Valet Confidential

Find out what I've been keeping under my hat


MLK Day & Indigenous Peoples

I’m really happy with how the “Gospel Brunch” played out on this week’s show. There is some serious funkness happening in the first half, and the sermon is the closing excerpt from Rev. King’s address at the conclusion of the march from Selma to Birmingham in March 1965.

Prompted by a track by Jeremy Dutcher that I heard on a globalFEST wrap-up episode from NPR Music, I already had tracks from Indigenous musicians and poets planned for this show, before I knew about the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on January 19. In fact, I originally planned all this for half of the previous Omnipop Omnibus (January 6), but I pushed it to this week when I saw how much great Tom Ardolino-related material I had for that show. Lots of great new recordings from David Greenberger, Black Thought, Chuck D, The Molice, and Juliana Hatfield, plus a little love note to my sweetheart at the end. xo

This week’s “Son of a Preacher Man” performed by Dom & The Giants

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Tom Ardolino Celebration

Well, I haven’t posted a new show in a bazillion months, but I want to share this one with you all. Hopefully it will spur me on to more regular posts, but I suppose only time will tell.

For this show I wanted to celebrate the musical legacy of Tom Ardolino, who both arrived and departed in the month of January. I have done a few of these celebrations of Tom and this year I decided to reach out to several people who knew him well and ask for a song or two which made them think of Tom. I told them it could be something he played on, something he sang, something he had shared with them on a mix tape, something they had introduce to Tom, or anything else that made them think of him. I was really touched by the thoughtful responses I got. At least three people suggested “Crazy” by The Hollywood Flames (the flip side of “Buzz Buzz Buzz”) as Tom’s favorite son, so of course I had to play that. The rest of the playlist I’ll let you discover on your own, and of course there is just never enough time to get to everything.

Special thinks to everyone who replied to my request and to the old NRBQ mailing list crew who 20 years ago put together a fan compilation called “Tommy Sings” culled from various radio shows and other recordings over the years.

This week’s “Son of a Preacher Man” is a dub version called “Dub of a Preacher Man” from Count Skylark & Harvey K-Tel; thanks to M. Freddy Stockwell (a/k/a FredWest) for the heads up.

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International Women’s Day 2018

March 8 is International Women’s Day and for the past many years WOMR has dedicated the day to special programming in celebration of women. Seeing as I had the 3 hour shift leading up to midnight, I saw my opportunity to focus my show on women in jazz.

Starting off with some of the historic Giants of Jazz, I followed up with a few Cape Cod women, and then finished off the show with more current artists. Of course, there are always omissions, but I’m pretty happy with how the show turned out and I hope you learn about some great new-to-your-ears musicians and reminded of some who may have slipped from your brain (it’s OK, it happens to everyone from time to time).

I mention during the show that I heard about many of these musicians in a New York Times article. you can check it out right here. I think it’s really informative and I learned about some fantastic musicians I am sure I will continue to play in future shows.

And with that …. here’s the show!

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[sorry I haven’t posted shows in a while – I promise I’ll try to be better about sharing these archives]


A Dose of Late Night Omnipop

It was just a little over twenty four hours prior to doing this show and I really didn’t have much of an idea what I was going to play. I had one song I wanted to play, Dream Syndicate’s “Days of Wine and Roses,” but really nothing else. Then, just as I was just getting off the air, we got a call at the station asking me to play some Captain Beefheart. Great idea, but I wasn’t on the air anymore! “However, I told caller ‘Underground Tom,’ “I am on the air tomorrow night and I’ll be sure to play your request then.”

So I had that.

And then the show just kind of flowed as I started looking for songs. One song or artist made me think of another and another, much like the way I often shop in record stores. Normally, I don’t go alphabetically through the store, I jump from section to section and artist to artist. Sometimes I revisit the same section or letter of the alphabet multiple times, as one artist reminds me of another and then back. It’s fun trying to keep up with my mind, too, because many times one artist makes me think of multiple artists in different parts of the store, so I have to try to go back to the original fork and try and recreate the additional paths.

Fun fun fun! It can be kind of exhilarating (and sometimes frustrating when I *know* there was someone I wanted to look for but have completely forgotten who or why.

This was a whole lot like that. I found a bunch of songs. I forgot some, too, and remembered on the drive up to the station, so I had to search again for some stragglers.

I still didn’t have a song sequence though. Usually I program the entire show in advance, although I’m fully prepared to make changes on the fly if things run long (or short), or I get requests, that sort of thing. Of course I had a version of “Son of a Preacher Man” to play, and I had my starting song, and an idea of what was going to come after that, but I really didn’t have a plan after that.

Except, of course, I knew I had to play some Captain Beefheart.

