July 7th, 2007


Random Lou Reed Observation (that's a title I've NEVER written before)

The radio just played "Walk on the Wild Side" from Lou Reed's Transformer. And I reminded myself as I spoke along to the lyrics (as you can't quite sing along to them) that, in some strange way, I've never thought Lou Reed sounded like Lou Reed should sound.

You see, I look at that guy's face and keep expecting a deeper, gruffer voice to come out of it...something like Anthony Bourdain's, I've decided. I know it's a voice Laurie Anderson finds attractive (gee, am I gonna get in trouble for Wikipedia abuse?), and I'm not saying I don't like it; I'm saying I keep being surprised by it. His voice is close to being soft, but never gets lost amongst the instruments, even (if I remember correctly) the New Orleans jazz band on Transformer's last track; his voice is almost nasal, but not quite; there's not (to my ear) the greatest range of notes, but he can still pull off a rather sweeping song like "Perfect Day."

No big revelation here. I'm mainly pondering (and probably making my more musically literate readers cringe at my spotty knowledge). More ponderings:

* Is it kind of a blown take when, in "Walk on the Wild Side," Reed gets delayed and has to catch up when first singing "And the colored girls go 'Do, do, deh-do, do-do-do do, deh-do, deh-do..."? Or was he slowing down and catching up deliberately? (I can imagine David Bowie saying "Do it, it'll work, love" while Reed's in the booth...)

* Do any stations still play "Walk on the Wild Side" unedited? I think KINK 101.9 FM has. I find it amusing that the more hard-driving station 94.7 Alternative Portland plays it edited; of course, I find it more amusing that it slipped past a lot of ears unedited back in the '70s.

The Epic of NRK (a Radio Geek post)

Radio stations promote themselves. Some radio stations do said promotion by playing listeners' comments. Very, very few radio stations will include negative, or even just fair-to-middling, listener comments. But 94.7 Alternative Portland? Its current promotional spots, which play at the start of song sets, are as likely to include "Their music selection sucks" as "One of the best stations I've ever heard."

(Seriously. I've heard "Listen now, because as time goes on, it's getting worse every month" and "So-so music, know-it-all DJs" along with comments like "The sort of station you listen to on the web while visiting another state or country.")

That takes balls. But it also shows why 94.7, the former NRK, has regained me as a loyal listener -- and, in a way, regained its soul -- after a genuine debacle: one of the most wrong-headed format shifts I've seen, which blew up in the station's collective face. And which led to that rare thing: a major radio station saying to its listeners we admit it: we screwed up. And -- perhaps just as surprising -- help us fix it.

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Radio can be a strange, difficult, soul-sucking business. But it's possible to regain your soul...and your listeners.

Well done, 94.7 and the people who put it on air.
Whale fluke

Message to my fellow Harlan Ellison fans

Harlan Ellison has posted the below message to Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion, a message board at the Harlan Ellison website:
- Saturday, July 7 2007 14:20:46

Watch this space tomorrow. "At this time" ends.

Tell your friends. Alert the media.

All will be revealed.

Pass it on.

Yr. Pal, Harlan
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