Friday, April 21, 2006

In the Car CD Player


Believe it or not, the first time I heard Robin Trower was on AM radio. Our own Top 40 station in the Quad Cities (KSTT) played "The King Biscuit Flower Hour" on Sunday night. I always listened to it because I was cool. I wanted to know who was out there, what great music was out there that I had not heard. I heard him there in 1973. Then, while working the overnight shift at JI Case, my friend Tim Speer had this on 8 track. I asked him to borrow it and he never got it back. I didn't mean to keep it but he got laid off the next day. I wore this tape out. My band played "Day of The Eagle" and "Too Rolling Stoned". When I moved to Kansas City in 1978, one of my first interviews there was with Robin Trower. I was never so nervous in my life. Shooting Star opened up for Robin Trower the first time I ever saw him. They said he was a good guy. That's cool. He played at Westport Playhouse in St. Louis and Ronnie Montrose opened for him. Now, Westport Playhouse had a rotating stage. The sound had to be set up completely different than normal. The sound tech set up Robin's guitar and told him NOT to turn up his amp, or it would screw up the sound system. I introduce Robin, he shakes my hand, walks over to the amp and cranks it up. I look over at the sound tech and he has his head buried in his hands. The sound was awful, it sounded like a locomotive all night long. Apparently Stevie Ray Vaughan was not a Trower fan. In his biography, SRV accused Trower of being a "poser" and not a real player. I love SRV but I always thought Robin could play. This release though, has been with me for years. I love every song on it. In particular "A Little Bit Of Sympathy" the title track and "In This Place". I went through two 8 tracks and about 4 copies of this on vinyl. I have the MFSL version of this and after all this time, it still sounds sweet.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy 80th, Mom. Unbelievable what you must have went through in your life. Born dirt poor and never made it past 5th grade. You were beautiful until your demons wore you down. Demons can do that, you know.
Her and my Dad, circa 1949. That's my older brother.

Probably 1962 or so. She looks great here. That's my sister

My sister's best friend Missy and my mom Christmas Eve 1973.

My sisters wedding October 1977

The last picture of her. My wedding 1988. She died in October of that year. What I wouldn't give for just 30 seconds with her. I love you, Mom. You did the best you could. I will always admire that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One Good Thing...


about some down time is that I can get healthy again. I played basketball four times last week. Now, we are talking at least 75 minutes of pretty much non stop, full court ball. Granted, I am not ever going to be confused with Jerry West, but in my day, I could play. I find it sometimes funny that when we get some younger guys on the court, they are pulling on their shorts just about he time I am getting warmed up. It does take a long time for me as I get older to get it cranked up quickly. I was in excellent shape and about 170 lbs ten years ago. After a bout or two with illness (and their cures) since then, my weight has ballooned to 210 and I have not been in good shape. I think I am well on the way to getting there again. I currently am at 184 and I am starting to feel good on the court. No drinking and no meat helps, but even then, it has been MUCH more difficult losing weight at 50 than it was at 35. Off to the court I go and if I see one of those kids, I always taunt them. A taunt like .."man, I got kids older than you" really seems to do the trick. Whenever I think one is getting tired I will say..."man, that's gotta suck to be worn down by an old man, what are you gonna tell your friends?" When I start talking about being schooled by a grandfather, that's when you know I'm serious.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Chestnut in the CD player

I first heard Poco when my brother brought back a tape of theirs from Vietnam. It was "Deliverin'" and of course, anything he liked, I liked.I thought "Good Feelin To Know" was about as good as it was going to get until 1976 when "Rose of Cimmaron" came out. I thought at the time, it was the greatest country song ever. Poco was in a slump before that and then Timothy Schmidt left and they seemed to kick it up a gear. "Indian Summer" was very good but had some filler to it. In 1979, "Legend" was released and this CD now is one of my Top 30. Only one filler song "Love Comes Love Goes" but the rest is magic. It starts with "Boomerang" and then "Spellbound" follows. Very sweet tune. "Barbados" is a nice tune and "Little Darlin'" was the song that Mary and I called our own. Side two was even better..."Heart of The Night" (about New Orleans) is about as good as it gets. "Crazy Love" was the huge hit and the CD closes with "Legend". I seem to be relying on old favorites the past few weeks. I wonder what is next.

Notes Off My Cuff...

My oldest daughter is getting ready to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa in about three weeks. Unbelievable! During that process, she has been a mother to a beautiful, articulate young lady. How hard is that? Has she been a perfect student or mother? No. But the courage and forthright to see that through to the end impresses me a great deal. She seems to be in love, mostly happy (to not be happy is in the genes, sorry Jess) and has done an overall fine job. She reminds me of my mom, who over came more struggles with more determination than any one I have ever met. All she wanted was a decent life for her kids. She did a great job. You too, Jess. I will see you in three weeks.

My youngest continues the march away from home into adulthood. She, too, seems to be mostly happy (it's an uphill fight for us Raleys),in love and has done an overall fine job. Next year is it with her then she is on her way to make her mark, whatever that mark is. With each passing day, I can see her release the bondage of parenthood in everything that she does. Whether it's prom, driving or just interviewing for her first job. It's happening. Just about 500 days left. Time will not slow down, so therefore, I must make everything out of every second we have. She is talented and creative. She, too reminds me of my mother. She takes no shit from anyone (even sometimes from her parents).

The thought of taking a job out of town is not one that I relish but, I would have to leave if that right thing came along. I hope the radio road is not done for me here in St. Louis, I think I have a lot to offer anyone here. I have always prided myself on being a professional broadcaster, capable of handling just about anything thrown my way. There is something interesting being discussed. I pray it happens. We will see.

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