Sunday, 25 September 2016

The KSHE Klassics Show, September 25th, 2016

Quotation du jour ~ Mark Twain: If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.
Great show this week, not least because John Ulett played Rory Gallagher for the second week in a row. Here's the full playlist:

Neil Young -- Cinnamon Girl
Michael Martin Murphey -- Wildfire
Little Feat -- Dixie Chicken
Dave Mason -- Mystic Traveler
Eric Clapton -- Blues Power
Elton John -- All The Girls Love Alice
Bob Welch -- Ebony Eyes
Prism -- Hello
Rare Bird -- Peace Of Mind
The Grateful Dead -- Playing In The Band
Touch -- When The Spirit Moves You
Lighthouse -- One Fine Morning
John Mellencamp -- A Little Night Dancin'
Tommy Bolin -- Post Toastee
The Babys -- Turn And Walk Away
Montrose -- Rock The Nation
Steve Winwood -- Arc Of A Diver
Chicago -- Make Me Smile
The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver -- Slipstream
Procol Harum -- Conquistador
REO Speedwagon -- 157 Riverside Avenue
Queen -- I'm In Love With My Car
Hydra -- Feel Like Running
Black Sabbath -- Black Sabbath
Flash & The Pan -- Down Among The Dead Men
The Fixx -- Stand Or Fall
Justin Hayward -- Forever Autumn
Rory Gallagher -- Brute Force & Ignorance
Graham Parker -- White Honey
Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- Tank
Michael Stanley Band -- Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind
Jefferson Starship -- Play On Love
The Nazz -- Open My Eyes
Steely Dan -- Time Out Of Mind
Jethro Tull -- Thick As A Brick
The Moody Blues -- The Story In Your Eyes
Planet P -- Why Me?
Eagles -- On The Border

And my own personal playlist for the week:

Fairport Convention -- Live In Finland 1971
Loggins & Messina -- On Stage
Dan Fogelberg -- Captured Angel (twice)
Joni Mitchell -- Ladies Of The Canyon
Runrig -- The Story
Jon & Vangelis -- The Friends Of Mr Cairo
Bob Dylan -- Another Side Of Bob Dylan
Manfred Mann's Earth Band -- Chance
The Beatles -- Live At The Hollywood Bowl
Dan Fogelberg -- River Of Souls
King Crimson -- The Night Watch
Rory Gallagher -- Calling Card
Jethro Tull -- Songs From The Wood
The Yardbirds -- BBC Sessions
Home -- The Alchemist
Various Artists -- The World Is A Wonderful Place: The Songs Of Richard Thompson
The Chieftains -- The Chieftains 4
Peter Hammill -- Patience
Big Wreck -- Ghosts
Blues Traveler -- Four
Pretenders -- Learning To Crawl

Friday, 23 September 2016

St Louis Adventure, Day 6

Saturday, June 26th

It was on this day that i finally decided to test my courage and go to the top of The Gateway Arch -- officially the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial -- at 630 feet (half the height of the Empire State Building), the tallest man-made monument in the western hemisphere. For a long time i believed that i was afraid of heights. The last time i went to the CN Tower in Toronto, i somehow found myself on the outside observation deck, and i had to cling to the wall. The phobia is so bad that i can't even watch a film where the good guy and the bad guy are fighting on the edge of a tall building -- even though i know that, in reality, they're really only a couple of feet above a load of mattresses -- without breaking into a sweat.

It seems i don't, though. Getting on that plane at London Airport should have given me my first clue: i had no trouble whatsoever looking down at the earth from 30,000 feet. I was in an enclosed space. So perhaps what i have is a fear of falling...?

But i needed to test myself further -- never a bad idea, how else can you know what you are capable of? So on Saturday morning, i went to the 8th & Pine Metrolink station and thence to the Old Courthouse (one of the oldest buildings in St Louis) where the tickets to the top are sold. $10.

There are tiny claustrophobic tram cars that go up each leg of the Arch, and they take you, in three or four minutes, to.... It's not really an observation deck, more an observation  platform, and yes, the view to east and west is truly spectacular and i had no problem with vertigo whatsoever. Here's some pics i took (1., the approach, 2., the view, looking down at The Old Courthouse, 3., Busch stadium, 4., looking in the other direction, across the Mississippi into Illinois).

