Larry Weir: A Labor of Love

Amid a flood of tributes so well deserved, here’s yet another from a fellow KDHX Golden Oldie. I know the ripples of influence from my longtime radio pal will continue to reach our ears, our hearts — surely at just the right time.

“Larry Weir: One man’s love brought Americana music to many”

(from the St. Louis Beacon, written by Jean Ponzi)

Photostream: Celebration for Larry Weir at Off Broadway

Photo by Cara Logan

At Off Broadway on January 18, 2010, over 20 Saint Louis-area musicians came together to sing and play in celebration of the life of Larry Weir. Songs were sung, stories told, emotions shared, BBQ devoured and pints raised in honor of a wonderful man.

Thanks to everyone who came out and to all the musicians who lent their time and talent.

Gloria Attoun and Michael Bauermeister
Salt of the Earth
Ben Bedford
Caleb Travers and Scott Swartz
Marc Chechik
Fred Friction
Cassie Morgan
Tom Hall and Charlie Pfeffer
Dade Farrar, Danny Kathriner and Gary Hunt
Bob Reuter
Chris Johnson and Tom Hall
Jane Godfrey
Lucky Dan and Naked Mike
Pik’n Lik’n
Bob Case
Monica Casey
The Lodge Brothers

Photos by Cara Logan:

Tom Hall and friends

Many more photos after the jump.

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I Found My Thrill…Through Brill

1619 Broadway in New York CityBefore I began my show on KDHX in August of 2008, I had the honor and privilege to sit in with long-time KDHX programmer Tony C. on his shows Bucket of Blues, Down in the Alley and Biddle Street Beat. Tony no longer has a regular program on KDHX, but he can be heard as the occasional guest or fill-in DJ on a variety of shows. Now I get to repay the favor by having Tony C. during my radio program Pop! The Beat Bubble Burst next week, January 28, 2010, 5-7 a.m. Central.

“I Found My Thrill…Through Brill” is what we are calling this special episode. Tony and I will be exploring the impact of the music produced at the Brill Building. The following information is from Wikipedia:

The Brill Building’s name has been widely adopted as a shorthand term for a broad and influential stream of American mainstream popular song (strongly influenced by Latin music and rhythm and blues) which enjoyed great commercial success in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. Many significant American and international publishing companies, music agencies and recording labels were based in New York, and although these ventures were naturally spread across many locations, the Brill Building was regarded as probably the most prestigious address in New York for music business professionals. The term “The Brill Building Sound” is somewhat inaccurate, however, since much of the music so categorised actually emanated from other locations – music historian Ken Emerson nominates buildings at 1650 Broadway and 1697 Broadway as other significant bases of activity in this field.

By 1962 the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses: a musician could find a publisher and printer, cut a demo, promote the record, and cut a deal with radio promoters, all within this one building. The creative culture of the independent music companies of Brill Building and the nearby 1650 Broadway came to define the influential “Brill Building Sound” and the style of popular music songwriting and recording created by its writers and producers.

Tony C. and I will be playing two hours of music composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Neil Diamond and also other writers — Chip Taylor and Randy Newman — maybe even from the West coast, who fit into that Brill Building Sound (if we can get to all of them). I’ll be adding British Invasion and American bands — The Beatles, The Hollies, The Searchers, Manfred Mann, among others — who recorded songs written by the Brill Building writers.

I knew very little about the Brill Building Sound before I started putting this show together, and it’s given me a much deeper appreciation for it and made me realize what an impact it had on the music that is such an enormous part of the American Pop Songbook (not to mention the music that can be heard on my show). I hope you will tune in and to hear some great songs by some extraordinary songwriters and ”find your thrill…through Brill.”

Photo of 1619 Broadway in New York City courtesy of Americasroof.

A Fan’s Farewell to Larry Weir

I am just one of the many people who was fortunate enough to know Larry Weir and to have my musical life shaped by his love of the singer-songwriter’s art, a love he manifested so eloquently on his radio show.  Like anyone who knew Larry or listened to his show, I could go on and on about what a superb person he was and how much his life and his radio show meant to me.  But I won’t.  Instead, I’ll just let this sign above the Pony Espesso in Alton, Ill., testify to the reach and impact of Larry’s life.  Good show, Larry.

