Saturday, December 23, 2023

Christmas Radio Special #2 - 50s-70s Rock n Roll Novelty Songs

Hello holiday heads! This episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM, featured a bunch of rockin' Christmas tunes from around the world. While I might not be jolly old Saint Nick, I can still deliver some good tunes for your last-minute wrapping. As always, the show will stay up on the KUCR archives for a few weeks, so if you missed the show and want to listen on your own time, make sure to listen while you can. If you just want to hear the music, check out the playlist down below, but if you want a summary of what I talked about during the show... keep reading. Be sure to also check out last year's Christmas playlist, and if you are feeling crafty, feel free to print out a foldable box I created that's based off of an unusual robotic Santa toy from days gone by.

The Boys Next Door as seen in Teen Tempo

Towards the beginning of the show, you heard The Boys Next Door, a group from Indianapolis, perform their song The Wildest Christmas. The group was fairly popular in their local scene and also appeared as The Four Wheels on two singles, Central High Playmate, and Sneaky Little Sleeper. According to a blog named 60's Indiana Band Szene, the group's name change was without the groups knowledge and eventually it was changed back to The Boys Next Door. The label Sundazed Music compiled the band's complete discography back in 1999 in a self-titled release which appears to be out of print and proves to be difficult to find online. While researching the band I found an article that appeared in a magazine named Teen Tempo which covers a concert that the band put on from the rooftop of a newly opened department store named Dorothy's Woman's Apparel Shop. It's wild seeing a photo of band members standing on a pallet that's being hoisted up towards the roof via forklift. 

Rankin/Bass TV special inspired flyer paired with one of the show's misfit toys

Next up you heard The Galaxies cover of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and I mentioned that the character Rudolph was created by Robert L. May for a book that was sold at Montgomery Ward. However, the character was popularized by the song which came about a decade later and was penned by May's brother-in-law Johnny Marks. If you are interested in the history of the song, there is a great piece that aired on NPR's Here and Now where they interviewed May's daughter Barbara May Lewis and discussed how Montgomery Ward gave May the rights to the story without realizing how big it would eventually become. For a first-hand account, you can also check out this interview with Marks that was conducted by Ian Whitcomb in 1972.

As the show continued, you heard Mae West's Merry Christmas Baby from the album Wild Christmas which followed in the footsteps of her previous surprise hit album Way Out West. During this time, West was around 72 and, although they were fairly outdated at the time, the album features Christmas themed alterations of West's famous catchphrases. Unlike Way Out West, Wild Christmas was released through the small record label Dagonet Records rather than the major label Tower Records. As a throwback to her previous album, Wild Christmas includes a cover of The Beatles track From Me To You with some holiday lines added to the song's intro. 

Of course, we ended the show with a novelty country song by Charlie Stewart named Santa Claus Ain't a Hippie. Stewart was a very opinionated individual and his songs reflected his visions of what he felt was taboo at the time. Of course, nowadays it all comes off very hokey with songs about Stewart's disapproval of unions, Johnny Cash, and Fidel Castro but the songs are strange snapshots of their time.

And a ho ho ho folks! That's about it for this episode's rundown. Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Saturdays at 9pm PST or listen to an archived version of the show here. You can also listen through, Radio Garden, or Tune-In

Check out this week's playlist below:


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Tasmanian Devils and Stardust - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Taro"

This episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM, leaned more towards the psych side which is probably going to be the theme for the next few episodes. Like many people, I sometimes find myself gravitating towards certain musical genres for a given period of time before I get sick of it. Lately I've been checking out a lot of late 60s and early 70s fuzzed out stuff rather so these next few episodes will definitely be reflecting that.

Anywho, towards the beginning of the show you heard the buzzy little tune Baby by a band from West Palm Beach, Florida named The Tasmanians. The original release is fairly rare but you can find the track on a bunch of different compilations, some better than others. The version you heard came from Sixties Archives Vol. 4 Florida & New Mexico Punk and if you are ever interested in getting some compilations for your collection, you can't go wrong with the Sixties Archives!

As is the case with a lot of psych and garage bands, one of the best sources for information on the group is on Garage Hangover. However, on the show I focused more on the strange dog sized marsupial which shares a similar namesake with the band, the Tasmanian Devil. The Tasmanian Devil's breeding behavior is what initially caught my attention due to the fact that they often give birth to 20-30 pups with only around 40% surviving to maturity. They have relatively short lifespans with the oldest known Tasmanian Devil being Coolah, who was born and raised in the Children's Zoo in Fort Wayne, IN and died at age seven

Tasmanian Devils remind me of Master Splinter

Currently, the animals are facing extinction due to a fatal disease (Devil Facial Tumour Disease) which causes facial tumors and is one of the very few known forms of cancer which spreads in a contagious fashion. Conservation efforts are being led by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania and if you would like to learn more about these unusual creatures and possibly donate to their causes, head on over to their official website.

Towards the halfway point of the show, you heard The Stardusters play their cover of Ray Charles' What'd I Say. The group was made up of young teens from the sparsely populated Willisville and Cutler area of Illinois and according to a local newspaper article, the band was known for performing 3 times a week. The recording is a little rough around the edges which contributes to its charm with vocals provided by a young woman named Miss Darla Dean. There are a few other groups that share the Stardusters name including a latin rock band from the greater Houston area whose most popular single is Forever and a vocal group from the 1930s that was known for their appearances on The Vitalis Show, featuring George Jessel and his Celebrated Guests

While listening to The Stardusters I was reminded of a film I watched way back in 2007, and had long since forgotten, named Stardust. What I remember most about the film is its unusual tone which was a mix between campiness and self-seriousness with the unusual casting choices of Robert De Niro as a pirate with a secret love for dressing in women's clothing and Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of an ugly witch. The movie is based off a 1999 novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman who is probably best known for his comic book series Sandman which was later made into a critically acclaimed series on Netflix. While I can't say I'd really recommend Stardust because, frankly because I can't remember too much about it, but I would highly recommend Sandman for anyone that's slightly interested in Gaiman's work.

And finally, towards the end of the show I played a song by Maximus named A Better Mind and I mentioned that the group was headed by Jack Ross, who was an active session musician in Nashville. Ross was also married to a country music singer named Jeris Ross who gained some success with her version of the Gary Paxton song Pictures On Paper which features some unusual lyrics such as:

So what if he flirts a little with the girls where he works, as long as he's true to you, you better give that man a little slack.

Funny enough, there's another version of the song by Ronnie Dove which seems more sympathetic to the woman's perspective. On air I compared Pictures On Paper to Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man which caused some controversy during its debut for containing lyrics which feminists felt were misogynistic. 

If you happen to like vintage country western music my buddy Jed McDaniel has a show on Spotify named When Cringin' Leads to Cryin' which highlights music from the early days of country until around the 1970s. We used to talk a lot about old country records so I can attest for his taste. Back in the day Jed used to host a show on KUCR named Cryin' Time, so he's got a history with our humble station.

Well folks, that's about it for this episode's rundown! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Saturdays at 9pm PST or listen to an archived version of the show here. You can also listen through, Radio Garden, or Tune-In

Check out this week's playlist below:


Henry Laurens and Jefferson Handkerchief - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Barbados Cherry"

This week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo , on KUCR 88.3 FM focused more on psych and featured music that ranged from moody to abrasive....