It was lunchtime by then so i wandered over to Ballpark Village, which is right next door to Busch Stadium. (I wouldn't call myself a big baseball fan at all, really, but, insofar as i am one, i'm a St Louis Cardinals fan.) It's a huge entertainment complex with several pubs, a theatre, a museum, and somehow i managed to blunder in to a pub called the Budweiser Brewhouse. Now, let it be said, that Budweiser is, in my opinion, one of the worst beers anywhere. You know that old joke about making love in a canoe, i'm sure. It's f***ing near water. But i found a very nice beer there, Goose Island Honker's Ale, and had an excellent club samwidge. It wasn't especially, my type of place, but i was enjoying every moment.

After lunch, i wandered, through the deserted streets of downtown St Louis on a Saturday afternoon. It really astonished me how little goes on there, as i've mentioned previously. Most of the cities i know, downtown is vibrant with clubs and pubs and shops, but downtown St Louis is just for working in, and little else in the normal course of things. (Apparently this is true of many American cities -- everything's gone to the suburbs, everyone goes to the mall.) But i enjoy wandering. Too bad i wasn't able to wander into the suburbs, though...

But at 4 o'clock i had to be back in Belleville: Chuck and i were meeting Dave & Cindy for dinner at a restaurant in St Clair, Missouri (where they live) at five and it's an hour's drive and so at around three o'clock i realised it was time to get on MetroLink and get the train back to Swansea. Erm, i had no idea where the nearest MetroLink station was, though! It must be over in this direction, i said to myself, and headed off the wrong way. Starting to panic now, i went into a shop and asked someone -- and it took me a good twenty minutes to walk there. OK, i am 'way late now.

I needed to get to the Swansea station. Oh, guess what? The train went out of service at Fairview Heights -- two stops short of my destination. Bloody hell! But i texted Chuck, told him the situation, and he drove to Fairview Heights and collected me -- and it was in the direction of St Clair anyway, but we were now really late. We didn't have time to go back to Chuck's to pick up the present i'd bought for Dave & Cindy's daughter Jackie, bummer. (She and i adopted each other as non-biological uncle and niece some time ago, and i had bought her a t-shirt with some Haida art on it.)

Thus we entered the Great American Highway System: Interstate 255 to 270 to 44. The highways are huge and vast and magnificent! So wide, i couldn't believe it. I was very impressed by their width (although i couldn't help but wonder about the environmental impact). And we were hit with a torrential rainstorm -- the only rain of my visit -- and that slowed us down some more and now we were really late.

Well, when we finally reached Tres Toritos Mexican Restaurant in St Clair -- the furthest west i've ever been in the USA -- Dave, Cindy & fambly were already well tucked into their meal, we apologised profusely for our lateness, which was mostly my fault, but the rain didn't help.

Tres Toritos is not a restaurant i would willingly go to again. The food was okay -- i had a chimichanga, the portion was huge, i couldn't finish it, what a waste -- but it's simply not my style. Too brightly-lit, for one thing, and they had no draught beer. I asked for a bottle of Corona and when when the waiter brought ir, he didn't bring a glass, and i took umbrage. He brought me a glass. I refuse to drink beer out of a bottle, that's for troglodytes.

I'd met Dave a few days earlier, but this was the first time i'd met his wife Cindy and his daughter Jacklyn and indeed their grand-daughter Taylor. Such a wonderful family. I actually met Dave several years ago, on a Yahoo! forum devoted to cult media. I posted once about the frustrations i was having at the time, trying to find a listenable radio station. (The one to which i had been a devoted listener for years, changed management or ownership or something, all of my favourite on-air personalities -- many of whom were Facebook friends -- either quit or were let go, and their programming changed for the much worse.) Dave responded with the suggestion that i try St Louis's KSHE, and i did and i loved it, and listening to the deejays talking about the city, and hearing about what goes on there, inspired my fascination with the place. Dave changed my life.

After the meal, we went back to their house and i started to think (yes, i did!) that one of the best things about this entire trip was seeing my friends at home, in their own environments. And i felt very much at home with them. We nattered late into the evening and i felt blessed to know such lovely folks.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

KSHE Klassics, Sept. 18, 2016

Quotation du jour: Syd Barrett ~I don't think I'm easy to talk about. I've got a very irregular head. And I'm not anything that you think I am anyway.

As some of you may have gathered, the Sunday morning Klassics show is a highlight of my week, but i had a bit of a panic this morning. The program begins at 9 a.m. (my time) and at 8:15 we had a power outage. It didn't last long, but when i restarted my computer ... no Internet connection! The first thing i did -- as usual when this happens -- was re-boot the modem and the router, and that generally solves the problem. Not this time.

