Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Exploring the Country & Western Columbia 7-inch LPs tomorrow on Back to the County 89.9FM

 Howdy Friends, Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month which means it is my turn once again to host Back to the Country on WORT 89.9 FM, Madison. Woot-woot! This week's show is all about some of the rarest post-war country music records--the 7-inch Columbia microgroove LP. These were the first singles pressed on vinyl instead of shellac (they pre-date RCA's 45 by a few months) and contain some of my very favorite bluegrass, western swing, southern gospel, honky-tonk, old-time, and cowboy tunes. Unfortunately, the 33 1/3 rpm 7-inch LP never really sold well and they were only made between January 1949 and February 1951 before Columbia decided to press just 78s and 45s. I've been hard at work this past month compiling and writing an annotated and lavishly illustrated discography about these fascinating experimental records, which is almost done (!), but in the meantime, allow me to play and sing for you some of my favorites! You can stream the show tomorrow from 9 AM-noon CST via wortfm.org or, if you're in southern Wisconsin, adjust your dial to 89.9 FM. Country Musically, Nate

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hosting A Cavalcade of Cuca Country on WORT Wednesday Sept 9, 2020 (9am-noon CST)

I'll be back on the air tomorrow hosting three hours of classic country music on WORT's Back to the Country program from 9am-noon CST. Tomorrow's theme will be a Cavalcade of Cuca Country and I'll be joined by Cuca Records founder, Jim Kirchstein, as well as Cuca recording artists Raylene [of The Dairylanders and The Blue Angels] and Rod Moag [of The Bluegrass Hoppers]! It'll be three hours of some of my very favorite honky-tonk, western swing, bluegrass, old-time, and rockabilly records, on one of my favorite record labels, with special guests and lots of insider deets. It's also a peek into some of the curation work I'm doing for Mills Music Library and some of the rare Cuca items we have been collecting over the last couple years. If you're in Southern Wisconsin, you can tune in to 89.9 on your fm dial or you can stream the show at wortfm.org

Monday, August 31, 2020

Darnell Miller & Nate Gibson's "Royal Flush" is the latest Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Video

A couple years back I recorded one of my all-time favorite songs, "Royal Flush," with Wheeling Jamboree legend and Starday artist Darnell Miller, who had originally recorded it for Starday in 1958. I had a blast recreating Darnell's masterpiece alongside
Kenny Vaughan, Chris Scruggs, David Roe, John McTigue III, and Darnell and I hope that energy comes across in our recording. I've been on a bit of a hiatus with Stars of Starday video releases as other projects have jostled their way in and out of the priority queue, but I'm excited today to release our "Royal Flush" Stars of Starday marionette video. 

L-R: John McTigue III, June Stearns, Darnell Miller, Kenny Vaugah, Dave Roe, Nate Gibson, and Chris Scruggs

I owe many thanks to the aforementioned musicians, as well as to David Tatge and Amandalynn Jones for their puppeteering help, to Rachel Tatge for her videography assistance, to Mike Lee for video editing, to Ken Vogel for his amazing marionettes, to Drew Carroll for lending his audio engineering talents, to Nico and Bear Family Records for releasing and distributing the CD, and of course, my MANY thanks to Darnell and Suzie for driving to Nashville and being part of the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday project. This was a ton of fun. 

Nate Gibson & Darnell Miller in marionette form. Puppets by Ken Vogel.

And in case you still don't own your own copy of Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday, you can still buy copies of the Bear Family CD (w/ 56-page booklet), deluxe edition double LP, or cassette directly from me (via Ebay, Discogs, or via Facebook PM) or if you are in Europe, you can buy them directly from Bear Family Records. And if you are anything like Darnell at playing poker ("Loving you Baby, is just like a game of poker; You have all the aces, I always draw joker..."), you just might need a new Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday-themed playing deck and set of poker chips. I've got a very small handful of poker chip sets (16 chips) and 2-sided playing cards available to celebrate our release of "Royal Flush." Playing card decks are $20, poker chip sets are $15, or you can have both for $30 (+$6 shipping).

Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday poker chips and playing cards

And without any further ado, here's our little ol' video (just click and follow the link):

Thanks so much for watching!

