UPDATE: June 10, contributions from David S, Tony, and Dubmart
UPDATE: June 11, contributions from Doom Girl and Milan
UPDATE : June 13 great contribution from Joe L
Update June 14: all the way from Tokyo, contributions from Hiromasa N, a must see. More on Dick Buckley, and legendary NYC jazz DJ Ed Beach. When you know whose hand is behind the jacket annotations, it takes on a whole new meaning.
June 15: First Pressing Fundamentalist H.N. strikes again: Gigi Gryce/Signal misss-attribution to SAVOY
Ben L has sent me a great idea – build a collection of radio station jacket graffiti. Ideally with radio station stamp, track timings and hot picks marked up. Below Ben’s starter, radio station WHAT – What a great call sign – Finger Poppin’ is the DJ’s “COOKER”, followed by Cookin’ At The Continental. (my choice) Which would also be a COOKER were it not already COOKIN’. And who was Willis Perry?
- Radio station stamp? Check. And what call letters, literally. WHAT, somewhere east of the Mississippi by the evidence of that initial “W,” but that’s as far as we’re getting with an ID on where this station broadcast from. I like to imagine a cool, beatniky voice intoning over the air, “You’re listening to W-H-A-T…[drag on cigarette or something else smokey]…and how…”.
- Name written on jacket in black marker? Check. (And why hasn’t LJC started an open source spreadsheet allowing readers to contribute which name scrawlers owned which records?)
- What appears to be a faux autograph? Check, maybe. A bit too spiderweby to tell what’s written in the pink ink exactly, but we’ll have to let the judges decide if the landing was nailed
It’s a perfect Trifecta You can smell 1960s, Ben gets it.
In the Blue Note promo review we also had these radio station scribblers: KUSP is a great name, always on the KUSP of something good. But how could they draw a red spiral over Washington’s face? Because it’s radio, like somone has a perfect face for radio, no one can see the cover. What matters is the voice.
Now this one, it is difficult to decide if its a radio station, or someone being vulgar, probably the first. But if WHAT is a great call sign for a radio station, KNOB certainly isn’t. (LJC Correction! a GREAT name for a station- “Don’t Touch That KNOB!”)
The Review Copy below all but broke my heart. It’s my favourite most loved most expensive record, Freddie Hubbard, Going Up. When I go, it’s going with me, Tootin’ Khamen, prise it out my cold fingers. And it’s chosen mostly for “BKGND”. Background FFS, criminal. Karioka is the “Second Best Cut”, but which is the best? Asiatic Raes of course, everyone knows that, except it seems this DJ. Freddie’s best album, “background”, sheesh.
What is interesting is the casual way these covers were treated, merely tools of the trade. They were free, not collector’s items, working vinyl. Your listeners needed to know what’s new. DJs pick the killer tracks.
More ADDITIONS since added to the original post:
David S has sent in this Van Gelder engineered copy of Soul Cookin’, defaced by the University of Southern California campus radio station. The sinister comment added by the DJ – “Jazz Only”, – “which gives you a flavor for the mix of music that a college radio station was/is expected to play.” says David.
The track pick , ticked, is “Theme From Mutiny On The Bounty”, which I sound-checked: film released 1962, opening theme, dramatic scene-setter not unlike opening theme in the Star Wars movies, only on water. Avast and belay – this is mutiny, Mr Christian! Seems an unlikely soul cooker from Jimmy Smith’s one time guitarist, Thornel (Club Baby Grand (1956) and others) but who knows. Perhaps like Spartacus, there’s a Love Theme from Mutiny On The Bounty lurking inside the movie, though I recall it was an old nautical superstition that it was bad luck to have a woman on board a ship. No problem to Hollywood: the boyish looking girl stowaway.
Next, Tony has thrown in our old friend Jacke McLean’s Let Freedom Ring, defaced by WESU, Wesleyan University campus radio station, basement of Clark Hall, Middletown, Connecticut.
