magic way of taking the listeners back in time to that era for a short time.
Best wishes always,
Dan & Jan Williams
PS: Love your new show on Sunday nights. Thanks for all the great novelty songs you played last Sunday--especially those we don't get to hear very often like "How Come My Dog Don't Bark". Do you also have "The Fella That Looks Like Me" by Prince Patridge? Do you know if these are available on CD?
Dear Dan and Jan:
I'm sorry, but I know of no CDs that contain Prince Partridge. "How Come My Dog Don't Bark" is a original "45"
Ray Regalato told me what a nice couple you two are.
Keep on listening
Subj: Eh La Bas Boogie
Date: 7/17/06 10:44:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Sara Ross
I am a great admirer and listener to your show, Rhapsody in Black. Especially since I went to H.S. in Richmond, CA in the '50s, and heard and danced to many of the artists you play. We also had a great R&B radio show back then "Jumpin' George" Oxford who was sponsored by the 30th and San Pablo Furniture warehouse. A couple of questions for you: I am trying to track down early Fats Domino boogie woogie (before he went all commercial), and wonder if you had any tips on doing this. (I've been searching on-line, etc.) Also, is it possible to get tapes of your show(s)?
Thank You! Sara Ross
Glad you are listening. Sorry KPFK doesn't allow me to send tapes to listeners.
Early Fats Domino is available: use your Google engine. Go to Bear Family Records Box set called Fats Domino "Out Of New Orleans" or you might call Amoeba Records in Hollywood.
NOTE FROM WEBMASTER: Here's a link for that box set: Bear Family Records: Fats Domino "Out Of New Orleans"
Subj: "Baby Show It" by The Festivals
Date: 6/7/06 8:04:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: ELMER ARMSTRONG
My name is Elmer Armstrong, I sang with Paul Robi's Platters for many years and use to listen to your show in the early and mid-ninties. You must have the greatest collection of R&B records ever. In 1958 The Platters recorded Twilight-Time. Legend has it that they performed that song on Dick Clark's special night-time edition of "Bandstand" Live! Dick then showed their live! clip whenever he promoted their coming on "Bandstand". Do you have this video clip or this live! recording? This is recognized as the "First" video ever!
Sorry I don't have very many old r&b videos.
Good luck trying to procure Dick Clark musical videos. I have been waiting for 10 years for him to put his shows on DVD.
NOTE FROM WEBMASTER: Dick Clark released some "best of" videos a few years ago. You can still find them on eBay and on Amazon.com. Apparently "Twilight Time" was not included.
From: Joe Perez
Sent: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 12:50:00 -0800
Subject: Little Willie John Special
My girl friend Ludie and I are big Little Willie John fans. So we got a huge kick hearing your show last night.
I have been looking for a song called "This Is the Night For Love" by The Valiants, I would like to know if is on a CD and if so where I can obtain it. I would love to hear it on your show along with other recordings by The Valiants. I am also very interested in a group called The Castelles, if they are on CD and where to find them.
To say that we adore adore your show is a huge understatement.
The Vailiants "This Is The Night For Love" is featured the ACE Records CD "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll, Vol. 5."
For information about the Castelles use your Google search engine to enter the Castelles which will lead you an article Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebook - The Castelles.
From: Robert E. Cleveland
Sent: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 23:51:42 -0800
Subject: Jerry Butler: A Lonely Soldier
Listerning to the show tonight as you honor and remember Wilson Pickett, my heart pained so much with joy as I remembered the years of my youth when I had so little, but was so happy. Life was so much simpler and pleasant as I, a young man, driving trucks in Louisiana by day, night clubs some nights, where everyone was pleasant and happy. Hard work with with very few rewards, only one enemy that you knew of, and the love of your family. So little then looked like so much, I would trade all I have today to be there again.
Jerry Butler, Louis Jordan, Howlin Wolf, Curtis Mayfield, Dinah Washington, Brook Benton, Clyde McPhatter, Roy Hamilton, Fats Domino............
Thank you so very much Bill Gardner, I've been listening to you for more that fifteen years, and I appreciate you so much.
I was about to go off to the war in Vietnam when I heard Jerry Butler on the station coming out of Memphis blasting into northern Louisiana singning "A Lonely Soldier" and Martha And The Vandellas singing "Love Makes You Do Fooling Things"; Please play them for me Bill.