Darnell Miller & Nate Gibson- Royal Flush [Stars of Starday] (screenshot) 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Hosting a Country Fuzz Extravaganza on WORT's Back to the Country radio program

Well, I sent out a flurry of Facebook posts, tweets, instagram DMs, snapchats, tiktok videos, and the like, but am now realizing, I failed to even mention it on my own blog. Today I hosted a country music radio program. But not just any radio program, I was invited to be a temporary part of the Back to the Country team on WORT 89.9 fm. Country music scholar Bill C. Malone, of Country Music USA and Ken Burns's Country Music documentary fame (among other great projects), created this legendary radio show 23 years ago in Madison and has faithfully hosted it every week until his departure from Wisconsin last month. After he and Bobbie went back to the Texas country, a team was created to keep his legendary country music show going. I was asked to be part of that team and host a show every 2nd Wednesday of the month until a permanent host is found.

To that end, I spent three hours today playing my very favorite Country Fuzz 45s and LPs from 9am-12pm. What is Country Fuzz, you ask? It's distorted, loud, fuzzy guitars played in traditional 1960s classic country recordings (ie "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins, the first ever recording of guitar fuzz). "But I missed the show!" you say. Well, the good news is that the show was archived and will be available via the WORT website (wortfm.org) for the next two weeks. Then it's gone forever. Like, poof! If you want to hear it, just go to the WORT website, click Archives, and then look for the Back to the Country show that aired 8-12-20. And in case you're finding this post more than two weeks off in the future, here's a brief description of what I played and why. It's a good list, even if it lacks my enthusiastic and witty asides in between each tune.

Playlist Title: Back to the Country

DJ Name: Nate Gibson

Playlist Start Date: Aug 12, 2020

Playlist Start Time: 9:00 AM

Playlist End Time: 12:00 PM

Show Description: Country Fuzz w/ Host Nate Gibson: Traditional country music is a bit of an oxymoron, as even within the "tradition" there has been a ton of innovation⎼pedal steel guitars, drums, new picking styles, etc. One of the greatest innovations in traditional country music is the development of the fuzz guitar. The result of a faulty mixing board, Grady Martin recorded the first country fuzz guitar on Marty Robbins' hit tune "Don't Worry" in 1960. A year later he recorded an instrumental with the same effect, "The Fuzz," and the following year engineer Glenn Snoddy sold the sound effect to Gibson Guitar Corp. who made the first mass-produced fuzz guitar pedal. Bands like the Ventures, Davie Allen, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and others made the sound famous, but country musicians held on to the fuzz throughout the '60s and into the early '70s. For more than a decade I've been collecting fuzz country records and today I'll be sharing three hours of the very best from my collection of rare fuzz country 45s and LPs.

Marty Robbins "Don't Worry" from 4-41922 on Columbia

Grady Martin "The Fuzz" from 45-31211 on Decca

Gibson Guitar Corp. "Maestro Fuzz-Tone Demonstration" from ZCTV-82437 on Gibson

Carl Butler "Wonder Drug" from Don't Let Me Cross Over on Columbia

Jean Shepard "My Momma Didn't Raise No Fools" from 5822 on Capitol

Webb Pierce "Good Lord Giveth and Uncle Sam Taketh Away" from PL-131 on Plantation

Loretta Lynn "It'll Be Open Season on You" from Coal Miner's Daughter on Decca

Kay Adams "Little Pink Mack" from Wheels and Tears on Tower

The Buckaroos feat. Don Rich "Anywhere, U.S.A." from 2420 on Capitol

Merle Haggard "Running Kind" from 4525 on Capitol

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass" from 2377 on Capitol

Wanda Jackson "This Gun Don't Care" from 5712 on Capitol

Billy Gray "Rotten Love" from LH-565 on Longhorn

Jimmie Rodgers "The Rhumba Boogie" from 45-16407 on Dot

Waylon Jennings "Six Strings Away" from 47-9642 on RCA Victor

Pete Drake "Oriental Twist" from SEP 210 on Starday

Jerry Reed "Twist-A-Roo" from 4-42533 on Columbia

Buddy Emmons "Witches Brew" from E-1001 on Emmons

Ron Smith "Sidewinder" from NV-5088 on Nashville

Charlie Louvin "Cash on the Barrel Head" from I'll Always Remember on Capitol

Merle Kilgore "Lover's Hell" from 71918 on Mercury Records

Charlie Walker ""T" for Texas" from PL-168 on Plantation

Hank Locklin "Hot Pepper Doll" from 47-9646 on RCA Victor

The Willis Brothers "Soft Shoulders, Dangerous Curves" from Thunder on the Road on Starday