So here’s the show. There’s some prog-rock, some hip-hop, some short songs, some really long songs, some noisy songs, some pretty songs, some weird songs, some power pop … you know, Omnipop. Listeners seemed to enjoy it; I got several calls of appreciation. I hope you enjoy it, too.

“Son of a Preacher Man” this week was performed by Liza Minnelli

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Good for what ails ya.


PRIDE and Batman

Here we get a pretty funky Gospel Brunch, including a pretty tremendous Rev. J.M. Gates sermon “Kinky Hair is No Disgrace” that has a whole lot of back & forth with his congration. Special thanks and appreciation to Kevin Nutt of “Sinner’s Crossroads” on WFMU for playing some of the songs & artists I “stole” for this show. If you dig funk, soul, and vocal quartet Gospel, I highly encourage you to check out Kevin’s show. I listen almost every week and there’s always something that I hear that I want to find and then share with you. You can hear it online at WFMU and via some podcast apps (I use PodcastAddict for Android and Sinner’s Crossroads is available through it).

After brunch is about an hour & a half of songs for Pride Month. I tried to find an assortment of songs, some protest, some love songs, some songs by lesbian/gay/trans/queer/gender fluid musicians, that sort of thing.

Of course when I heard that Adam West had died, I knew I wanted to play a few songs in his memory. I even found a song sung by Adam himself!

Finally, I played a few 2017 songs wrap up the show. I think the final song, “It’s Not Gonna Be Forever” by Dayme Arocena, is the third or fourth song that I’ve played from her 2017 album “Cubafonia.” If you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of the album. I love the mix of Cuba and New Orleans, and I think her voice is just grand.

This week’s “Son of a Preacher Man” performed by Tom Goss. I mentioned the video for the song during the show, check it out below.

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Happy Listening!


A Multi-Part Celebration of Sun Ra

I saw the email come in from the station with time slots in need of substitute hosts and saw two jazz shows right around May 30, the 24th anniversary of Sun Ra’s return to Saturn. Of course, I offered immediately to cover both shows.

Part 1 of the celebration is an early evening show from May 30, and is usually more of a “traditional” jazz program (whatever that means – heck, I think it’s all jazz and all fits the bill, but one listener called in to complain that I wasn’t playing the right stuff), so I started off with some early Sun Ra recordings with R&B and jazz artists and tried to keep things for the rest of the show a little more on the traditional side of things (as “traditional” as things get with Sun Ra). Early on during the show a couple of listeners called in to say they were really enjoying it (one woman said something along the lines of “I don’t usually like jazz, but I’m really enjoying what you’re playing”)

“Son of a Preacher Man” for this show was performed by The Borna Sercar Trio

Download Sun Ra Celebration Part 1 (May 30, 2017)

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Part 2 is a late-night show on May 31, and I felt I could get a little weirder there. I played several sets of other artists playing Sun Ra tracks or tributes to Sun Ra, too. There’s even a Sun Ra “Fun With Fred’s Phone” feature! (OK, I cheated a little; in anticipation of these shows, temporarily I loaded my phone with ONLY Sun Ra music)

“Son of a Preacher Man” for this show was performed by Rebecca Jenkins

Download Sun Ra Celebration Part 2 (May 31, 2017)

Check out the playlist for Part 2

Finally, there’s a third archive, an excerpt from the following Sunday night (June 4). I had about an hour of Sun Ra music leftover from the first two shows (ready to play yet not enough time), so for the middle hour of my 3-hour Sunday night show, I decided to share that music. I ended up closing the whole show with “Love in Outer Space”, but that’s not included in this archive.

Download Sun Ra Celbration Coda (June 4, 2017)

Check out the playlist (this is for the entire show, not just the Sun Ra part of the show)

So there you have it. Seven hours of Sun Ra. Enjoy!

“Sunrise in Outer Space, Love for Everybody.”


Christmas in Hell 2016

The second Omnipop Omnibus christmastree-fire“Christmas in Hell” show – I guess now it’s an annual tradition! Unfortunately, the guys from whom I stole the idea for the show (and who hosted with me last year), Paul & Ted of Berkshire Radio’s Splatto Hour, were unable to make it, so for this year’s show I invited DJ Ryan Cooke of WOMR’s “Reel Music” show (Saturday nights, 9pm to midnight) to join me in the studio. Together we played some of the most silly, weird, tragic, and awful Christmas music you can imagine.

The show broadcast during the regular timeslot of the amazing Lady Di’s “Leggs Up & Dancing” show, and I half expected that some of her listeners might not be thrilled with what we were doing. Remarkably, all of the listener calls we received during the show were supportive of our efforts.

Coming up next is a special Christmas Day edition of the Omnipop Omnibus, featuring an expanded 2 hour Gospel Brunch.

And now sit back, pour yourself a nice beverage, and … um … enjoy? Sure, enjoy, yeah, that’s the word for it.


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