With much Love, Respect, and Appreciation:
Robert E. Cleveland, Sr.
Subj: Playlist Question
Date: 1/12/06 3:19:44 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Larry Broering
Driving Wed. night, I happen to come across your show and heard part of a song I loved. I was distracted by a passenger, but I think you said it was "Tobacco Road" (either title of song or album?). Song lyrics were about Chicago, "coming back to Tobacco Road," the cold wind, etc. (I think).
I did an Internet search, and found references on Amazon CD's for Brother Jack McDuff (Original Import Remastered) and "Tobacco Road/Do It Now" by Brother Jack McDuff.
Can you tell me if I have it right -- which one I listened to that has lyrics so I can purchase same?
Appreciate your good work. I am going to try to listen to your show.
Tobacco road is by the late Lou Rawls. It can be found on the Capitol CD "Best of Lou Rawls."
Subj: Happy New Year!
Date: 12/31/05 7:47:06 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Russell Higginson
Dear Mr. Gardner:
I don't know when you'll read this, but it isn't too late to wish you a:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thank you also for you link from the KPFK web site, and also the wonderful information concerning Jesse Belvin. (Incidentally, the recent playlist from you show has "Goodnight My Love" as by Jessie Belvin).
I wish that I had more to contribute, but as I feel that Mr. Belvin is #1 on my list of R&B performers who passed away far too young, I paid close attention in particular to one of Steve Propes' shows, years ago, on 88.1 FM KLON (at the time) when he interviewed a veteran R & B performer who was a contemporary of and was familiar with Jesse Belvin. I don't remember the man's name, but when Steve wanted him to tell / reveal the "true story" concerning how Jesse Belvin passed away (any also, very unfortunately his wife, according to the web site). The man's reply seemed to be very cautious, probably as some of the potential perpetrators may still have been alive: he seemed not to want to mention any names, or very many details. All that I recall his saying was along the lines that he (and his peers / associates) felt that the automobile crash in which Mr. and Mrs. Belvin were killed, wasn't simply a pure accident, that someone had deliberated cut the tires (probably with a knife) on Belvin's car, during Jesse's performance in a club, so that after Jesse finished his show and drove away, the tire would fail suddenly and cause an accident. Performers usually had to travel quite a bit, and oftentimes significant distances; therefore, they were likely driving at a high rate of speed. This is long before air bags became prevalent, and not all cars had seat belts. This is all that I remember from Mr. Propes' radio program. Please contact him in case he knows anything else.
In a somewhat, but not entirely, similar incident, I attended the funeral of the singer of "Be Ever Wonderful" here in Los Angeles. Shame on me for not being certain of his name - was it Ted Taylor? This man had enjoyed continuing success, long after that hit. In fact, I have a re-recording by him of the same song, on a single & album on the OKeh label (distributed by Columbia records - not the original label) with a "big" orchestral arrangement with a chorus. While this last disc is excellent, I feel that it doesn't add anything to the original version, and apparently wasn't successful. Anyway, it was felt that this singer simply had a bad accident while touring in the South, because he was tired when he was driving and fell asleep at the wheel. There was no suspicion of foul play. I suppose that the lesson here is that entertainers have to be at least a little careful, and not "push" themselves too much when touring.
Here's a (perhaps) partial personal list of people who died while they still had much to offer:
Roy Hamilton (I hope that this is spelled correctly!)
Chuck Willis - Incidentally, we need to have his record label reissue his version of "Feel So Bad" (also on OKeh, as I recall) that Elvis did later on
Clyde McPhatter (even though he hadn't had a hit for several years before he passed)
And so on.
Yours very truly,
Subj: organ instrumental
Date: 12/23/05 12:12:17 AM Pacific Standard Time
Last night (Wed) you played an organ (B-3, I think) instrumental at about 35 mins past the hour, that sounded a lot like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas".
Who was the artist and what was the correct title?
Thanks. Great programming!
The song is "Have yourself a Merry Christmas" by Bill Doggett.
It is on an original CD by Charles Brown called "Please Come Home for Christmas."
The CD features 4 instrumentals by organist Bill Doggett.