Then i used my iPad to check the connection: the connection was fine, it was my PC that was having a problem. Time was marching on, though -- it was about 8:45 by now. So, rather than run Windows built-in network troubleshooter (which is time-consuming and usually useless anyway), i re-booted. It worked! I had my connection back by 8:55. Whew....

Bruce Springsteen -- Kitty's Back
Charlie Daniels Band -- Orange Blossom Special
Moxy -- Sail On Sail Away
Trooper -- Round Round We Go
The Hooters -- All You Zombies
Electric Light Orchestra -- Ma-Ma-Ma-Belle
Kansas -- The Wall
Arlo Guthrie -- Coming Into Los Angeles
Pat Travers -- Boom Boom (live)
Sherbs -- No Turning Back
Yes -- Wonderous Stories
Peter Frampton -- Lines On My Face
The Marshall Tucker Band -- Fire On The Mountain
Denim -- Throw Away
Elton John -- Harmony
Sugarloaf -- Don't Call Us, We'll Call You
Lake -- Paradise Way
Humble Pie -- 30 Days In The Hole
Steely Dan -- The Fez
Jo Jo Gunne -- Run Run Run
Shooting Star -- Breakout
Jefferson Airplane -- Volunteers
John Mellencamp -- Hot Night In A Cold Town
The Allman Brothers Band -- Statesboro Blues
Tony Carey -- The First Day Of Summer
Pete Townshend -- Rough Boys
Dr Hook -- Cover Of The Rolling Stone
Judas Priest -- The Ripper
Michael Stanley -- Let's Get The Show On The Road
Todd Rundgren -- Real Man
Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- Looking Out For Number One
Creedence Clearwater Revival -- Sweet Hitch-Hiker
Rory Gallagher -- Edged In Blue
Loggins & Messina -- Nobody But You
Wet Willie -- No No No
Rod Stewart -- Hot Legs
The Moody Blues -- I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock 'n' Roll Band)
The Grateful Dead -- I Need A Miracle
Starz -- (She's Just A) Fallen Angel
Fleetwood Mac -- Danny's Chant

And my own personal playlist for the week:

Sandy Denny -- Sandy
Dan Fogelberg -- High Country Snows
Saga-- Saga
Little Johnny England -- Tournament Of Shadows
Nanci Griffith -- Other Voices, Other Rooms
Yes -- Going ForThe One
Pink Floyd -- A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Bruce Springsteen -- The Rising
The Tragically Hip -- Up To Here
Dan Fogelberg -- Captured Angel
Jeff Beck -- Loud Hailer
Peter Hammill -- A Black Box
Genesis -- Nursery Cryme
Roger McGuinn -- Roger McGuinn
Dan Fogelberg -- Love Songs
Pink Floyd -- The Endless River
Genesis -- A Trick Of The Tail
Pink Floyd -- Obscured By Clouds
Creedence Clearwater Revival -- Bayou Country
Marillion -- Clutching At Straws

Sunday, 11 September 2016

KSHE Klassics, Sept. 11, 2016

Quotation du jour ~ Julian Barnes: No reading should be compulsory.

Uman, the host of the show, remembered the Sept. 11th attacks at the start of the program and dedicated it to all those who died on this day, 15 years ago, and to all who have died since in the war on terror. I love the U.S.A. and i can do no better.

Jeff Beck -- Rice Pudding
Joe Walsh -- Indian Summer
The Allman Bros. Band -- Whipping Post
Shooting Star -- Hollywood
Chilliwack -- Something Better
Jethro Tull -- Cross-Eyed Mary
Stu Nunnery -- Isle Of Debris
George Harrison -- This Song
Firefall -- Mexico
Billy Joel -- Captain Jack
Bad Company -- Live For The Music
Tony Carey -- I Won't Be Home Tonight
Grinderswitch -- Pickin' The Blues
Strawbs -- Autumn
Kenny Loggins -- Easy Driver
The Grateful Dead -- Uncle John's Band
Rush -- A Passage To Bangkok
The Tubes -- Talk To Ya Later
Spooky Tooth -- Cotton Growin' Man
April Wine -- Like A Lover, Like A Song
Rockpile -- Teacher Teacher
.38 Special -- Chain Lightning
Vinegar Joe -- Never Met A Dog
Greg Kihn Band -- Jeopardy
Climax Blues Band -- Couldn't Get It Right
Steely Dan -- Black Friday
Fleetwood Mac -- Oh Well
Lake -- Key To The Rhyme
Mahogany Rush -- A New Rock And Roll
Head East -- Love Me Tonight
Santana -- Well All Right
Dwight Twilley -- I'm On Fire
Elton John -- Take Me To The Pilot
Ambrosia -- Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Kansas -- Two Cents Worth
The Edgar Winter Group -- Round & Round
The Eagles -- Wasted Time
Trooper -- Raise A Little Hell
Robin Trower -- Bridge Of Sighs
Pure Prairie League -- Two Lane Highway


