Saturday, October 05, 2019

Preface To 1969 Revisited: Top Ten Singles Of 1969

Like I did yesterday, I'll run down the top ten singles on Rate Your Music's site.  By the way, the coolest thing about the site is that the lists are dynamic - they change all the time.  I occasionally go back & check & find it amazing that some votes can move an album up or down two or three places.  So this list might be wrong in a week or a month.  But here's what it is now:

01 The Beatles, "Something" / "Come Together"
02 David Bowie, "Space Oddity" / "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud"
03 King Crimson, "The Court Of The Crimson King (Parts 1 & 2)"
04 The Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog" / "1969"
05 The Rolling Stones, "Sympathy For The Devil" / "Prodigal Son"
06 The Jackson 5, "I Want You Back" / "Who's Lovin You"
07 The Kinks, "The Village Green Preservation Society" / "Do You Remember Walter?"
08 Simon & Garfunkel, "The Boxer" / "Baby Driver"
09 Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son" / "Down On The Corner"
10 The Kinks, "Shangrila" / "This Man He Weeps Tonight"

Nice to see so much Kinks love on the site!  Their album Arthur came out in 1969, & I played something from it on the previous 1969 show.

Also nice to see Stooges love.  I played "1969" on the first 1969 show because it just seemed too appropriate.

For some reason - I mentioned this yesterday - I didn't play the Stones on the first show.  That will be remedied.

& I wasn't aware of the status of the Jackson 5 single when I did the first show, & I agree it's a good song - I just can't in good conscience play anything associated with Michael Jackson on the radio anymore - even the pre-molesting children stuff.  I believe it's all been quite tainted.

Oh yes I count myself fortunate that no one reads this blog or know anything about this show because I imagine there'd be some angry reactions to that, & maybe to this: I never much cared for CCR.  Since they're classic rock, I know all their hits, like "Down On The Corner" & "There's A Bathroom On The Right," but it's not something I enjoy hearing nor want to revisit it.  Please note: I'm not saying "It's bad."  I don't believe that.  I just don't like it.  If you like it, fine.  I don't have any feelings about your opinions or your taste in any way.

That's enough of that.  I must go put a show about 1969 together now.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Top Ten

When I do these "favorite music of a certain year" shows, I generally use the website Rate Your Music as a guide for what was released that year.  I don't believe I used the site for the first few times I did my favorite music of the year shows - I know this because I missed some people from 1969 - Phil Ochs, for example - whom I wouldn't have left off the original show if I had a better resource for releases from that year.  In any event, here are the current top ten releases as voted on by Rate Your Music listeners*:

01 King Crimson, In The Court Of The Crimson King
02 The Beatles, Abbey Road
03 Miles Davis, In A Silent Way
04 Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
05 Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II
06 Frank Zappa, Hot Rats
07 The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
08 Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left
09 The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
10 Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Of that list, only three - the Beatles, the Velvets, & Nick Drake - made the original 1969.  It's a bit baffling to me that I forgot about Neil Young.  That's one of my favorite records of all time.

The show this week will include four more from that list, & you won't hear three at all.  As I discussed on the show's Facebook page, I'm not so much a fan of that King Crimson record, & I have never much liked Led Zeppelin despite the fact that I could probably sing along with most of the songs on the two records thanks to the relentless playing of that band on FM radio as I was growing up.

You'll notice I've refrained from saying things like "that band sucks."  It's weird to me when people say that, & my brain only hears that as "I don't like that band."  I read a recent Facebook rant by someone I know about some recently dead artist & they were asking questions like, "Did anyone really like that artist?"  Like-minded people piled on (so much for only saying nice things about the dead) but no one pointed out that that artist had many hits, sold-out stadiums, & continues to get played on classic rock radio.  So, yeah, people did like that artist.  Of course they did!  How else to explain the outpouring of sadness & sympathy at his death?  Just because the author of the rant didn't like the artist, though, it seemed unbelievable that anyone liked him.

That's a kind of internet pathology that I avoid.  Opinions are just opinions.  That some people are threatened by other people's opinions is something I find fascinating.

In any event - I am just playing musicians on the show this week that I like & whom I seem to have forgotten - or didn't have time to play - the first time around.  & I won't say anyone sucks.  That's the sort of thing sucky people do.

* The entire list is here.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Sugar Substitute (Episode 166)

Wouldya look at that.  My first show on XRAY FM is actually the 166th episode of Sugar Substitute! How weird these things are!

The first episode of Sugar Substitute aired on August 4, 2009, on WMUL in Huntington, West Virginia.  The station had given me a three-hour block of time, & I didn't even want to think about how difficult it would be to make a three-hour-long episode of Self Help Radio.  So I split the block in half - I had been doing a ninety-minute version of SHR in Austin - & for the rest of the time, I played indie music under the moniker "Sugar Substitute."

The name comes from a song by the late, great Austin band Luxuriator, & I use their song (with their permission) in the intro.

