Sunday, August 31, 2008

Support The Campaign For Real Music

written by Robert Benson

For those of us who are tired of the same old music being played on radio stations around the world, a novel concept called the Campaign For Real Music ( is here to help us. The concept is the brainchild of the people at Radio Cafe (, a site that is set up to promote the very best in quality music.

I spoke with one of the founders of Radio Café and Campaign For Real Music, Paul Langford about the goals and formation of these websites.

“I founded the sites with a few friends who feel the same way as I do,” detailed Paul. “It started around four years ago, has evolved quite a lot, but the aim has remained the same throughout- to try and promote real music, and musicians, that simply do not get the exposure elsewhere that they deserve. There are so many artists who, for whatever reason, no longer get radio airplay; therefore, a whole generation is missing out on a wealth of wonderful music.”

“Conversely, there are also numerous fantastic young musicians and singers who haven’t had the chance that their talents deserve. We want to raise their profile and we do this primarily by featuring them on this site, featuring them in our shows and getting them directly involved. We also are slowly building up a happy family of supporters who share the same or a similar ethos.”

“We hope the Campaign will help radio music schedulers appreciate the many types of music that are not being well represented on the airwaves. We’d particularly like the BBC, which offers some fantastic shows on some of its local radio stations, to review its DAB and national radio offering, and provide a broader mix of music for all,” explained Paul. “At the moment, there seems to be so many stations playing the same mix of music, and many popular genres of music have little to no airplay at all.”

I inquired as to what kind of music he is referring to and just how exactly does Campaign For Real Music promote their artists?

“We focus on the quality of the music; irresponsible of age, what counts is the effect, craft and end quality of the music. We promote the music by creating an artist ‘profile’ and we are happy to profile any music which involves time, effort, art and quality - our definition of "real music" - and which has been overlooked,” detailed Paul. “Initially we saw certain genres which are clearly not being catered for on mainstream radio in the UK (although the situation appears to be a little better in the US), as follows:

"Light music" - now known as "beautiful music" in some quarters – gets absolutely no airplay in the UK at all. But not all that long ago it formed the mainstay of British music radio, and the BBC produced masses of this type of music through its own orchestras. Sadly, the 1980s saw its demise and the last dedicated hour of light music on the BBC was cancelled last year.”

"Soul" is also a dying genre. These days it has been replaced by the confusingly named "R&B", aka "Urban", and the focus and sound is far removed from the incredible production and musical talents that provided so much great music during the 70s and 80s.”

"Classic vocalists" - some might call this "crooners". These days yes, we do have fantastic singers like Diana Krall and Michael Buble. But frustratingly this appears to be at the expense of the likes of Vic Damone, Jack Jones and Julie London, who get very little airplay in the UK other than a few chosen tracks. In fact, this would lead a listener to think that these were the only recordings that these artists ever produced - for example, Julie London released dozens of albums, yet we rarely hear anything other than "Cry Me A River" on the radio these days.”

"Jazzy tunes" - while jazz has a huge following, select areas such as dance bands, big bands, jump jive and jazz funk have little to no airplay on mainstream radio. These wonderful forms of music deserve much greater profile.”

“We also include an "other" category so that we capture any artists who deserve a greater profile but do not fit into the above genre.”

I was curious as to what the criteria were for a musician to be selected and to be profiled?

“The criteria are simple: the musician or artist or broadcaster has talent, but does not get the recognition they deserve, or has been overlooked or forgotten,” said Paul.

How can a person get involved with what you are trying to achieve?

“We're pleased to hear from anyone who would like to support the Campaign For Real Music. A number of musicians and artists have been in contact, ranging from funk legend Don Blackman (of "Blackman" fame as well as numerous 1980s adverts) to pop star Leo Sayer ("When I Need You" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing") to composer Neil Richardson (most famous perhaps for the "Mastermind" TV theme tune, but a man who has done so very much more). But it's really anyone who is passionate about real music that we are keen to hear from. And everyone can have their say and join in at”

So there you have it. Music lovers, who want to not only promote the music that they love, but also new music that has the quality and spirit to be loved. And, that my friends, is what music is supposed to be all about.

Copyright 2008 Robert Benson

Springsteen ends world tour at Harley celebration

I enjoyed watching the Harley parade on TV commemorating their 105th anniversary. It certainly lets the world know just how down-to-earth and friendly that both the people of this area are-as well as the thousands of bikers who filled the city.

There is a certain aura, a true happiness, when all people can come together like this. There are no whites, Hispanics, blacks, or any minorities, for that matter. There is no hate- just the love and appreciation of this wonderful machine. If only world peace could be this easy......

And the "Boss' made an appearance (better than the 100th when some yahoo had Elton John perform) and here is a story about his concert:


Associated Press Writer

MILWAUKEE - Bruce Springsteen ended his world tour over the weekend, toned down but revved up.

Springsteen played more than 30 songs over 3 1/2 hours Saturday night on Milwaukee's lakefront for Harley-Davidson's 105th anniversary celebration. He made few comments between songs.