Cowboy Copas "Sold the Farm" from 45-595 on Starday

Frankie Miller "Mean Old Greyhound Bus" from 45-691 on Starday

Betty Amos with Judy & Jean "The Cat and the Rat" from 45-756 on Starday

Johnny Nace "Make A Date With Me" from NV-5114 on Nashville

Margie Lee "Honky Tonk Blues" from NV-5281 on Nashville

Jimmy Gee "Yes, My Baby Wants Me" from NV-5052 on Nashville

Tommy Belger "Bikini Time" from NV-5282 on Nashville

Jim Kandy "I Forgot To Love Her" from NV-5093 on Nashville

Cowboy Copas "Black Cloud" from Star of the Grand Ole Opry on Starday

George Riddle "What Have I Gotta Do" from 755 on Starday

Clyde Moody "Nobody's Business" from 653 on Starday

The Willis Brothers "Ruby Ann" from Thunder On the Road on Starday

Tommy Hill "Frankie and Johnny" from The Swingin' Sound of Modern Country Music with Percussion on Starday

Red Sovine "Hitch Hiking Girl" from Thunder on the Road on Starday

Moon Mullican "Fools Like Me" from Mr. Piano Man on Starday

Sanford Clark "It's Nothin' To Me" from 1987 on Ramco

Johnny Dollar "Windburn" from 45-16961 on Dot

Hank Malcolm "Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker" from 770 on Starday

Don Hayes "Big River" from TS-69-890 on Triple Crown

Lloyd Arnold "Memphis" from My Bucket's Got A Hole In It on K-Ark

Darrell McCall "Got My Baby On My Mind" from 40154 on Philips

Claude Gray "Stone Heart" from Songs of Broken Love Affairs on Mercury

Sanford Clark "The Fool '66" from 1972 on Ramco

Nate Gibson "The Spook" from Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday on Bear Family Records

Curtis Leach "Wheelin' and Dealin'" from LH-568 on Longhorn

Bob Morris "Queen Bee" from 338 on Tower

David Lamar "Service Station Man" from 1001 on Marlin

Ronnie Milsap "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" from SCE-12127 on Scepter

Buddy Lane "River Rat" from 001 on Western News

Kay Adams "Big Mac" from Wheels and Tears on Tower

Bobby Zehm "Sitar Pickin' Man" from 1270 on Great

Dean Manuel "Lonesome Feeling" from Town and Country Piano on Starday

Buddy Merrill "Gentle On My Mind" from 25 Great All Time Hits on Accent

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Circulating Sounds radio program on WSUM 91.7 FM Thursdays 12-1:00 CST

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow from noon-1:00 (CST) I will be hosting the 2nd episode of my new radio show, Circulating Sounds on WSUM, the Snake on the Lake. Last week's inaugural show featured classic country music from the Cuca Records label in Sauk City, WI, and tomorrow’s show focuses on the Circulating LP collection in the Mills Music Library. We have over 50,000 LPs and yes, we actually circulate them. It’s pretty rare that a University circulates their records, but we really try to facilitate musical discovery and get good music into people’s hands and ears. Undergraduates can keep records for 4 weeks at a time, faculty/staff/graduate students can keep them for an entire semester, and community members can purchase a community pass for $40/year (just $20 if you are over 62) and check out LPs for a month at a time. Of our 50,000 LPs, there is a huge variety of styles of music available and tomorrow’s show highlights some of the music that I think is special. I came up with six different categories (All-Time Classics, Cool, Rare, Local, Foreign Language, and Party Music) and I’ll play a few songs of each. If you like what you hear, the call number is listed in the Spinitron playlist and it can be checked out. If you're in the Madison, WI-area you can tune in tomorrow at noon (CST) on 91.7 FM or stream the show at wsum.org. The shows are not archived so plan your Thursday accordingly!