The show was brought with me to Lexington, & when I was given yet another three-hour block, I did the same chrono-surgery.  When I decided - probably when I got the Monday morning show sometime in 2012 - to expand Self Help Radio to two hours, I shortened Sugar Substitute to sixty minutes.

At some point, more aggressive recruitment led to more students on the air, & the three-hour timeslots were mostly done.  I retired Sugar Substitute in 2015 or so.

When I was asked to do a show on XRAY, I had a couple choices - I could move SHR over from Freeform, or I could've done any number of shows I've done before - or a new show with a new name!  But I figured I'd stick with my love of indie, postpunk, punk, & related stuff, & it seemed natural to call the show Sugar Substitute again.

With that giant preamble, I wanted to let you know that you can listen to the show anytime by clicking here.  It's archived on the XRAY page.  You don't have to look at the dumb Self Help Radio website at all!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Self Help Radio 093019: Postcards

(I know, I know, it's like the show is sending a postcard to itself.  But who else does it have to write to?  Original image here.)

Oh man, I wrote so many postcards today.  I'm well on my way to carpal tunnel.  Which is not to be confused with the carpool tunnel, which will get you someplace faster but you need to have friends to ride with, &, alas, you don't.

There's not much to say about postcards.  We've been using them for barely one hundred & fifty years but they may go the way of other media supplanted by the internet.  Unless!  Has anyone thought of digital postcards?  Oh, they have.  Of course.  No, I didn't think I was the first to think of it.  I did not!  I wasn't fantasizing about selling the idea to an anonymous corporation for filthy lucre.  I was not!

On the show I made the promise that if you sent me an address to send you a postcard, I will do so.  You can do that, too, if you didn't listen: just write gary at self help radio dot net & I'll send ya something in the mail!  A postcard, I mean.

The show is available now at the Self Help Radio website.  It's one giant file this week, you can see what happens on the show below.  Username is SHR, password is selfhelp.

Do you have any stamps?

Self Help Radio Postcards Show
"Postcard" Blossom Toes _If Only For A Moment_
"Postcard" The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band _Urban Spaceman_
"Postcard" The Who _Odds & Sods_

introduction, definition, & history

"Postcard" Partly Cloudy _Excess Verbiage_
"Postcard" Pere Ubu _Story Of My Life_
"Postcard" Blurt _Celebrating The Bespoke Cell Of Little Ease_
"Postcard" The Simpletons _Matter_
"The Postcard" Stephen Duffy _I Love My Friends_

interview with postcard writer David Fruchter

"Postcard" The Afternoon Naps _Sunbeamed_
"Postcards" Treetop Flyers _The Mountain Moves_
"Postcard" Hailer _Another Way_
"Postcard" Letting Up Despite Great Faults _Untogether_
"The Postcard" I Am The World Trade Center _The Tight Connection_

interview with artisanal postcard maker Claude Grommitt

"Send Me A Postcard" Shocking Blue _We Can Fly, Vol. 3_
"Postcard From Waterloo" Tom Verlaine _Words From The Front_
"Postcard From Far Away" Half Japanese _The Band That Would Be King_
"Postcard From Madrid" Happydeadmen _Classics - A Decade In Pop_
"Postcard To Nina" Jens Lekman _Night Falls Over Kortedala_

interview with Oliver Whitehall, who send postcards to world leaders

"Every Day Is Like Sunday" Morrissey _Viva Hate_
"Guess How Much I Love You" The Lucksmiths _A Good Kind Of Nervous_
"Postcards On Sunday" The Bartlebees _What Is It All About?_
"Postcards To Strangers" Moustache Of Insanity _Postcards To Strangers_
"Postcard Picture Perfect" The Fairways _Is Everything All Right?_

conclusion & goodbye

"Postcard View" Watermelon Men _Wildflowers_
"Postcards From Tiny Islands" The Walkmen _You & Me_
"Postcard From The Grave" The Untamed _Strange Unknown_
"Postcard From Heaven" CJ Ramone _The Holy Spell..._
"Carte Postale" George Pringle _Salon Des Refus├ęs_

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Whither Postcards?

(Image from here.)

There are actually two reasons why this week's Self Help Radio has the theme "postcards."

The first reason is that a year or so ago I did a show about "the mails," which is to say all things related to the postal service.  (The playlist is here.)  In addition to songs about mail carriers & letters, I collected songs about postcards - I thought I might get enough to do a postcard set.  It turns out there were a lot of songs about postcards.  So I put them aside, intending to do a show one day about postcards.

The second reason is that Jenny reminded me that I was going to do a show about postcards at some point so why not now?  I dusted off the old folder, looked for more postcard songs, & viola!  There'll be a Self Help Radio show about postcards tomorrow.

That'll be from 6-8am Pacific time on 90.3 + 98.3 fm Freeform Portland & online at

Gosh, I just hope I have enough stamps!