Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NeverEndingWonder's Summertime Music Mix!

NeverEndingWonder Radio is now in Summer Celebration mode! That means along with our unique mix of electronic, experimental, rare, forgotten, independent & funny music we're adding songs of the Summertime, sun, vacations, hot dogs, ice cream, Hawaii, calypso, Soca, marimbas, steel drums, flowers, islands, oceans, swimming, fishing, surfing and much much MORE!

Of course, being NeverEndingWonder Radio, we can't do it in a normal fashion. One of the greatest songs ever written is the Gershwin's "Summertime." We have 36 versions in our Summer mix - from traditional renditions by Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, to the pop versions popular in the 50s and 60s by such artists as The Marcels and Sam Cooke, and even more modern treatments such as one of my favorite versions ever, a beautiful Swahili translation by Angelique Kidjo.

You'll hear all the usual Summertime hits like Summertime Blues, Summer in the City, Here Comes the Sun, Summer Breeze, Cruel Summer and of course The Jamies Summertime Summertime.

Surf music? Of course we have The Beach Boys, The Ventures, Jan & Dean and Dick Dale, but how bout this nifty collection of Frank Zappa songs done surf style?

Or how about an album of experimental noise by Philip Jeck, titled "Surf?"

For Calypso sounds we go right back to the beginnings with collections such as Calypso Awakenings and Best of Trinidad 1940-1952.

For our Hawaiian music offerings we run the gamut of ultra-traditional Polynesian influenced sounds, to the beginnings of a pop Hawaiian musical sound in the 20s and 30s, to the birth of the exotica sound in the 50s, and then full circle back to modern traditional artists such as Keola Beamer.

Add to that calliope music from a set of extremely rare albums I picked up at a thrift store several years ago, tons of old drive-in theatre intermission ads and so much more it's hard to express how wide the variety of our Summertime mix is! I've only touched on a few items here. To hear it all, you'll have to tune in!

Right here:
NeverEndingWonder Radio

Of course I'll be adding even more Summer gems as the weeks progress.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


And even more new additions to NeverEndingWonder Radio:

Jacky & Strings - New Era
Groovin', dramatic expertly executed doses of Latin music. Jacky is one hell of a guitarist, and his compositions show off his skills. They also have an exquisit sense of melody and rhythm. Extremely enjoyable listening.

Jacky & Strings

Timothy Cooper - Light on the Water
Solo piano compositions based around the theme of water. Sweeping, sensual, flowing, majestic- these are all words that describe these compositions.
Timothy Cooper

Richard & Robert Sherman - Tinpanorama
Another of my favorite albums from my rare vinyl collection. A dozen tunes penned by the songwriting team that gave us Mary Poppins and many other Disney musicals. These aren't from their musicals though- these are parodies of various styles of music from Tin Pan Alley to early rock music. Given that these guys really know how to write songs the results are delicious. Their "Boogie Woogie Bakery Man" delightfully sends up "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Likewise "I'm Blue for You (Boo Boo Boo Boo Boo)" sends up Bing Crosby styled crooning and "Rutabega Rag," voiced by veteran voice talent Paul Frees, is a spot on parody of Al Jolson. "Fountain of Teardrops (In the Valley of Sorrow)" neatly sends up the oh so serious Folk Scare of the early 60s and "You Bug Me Ann-Arlene" is a fun little early rock n roll song pre-Beatles invasion. Every song is perfectly arranged and performed by top voice talents with Camarata handling the musical direction. A real lost gem.

The Laugh of the Party
Another gem from my vinyl collection. This collection of comedy bits from the mid 50s is a perfect cross section of the state of comedy of that era. The Buddy Hackett routine "The Chinese Waiter" could NEVER get released today. Highlights include "The VERY Square Dance" by Steve Allen, "World News Roundup" by Bob & Ray, "The Life Story of Henny Youngman" by Henny Youngman, Old Old Vienna" by Eddie Lawrence and "Tea and Ceylon" by an apparently increasingly inebriated Hermione Gingold and Terry Thomas.

