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Don Graham and Deborah Silver
by Rollye James
Don Graham: “In Support of her new CD, ‘The Gold Standards,’ which debuted at #1 on the
Billboard Jazz chart, Deborah Silver flew from Florida to Los Angeles last week for a series
of radio, tv and press interviews, including on air in-studio visits with Mike Horn’s ‘PM
Show’ (CRN), Brad Chambers’ ‘Martini-in-the-Morning,’ Brad Williams (KJAZ/FM 88.1),
and a tour of Mt. Wilson Broadcasting with president CEO Saul Levine. The above shot is of
Deborah and I, taken upon her arrival, in my palatial, elaborate office.” [If you don’t have a
copy yet, click on the CD for a good price from Amazon. .]
Jim Sloane: “I was on a radio show from 8-9 am this morning..(KVOI AM 1030 talk radio)
talked about my experiences with George Jones the Country singer...This was my third
appearance and I will be back in January for the 4th...talking about my experiences with Willie
Nelson..I have already talked about Elvis, Buck Owens, Marty Robbins and one entire show
on Glen Campbell..It has been lots of fun..I have enjoyed it..They are talking about running
all three programs back to back for 3 hours on December 26th..guess they can't find anyone to
interview the day after Christmas...lol.”
Jim Sloane talkin' George Jones
Woody Roberts: “Got a call from my friend Richard King IV (Ricardo) about a Stevie Ray
Vaughan exhibit at the Texas State History Museum in Austin that he has been ask to
coordinate. Ricardo is a King Ranch descendent and we have worked on trying to get a couple
of music project off the ground, notably a live blues show out of Antone's for NPR. Anyway,
the Grammy Museum in LA has created a SRV tribute and it has already been displayed in LA
and in Tulsa where the Woody Guthery Museum is and it's now over at the Grammy Museum
in Cleveland. Mississippi. [click here
to see it.]
“I suggested since SRV&DT sprang out of Austin and Manor Downs we create a special
Austin wall showcasing local photos and posters. They're interested. I've never kept anything
of my past involvements, from radio startup in 1959 to the TV channel 2003. Only kept two
pictures of Stevie. Wish I'd kept the Carnegie Hall poster, rare today. Here's the pics I held on
C-101 Corpus Christie with my Music Director Mando Camina [R, with Stevie Ray Vaughn].
C-shell with antenna logo Woody’s idea. They still use it.
Before it all happened ... July, 1981 at Sam’s BBQ on E 12th Street. Double Trouble rhythm section,
left is Whipper aka Chris Layton on drums, guy in the middle Tommy Shannon on bass, and Stevie
Ray Vaughn. In the 1960s Tommy played with Johnny Winter Trio out of Houston. Stevie used to
have Sam's BBQ ribs express shipped when out on tour. Sam's was then in a kinda rundown soulful
blues lifestyle part of town. Woody says: Fabulous ribs.
“Pleased to report a fabulous day in my shrinking enchanted forest, sunny high of 65F.”
Rollye: “Woody’s weather report set off a flurry of emails, including some from Claude Hall,
which are always a delight to see.”
Claude Hall (to Woody and friends): “You mention Austin weather. We never have any of that
stuff here ... or not very much of it. It snowed a few years ago. About an inch. Soon melted
away. And now and then we get rain with heavy rolling thunder. I follow the weather at
Rochester, NY, where it's currently 27 degrees and there's light snow, more than likely lake
effect. It can lake effect to seven inches. When the weatherman mentions snow, watch out.
One guy told me he drove as far as he could and got out and sloshed to the nearest house and
stayed three days. Snow is two feet, as a rule. And never ever go to Watertown at the end of
Robert Weisbuch: “You guys know I'm a Rochesterian, right? Or as we say, Raaachestarian”
Claude Hall: “The reason I hark to Rochester, is that I taught 6-8 years at SUNY/Brockport.
In fact, I won a "teaching excellence" award from the president one year and one of my
students was honored as Student of the Year and mentioned me in his acceptance talk. God,
but it got cold in Brockport!”
Woody Roberts: “Didn't Ken Wolt aka Danny Clayton after leaving WPOP also work in
Rochester? Never been there.”
Rollye: “Yes, Ken/Danny had a great run at WBBF. (First time I met Danny in person was at
Claude Hall's fabulous 1975 Billboard convention in San Francisco. A great time was had by
all.) Ken/Danny's career is fairly legendary so I’ll skip the other calls and positions (from
night jock to owner), but you might find it interesting to see what he’s up to now. Actually,
you may have seen him and not known it, as he’s back in Los Angeles building quite the acting
“Speaking of television, Claude Hall sent word of a half hour show featuring Tom Russell
and ‘The Rose of Roscrae’, part of the Masters National PBS TV Show ‘Songs at the Center,’
hosted by Eric Gneza
, celebrating songwriters. Take time to view the whole episode here
Randy West: “Just seconds before we hit the stage tonight in Bellingham, WA your name came
up! Our host of "The Price is Right - Live," Todd Newton asked about the dynamic local DJ
he met when we were doing the show in Atlantic City - "That Geator Guy!" I responded that
Jerry Blavat was the toast of that coast, and that I was overdue with a shout-out to Rollye who
could confirm that the Geator was still rocking A.C. and environs. We're doing our last dates
of the fall tour of this unstoppable 13-year phenomenon of the stage presentation of America's
longest running game show. I was hired off of the CBS show where I filled-in for our beloved
Rod Roddy during the days when he was ravaged by cancer.”