Subj: KPFK Radio Show
Date: 12/8/05 12:08:17 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Linda Milliner
Thanks for giving your email address. You may have done so in times past, but low, I never seemed to retain it before. Thanks ever so much for your show Rhapsody in Black. I really enjoy it and am glad it is at a time when I can listen to it. Hope you remain in the late evening programming slot. I especially wanted to thank you for playing some original recordings by black artists which I only recall hearing covers of by white artists. You provide your listeners with valuable history.
Can you clear up some confusion I have about two songs and two groups of the fifties? You played one of the songs last week. The songs are "Daddy's Home" and "Daddy's Coming Home" (I think). And the groups would have been The Heartbeats and Shep and The Lime Lights. As a child of nine, I lost my sight in 1958. In December, 1958 my family sent me from the Virgin Islands to New York City for medical attention, and subsequently for education. The radio was a very special friend to me then as I adjusted to my entirely new world. Thank you for the memories. Again, you provide a great service so keep up the wonderful work!
The Heartbeats were an R&B vocal group from Queens, New York. The lead singer was James "Shep" Sheppard. The group recorded "A Thousand Miles Away" in 1956.
Sheppard formed Shep and the Limites in 1961 and recorded "Daddy's Home."
Unfortunately, James Sheppard was murdered on 1/24/70.
Date: 12/7/05 1:43:53 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Edward Macias
Sir, I am looking for a song that may be by Frankie Lymon or someone with a similar sounding voice. I heard the song twice and I believe the name may be "I'm In Love" or "That's What Happens When You Fall In Love". These two statements are said throughout the song the most which is how I came up with the titles. Hopefully this will be enough. If you can e-mail me back with an answer I would appreciate it. I will be away from being able to listen to the show for a bit and I would probably miss it if you play it on the air.
Subj: RE: Kate:can you help me? Bill Gardner
Date: 12/7/05 8:57:49 AM Pacific Standard Time
Yep-it's called "I'm in Love," on Old Town by the Co-Eds. Tell the gentleman that he can get a copy of it on an Old Town collection, and to contact Nina's Oldies (Jerry Greene's company), or if he just wants the single, to contact UGHA or any of the record specialty stores on the east coast.
Hope things are going okay.
Subj: Thank you
Date: 12/4/05 2:28:00 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Suzy P
Hi DJ Bill,
I really love your program and after months of bothering my mom to listen she finally did. She was the one who got me interested in those oldies. When she heard the music from Nov 1960 she said it took her right back to being 15 years old. She knew the words to the songs. She even joked that one song made her feel like "pole dancing" which is a compliment of inspiration.
Thanks you for keeping the music alive. I am a big fan.
Subj: from: "Chicago" Tommy 10/8/05
Date: 10/8/05 11:35:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Thomas Palmer
Big Daddy Bill:
Thanks for playing "Mitzi Mars" this past Wednesday. I like the piano voicings, but she is so bitchy on that record that, after four or five repeated listenings, it finally got on my nerves. I got tired of listening to her bring the guy down, and it's not a wonder that Ms Mars was probably never heard from again...at least not that I know. If she did make any more tracks, that one seems to be her only appearance on the radar screen. In reality, I am suspicious that Mabon himself may have played on her track...certainly I recognize the other musicians who were on the original "I'm Mad"...not the least of whom is the then ubiquitous Willie Dixon, who either produced or A & R'd the date. It's no accident that the Mabon original was released on Chess and Mitzi's "answer" was released on the then relatively new Checker subsidiary.
While I am "sometimey" about Mitzi Mars, I am not "sometimey" about "Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta" by Ernie K-Doe. It is a very haunting recording, and a lovely one. When you played it back a few years ago, I'd not heard it since the 1960s....in fact, I'd begun to doubt my own senses, and felt I was mistaken that any such record had ever been made. Well...you cured me along those lines and along other lines. You made a believer out of me once again. Incidentally, you once made a commentary on the Chantels (around 2000-2001), and how their music was a product of Catholic up-bringing and Gregorian Chants (and then you played "The Three Bells" by the French Chanson Group on Columbia as an example).