Only for a few moments before "Livin' in the Future" did the rocker — who often brings his liberal-leaning political comments to the stage — stray into politics.

Springsteen performed to a crowd not unlike the one that gave Republican presidential candidate John McCain a warm welcome Aug. 4 at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Many roared their motorcycles during McCain's speech.

Springsteen said "Livin' in the Future" was about what was happening now: cheese, Harley-Davidson motorcycles (tailoring it to his Wisconsin crowd), transfats, "500 channels of nothing on" and the Bill of Rights.

But he also mentioned wire tapping and rendition — the secret transport of terror suspects from one country to another.

"Things that basically at the heart are un-American," he said. The crowd gave spattered groans but mostly stayed silent.

He did not play "Born in the U.S.A," his anthem about the difficulties Vietnam war veterans faced, or the anti-war ballad "Devils and Dust" about Iraq.

Springsteen's Saturday performance was his last stop on his tour. His Web site said Springsteen and the E Street Band have performed 100 concerts for more than 2 million fans.

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson expected more than 100,000 people from around the nation and world to participate in the four-day celebration that officially started Thursday in Milwaukee and its suburbs. It included a parade through the city, a party along the lake, activities at the new Harley-Davidson Museum, a special exhibit at Discovery World and other big-name bands.


Record Spree!

Passing Out Needles, Or: How To Stop Worrying And Love Your Vinyl Again

Record Collectors: Start Your Engines

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard vinyl is back. Maybe, to you, it never went away. There were rumors, however, that the traditional LP was a relic, abandoned for much shinier and more-portable storage units called compact discs. Fifteen to 20 years ago people dumped entire record collections at yard sales and flea markets, propping up the major labels by re-purchasing albums they already owned, electing greatest-hits sets over crisp 45s.

The 12-inch beasts and their 7-inch minions still do good business for local record shops and Ebay sellers, though, and since 1990, they’ve been the dominant mover at the bi-monthly Chicagoland Record & CD Collectors Show. The word “CD” might cameo in the proper name, but it’s largely a concession to modernity.

“It was all CDs,” recalls owner John Govi. “CDs were introduced in what, ‘83 or ‘84? By the time 1990 rolled around, everyone was getting rid of their vinyl — it was passĂ©. Records were not the format of choice at that time. They were still around, but CDs were the way to go.”

So why would Govi, an Aurora native, continue selling horses and buggies when cars were the way to go? “I still had a good amount of dealers who wanted to do vinyl. The other shows were primarily CDs, so I stuck with it.”

When tables start going up on September 14th at the Best Western Chicago-Hillside (the old Holiday Inn), a line of customers will start snaking into the nearby church parking lot. Govi’s gamble — which began at the Willowbrook Holiday Inn with a brief stop in Oak Brook’s Marriott — ballooned to the largest and most-popular such venture in the Midwest.

“We’re in Bloomington-Normal,” says North Street Records’ Rob Streibich, “so I’m in the center of the state. Sometimes we’ll do St. Louis, John’s show in Hillside, we’ve done Indianapolis, Peoria, and Champaign, and Milwaukee. John’s is the one we just do not miss.”

Ken Price, a South Bend, Indianan, traverses huge swaths to peddle in his home state, Michigan, and Ohio. Yet he makes a point of creeping up the west coast of Lake Michigan for five of Govi’s six annual bazaars.

“I set up at about 45,” he says, having picked a choice number. “I now run five different shows: South Bend, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Fort Wayne. What happened was the guy who used to run the shows, about three years ago — for a variety of reasons — decided to get out of it. I was doing well at all his shows, [and] he asked me if I wanted to take them over. I really didn’t want to, but if I didn’t they were gonna disappear.”

It doesn’t seem like the Hillside show will vanish. “I have six shows,” says Govi. “I can’t see doing any more shows than that. There are times when I’m sold out and I’m sending dealers away. I’d like to give space to everybody. November, January, March I have to push dealers away. One half of the year I’m not big enough; the other half I’m just right.”

Far from the perception of record shows meeting comic-book-convention levels of nerdiness, the most commonly purchased albums are all-time classics, picked up by those who are newly building collections. “Most records we have are mainstream,” Govi admits. “Don’t get me wrong — we have rare stuff. The records that never fail to go are Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon, the first four Led Zeppelin albums, The Doors — gotta have Jim Morrison — and if you’ve got original pressings of The Beatles’ albums you will always sell out.”

Streibich agrees, stocking up on such records because they’re hot back at the store. “Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones — stuff we cannot keep in stock.” In fact, North Street often go back home with more than they’ve sold. “There are certain artists we just cannot get enough in used. I could sell them all day. When we’re up there we do a lot of shopping to bring back to Central Illinois.”

Both Govi and Price are quick to mention the 60-percent spike in vinyl sales last year — the only physical format whose figures rose. And though Price agrees those figures reflect a very small base, there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue to surge.

