Hey y’all! As the vast majority of you know, I’ve been the host of The Jazz Program on datafruits.fm for a good couple years now, and the host of a small show called Talkie Time on the timeslot before it. I’ve decided to make a monthly post here to let you fine folks know which records we’re going to be playing each episode, as well as take a bit to talk about some of my favorite jazz and jazz-related artists and records. This one will be our programming calendar for the month of May of 2023.
If you’d like to tune in, head on over to datafruits.fm/chat on Tuesday evenings from 10 PM EST/7 PM PST to 1 AM EST/10 PM PST. If you’d like to learn more about the show and read about the fantastic artists and old-time radio shows we’re broadcasting this week…well, read on.
First, a bit of an interlude…
IF I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING, IT WOULDN’T BE CALLED RESEARCH – SOURCING THE HISTORY OF OLD TIME RADIO
Last week, we talked about my history with collecting old-time radio, the Dead, and other fun things on cassettes, as well as a bit of my history with manipulating cassettes in my work as a musician and DJ. Collecting these little guys is fun and all, but when it comes to researching them for these write-ups and for the show, there’s a lot more than just spinning .mp3s that goes into it.
For a long time, the old time radio hobby was kind of open season. Much like found footage groups, folks would trade cassettes at swap meets, often with very little in the way of labeling, consistency in naming conventions, or much else. The transition to .mp3s and filesharing in the late ’90s, and early ’00s didn’t exactly help much. It was pretty common to find shows with woefully incorrect metadata, or literally no metadata at all. Thankfully, these days we have a lot of groups that have gone out of their way to research, catalogue, and document as much as possible about these pieces of radio history.
The OTRR is often my first port of call when doing research on a new program to play on the air. Between their encylcopedic main website and their archive work on archive.org, if a radio show exists these folks probably have it in their registry. They even have a program on offer called OTTER, which fixes metadata and helps track down missing info in case you find a show file that’s incomplete, and the OTTRPedia is another great resource for finding that kind of info manually.
For tracking down exact show air dates, Old Time Radio Downloads usually has pretty close to what I’d be looking for. I try and list the exact date of air for each show when I can, but sometimes the dates conflict. Ninety nine percent of the time, OTRD has the exact date of air I’m looking for. OTTRPedia also often has that info, but I like the way OTRD has it displayed; a simple CTRL+F and a quick type of the episode name gets me the info I need, quick as you like.
Finally, as much as I’d like to keep you locked on datafruits.fm during my show hours, there’s a lot of other Internet radio stations1 I use to discover new-to-me shows to share with all of you. Oldtime.radio is a great web player with different “stations” that are sorted by genre, Audio Noir is a former pirate radio station (and current Internet radio station) out of Chicago that focuses on the best of noir radio plays, and if you want a break from the radio plays and want some call-in cranks and spoops, U7 plays the best of Art Bell twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Speaking of radio…
MAY 2023 TALKIE TIME / JAZZ PROGRAM SCHEDULE
May 2, 2023
Talkie Time : Lives Of Harry Lime - Works Of Art / Clay Pidgeon
‘The Third Man’, released in 1949, directed by Carol Reed, and starring Joseph Cotten in the lead role of Holly Martins and the great Orson Welles himself as Harry Lime, is an undisputed classic of film noir. Hell, the British Film Institute once declared it the greatest British film of all time. At the risk of spoiling an over seventy year old movie, the film follows Martins attempting to find out who killed his friend Lime, only to find out that Lime faked his own death. Lime eventually finds himself actually killed by Martins, and that’s where the story ends.
This film isn’t where the story of Harry Lime begins, however.
Starring Welles reprising his role from the 1949 cult movie, ‘Lives Of Harry Lime’ forms a series of prequels of sorts, telling the many tales of Lime’s work (and many lives) as a con artist. As Welles himself puts it, “Harry Lime had many lives… and I can recount all of them. How do I know? Very simple. Because my name is Harry Lime.”
We’ll be listening to “Works Of Art”, originally aired on September 28, 1951, and “Clay Pidgeon”, which aired on August 17, 1951.
The Jazz Program Presents First Of The Month: Listener Request Night : Chick Corea for The Boss Man
It’s Listener Request night again, and we’ve got a top-priority request here. Datafruits’ own big cheese, MC Firedrill–or “Ton’” as I often refer to him– wants to hear some Chick Corea. And who am I to refuse the Big Cheese?