Well, if you give a really good listen to "Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta" by K-Doe, it's an R and B record almost straight out of the Catholic Church and The Gregorian Style. Starting from the horn line that opens the song with the echo and reverb, the church style chords that K-Doe plays (the old time church chords), and the lilting background vocals with echo/reverb that emulate the chants and the style of the Gregorian period...if you were raised in the Catholic Church during the time of the Latin Mass as I was (and this record was made before masses were said in English in the Catholic Church), you can't miss the qualities of Catholicism that are high-lighted and accentuated in this recording. Whoever did this arrangement knew what they were doing.
"Chicago" Tommy Palmer, Bassist
Subj: Playlist from 7/20...??
Date: 7/25/05 8:41:57 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: David Moren
I've been a listener and supporter of KPFK for several years now, your show being amongst my favorites (and I confess, I'm due to pledge during your show during the next pledge drive).
I'd called this last Wednesday to find out about 'Hey Girl, Hey Boy' - and you told me who it was but I was driving at the time and could only scribble down Oscar McGlalee and Janette Baker. However, I wanted to confirm the spelling of their names and see which album it came off of.
If you have this information readily available, I'd very much appreciate it. I'm getting married next year and I thought this song would be fun to play at the reception!
Keep on with your great show. Until the next time...
Junk Food Clothing (Los Angeles)
The CD is best of "Class Records". It is put out by Ace Records (acerecords.com).
The Artist is Oscar McLollie and Jeanette Baker
Subj: Re: Playlist from 7/20...??
Date: 7/25/05 5:58:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: David Moren
Wow! Thanks so much for your quick response. I'll take this down and will likely find myself visiting acerecords.com very soon.
P.S. - Not sure how well you know your listening audience but please know that you have a 28 year old who's been listening since he was 25. My grandfather exposed me to some of the music but once I discovered KPFK, I took this music on more for myself. You have great taste in creating playlists and we're so fortunate to have a source from which to still hear this wonderful music. Keep on!! You're great...
Subj: Re: Rhapsody in Black
Date: 6/18/05 4:14:32 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Consuelo Delgado
Greetings Bill Gardner,
How are you feeling these days? As a listener of your show “Rhapsody in Black” on Wednesday nights, your show is wonderful and I enjoy the music you play. I grew up listening to Rhythm and Blues in the 50s, and 60s, and Jazz… I was introduced to Earl Bostic’s music in the mid fifties and that is when I fell in love with the way he played the saxophone, especially alto sound…
I think it was a few weeks ago that you spun his record “When or Where” I think that is the correct title, and I was hoping that you would also play his “I Hear A Rhapsody”. In my music collection of the fifties, I have only two 45s of Ear Bostic with those two above songs on them, and I have been for years trying to find out where I can find his music.
The funny thing about it is when I ask people who play jazz, or listen to jazz, mostly none of them have ever heard of Earl Bostic. Why is that? Do you know where I can purchase his music, and is it still out there to be purchased?
Peace and Blessings until I hear from you,
Earl Bostic and his alto saxophone was one of the great and distinctive sounds of both R n B and pop music during the 1950s. His extrovert small combo recordings became perennials on the jukeboxes in the USA and most other parts of the world.
I have five CD's by Earl. He is undoubtedly my favorite saxophone player.
Call Amoeba records in Hollywood, or Canterbury Records in Pasadena. They have CD's of Bostic's music. My favorite Bostic CD is Earl Bostic -- the EP Collection. 25 tunes on the CD by the maestro.
Subj: great show
Date: 5/19/05 12:03:39 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Annie Gosfield
Thanks for another great show.
It's nice to hear the stories from your guests, but to be honest, hearing you play this great music is the best! Less conversation, more beautiful music!
Your fan in New York,
Date: 3/23/05 11:48:34 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Albert Lopez
I've been listening in to your show for a good three years now. I started listening to it my Junior year of High School, and it got me through many an all-nighter. Currently I'm at USC, where I blast the music in my dorm. My roommates think I'm crazy, but it isn't my fault they can't appreciate something good when they hear it. I miss the show when it was a couple hours earlier, and when it played for a full two hours, but even though they moved it to 10:30-12:00, I'm still a die hard fan. Do you think you can play "Marijuana Boogie" next week? My friends will get a kick out of it. Thanks alot for this incredible show. It is the best music to play while cruising. Too bad my Studebaker only has an AM radio! Anyways, hope to keep on hearing the music.
