Musical Cheese Archive: 28 February 2012

I guess this has been pretty low on my list of priorities, but I do slog along with it. In 2012, while attending an evening computer class at Illinois Institute of Technology, I was able to host a radio shift on the campus station, WIIT. For the first time in nearly 30 years, I was back on the radio, with “Musical Cheese”.

Last time I was on the air, everything was still turntable based. There were CD decks, but not a lot of discs to play them on. Now music came not only from CD’s but I could play music from my laptop, or from a memory card. As much as I was intrigued by the idea of replacing my heavy crates with a memory chip the size of a postage stamp, that I carried in my cell phone, the only drawback was that I couldn’t crossfade songs if they were both on the SD card. And I wanted to improvise by keeping a larger music collection on my laptop, and a big crate of CDs. I even brought in a few tunes from Spotify, and managed not to let any of their ads on. Continue reading “Musical Cheese Archive: 28 February 2012”

Can You Tame Wild Wimmen: Gotham by Gaslight

Just as I finally decided to get my dormant musicalcheese.com url to point to this section, I also got approved as an iTunes affiliate. So, If I can offer some musical cheese stories good enough to get you to click on and buy the music indicated, I might get a nickel or so.

Gotham by Gaslight

While the latest movies adapted from DC Comics have been somewhat hit or miss, they have had several animated videos produced for the home market. Many of these are adaptations of some of the comics’ graphic novels, like “The Killing Joke” or best-known storylines. But rather than being straight adaptations, they twist away from the source material in interesting ways. Continue reading “Can You Tame Wild Wimmen: Gotham by Gaslight”

The Return of Musical Cheese! Sept 12, 2012

Here we are with a new semester at good ol’ WIIT, the voice of Illinois Institute of Technology. The little radio station that could now has a new board and all us DJ’s have had to go in for re-training.

I discovered that this board is much easier to use than the last one,¬† as long as I don’t try to do anything fancy, like try to put phone calls on the air. The two CD decks will start playing when you hit the “on air” button on the board. And best of all, they have another deck for digital media: Flash drives, USB drives, etc. We are even closer to realizing my dream of being able to bring in all my music for a show on the half-a-postage-stamp sized chip in my cell phone. Continue reading “The Return of Musical Cheese! Sept 12, 2012”

Musical Cheese II: The saga continues!

Now, I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this little broadcast from the studios of WIIT. There may be a job coming down the line that keeps me from coming in for class, who knows? The next podcast could be my last!

So I learned a few things after last week’s opening salvo. First, the Virtual DJ software on my Windows netbook is by default expecting a soundcard installed with two outputs: one for cue and one for air. So whenever I dropped an MP3 track on one of the cue decks, a channel on the song playing on air would cut out. Finally found the configuration to acknowledge that there’s just the one stereo output. Now if I can just figure why the plug feeding the sound board only plays the right channel (I tried my headphone in the jack, that’s pure stereo). For the sake of this podcast, I tracked the right channel into both ears.
Continue reading “Musical Cheese II: The saga continues!”

Back in the Booth! My Musical Cheese show

It’s something I’ve awaited for 25 years. I had promised myself that, if by some chance I got myself affiliated with a school or college with a radio station, I would get myself an air shift!

And that one-class certificate course I’m taking at Illinois Institute of Technology is my ticket.
Once I knew I would be going to the downtown campus for a class, I signed up to do a radio shift on WIIT-FM, broadcasting from the campus center on State St.
Continue reading “Back in the Booth! My Musical Cheese show”

What I learned Today #3: Cielito Lindo

Despite having plenty of access to Latino culture as a resident of a major metropolis, I still have not for the life of me been able to learn much Mexican folk music. You know, the songs that define the culture for an entire nation, yet here in America they’re rudely appropriated from their original context to sell stuff or in an attempt to be funny. You know: “I dance! I dance! I dance! Upon a Mexican hat!”

Recognition usually comes to me out of the blue. Today I’m listening to ancient records on WFMU’s “Antique Phonograph Music Program” for Jan 13. The announcer intros a song from 1924 he calls “Beautiful Heaven.” It’s a Latin tinged orchestra instrumental, which suddenly leads into the familiar chorus of “Ay, Yi, Yi, Yi!” Hey! I know this tune. Some searching around the title finally informs me that yes, it is a Mexican folk tune, originally titled “Cielito Lindo.”

As the Wikipedia article I linked to will inform you younger kids, this tune is better known to us Anglos of a certain age as the “Frito Bandito” song. Hope I can remember at least its proper title when I hear it again.

Frito Bandito

Yes, as a kid I had a sticker with this artwork on my dresser drawer.