Three of four tracks are bulleted, (make up your mind, Weslyan!) Melody For Melonae, with a slightly bigger bullet. Red Felt pen shows promising DJ behaviour, repeats artist name on the side, possibly to support a playlist queueing system by the turntable in a darkened studio. Coming up next, Jackie McLean’s new album . . . released April 1963, Weslyan students show a modicum of good taste.
Dubmart has an intruiging contribution, also with a sea-going angle but without the mutiny. In addition to US commercial radio stations, and student campus radio stations, there were armed forces radio stations. In this case our pond was the Mediterranean, whose westerly point of entry from the bigger pond, the Atlantic, was guarded by Gibraltar off the tip of Spain. 1966 vintage.
Dubmart notes of this stash: “I’d like to think they were playing tons of great black music to our service personnel in the sixties, but as they are all near mint including the Mobley I’m not sure they were actually played much” .
Forget “Storage Find!” Sealed!“, how about “‘W63rd DG, 60s British Armed Forces radio station copy, seems hardly played!” Not very complimentary of our boy’s musical tastes, It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum! – but one hell of a find.
Doom_Girl has this little – I nearly said “beauty”. Columbia Records service to radio stations, a ready-made pick-list pasted on the front for the DJ to check, complete with track timings. It is very professional, as you expect from Columbia, maybe a bit organised for a radio station DJ with red marker pen in hand, doodling during airplay.
Radio station KCFR – Kentucky Fried Ch. . ? No, Colonel Sanders!: Colorado Free Radio, for a time University of Denver, Colorado. The hinterland of Wyoming and Utah, residents seem to have mistaken social distancing of 1m to mean 1 mile.
Milan has a collection below from a Brussels DJ or prior owner with a very cryptic filing system. I put them side by side, to find three have the same code, initials and date. A second commonality is a boxed stamp, simply “N.U.F.” , the initials GP (four times) GC, and a name G/ de Block. But most important of all, thick red marker pen and willingness to write in large letters disfiguring precious Blue Note jackets, true mark of a radio station disk jockey. Thank you Milan btw I’m jealous, what a collection!
G de Block is not finished defacing precious records – there’s writing on the label to be done, dated 1968. None of these record jackets bear any promo stamps, and I can’t see any import duty or royalty stamps, so Mr De Block’s sources remain unknown.
UPDATE June 13: Joe L has some fascinating LPs from the collection of Chicago Jazz DJ Dick Buckley, who died just last year. Buckley’s collection amounted to over 8,000 LPs, and was auctioned by the family in alphabetically sorted boxes. As someone with an alphabetic filing system, I recognise the dilema of bidding a box of artists by lettter of the alphabet. The richest seam in jazz should by rights be “M” (Mingus Mobley McLean, Morgan…many more) but other bidders would know that. Joe managed to bag a box of”B”, which is a good letter too.
“Broadcasting on WAAF-AM, WAIT-AM, WBEZ-FM and others, Dick Buckley built a lifetime of programming on his massive inventory, tracks embedded in his memory . Routinely, he would rattle off the names of sidemen on this recording or that one, then reach for the record and spin it, before soliloquizing on other sessions, famous or obscure, “
Buckley had an eccentric method of marking his picks, with multiple colour highlighting, tick-marks, and symbols, some possibly with meaning, some perhaps just decorative, adding a splash of colour to austere black and white jacket liner notes.
This is no sophomore scribbling, this is a lifetime of knowledge and love of the music, a living diary of play-dates, track picks and memory-joggers. No museum-piece “Do Not Touch”, but an extension of his programming and thinking, covers at work, helping him keep track of 8,000 albums and the music within, Writing On Cover but with a purpose. Nice find, Joe, an interesting angle.