And my own personal playlist for the week:

Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg -- Twin Sons Of Different Mothers
Jackson Browne -- The Next Voice You Hear
Ian Matthews -- Tigers Will Survive
Dead Can Dance -- Spiritchaser
The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver -- Beat Of The Street
Dan Fogelberg -- Phoenix
Ian Matthews -- If You Saw Thro' My Eyes
Home -- Pause For A Hoarse Horse
Steely Dan -- Aja
Dan Fogelberg -- The Definitive Anthology
Fairport Convention -- Myths And Heroes
Wet Willie -- Keep On Smilin'
Kathy Mattea -- Roses
King Crimson -- Red
Rory Gallagher -- Top Priority
Van der Graaf Generator -- World Record
1992 Broadway Revival Cast -- Guys And Dolls
Dan Fogelberg -- Captured Angel
This Mortal Coil -- Filigree And Shadow
James Taylor -- Sweet Baby James

Sunday, 4 September 2016

St Louis Visit, Day 5

Friday, June 25th

On Friday, i was determined to spend some more time in the Delmar Loop neighbourhood and Chuck offered me up as a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter at the Swansea MetroLink station bright and early -- but as the Delmar Loop has its own station, it was actually easy to find -- and it's such a great neighbourhood!

In fact, it may be my spiritual home.

I started at The Peacock Diner for breakfast -- an omelette and a beer -- at 10:00 a.m. -- and then just wandered (unfortunately my photograph of the Chuck Berry statue was a disaster, so here's one i've stolen from the Internet),
and although i really wasn't on a shopping trip, i managed to find a book about
Pierre Laclède & Auguste Choucoute -- founders of St Louis -- at Subterranean Books (, a St Louis Cardinals baseball cap at Hats-N-Stuff, and, at Vintage Vinyl -- oh, gloriosky -- a CD by Mama's Pride, my favourite St Louis rock band. Their first album is brilliant, and i found their second album there..

Well it's not bad, either!

(Mama's Pride is not well known outside Missouri, but they could have been huge. They were scheduled to go on a nationwide tour opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd which should have brought them fame and fortune, but just prior to the tour so many members of Skynyrd died in that horrific plane crash and of course the tour never happened. Neither did Mama's Pride.)

After a good couple of hours of exploring, i decided to head back east to, speaking of Pierre Laclède, Laclède's Landing, a small area of the city just west of the river where St Louis was founded, in 1764. My primary reason for wanting to go was that there was a Bank Of America branch there and my bank has an arrangement with them -- it's the only bank in the U.S. where i can use my debit card to make a cash withdrawal, but it's a lovely part of town, too, with cobblestoned streets and buildings dating back to the 1850's (there are no buildings in St Lou that are older than that), and i had a lovely lunch at Joey B's -- the all-American cheeseburger and a beer -- and Joey B's is a bar you can still smoke in! But having been unable to smoke in a bar for so long, this proved to be less of a boon than i had expected. Here's Joey B's

Laclède's Landing is also where i met these guys:

(i was very impressed by the amount of street sculpture in St Louis -- here's one of Monsieur Laclède himself, just outside City Hall.)

From there i took a short walk down to the riverfront and .... You may recall that, the first time i saw the Mississippi River, a couple of days earlier, i cried. Real tears. I wasn't sure, then, if it was the majesty of it that caused my lachrymosity, or simply the relief at finally seeing it after trying to get there for so long. Well, the latter theory was shattered to smithereens, as i wept again. I sat and watched it flow for a long time, i'm glad that there were few people around to see me, it was embarrascating, real tears rolling down my face.... And i stuck my hand into the water and thus shook hands with The Father Of Waters.

I want my ashes scattered upon that river.

But then it was time to go back to Belleville. But i was also desperate for a pee so i nipped into Tìgin (an easy walk) and of course had to have a pint (of Smithwick's) -- because it's simply not done to use the toilet in a restaurant unless you buy something! And thence via Metrolink to Chuck's.

