gall and gumption

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The New Relationship

It's with the radio. Saturday is one long day of radio heaven for me. I listen to WPFW, the Pacifica station here in DC. Saturday is soul day. All morning they play soul and R&B, not just the obvious stuff that shows up in car commercials and telephone service commercials but everything. It's "Oldies House Party" and the host is "Cap'n Fly." People call in and make requests and send greetings out to friends and Cap'n Fly says, "You ready to get on the train?" and the caller always says yes, which makes me so happy, that the train is still rolling down the track and letting people get on board.

In the afternoon it's Da Gator, who plays R&B and funk and blues. And he sort of covers local events, his friends call in and tell him what's happening at the fundraising barbecues, festivals, and music events. On Da Gator's show you hear one man call another man "baby", as in "We havin' a good ol' time out here, baby." And it is a beautiful thing. And I'm listening to these wonderful voices and thinking, "Who are these people? Are they riding the Metro? Where do you find them?" They may be looking nearly at middle age, but they haven't lost an inch of groove. Yesterday afternoon Da Gator played half of an R&B tune that was recent but in the style of an earlier era; the female singer had a voice that was sort of halfway between Etta James and maybe Gladys Knight. The main theme of the song was that "Eatin' Ain't Cheatin'" I don't know who this singer is. This used to happen when I used to listen to the old Johnny Otis show, too, there were all these singers who weren't huge, who weren't fashionable exactly, but they were rocking out the genuine article, these very original songs that told stories or were little sermonettes, they never got on the regular radio or sold CDs at any of the usual outlets -- and these songs were so smart and funny. The last line I heard yesterday was (sorry I can't give you the exact words but this is close) "That man left my house with his mouth looking like a glazed donut..." How the guy's mouth got to look like that was explained in the next line, and at that point discretion got the better part of Da Gator.


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