Buckley, The Influencer
Billboard reported on the radio stations and air personalities who had comparative ability to influence listeners to buy the singles and albums played on air.. The rating was in a different geographical group of stations, such as Atlanta, Cleveland Ohio, Providence R.I, Syracuse N.Y., San Diego, and Nashville among many others. Since the 1950’s manufacturers fitted radios into cars, drive time programming captured the working demographic that would afford home music players and buy LPs. Dick Buckley figured among the top influencers with WKDA station.
UPDATE June 14 – London Calls, Tokyo Anwers! Hiromasa N has another Dick Buckley album to share: promo stamo, and Buckley’s signature multi-coloured track highlighting, Savoy 1201 Gigi Gryce – Monk, Gryce, Art Blakey, Percy Heath, some quartet:
Hiromaso has another rare beauty, BLP 1579 Sonny Clark Trio, released in March 1958, this one stamped radio station VOICE OF JAZZ – KBLA 1490 KC 12 to 6 A.M. MON-SAT . If you knew who the DJ was for KBLA in March 1958, you could know who annotated the track list. What could the codes mean – F, M+, MF, SS? The MF could be the cooker.
I thought to track down the MF-er DJ, but the KBLA Voice of Jazz station identity trail disappears, as stations were bought and sold over the years, changed programming and air personalities, call signs, AM and FM wavelength and music specialism. KBLA today is a Hispanic language broadcaster near LA, no relation to this KBLA.
Hiromasi also has two DJ embelished covers, which this time leave no doubt about the author of the encyclopaedic annotations – Ed Beach. Prestige US 1st issue of Tommy Flanagan’s Overseas, my god, what an album to have in your collection.
A guest post on Al’s wonderful Jazz Collector site in 2011 makes a tribute to Ed Beach. It is such a good story that I respectfully reprint a short section of the guest post here, as links so often disappear over time. You can read the whole guest post here.
A Tribute to Ed Beach, or How I Got Hooked into Jazz and Vinyl Collecting, By Dan Forté
Time: Mid-Late 1960s, Weeknights, live from 6-8 pm
Place: The Big Apple/ WRVR, 106.7 on the FM Dial
Cue-Up Opening Theme Music: Wes Montgomery’s “So Do It” from his Oct. 12, 1960 Riverside LP Movin’ Along, RLP 342; 9342 Stereo
About 30 seconds into the theme, the imposing voice of our subject lets us know we’re listening to “Just Jazz, Ed Beach with you, for the first part of a two part feature on….”
And, like magic, we knew we were in capable, swinging hands and all was well with the jazz world. Unlike some other long-winded jazz jocks who liked to impress their listeners with their knowledge of jazz minutiae and didn’t know when to shut up and just play the music, Ed always knew it wasn’t about him. Rather, it was ALWAYS about the music.
Ed Beach passed away quietly on Christmas Day 2009 in Eugene, Ore. just three weeks shy of what would have been his 87th birthday. If you dug jazz and lived in New York City from 1961-1976, you were blessed to hear “Uncle Ed” and his Just Jazz program on radio station WRVR, call letters standing for Riverside Radio, as in the Riverside Church, with studios located in upper Manhattan at 85 Claremont Avenue.
Ed was trained as an actor and he also had an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz. Every time you listened to his meticulously researched show, you knew you were in for a treat. For every live, two-hour program that Ed produced,
He put in more than six hours of research, air checking and timing-out each and every track, always giving credit where credit was due, mentioning track names, recording dates, sidemen, album titles, and record labels. His shows were such a huge hit among the NY jazz cognoscenti, that legions of Ed’s listeners took to taping his two-hour JJ broadcasts instead of buying the vinyl he played, thereby depriving jazz musicians of income. As a result, Ed, interviewed in an April 12, 1964 piece by Sherwin Smith in The New York Times Magazine, implored his listeners to continue supporting jazz and its musicians by buying their LPs and to refrain from taping his shows.