A farewell from friends at the Pony Espresso in Alton, Ill.

A farewell from friends at the Pony Espresso in Alton, Ill.

A KDHX Live Performance Playlist for Larry Weir

Photo by Sara Finke.

As most readers of the KDHX Blog and listeners to 88.1 know, Larry Weir, Operations Manager at KDHX and host (along with Ed Becker) of Songwriters Showcase, passed away on January 13, 2010, at the age of 57.

We all miss him very much.

Larry had a wonderful radio voice: Warm, affable, yet calm and convincing. When he would talk on-air about a new release or an artist he loved, you believed him.

Some of my favorite live performances and artist interviews from the Magnolia Avenue Studios of KDHX feature that voice and reflect his keen ear for great songs. Larry helped to bring many touring artists to Saint Louis and introduced audiences around the country (even the world) to even more worthy performers, both national and homegrown. So I’m happy to share this playlist of a few recent in-studio performances at KDHX, all hosted by Larry, recorded in 2008 and 2009.

Special thanks to Radio Production Manager Andy Coco and all the volunteer engineers at KDHX for making these performances sound so good.

Various Artists – Live at KDHX 2008-2009

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Listen to the complete sessions in our Live Performance Audio Archives here and here. If you’d like to learn more about Larry Weir or share your thoughts, visit his page.

KDHX Top Local Album Spins of 2009

Saint Louis is a city with a prodigious record of record-making. 2009 was no different, with scores of excellent albums hitting the streets — and the airwaves of KDHX. Based on total spins between 12/15/08 and 12/15/09, this top ten is but a fraction of the River City music you’ll hear every day on 88.1.

67 The Red Headed Strangers - Come On In - Self-Released
65 Grace Basement - Gunmetal Gray - Undertow
62 The Bottle Rockets - Lean Forward - Bloodshot
48 The Trip Daddys - Roll On - Self-Released
43 The Blind Eyes - Modernity - Self-Released
40 The Linemen -  Reconsider - Self-Released
29 Swing Deville -  Salt Up the Dance Floor - Self-Released
28 Trigger 5 - Heartbreak and Regret - Self-Released
27 Brothers Lazaroff - American Artifact - Self-Released
25 Funky Butt Brass Band -  Cut the Body Loose – Self-Released

Don’t miss the KDHX Top Album Spins of 2009 here and the individual KDHX DJ Top Tens here.

Vinyl album image courtesy of Metalphoenix.

Trip Inside This House Top 50 Albums and Top Ten EPs of 2009

2009. Come and gone. For the psychedelia niche the past year proved to be another with highlights aplenty as we saw several veteran bands — Flaming Lips, Outrageous Cherry, Super Furry Animals, and perhaps the oldest running psych’ band, The Green Pajamas — all come out with strong albums. In my mind 2009 has to be noted for the sheer volume of great EPs which came out: Spectrum, Strangers Family Band, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Barbeau, and my favorite of all the ’09 EPs: The Chemistry Set’s triumphant return to recording. Here’s a couple of lists of some of my favorites of the year that was.

It was a very good year. Tune in to Trip Inside This House, my show on 88.1 and streaming at every Tuesday 5 to 7 a.m. CT, for more great psych’ music in 2010.