Most Fridays, Chuck does karaoke at Zapata's Mexican Restaurant, in Fairview Heights, and i had agreed to, in fact was looking forward to, accompanying him. I wasn't planning to join in, i sing like a tone-deaf duck with laryngitis, but it seemed like a fun way to spend an evening. As it turned out, it was one of the best evenings i have ever had in my life.

To explain about Zapata's, it's what, in England, would be considered a family pub. Friends and neighbours meet there regularly, lots of people seemed to know everyone, and there were children everywhere. It has a large-ish dining area but also a large-ish bar area (where the karaoke machine lives). I had a magnificent steak fajita -- so big i couldn't finish it -- and a beer whose name is now lost in the mists of time, and met a couple of Facebook friends (Chuck's daughter Mary, along with her daughters Megan and Molly, and his friend Betty), and then the karaoke began.

I was impressed! The singers were mostly very good (sadly i was outside having a cigarette when Chuck did Dan Fogelberg's "Longer," although i caught the end of it and it was excellent!). And there were people laughing and dancing -- i particularly remember a young mother dancing with her infant daughter in her arms and as the evening progressed more people sang, more people danced, more people were smiling and there was so much joy (and not alcohol-induced joy, either) in that room and ... i had an epiphany. No, really, i did.

As i posted to Facebook "I am in the heart of America and loving it." Zapata's capsulised for me, what i love about the USA:  its people.

America isn't about politics, it isn't about the military-industrial complex, it isn't about corruption in high places, although these exist, for sure. It's about its people, its families friends and neighbours. That's the reality of it and that's why i've loved ever since i was little, without really understanding why, until June 25th, 2016.

God bless the USA

The KSHE Klassics Show, Sept. 4th, 2016

Quotation du jour ~ Don Marquis: I never think at all when i write. Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.

John Waite -- Change
April Wine -- Say Hello
Jay Ferguson -- Thunder Island
Jefferson Starship -- Can't Find Love
Quicksilver Messenger Service -- Fresh Air
Santana -- Open Invitation
Nils Lofgren -- No Mercy
Electric Light Orchestra -- Livin' Thing
Danny Spanos -- Hot Cherie
Kenny Loggins -- Keep The Fire
George Harrison -- What Is Life
Steely Dan -- Don't Take Me Alive
Marillion -- Kayleigh
Roger Daltrey -- It's A Hard Life / Giving It All Away
Rainbow -- Man On The Silver Mountain
Genesis -- I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Lou Gramm -- Midnight Blue
Fleetwood Mac -- Spare Me A Little Of Your Love
Pavlov's Dog -- Julia
Marshall Tucker -- Twenty Four Hours At A Time
Les Dudek -- Old Judge Jones
Jethro Tull -- Nothing Is Easy
The Bliss Band -- Doctor
Chuck Francour -- Under The Boulevard Lights
Donnie Iris -- Ah! Leah!
Spys -- She Can't Wait
Headboys -- The Shape Of Things To Come
.38 Special -- Rock And Roll Strategy
Michael Schenker Group -- Cry For The Nation
Loggins & Messina -- Peace Of Mind
Bob Seger -- Get Out Of Denver
Eric Clapton -- I've Got A Rock And Roll Heart*
Nantucket -- Quite Like You
Kansas -- Hold On    }
Yes -- Hold On          } (huh?)
Triumph -- Hold On    }
Brownsville Station -- Martian Boogie
Spirit -- Nothin' To Hide
Atlanta Rhythm Section -- Champagne Jam

*one of his wimpiest songs -- almost as bad as "Wonderful Tonight," and certainly not rock and roll!

And my own personal playlist (incomplete):

Annie Haslam -- Annie Haslam
Dan Fogelberg -- Captured Angel (five times!)
The Beatles -- Rubber Soul
Chicago -- Chicago VII
Chicago -- Chicago VI
Kate Bush -- The Red Shoes
Genesis -- The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Joan Osborne -- Love And Hate
Jeff Beck -- Loud Hailer
Rod Stewart -- Never A Dull Moment
Pretenders -- Learning To Crawl
Rival Sons -- Head Down
Oysterband -- Diamonds On The Water
Frida -- Djupa Andetag
Joni Mitchell -- Hejira
Bugs Henderson Group -- At Last
The Hollies -- 20 Golden Greats
Billy Joel -- Turnstiles
Mike Oldfield -- Tubular Bells III
Procol Harum -- Home