The Just Jazz phenomenon was an exhaustive audio archive culminating in more than 570 shows totaling 2,112 hours and covering artists literally from A-Z: from bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik through pianist-composer, Denny Zeitlin and of course, everyone in between, with “Old Uncle Gabchin” at the helm of each and every broadcast.
Personally, when it comes to jazz, I always like to say my father planted the seed but Ed Beach was my on-air professor of continuing education. Now in my mid fifties, I stumbled upon Ed and WRVR quite by accident. It was 1968, and, as a teenager, having become disillusioned with the acid-rock movement, began to channel surf on my hi-fi and came across the opening theme of Beach’s show by guitarist Wes Montgomery as well as the show’s under theme (also by Wes: “D-Natural Blues” from The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery: January, 1960; Riverside RLP 320; 1169 Stereo). I was floored by Wes’s unorthodox octave and single-note playing with his thumb and shot-off a quick letter to Uncle Ed inquiring about Wes’s recordings. Wes tragically passed away in June of 1968 of a heart attack at age 45. In his own inimitable way, Ed, not knowing I was a teenager, responded on WRVR stationery (I still have his letter) stating the following:
“Dear Mr. Forté:
I don’t know where you buy your records, but the Schwann Record catalog lists numerous LPs by Montgomery from Riverside to Verve to A&M. Hope this helps.
Unbeknownst to Ed, this was the start of my over 40-year, jazz vinyl collecting odyssey. I began to spend hours (and money) scouring the dusty LP bins in Sam Goody, King Karol, EJ Korvette and of course, the out-of-print Mecca for jazz in NYC, Dayton’s, for Wes Montgomery albums. Once I collected all of his vinyl output, I began to jot down more and more choice LPs that Uncle Ed played on his Just Jazz shows and my jazz record collection began to multiply quicker than rabbits. As for WRVR, the station eventually went to an all-country music format in September 1980 (the changeover was shocking because no one expected it). One moment, jazz DJ Batt Johnson was playing Mingus’s “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” the next moment the station was spinning Waylon Jennings’s “Are You Ready for the Country.” The station’s call letters also changed to reflect the switch: WKHK.
(The post continues, and concludes below)
Before Ed died, I told him that countless jazz lovers owed him a huge debt of gratitude for his dignity, integrity, irreverent, dry humor and most important, for instilling in us a lifelong love of jazz. Amazingly, although he was behind a microphone continuously for 15 years in a major market like New York City, Ed never really knew how many lives he touched and inspired. Mine, of course, being just one of them….
Whether known by his many nom de plumes as “Ashley Seadrift,” “Sacheverell Seaworthy,” “Old Uncle Gabchin” or “Sam Seashore,” Ed Beach will always be a special part of my life. On behalf of all the others whose lives he touched, we will be forever grateful. Thanks, Ed, rest in peace. To paraphrase his immortal words as he went into a dreaded on-air commercial: “Yeah, let’s break it right ‘ere….”
Keep them coming, and thanks for these.
It’s not easy being a real DJ (or even a pretend one, from recent comments ) In this performance-killing world today. it may be some time until you pick up another 10k spinning a celebrity evening yacht party in Cannes, the fall-out of winners and losers is all so unexpected. Airline pilot retrain as a home delivery driver, I see a great future.
If you have any ’60s radio station graffiti jackets in your jazz collection, the worse the better, email me pictures (address in banner under “Contact LJC”), and I’ll add them. Otherwise this collection is going to be very very small. This is not prissy mint minus in shrink! territory, this is cultural archeology.
American Radio is one of the big reasons jazz happened, something to celebrate. It takes a lot of knowledge and judgement to write the word “COOKER” next to one track. That’s a real skill, almost as important as knowing which way to twist your cap.To turn people on to artists and their new releases, so those artists could eat – or in some cases, at least afford their next fix. That’s essential work.
We need more source material of this a neglected field, Ben L gets it, may be you can contribute some knowledge and pictures of its history, before it all disappears. Now, whre did I put the big red marker pen?