For the past year, I've been getting more request for Lalu Guerro's "Marihuana Boogie" than any other song!
The zoot suited pachucos of East Los Angels were among the first non-blacks to embrace both Negro hipster culture and its music in the 1940s. These Mexican-American vatos combed their hair into high pompadours to emulate the process or the conk, as well as the sartorial style of their black counterparts.
Lalo Guerrero was quick to pick up on this fascination by recording Spanish language boogies and jump numbers, often utilizing the vato slang.
Sadly Guerrero died at the age of 87 this past March 2005.
(Above information taken from notes in the CD Jumping Like Mad -- Capitol Blues Collection.)
Subj: Rhapsody in Black
Date: 2/15/05 4:14:14 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Michael Lang
Dear Mr. Gardner,
For years I listened to your shows on KPCC. I swooned with my future wife as we were transported to the concrete history and musical joy coming from your sets. If you can believe it, I cried when you announced your last show, though I laughed with small triumph when you dedicated "Hound Dog" to management.
I have since moved to Maine, but I have never forgotten what you gave us. In planning for a short return to L.A., I noticed your show on KPFK. I also see that I can listen online. I am overjoyed to know that I can again hear your gift.
Many thanks and best regards,
It is wonderful that you have re-discovered the show!
When you return to Maine, by all means check us out live on the web.
Subj: Last Night, Question & Request
Date: 1/20/05 11:20:57 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Jim Scott
Mr. Ambassador (of Classic Rhythm & Blues),
What great old recordings, Jimmy McCracklin, Guitar Gable, The Checkers, etc... I look forward each Wednesday to hear these great songs only heard on your show and it makes me want to be older, to have listened to these artists when they were all over the radio. Thanks to you, I have a source of Classic Rhythm & Blues. By the way, what song did you play from Sarah Vaughan? Also, could you play a Saunders King song? I heard he was Santana's father-in-law and a major influence to him and B.B. King. Keep it up and thanks for doing what you do.
The Song by Sarah Vaughn was "Smooth Operator." It was one of only two Sarah Vaughn records to make the R&B charts. Incidentally both records made the charts in 1959. The other one "Brokenhearted Melody" was the biggest selling record in Sarah's Career.
I will play a Saunders King recording on Feb. 2.
Subj: 12/1/04 show
Date: 12/9/04 10:40:59 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Bob Henry
Unfortunately I only get here part of your program while driving to work. a nostalgic show like yours should be on Friday or Saturday night. I have 2 questions: You played a record on the 12/01/04 show by Jake Porter I believe called Hey Diddle Diddle. Is that record available on CD? You had Little Richards drummer on the last show. I don't know if the question came up, but did he also appear in the movies, The Girl Can't Help It, etc.?
Thanks Bob Henry
The Song Hi Diddle Diddle by Jack Porter and the Combonettes is available on an Ace CD Honk! Honk! Honk! featuring Chick Higgins, Joe Houston, Jack McVea, and others.
Contact www.legendarydrummer.tv for bio of Charles Connor.
Date: 11/27/04 9:05:37 AM Pacific Standard Time
Finally! I've found you again! :)
Years ago, I would listen to you on KPCC, and I would record every show!! I still listen to the tapes religiously. I have your last show recorded, as well as the broadcast in which you notified us all about your show going off air!
It finally dawned on me to look you up the other day while I was listening to one of those tapes, and I am soooo glad I did, because now I have you, and the great tunes you give us back!!!!!!!
I'm just a young gal, but my friends and I just dig on you, and I have turned them on to your show over the past several years! We have parties and swing and jive to the wonderful tunes you open our eyes and ears to!
-Just wanted to say thank's for your dedication, the music, and the great job you do!
Keep throwing us those fab tunes!
Your dedicated listener,
Date: 11/11/04 4:51:45 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Jim Scott
Another terrific show, Camille Howard, Earl Bostic, Joe Hinton, etc..., what great tunes to kick back with friends, smoke cigars, have a drink and just relax. Is the music you play all from your collection or is there a record store around that you find that awesome stuff? I currently only know of Norwalk Records that has good oldies and I'm looking for anywhere else in Southern California.
