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On September 27, 2018 the wife of Marty Balin announced that her husband had died. No cause was listed on her message that was posted on the Marty Balin website.

In many ways the founder of The Jefferson Airplane was not the typical rock star. While he was born in Cincinnati, he spent most of his life in San Francisco after his father moved the family there to take a job.

Very early on he showed exceptional talents for painting (good enough to earn him a scholarship), dancing and acting. He did both Shakespeare and musicals. In what would seem to a real paradox, Marty also joined a gang of toughs in his neighborhood. Since that was so out of character, perhaps he joined simply because he didn’t want to labeled as a sissy artist.

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The Doors were not the only LA based band to have a big hit in 1967. There was a group called The Strawberry Alarm Clock that scored a number one hit called “Incense and Peppermints”. It was the perfect combination of the new so called psychedelic sound with a hook that was very pop. The single went gold and they even had a long forgotten follow up hit in 1968 called “Tomorrow” that made it to number 23 on the Billboard charts.

Here in Philadelphia the rock club called The Trauma scored a major booking by getting The Strawberry Alarm Clock to play their small club. There was a long line at the club to see the band and many had to be turned away. I thought I was one of the lucky ones to get in until I saw the concert.

From the opening notes, it was clear that this band did not have their act together. I kept wondering how they ever even got a record contract. It was very evident that the producer did an excellent job in getting their hit single to sound as good as it did.

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The news was hardly a real shock since days before Aretha Franklin died her family announced that she was gravely ill and in hospice care, Still, it was hard to believe that one of the most powerful voices of all time is now gone. Her legacy, however, will live on forever.

Despite her obvious talents, Aretha was not an immediate success. The legendary producer John Hammond discovered her and signed her to Columbia Records. While Hammond, one of the best ever at spotting talent, didn’t make a mistake signing Ms. Franklin, Columbia Records dropped the ball. At the time the label was still living in the past and was living in denial that Rock & Roll and R & B were just a passing thing. As a result they tried to change the entire spirit of Aretha’s’ act and made her more like the so called torch singers. It didn’t fly and Columbia lost a golden opportunity to have a superstar on their label.

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Classic rock fans gathered at the BB&T Pavilion, the outdoor venue in Camden, NJ on August 4, 2018 to see three legendary players that made up an interesting bill: Ann Wilson, Paul Rodgers and Jeff Beck.

Any one of them could have been the headliner but for WMGK’s Big Gig on Saturday night, that honor went to Jeff Beck.

Things started off at 6:30 pm with a bluesy set by singer Deborah Bonham, who will never escape being best known as the sister of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham.

Ann Wilson took the stage at 7:00, opening with The Who’s The Real Me, and closing with The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. With a short set list of only 8 songs, it was surprising she chose two Who songs but with each one, she made it her own. Noticeably missing: any Led Zeppelin song that she’s known to do with Heart.

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The title of Buddy Guy’s latest album, THE BLUES IS ALIVE AND WELL, has more than a ring of truth to it. A lyric in the title song “as long as I’m around, the Blues is still alive and well” may even sound arrogant to some casual music fans, but those who really know the Blues know exactly what he means.

Buddy Guy is the last great Chicago Blues man standing. Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williams are all long gone. He is the man who is carrying the torch for the genre and carrying it well.

The new album is available in CD, vinyl (including a special blue vinyl set that includes an MP3 code) and as a download. It’s all good.

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While driving my car today I heard the news. Dan Ingram has died at the age of 83. All I could do was say “Oh no!” out loud. Since I was alone at the time, no one heard me. Such was not the case with this legendary top forty DJ.

Millions of people tuned into WABC in New York every day to hear Dan Ingram. He was on the air there for some 22 years. He stayed on the air in the big apple until he retired in 2003.