He says, “It’s just a general trend. As far as the used-vinyl market, we’re always getting some kids who find it’s an inexpensive way to get into vinyl. There’s nostalgia involved, even for kids who grew up in the ’90s. There’s been a general shift away from ’50s and ’60s music; you’re seeing mid- to late-’60s, ’70s and early ’80s — people who grew up in that period are getting a nostalgia thing and going back and collecting the vinyl they might have missed the first time through; music that kind of was a forerunner to current music starts to do better. People look for metal and punk, look for older electronic music.”

Govi says his own daughter surprised him with what goes on in her college residence hall (and it didn’t involve a case of airplane glue). “She said turntables are all over her dorms and kids are buying used vinyl. Not CDs — REO Speedwagon, The Beatles.”

As such, a new booth will pop up in November sporting nothing but turntables and such accessories. “We’re gonna be pushing needles,” he jokes, saying they’ll fit right alongside record supplies, posters, programs, sheet music, autographed photos, DVDs, and those pesky CDs.

Of course, families of four wearing Colgate smiles and pushing shopping carts full of records aren’t the norm yet. The core business comes from a dedicated cadre of collectors still searching for the elusive gaps in their anthologies. Price is convinced some of his hardest targets will have to come upon him by accident, so thorough has his four decades of crate-digging proven. But Govi remembers a particular collectors-only surprise.

“You know Jerry Butler?” he asks, referring to the former Impressions member who became The Iceman. “His first big hit, ‘For Your Precious Love,’ was on a label called Abner. But the first pressing was on Vee-Jay, limited to 500 copies. Finding that first press is almost impossible. A couple years ago at a show in Indiana, this man approached us and wanted to know who our high-dollar buyers were. I pointed him out to one and he had a mint copy of ‘For Your Precious Love’ on Vee-Jay. He wanted $5,000 for it — he saw that price in a guide. It was eventually bargained for $3,500, but there you go: He just showed up, knew it was worth money, and we had the right guy to make a deal with.”

It’s the magic of vinyl that CDs will never attain.

“My parents bought records, my brothers bought records,” Govi says. “It’s in our blood. I treasure all my Beatles records; I have first pressings on every one.”

Then why keep this up when satisfaction has been had?

“I do run around a lot,” he laughs. “It’s a labor of love.”

written by Steve Forstneger


This Date In Music History- August 31


Van Morrison was born in 1945.

Jerry Allison of the Crickets (he married the real Peggy Sue) turns 69.

Tony DeFranco of the DeFranco Family ("Heartbeat- It's A Lovebeat") is 48.

Drummer Gina Schock of the Go-Go's was born in Baltimore in 1957.

Happy 51st birthday to Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze.

Debbie Gibson was born in Merrick, N.Y. in 1970.

It's guitarist Rudolf Schenker's (Scorpions) 60th birthday.


'Bad,' by Michael Jackson - the follow-up to Thriller and therefore the most hotly anticipated album in history - was released in 1987. It topped the charts for eight weeks and yielded seven hit singles.

In 1976, George Harrison was found guilty of "subconscious plagiarism" of "He's So Fine" in writing "My Sweet Lord.” To add insult to injury (besides costing ol’ George $587,000 in damages), the Chiffons regrouped and recorded a medley of "He`s So Fine/My Sweet Lord."

The final "Partridge Family" episode aired on ABC-TV in 1974.

In 1955, a London judge fined Sidney Turner three pounds, ten shillings for, "creating an abominable noise" after Turner threatened his neighbors by saying, "I will drive you mad." Turner played Bill Haley & His Comets' "Shake Rattle & Roll" as loud as possible from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In 1974, John Lennon testified that President Richard Nixon tried to have him deported after he joined anti-war demonstrations outside the 1972 Republican National Convention. He also suspected his phones were tapped and that he was under surveillance by government agents. He was right.

Elton John never struck anyone (except Harley-Davidson marketing people) as a motorcycle lover, but he played the 100th birthday celebrations of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee anyway, along with Tim McGraw and Kid Rock. I am from the area and watched it on TV. It was deplorable, many, many biker’s left with the ‘thumbs down’ or another finger of choice prominently displayed.

In 1968 Decca Records released what has been called The Rolling Stones most political song, "Street Fighting Man.” The number was written after Mick Jagger attended a March 1968 anti-war rally at London's US embassy, during which mounted police attempted to control a crowd of 25,000. The single proved to be very popular but was kept out of the US Top 40 (reaching #48) because many radio stations refused to play it based on what were perceived as subversive lyrics.

In 2005, soldier-turned-singer/songwriter James Blunt topped the U.K. singles and album charts with his debut Back to Bedlam and the song "You're Beautiful."

Metallica's self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's pop album chart in 1991.

Following manager Brian Epstein`s death in 1967, The Beatles announced they will handle their own business affairs. But soon control of the group`s business interests devolves into a struggle between Allen Klein (representing John, George & Ringo) and Lee and John Eastman (representing Paul).

Cream`s debut album "Fresh Cream" entered the LP charts in 1968. With Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, the group is heralded as the first Rock super group. The album is known for "I Feel Free" and Baker`s five-minute drum solo on "Toad."

In 2004, Joe Barry, a leading member of the "swamp pop" scene, who scored a 1960 hit with ""I'm a Fool to Care," died in New Orleans. He was 65.