Dudley Saunders - The Emergency Lane
Dudley Saunders more closely resembles Jacques Brel or Edith Piaf than a modern singer/songwriter. That's not to say that his songs sound old fashioned- how could something titled "Love Song for Jeffrey Dahmer" be anything but thoroughly modern? No, it's the delicate precision with which each piece is drawn, the detailed look at a moment in time that remind me of Brel & Piaf. Additionally, the arrangements are equally delicate and precise. Saunders' quitar is lent substance by a seven piece band that includes unique instrumental touches from harmonium, strings, mandolin & dobro. Special mention must be given to producer/arranger Milo Decruz. He is completely in tune with Saunders and draws out the best qualities of each song. Saunders is extremely talented. I look forward to his future releases.
Dudley Saunders

Oskar Sala - My Fascinating Instrument
A wonderful artifact from the history of electronic music. Sala's instrument was the Mixtur-Trautonium. This album was recorded in the 1960s, I believe. Reportedly the Mixtur-Trautonium was so intricate that nobody but Sala could play it. Its voices are stupendously varied for an instrument of its time and the compositions beautiful and weird.

Allen Ginsberg - Ginsberg's Thing
Spoken word release from the beat poet master. Typically amazing Ginsberg, one of the great poetic voices of the 20th Century- and now the 21st.

Random Touch - A Box and a Word & Duologue
Random touch is a perfect name for this collective, as it's all about improvisation. Every time they play together it's completely new. They have released ten albums to date. Duologue, aptly named as it's a collaboration between Christopher Brown (drums and vocals) and Scott Hammill (guitars). It's experimental, dense, wide ranging, frightening at times, but always engrossing.
A Box and a Word adds James Day (keyboards) into the mix. These documents are a fascinating journey into a world of experimentation. If you've an open mind and an ability to appreciate music that's not focused around a three minute pop structure, then this is for you. Hearing these pieces unfold in real time as the musicians play with each other musically is joyous. The interplay, the counterpoint, are intriquing, and ultimately rewarding for the listener who appreciates a challenge.
Random Touch

John Keating - Space Exploration 2
Great synthesizer album loosely based around the theme of space. Classicly trippy sounds.

The Tiger Lillies & Kronos Quartet - The Gorey End
It's hard to describe the music of the Tiger Lillies to someone who hasn't heard them. Gypsy Cabaret mixed with alt rock, experimentalism and chanson. Think Kluas Nomi. Their music is breathtaking, and add the Kronos Quartet to their already quirky sound and you have something truly splendid. This album is based on a number of unpublished Edward Gorey stories. What else do you need to know? How much better could it get?

All this amazing music can be heard on NeverEndingWonder Radio

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


More new items added recently to NeverEndingWonder Radio:

Dizzy Gillespie Live at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival
One of the Jazz greats in a fantastic live performance. Includes classics like a Night in Tunisia and Dizzy telling a humorous story.

Phyllis Diller - Live from San Francisco
Phillis Diller is a true comedy pioneer. She was one of the first female comedians to gain acceptance in the 1960s. The comedy circuit was very much a man's world and women were not exactly welcomed. Bob Hope saw an early performance of Diller's and gave her advice and helped her with some contacts and the rest is history. Diller's act is classic stuff- from her stories of her good for nothing husband "Fang" to her routines about her lousy cooking and poor housekeeping skills. However, this album, Live from San Francisco, was taped sometime this century and this comedy master is definitely past her prime. Her timing is not what it used to be, some of the jokes have not aged well and at times you can hear her struggling for the next line or word. Still, an interesting document.

The Timelords - Doctorin' the Tardis
The Timelords, aka KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front), aka the JAMMS (Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) are Bill Drummond and Jimi Cauty. Their peppered career was full of controversy and bold statements on art & life. Their single most well known track is "Doctorin' the Tardis" which mashes up bits of Gary Glitter, Sweet & the Dr. Who Theme Song. If you don't know anything else about them, I suggest looking it up- very interesting reading. Anyway, this EP is five different versions of their big "hit."

UFO Encounters
Classic spoken word release from the 1970s, featuring UFO experts and contactees telling their stories. You'll hear excerpts from this album between music sets.

Scott August - New Fire
Another atmospheric release from Native American flautist, Scott August. This is not your typical Native American flute album, though. On many tracks other instruments are mixed in- both traditional and modern. This makes for a more expansive harmonic landscape. Some tunes are very melodic and upbeat, others quiet and contemplative. They all retain a sense of Native American tradition while at the same time embracing a modern world. It's beautiful music that calls to your soul.

Scott August

Inga Swearingen and the Bill Peterson Trio - Reverie
Inga Swearingen has a strong and clear jazz voice that she uses to great advantage on her latest release "Reverie" - accompanied by a traditional jazz trio- Bill Peterson on piano, Jeff Denson on bass and Ronen Itzik on drums. This release features a mix of standards and original tunes. Her rendition of "Stompin' at the Savoy" is strikingly modern in execution, yet backed by the trio, it's fresh and fun, never impudent. Likewise her version of "Down by the Riverside" is the single most bouncy version of that song I've ever heard, yet the deft touch by pianist Peterson helps anchor the song to its melody and pull off the neat trick. It's not all bounce and zip though. Stargazer evokes a mood of longing. "Where the Flamingos Fly" is moody and quiet. All in all, a nicely varied collection of jazz songs sung by a singer with fine phrasing and a strong voice accompanied by a traditional trio that have what it takes.