By the way, I did not hear your 70's show, but I vote no on including that era into your format, because it'd take away time from the oldies. Thanks again for your help on any other record shops you may know of and thanks for doing a great job as Ambassador of the Rhythm & Blues.
Subj: 70's Programming
Date: 11/8/04 9:12:39 AM Pacific Standard Time
Hi Bill - - - I lived in Los Angeles during the 1970's and was a regular KJLH listener. The program with King Oliver was definitely a "blast from the past." I would be happy to hear more 70's programming. However, the 70's music is relatively familiar to me. I learn a lot more from the 50's and 60's programs. I grew up listening to that 60's music here in then isolated Santa Barbara on KRLA and Wolfman's various stations. I remember a number of the tunes, but missed many others, especialy 50's, that your programs fill in for me. Also, if you have an opportunity, I would like to hear your Ray Charles Tribute program again. Thanks, Keith
Subj: My vote on '70s soul/funk: NO !
Date: 11/6/04 12:02:07 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Abe Landsberg
Dear Mr. Gardner,
Thank you for your wonderful show and for asking for feedback about your November 3 show and the possibility of playing more soul/funk recordings from the 1970s. (I would have a problem calling it "R&B".) To me, your November 3 show was the slowest and least interesting of any of your shows that I have heard. (I've listened to virtually every show you've broadcast during the last dozen or so years.) 1970s-era soul/funk holds no interest for me. I love the 1940s through early-1960s R&B (and related) music that you usually play. So, my vote on 1970s soul/funk is NO, please.
If you decide to broadcast more 1970s shows, I hope you will warn your audience in advance.
Subj: Sugar Ray Robinson
Date: 10/28/04 11:26:26 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: Jim Scott
I was listening to your great show last night and I heard a song by Sugar Ray Robinson, do you know where I might be able to buy that? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Also, do you ever play Jimmy Rushing? I bought a CD recently and thought it might fit well, similar to Earl Hines.
Anyway, thanks for all you do.
In a career that spanned three decades Sugar Ray Robinson embodied the essence of the sweet science of boxing. He was a world welterweight champion and held the middleweight title five times.
In the 50's Ray attempted to be an entertainer with a song and dance act.
He recorded a couple of songs for King records. One of them was Knock Him Out Whiskey. His song and dance and recording career were not very successful.
Subj: from : "ChicagoTommy" 10/23/04
Date: 10/23/04 3:31:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Came down and volunteered at KPFK last week. Sadly, I was not available for Wednesday, the special "Rhapsody In Black" (RIB) night. Caught a bit if this past week's show. The interviews are priceless !!
At the risk of antagonizing Zola Taylor, female vocalist with the Platters still alive and living in the L.A area, I must say this:
Several weeks ago you played one of the Platters' early recordings, I believe it may have been one of their King/Federal sides.
"Maggie Doesn't Work Here Anymore" was, sadly, one of the most horrible recordings I'd ever heard. I couldn't believe the Platters made this, and wondered how they'd survived to become what they became. Somehow they did. But records like that would have gotten you tarred and feathered even way back "in the day". I sure hope that wasn't the "A" side !!
Incidentally, the worst record I ever heard was a side issued in Detroit by The Don Juans, actually a respectable group. I have the song on tape in Chicago. I don't know the name of the selection and do not care to. The Don Juans tried their best to produce, but the musicians clobbered them on this record. They were just gosh awful. The piano was out of tune, the drums sounded like Quaker Oats boxes--or one of those "Eminee" sets. Records like that will push you over the edge !!
On a different note, your recording of "Further On Up The Road" by Bobby Bland featured the actual ending of the track. It was the same take that I had on my record, except that in Chicago, every record I heard did a "fade" on the end of the track. I had two 78's of it.
Also, you played "Say Man" parts one and two by Bo Diddley. The Checker recording I had named "Say Man" part one as "The Clock Strikes Thirteen".
These are just little differences, guaranteed to have no effect on the quality of the show, and no effect on your life, either !! ( smile !!) I just try to mention them when they occur to me, and bring them to your attention. You and I are both sticklers for detail, in addition to sharing essentially the same overall taste in music.