Rollye: “Jerry Blavat? At 76, he’s still on the radio every day (weekdays on WVLT in
Vineland, NJ; WBCB in Levittown, PA; and WTKU in Linwood/Atlantic City NJ— Saturdays
on University of Pennslvania’s WXTU, and Sundays on WOND South Jersey). Needless to
say, that’s all on tape, though the tapes are new and generated daily. He’s still performing live
virtually every night (and in Summer, every Friday and Saturday he’s at the Margate, NJ club
he owns, “Memories”). I’m tired just writing that. I remember well sitting with Jerry when I
was doing Vox Jox for Billboard decades ago, talking about his future plans. He had just
adjusted his retirement age from a looming 45 to 50. ‘I’m done at 50,’ he assured me. Twenty
six years past 50, there’s still not stopping him.
“Robert W. Morgan had retirement plans too. As soon as his daughter turned 18, he was off
to live in the California Delta (due to its bass fishing opportunities). He missed that deadline...
and then never got the chance.”
Bob Sherwood: “Ms. Rollye, to your point in the Dec. 5th column, I happened to be in LA on
the day that the irascible and beyond-brilliant Robert W. Morgan announced his 'retirement'
from broadcasting during his K-Earth morning show. As I recall---and it's been about 20
years---he made a straight-forward comment about it being a health issue, cancer related. He
didn't understand how he got it. Then--after a Morgan in the Morgan pause---of course, it could
have something to do with the two packs of Pall Mall's he'd been consuming daily for the last
Rollye: “Funny about that. Robert always proclaimed immunity from smoking’s woes. His
parents, AM & FM (Arthur Morgan and Florence Morgan) were life long smokers, still going
strong into their 90s. He apparently didn’t investigate his genealogy any further than that.
Robert was not a happy fellow. Ironic that his misery is what gave the rest of us so much
mirth. No one was a better complainer. I clearly remember sitting with him at the Delta many,
many years ago at the politically incorrectly named ‘Al The Wop’s’ steakhouse in Locke. As he
was hilariously (to me, not to him) going over his cavalcade of current gripes, I gave him some
advice: If you don’t like work and you don’t like home, you better love the drive in between.
At that moment, he was complaining about the commute. Turning serious, I suggested he
either find a way to make peace with his current circumstances, or change them, because the
inner-battle he was waging would lead to an early grave. Robert quit drinking but he wasn’t
sober in the full sense. He was an excellent dry-drunk who figured he could mentally pummel
his way through anything. When I heard about his diagnosis, that conversation flooded back
into my consciousness, and I was saddened but not surprised.
“Back to happier things— a picture of Randy West living life to the fullest doing what he
loves and getting paid for it. Now here’s an inspiration:
Randy West: “So it's. 2:26AM, and the rock and roll tricked-out tour bus is just pulling out of a
truck stop to battle the snow-covered mountain passes. I bid you adieu and offer a hearty
"Come on Down!" All the best, Rollye! Looking forward to the next Vox Jox!”
collection of early radio nostalgia, but darn— it was closed Mondays and Tuesdays. I also
confided that I’ve adopted his “Come On Down” to my police reports. That’s our most
requested news feature here in Globe-Miami. For a small town, we’ve got an unduly amount
of arrests (and often not for minor things— like the kid of a prosperous well-known
businessman being nabbed for armed robbery), and everybody knows everyone. So when I’m
facing a jail log two pages log, I can’t help but add a dramatic flair… ‘Jose Duarte, come on
down! You’re served with three warrants! Kidnapping! Assault! And…. Shoplifting!’ To say
the least, I’ve got a captive audience.”
Marcia Winters (replying to an email from Claude Hall): “I usually use my phone to quickly
check email, and I must have missed this email from you...so very sorry!! If you still want
some reminiscences (?) from those old days, I would be glad to try to send you some
memories. Right now, I'm in Connecticut, visiting with my family, but will send as soon as I
get back to New Mexico. My daughter, Grahame Winters, now does mid days at Y101, Cape
Cod (voice tracked) though she is pretty much out of radio now otherwise, working for the
Board of Ed in her town here in CT. Hey, have you heard anything about Art Wander, of
Buffalo? Last I heard from Art was last March, I wrote to him, and have not gotten a reply. (I
was a kid, hanging around the station when he programmed WPOP, and we have more or less
kept in touch over all the years...) Not like Art at all.
Rollye: “Art? You OK? Please check in. And Marcia, I’m going to hold you to reminiscing.
Looking forward to whatever you send. —Which is true for all of you reading this. It’s your
column, literally. The inbox at info@VoxJox.org
will be richer for your contributions.”