Anyways, we’ll be playing three records from Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, namely 1986’s self-titled, 1987’s ‘Light Years’ and 1991’s ‘Beneath The Mask.’
May 9, 2023
Talkie Time : Night Beat - Number 13 / I Wish You Were Dead
There have been many legends of radio and TV with some notable sponsors. Orson Welles’ radio theatre troupe was notably sponsored by Campbell Soup. Jim Henson got his start blowing up proto-Muppets in the name of Wilkin’s Coffee. But very few can say that they were sponsored by your alcoholic stepdad’s breakfast of choice–namely, the winning combination of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and Wheaties.2
Night Beat has that honor. Starring Frank Lovejoy himself as reporter Randy Stone, each episode has Stone on the titular night beat for the Chicago Star, and each episode ends with him screaming for the copy boy to take his story in to the editor’s office because he was just too lazy to do it himself, just like your alcoholic stepdad used to do about the TV remote. Sponsored by the breakfast of champions, indeed. We’ll be hearing ‘Number 13’, which originally aired on March 6, 1950, as well as ‘I Wish You Were Dead’, which originally aired on May 22, 1950.
The Jazz Program: Smoke If Ya Got ‘Em - Joe Henderson’s ‘Relaxin’ at Camarillo’ (1979), Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘Stoneflower’ (1970), and Jeremy Manasia’s ‘Witchery’ (2007)
Look, we gotta have at least one dumbass theme night on the schedule.
The idea of “records with dudes smoking on the cover” honestly comes directly from my recent listens of Jeremy Manasia’s “Witchery”, a record I put on because the cover amused the hell out of me. The idea of a relatively energetic piano jazz record with a cover art featuring the lead pianist ripping a hit off a blunt with ‘Murica sunglasses and a giant doofy grin on his face is just a fantastic one.
It then occurred to me that there’s an absurd amount of jazz records that just have “band leader hitting a cigar/cigarette/blunt” for cover art. So, I put together a list. You find recurring themes in the strangest places, man. We’ll be listening to Joe Henderson’s seminal ‘Relaxin’ At Camarillo’, Jobim’s masterpiece of bossa nova ‘Stone Flower’, and the aforementioned New York jazz scene staple’s ‘Witchery’.
May 16, 2023
Talkie Time : Dick Lawrence Review - Lost Pilot Of A Lost Age
Broadcast from the legendary (and now overtaken by a soft rock station and apparently wiped from the face of Wikipedia) classical station WNIB in Chicago in the ’80s and ’90s, The Dick Lawrence Review is an interesting case in the history of narrative radio. A writer & vintage music historian who got his start in the early 1970s at WXFM with a “Roaring 20s” show, Dick’s radio programs combined vintage music, pulp magazine stories, and what he called “audio archeology, a restoration of antiq sounds”.
I haven’t managed to find many recordings of his show (or even a photo of the man), and the ones I could track down have very little in terms of metadata and broadcast dates, but the ones I have found are fantastic. We’ll be listening to “Lost Pilot Of A Lost Age” tonight.
The Jazz Program: Ben Webster - See You At The Fair (1964) / Ben Webster Plays Duke Ellington (1989) / Soulville (1957)
I love me some Ben Webster. Old-time fans of the show know that, before we went to an “artist spotlight”-type format, the title track from his record “Soulville” was our unofficial theme song. Slow, jazzy, and the perfect theme to “light up a smoke, light a cigar, and light your local police precinct on fire” (as the old opening to the show used to go), Ben and the gang know how to set a mood.
We’ll be setting plenty of moods this evening, with 1964’s “See You At The Fair”, 1989’s ‘Ben Webster Plays Duke Ellington’, and the aforementioned ‘Soulville’, released in 1957.
May 23, 2023
Talkie Time: Fear On Four - Green And Pleasant / Survival
Aired originally between 1988 and 1997 on BBC4, “Fear On Four” features host Edward de Souza as “The Man In Black” in a fantastic horror anthology series. If there was ever a BBC Radio production that saw the sound staff earning their paycheck, this is it. The foley is impeccable, and with stories by authors like Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley.
Tonight we’ll be listening to ‘Green And Pleasant’, written by Bert Coules and originally airing on January 3, 1991, and ‘Survival’, adapted from a story by John Wyndham and originally airing on March 19, 1989.