A few of my favorite Holiday sounds

Rather than another rant about the general awfulness of selection on radio stations that go “all Christmas songs” before Halloween, let’s check out some links to favorite aural treats:

Sound Opinions,” NPR’s rock’n’roll talk show, is scheduled for a visit from DJ Andy Cizran, who each year presents a collection of found vinyl Christmas oddities. The show airs Friday, Dec. 21, and a podcast should be posted to the site linked shortly afterward. It’ll also be available on iTunes (eyes right for the link), but go to the website for a link to a full 60 min. mixtape download of “Seance with Santa.”
Chicago Public Radio - APM: Sound Opinions on Demand - APM: Sound Opinions on Demand

My current favorite music show is freeform radio station WFMU’s Saturday show, Fool’s Paradise, a full two hours of early garage rock, schlockabilly, R&B and more Salvation Army finds by artists even I’ve never heard of! This link, when clicked sometime after Dec. 22, will let you stream that day’s Christmas show. Roll over, Brenda Lee, they’ll be rockin’ around more than a Christmas Tree (the Dec. 15 show has an interview and choice rarities by the late Ike Turner).

Speaking of WFMU, their incredible “Beware of the Blog” still has, for your listening pleasure, ripped tracks from both volumes of Rhino Records’ “The Rhino Brothers Present – The Worlds Worst Records,” issued in 1983 or so. As a bonus, there are the four tracks of the Temple City Kazoo Orchestra’s “Some Kazoos” album. Fair Use dictates these links will only be “live” for a brief while, so check ’em out now, even if they aren’t holiday-themed.
Only trouble is, the .mp3’s for Vol. 2 seem to not include “Paralyzed” by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Fear not, for they had already ripped both sides of the original Mercury single here!

And here’s the greatest radio Christmas story since, well, Jean Shepard’sA Christmas Story.” Author David Sedaris reads his “The Santaland Diaries,” about his experiences as an elf at Macy’s Santaland. It repeats often on NPR’s “This American Life,” but here’s a link to the program where it first appeared. The iTunes link at right has the current week’s show (I’m feeling all linky today).
Chicago Public Radio - This American Life - This American Life

And Shep’s story was drawn from several radio reminiscences, so there’s no single radio show to hear the “original” on, but the site above has lotsa podcasts of original radio shows.

As the Beatles said, “Happy Kringle!”

What I Learned Today #2: Herbie Flowers

This comes from the fine radio show “Mint,” which, regrettably, is being pulled from the BBC 6 schedule:

Herbie Flowers is someone you’ve heard, if you’ve heard classic rock at all. He’s a session bass player who started out playing tuba on cruise ship bands in the early 60’s, and began to pick up the jazz bass. During a stopover in New York he discovers the new trend of electric jazz, and starts out with the electric bass, which leads to a career as a session musician. Result: He created the two coolest bass lines of all 70’s rock: David Essex’ “Rock On” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” He’s also on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” though I suspect most people don’t associate that song as much with its bass line. And on Jeff Wayne’s double prog LP “War of the Worlds.”

Just as extra filler for this space, we was in the classical pops group Sky, with guitarist John Williams.

Your nugget of stuff you never knew was connected for today.

What I Learned Today #1: Loulie Jean Norman

I want to try and start a little feature that I may be able to update more often than I am now (my Super Bowl rant is still coming, trust me). In the course of wandering the internet, I pick up lots of halfway interesting facts. Some are answers to questions that have been in the back of my mind for years. I call this

What I Learned Today

 

Back in 1959, the inestimable Spike Jones produced an album called Spike Jones in Stereo–of course there was a mono version titled “Spike Jones in Hi-Fi.” Subtitled “A Spooktacular in Screaming Sound!”, it was a cute riff on monster movies that had become popular on TV at the time. Of course voice artist Paul Frees is there, reprising his rendition of “My Old Flame,” and employing his stock voice cast of monster characters and mad scientists. He’s joined by others in Spike repertoire company, plus Thurl Ravenscroft and a female character referred to only as “Vampira.” Long had I wondered, after first hearing the album back in 1980; could this have been the legendary Vampira, one of the first TV monster movie hosts back in 1955, and later a star of the cult classic “Plan 9 from Outer Space?”

I was finally moved to look it up. The album’s listing on allmusic.com shows the only female vocals are by one Loulie Jean Norman. As I suspected: “Vampira” was just an easy and generic name for a monster-based comedy bit.

But who was Loulie Jean Norman? Of course, she had a Wikipedia entry, where we find she was a coloratura soprano who had dubbed the singing voice of Diahann Carroll in the movie version of “Porgy and Bess,” including the song “Summertime.”

But, and here’s the payoff: she also sang the vocalese in the opening theme for the original series of “Star Trek” back in 1966. Yes, there are lyrics that Gene Roddenberry wrote to get in on the music publishing royalties, but for most of the world, the only words to that theme are Loulie’s “Aaah-AAAAAH-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahh!”

Now you know. Go read a book.