Chuck Buell: “Exhibit A:
Earliest known record cleaner.
“Years ago, I would have never thought a device such as this would be widely available
[Click on the image if you want to spend $500 for one from Amazon.]
“Then, on further research, I find that this, and machines like it, have been around for some
[This one from Keith Monks is in use at the Swiss Public Domain Society.]
“Vinyl was a big part of my life when I was a kid! And now today I'm out
of touch about vinyl?! What's next? A Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Ring?
“Warmly, Chuck (Warmly. Get it? That special sound a vinyl aficionado believes to be of
a superior quality over audio tape and CDs! )
Rollye: “Indeed I do, so long as the vinyl is played on a decent tube amp. Warm in every
sense of the word. About that Captain Midnight Decoder Ring——
Chuck Buell continues: “On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn piloted the "Friendship 7" spacecraft
on the first manned orbital mission of the United States completing a successful three-orbit
mission around the earth. It inspired me to go deep into my personal archives…
“…to come up with this.
“Do you remember this obscure, jazzy tribute by William Allen and His Orchestra that soon
followed that Historical Flight?
“I remember hearing it on the radio a couple of times, and rushing down to my local record
store to get a copy. I have no idea if it even charted. Anyway, it sounded like this
“By the way, do you know who this Allen Guy was? I couldn't find any information on him.
“CB (which stands for ‘Cosmonaut Boy!’)”
Rollye: “Chuck is right about the song not charting, although on June 26, 1961, Billboard
picked it— the other side of it, actually, the same instrumental without the added dialog. And
given that it came out in 1961, although John Glenn is on our minds, he’s not the subject of
the recording. It was Alan B. Shepard, who would have been the first man in space, but the
flight was delayed repeatedly. Finally Mercury-Redstone 3 (which Shepard renamed Freedom
7) took flight on May 5,1961— three weeks after a Russian Cosmonaut launched. (The
following year, Glenn, who like Shepard was a part of the original Mercury 7, took off,
renaming his rocket Friendship 7, as Chuck mentioned.) In 1962, Glenn became the first
American to orbit the earth and the fifth man in space. But enough facts— let’s get on to pure
“‘Who is ‘this Allen guy?’.... Gene Schwartz (and everyone else at Laurie Records back then)
is no longer around to ask, but I’ve always had my suspicions. I think it’s Count Basie.
Other than what my ears lead me to wonder, here’s the logic: Count Basie, who was born
William James Basie, had used the name “William Allen” on several occasions prior to that
recording. Even though a few labels had product out by him at the time, he was (as far as I
know) still under contract to Moishe Levy at Roulette. “William Allen Orchestra” isn’t a
stretch. You also won’t find anything on the writer of the song ‘P. Aleuia.’ (Search enough
and the closest you’ll come up is a Cal Tjader cut ‘Aleuia’ but that’s a typo in the label copy.
The name of the song is ‘Aleluia,’ a common variant of Hallelujah, which Tjader recorded in
1979.) When it comes to Theme From Freedom 7, I think it’s all pseudonyms. But not only is
this wild speculation, its speculation from afar, so if anyone is reading this and can shed more
Mel Phillips: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that Amazon is now taking orders for my
All have been updated to reflect late changes. You'll also read my humble opinions (IMHO's)
about each topic. Subjects range from AM/FM radio to digital audio and everything
in-between. The book is on sale for $10.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle.
a good Amazon price. All are also listed on the sidebar to your left.]
More Mel Phillips: “All the important reunion dates you'll need to note, follow our final
flashback to the year WRKO launched: 1967...
Annual Salary: $7,300
Minimum Wage $1.40
Chevy II Nova: $2,750
Movie tickets: $1.25
Transistor Radios $9.95
“Next week, we'll get back to posting photos of the on-air staff and management through the
years. I welcome new photos that you might have...
Al Gates Joel Cash J.J. Jeffrey Chuck Knapp
Arnie Ginsburg Jordan Rich George Capalbo Jr.
Friday, June 2, 2017: Invitations will be emailed in March for the Reunion Dinner at the
Crowne Plaza (Newton) Charles Ballroom. Cocktails at 6 followed by dinner. Jordan Rich
will emcee. Parking fees will be waived with front desk validation for those driving to the
“Saturday June 3, 2017: On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO & Backbone Network streaming
(produced by George Capalbo Jr.) featuring a lineup that includes Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J.
Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp, Arnie Ginsburg and other WRKO voices (TBD). Music & Jingles
will come from 1967. Art Vuolo will video tape the reunion, a copy of which will go into the
National Radio Hall Of Fame in Chicago...
Rooms are still available at the Crowne Plaza (Newton). Check-in Friday (June 2) Checkout
Sunday (June 4). Call 617-969-3010. Ask for special "WRKO Reunion" rate of $159 a night
(tax not included). You'll pay about $175 after taxes but more if you park at the hotel. We
suggest using a cab or car service getting to the hotel and while staying there...
Dinner invitations mailed in 3 months, party time in 6 months!...”