Incidentally, can you ple-e-e-ease play "Court of Love" by The Unifics? This tune was arranged by Donny Hathaway, and features the bass playing of the late Louis Satterfield who, in addition to being a great bass player, also played trombone with Earth-Wind-and Fire, Phil Collins, The Horny Horns, and the Phoenix Horns. You hear his bass on numerous tracks from the 60s and 70s including "Summertime" by Billy Stewart, "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass, "Cadillac Jack" by Andre Williams, "Get On Up" by the Esquires, "Wing Ding Doodle" by Koko and, I believe, "The Watusi" by The Vibrations. He was on many, many others over the years. He passed away 9/27/04.
Will write again soon.
Your Number One Fan,
You think the Platter song is bad. Wait until you hear the "Turkey" records on Nov. 24th.
Bo Diddley's Say Man came out in 1959.
Say Man Back Again is a separate recording.
Date: 9/21/04 12:56:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Thomas Palmer
2-4-6-8-10, Chicago Tommy done goofed again !! I slept through the first half of the show, and missed the "Verdict" by the 5 Keys, among other gems. We gotta do something about getting you on during the week-ends. Your music is "Friday" night and "Saddiddy" night music (smile !!), though better Wednesday than not at all !!
I may have mentioned to you that I met arranger Van Alexander, who worked with Chick Webb and wrote the chart "A Tisket A Tasket" for Ella. In speaking to him, he mentioned that he did some arrangements for groups on RPM and Modern in the '50s, though he can't recall the acts. He also did a chart or two for The 5 Keys when they were on Capitol. He can't recall if one of them was "Ling-Ting-Tong", but it's possible. He's done so much work for so many folks over the years, it is hard to pin it all down after a while. And he was with Capitol from the 50s into the 60s.
I must testify...a number of records I played on have been played for me, in the manner of the old "blind-fold test"...and I didn't remember having done them...at all, even though I may have gotten album credit.
Every time I hear "House of Blue Lights", I crack up. Freddie Slack was a very fine musician, and in some ways the "prototype" for Johnny Otis, except Freddie did not join the Black Musicians Union, nor did he "pass" for Black. You can see from the dialogue at the beginning of the recording there was an all out attempt to "cop" Black culture. Don Raye and Freddie Slack would have further attempts at imitating Black speech and mannerisms, not to mention the music, on later Capitol recordings.
Incidentally, though Benny Carter doesn't get label credit, he is actually the main writer or co-writer of "Cow Cow Boogie" with Freddie Slack, on Capitol's first certified hit of its existence. One good thing Slack did do, he believed in trying to make the music authentic...hence you will hear on his recordings such musicians as T-Bone Walker, Jesse Price, Benny Carter...even Barney Bigard, who left Ellington to come to California to be with Slack. If you have a recording of "Riffette", that is T-Bone Walker on guitar. If you have "Furlough Fling ", Barney Bigard is on Clarinet.
I talk too much. In closing, your site looks terrific. It was a "read 'em and weep" experience for me as I looked at the list of the cuts I missed last week. To quote W.C. Fields : "Godfrey Daniels !!"
Dripper's Boogie, 1 and 2...please!!!
Thomas Palmer is a professional musican who plays electric bass. He has recorded with Jerry Butler, Della Reese, Ramsey Lewis, The Chilites, among others.
Date: 9/22/04 11:40:13 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Sirverold James
It is a pleasure to listen to your show on Wednesday nights. This music songs better than the new R& B music of today. My dad had thousands of those old 45's and 78's. He never wanted us to touch them. So, when he used to go to work, I used to sneak in them and record those songs on tape. As I stared listening to then, I started liking them. My dad has died in 1994, so I dont have anyone to tell me what am I'm listening to, when I play those tapes. Keep playing those wonderful songs.
Subj: Joe Weaver and the Don Juans
Date: 9/19/04 7:41:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Hi Bill -
I loved the record by the above group that you played last Wednesday, a group and record I'd never heard before. Can you tell me if this appears on a CD compilation?
I'm enjoying the listening immensely and hope all is well.
Sorry as far as I know there is no official CD with the Song Baby I Love You So by Joe Weaver and The Don Juans. There is a bootleg CD called Joe Weaver and his Blue Note Orchestra but out by Regency Records in Laurel Ontario Canada.
Hey, it might not even be a bootleg!
Joe Weaver recorded for Fortune Records out of Detroit. The same label that featured Nolan Strong and the Diablos.
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