The Jazz Program : Ingfried Hoffman (Memphis Black) - Soul Cowboy (1969) / Soul Club (1969) / Hammond Bond (2007)
The pop jazz scene in the 60s and 70s was a weird one, as exemplified by last month’s Tom Jones Pretends To Be An American For Two Hours, To Varied But Amusing Results. Carrying on with that theme, we have legendary German jazz organist and composer Ingfried Hoffman, who…well, for some reason, donned the visage of a black-as-fuck soul band from the deep South for two entire records.
sigh I’m going to be honest, I tried as hard as I could to figure out a way to frame this episode without a “yeah no, this is not okay”-type disclaimer. Unfortunately for me, we’re pulling pseudonymous European jazz records from the time period which had both the golden age of blaxsploitation cinema and a European jazz scene that saw a lot of composers for television getting into producing their own records and finding out real quick that putting a random well-to-do TV-sound-booth white guy in a suit on the cover was not going to move discs.
Ingfried spent a lot of his earlier career played with Rolf Kühn and many others during this time period 3, so there is a distinct possibility this was meant as an explicit tribute to the Memphis scene that just so happened to wear the face of American blaxploitation cinema because that’s the inspiration he was pulling from. Or, more likely, they just wanted to move records, and figured putting a young black chick on the cover would be more effective than an old German dude.
Regardless of intent, there’s an absurd amount of musical blackface from this period in music history, and there’s no getting around that. I’m not gonna ignore this time period on a show dedicated to deep dives in and around jazz, but I’m also not just slap a “this music was a product of its time” label on this episode and play the records without pointing this all out, or ignore the problematic elements of this time period entirely.
With that stated, tonight’s show features two of his records under the pseudonym of “Memphis Black” or “Memphis Soul Band”–depending on where you were in the world when buying this record, as the releases differ in the US and EU releases–as well as his eponymous release “From Twen With Love”. Disclaimer aside, these three releases are some of the finest examples of chill-out organ work from this time period, and are fairly essential and rare grooves from a time period that would eventually lay the foundation for electronic genres like trip-hop, downtempo, and more.
May 30, 2023
Talkie Time: Cloak And Dagger Night - The Brenner Pass Story / The People In The Forest
We’re continuing our end-of-the-month listenthrough of “Cloak And Dagger”, the radio drama adaptation of Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain’s 1946 book “Cloak and Dagger: The Secret Story of the OSS”, Cloak and Dagger has proved a frequent listen while I’ve inked away at Our Lady Maven, and it’s absolutely worth a listen even for those of you who aren’t currently drowning yourself in WWII spy history for work.
This is our third night in our listen-through of the full series, and we’ll be listening to the two episodes which sequentially followed last month’s edition–namely, ‘The Kachin Story’ and ‘Direct Lines To Bombers’, which aired on June 18, 1950 and June 25, 1950 respectively.
The Jazz Program Presents CRIME JAZZ NIGHT! : Crime Jazz Volume 1, Discs 1-3
Like we say every month – those in the know, know about Crime Jazz. And if you don’t know, we’ll be getting you in the know tonight for yet another end-of-the-month installment of Crime Jazz Night. We’ll be taking our first steps into the original first volume of the pirate site master compilation, with discs 1-3.
That’s the show lineup for this month! I’ll be back in a few days with a few other posts–I’ve got a lot to write about that I’ve been meaning to put up here, but I’ve been busy with a bunch of life stuff, including getting ready to finally leave Colorado and head off to greener pastures. I’ll see you next time.
Have a good one.
We’re talking more about talkies than jazz here, but if you’d like other Internet radio stations to tune into that have similar jazzy sounds to my own, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Illinois Street Lounge and Secret Agent on soma.fm. ↩︎
If that sounds like a strange thing for me to fixate on, I want to point out that this strange sponsorship pairing is literally in the first three lines of the Wikipedia article.. I’m gonna guess that I’m not the only one who finds that combo unintentionally hilarious. ↩︎
To underscore the point of “yeah no, literally half the records from this time period and in this genre were just Not Okay by today’s standards”, it’s also worth noting that Ingfried’s first LP credit with Rolf Kühn–namely, ‘Rolf Kuhn feat. Klaus Doldinger’, released in 1962–was only three years after Martin Denny’s ‘Afro-Desia’, another record (and composer) who we’ll eventually get to on another episode with its own disclaimer. Popular jazz in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s was just kinda appropriational at best and outright ‘of its time’ type racist at worst. ↩︎