Top 50 Albums of 2009

A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head (Mute)
A’dam Sykles – Out Of The Circle Game (Teensound Italy)
Amazing Baby – Rewild (Hostess)*
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound – When Sweet Sleep Returned (TeePee Rec.)*
Baby Woodrose – ST (Bad Afro)
Bavarian Druglords – 205 (Kill Art Movement)
Black Hollies – Softly Towards The Light (Ernest Jenning)
Black Ryder – Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride (The Anti-Machine Machine-EMI.)*
Capsula – Rising Mountains (BCore)*
Circulatory System – Signal Morning (Cloud)
Dead Mellotron – Ghost Light Consatellations (SVC Records)
Deleted Waveform Gatherings – Ghost, She Said (Rainbow Quartz)
Dolly Rocker Movement – Our Days Mind The Tyme (Off The Hip)*
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below (Vagrant)
Entrance Band – ST (Ecstatic Peace)
Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Warner)*
Floorian – More Fiend (Drigh)
Fresh and Onlys – Grey-Eyed Girls (Woodsist)
Ganglians – Monster Head Room (Woodsist)
Gliss – Devotion Implosion (Cordless Rec.)
Green Pajamas – Poison In The Russian Room (Hidden Agenda)
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (Warp Rec.)
Harlem Shakes – Technicolor Health (Gigantic)
Hopewell – Good Good Desperation (TeePee)

Read the rest of the list, plus my Top Ten EPs, after the jump.
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Favorite Compilations of 2009

KDHX DJs were asked to compile a list of their favorite ten releases of 2009. I decided to take it one step further and compile a list of my favorite ten compilations of 2009. Hey, somebody might be interested. Anyway, here goes……..

1. Light: On The South Side – The Numero Group

This gets my vote for the most beautifully-packaged compilation of 2009. This set consists of a hardcover book with LP-sized vintage black & white photos chronicling the night life on the south side of Chicago for the period of 1975-77 and a two-LP set of blues & soul (most of which I’ve never heard) emanating from those south side clubs. Throw in the usual detailed liner notes you get with a release by The Numero Group and include an introduction for the photo book written by Nick Hornby and you end up with the compilation of the year. Not inexpensive but something that will be treasured for years to come.

2. Can You Dig It? The Music & Politics of Black Action Films: 1968-75 – Soul Jazz (UK)

You’re not likely to find a better collection of music from so-called “blaxploitation” films than this 2-CD, 34-track set. Sure, it has the tracks you would expect (Theme From Shaft, Freddie’s Dead) but then it goes way deeper than that and I can guarantee there are plenty of tracks that you are not likely to have heard before. Those familiar with the Soul Jazz label know how well they do reissues from a sound & liner-note standpoint and they go even further this time by including a a 100-page booklet, mini-film poster cards and stickers.

3. Respect: Aretha’s Influences & Inspiration – Ace (UK)

This terrific 24-track compilation takes R&B, soul and gospel tracks recorded by various artists from the period of 1948-1972 that had an influence on and inspired the music of Aretha Franklin. Includes tracks such as “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” by Nina Simone, “Respect” by Otis Redding, “The House That Jack Built” by Thelma Jones, “Sit Down And Cry” by Jean Wells, “Soulville” by Dinah Washington, “Try A Little Tenderness” by Little Miss Cornshucks, “Prove It” by Mary Wheeler, “Let Me Me In your Life” by Bill Withers, “The Day Is Past And Gone” by Clara Ward, “Today I Sing The Blues” by Helen Humes and so much more.

4. Where The Action is! – Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-68 – Rhino

This latest installment of the Nuggets compilations put out by Rhino consists of 4-CDs and 101 tracks of pop, rock, folk-rock, country-rock & psychedelic music focused on the Southern California music scene from 1965-1968. This package does a great job of introducing us to many  lesser-known acts and mixing them with rare tracks by well-known acts like The Byrds, Love, The Doors, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, The Mama & The Papas, Lowell George & The Monkees. Lots of gems on this that will be included in future installments of Memphis To Manchester.

5. Blues, Blues Christmas, Vol. 2 – Document

Alright, this was, by far, the best Christmas music compilation of 2009 and one of the best compilations of any kind that I came across. 2-CDs and 44-tracks of some of the finest blues, jazz, street-sermons, gospel, doo-wop & boogie-woogie Christmas and holiday music that you are likely to hear.  This set includes songs recorded between 1925-55 and ranges from the reverent to the risque. Not your everyday Christmas music set, that’s for sure. Flat-out terrific.

Read the rest of the list after the jump.

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