Inga Swearingen

KaiserCartel - Okay... and Other Things We Feel & March Forth
This is actually two releases- "Okay... and Other Things We Feel" and "March Forth." March Forth is so new there aren't any images of the cover o the web I could find. KaiserCartel are Courtney Kaiser & Benjamin Cartel and they make catchy little pop tunes that grab onto you and get into your head and heart, whether you want them to or not. If these two find the right management they could end up there in your radio. Or maybe not- the music is so much more interesting and heartfelt than what you can hear on the radio it just might be too good for the mainstream. The two met in New York ans soon realised they not only wanted to make music together, they wanted to make a life together. Their sense of purpose and their sense of joy with each other, with life, with the world shines through every one of their songs. In the "Season Song" they pull out all the stops- whistling, tambourines, hand clapping- it SCREAMS at you, "this is sunshine pop!" But don't dismiss it- it has a great deal to say about the cycle of the year. Simple phrases decribing emblematic symbols of each season combine with more personal symbols to make an incredibly infectious ditty that sets you thinking about what you love about the yearly cycle- and all in less than three minutes.
They're not a one trick pony though. Each song has an individual style and an individual mood. "The Flood" is surprisingly dour. "Dog Stars" starts off simply, a plaintive solo vocal by Kaiser that develops into a powerful chorus. I envy these two- in love with each other and possessing the talent to make their experience felt by others. They almost turn a cynical old crank like me back into an optimist.

All these albums can be heard on NeverEndingWonder Radio


Richard Bliwas - Was Is

"Ghost," released in 2004, was a masterful album of mostly piano based jazz by Richard Bliwas. Its asymmetrical phrasing and complex melodies owed a lot to the be bop movement. It was haunting, inventive, engrossing. His new release, "Was Is" is like that album on acid - and I mean that in a good way. The same disjointed phrasing on the piano is there, as are the exotic vocal intonations. What's added to that are multitudes of filigrees and embellishments layered around, beside, on top of and throughout the piano & vocal phrases. We hear organs, electronics, other pianos and who knows what else fading in and out - sometimes in rapid succession, sometimes staying longer, blending with the framework provided by the piano and vocal.

It's a natural progression for an artist growing and expanding his palette. It's a fascinating listen and dazzles at every turn. Multi layered, multi textured, multi-enjoyable for those that like their music challenging and innovative. Bravo to you, Mr. Bliwas.

Richard Bliwas

Was Is & Ghost by Richard Bliwas can both be heard on NeverEndingWonder Radio


Well, I am getting SO behind! My apologies! (Starting to sound like the old newsletter) TONS of NEW music on NeverEndingWonder Radio. Here's a rundown on some of it:

Great anthology of World Music. South America, North America, Africa, Europe, Asia and several Island nations are represented.

Wonderful two disc set of the Big Band giant.

WINE SONGS 1926 - 1939
Indespensible collection of songs from the Greek Archive, all on the subject of wine and drinking it, all recorded from 1926 - 1939. A marvelous look into the early recording history of Greece.

Fine recordings of epic movie themes- from classics like Ben Hur, Spartacus and Gone With the Wind to more modern fare like Harry Potter, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Lord of the Rings.

1985 release from ex-member of Tangerine Dream. Highlight is the 24 minute title track.

Live recordings of Paul Robeson, one of the most powerful, pure and impressive voices ever to record music. From spirituals to folk songs to theatre music, every note is a gem.

Another excellent soundtrack from Danny Elfman - Tim Burton's remake of the classic Planet of the Apes.

Another fine collection of Paul Robeson vocals.

Performed by the BBC Philharmonic, this album features music from the soundtracks of The Sea Wolf and The Adventures of Robin Hood

Atmospheric soundtrack from Philip Glass.

All the best known themes from one of the most recognisable and best soundtrack composers ever. All the best loved melodies are here - Pink Panther, Baby Elephant Walk, Moon River, Mr. Lucky, and others.

Collection of early electronic music recorded from 1961-1973 at the first electronic music lab in the United States. Includes pieces by Alice Shields, Bulent Arel, Daria Semegen, Ingram Marshall and Ilhan Mimaroglu.

It can all be heard on NeverEndingWonder Radio