As I continued to drive my mind was filled with memories of listening to Ingram. Most of the time he did afternoon drive time. I was a faithful listener for many years and as a kid joined his club and got my Kemosabe Kard (see the actual kard - front & back - within this story). This card has been in radio memorabilia since the early 60’s. I tried to listen to him every day until I myself was on at the same time.

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On June 24, 2018 WMGK presented a concert at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion with co liners ZZ Top and John Fogerty. With both acts being in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, it was a toss-up as to who should go on first. After all, they both are “Heavy Hitters”.

On this evening it was ZZ Top that took the stage first. They had plenty of material to draw from. Their 1983 album ELIMINATOR alone sold a total of 25 million copies. It stands out among the eleven gold, seven platinum and three multi-platinum albums the group has earned.

Those of us in Philadelphia who were very much a part of those years when radio was playing the music that has become classic Rock, can take pride in the fact that we helped launch a number of legendary acts. But we were late to the table with ZZ Top. 

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At first glance this may seem to be a very odd title for not only a book, but a tour. Once you read the new Phil Collins memoir it becomes very clear why he chose it as the title of his autobiography.

During the course of the book you get a very personal self evaluation. Throughout you will find a refreshing dose of the Phil Collins humor. He is very open about his feelings from talking about the other musicians in Genesis, his failed marriages, his battle with health issues, and his bouts with drugs and alcohol. He did literally almost die on more than one occasion.

“There have been lots of highs and more than a few lows,” claims Collings about the book, “I’m being completely honest about all of them, embarrassingly so in some cases”.

Not even a heavy down pour of rain just as the 39th annual Race for the kids was about to start could dampen the spirits of the over 1,500 runners that lined up in Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park.

It was nothing but cheers and hollering as the gun went off starting yet another very successful Philly Bar race.

The serious runners were off in a flash, but most that participated were just out for a fun run.

It was all for a very good cause. The money collected will benefit the Center for Child Advocates. This non-profit organization was created to change the story for the many abused and neglected children in the area.

Once again this year T. Morgan was the Grand Marshal for the race. He handed out the prizes for the various age groups.

See pictures taken of the event below.

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When rock fans mention the names of Rock’s superstars, they rarely include Bob Seger. They most certainly should.

Bob was born in the motor city of Detroit during more prosperous times. Like so many of that time period, his father Stewart worked for Ford Motor Company. Stewart was also an amateur musician and played several instruments exposing his son to lots of music at a very age.

In 1961 while still in high school Bob became a member of a band called The Decibels. The band broke up despite the Seger penned song “The Lonely one” being recorded and being aired on a local radio station (it was the first of many songs written by Seger that would be played on the radio).

After playing with a few local bands and making close music friends like Glenn Fry, Bob wrote a song called “East Side Story” that was recorded for a small Detroit label. It sold 50,000 on a local level and caught the attention Cameo-Parkway Records of the Philly based label that was real hot at the time. That led to a couple of very minor hits.

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On February 2, 1968 a converted tire warehouse ushered in a new era of concert entertainment. Under the marquee of The Electric Factory the doors opened for those who were aware of a new direction being taken in Rock & Roll music.

It was just a few months earlier that the music was being played on commercial radio for first time when I launched a new format playing exciting and talented new groups like The Jefferson Airplane, The Mothers of Invention, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, etc. Soon all these acts were performing at this new venue.

On that first night those of us who attended found a whole new “Psychedelic” environment in which to enjoy “our music”. The headline act that first night was The Chamber Brothers who did a lengthy version (as if the LP version wasn’t long enough) of “The Time has Come Today”. The club itself was one large open space with boxes up against the wall (see photo below) that looked more like stand up coffins than any seating arrangement heretofore ever seen. The idea was to stand in the box and lean back to view the concert. Some of the original boxes are still on display in the new version of the Electric Factory.

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Several years back I started reading stories about schools dropping their music programs. Cut backs was the reason given for removing what I considered a vital part of education. At the time I was so taken back by the news that I wrote a screenplay for what I thought would make a good made for TV movie. The storyline was simple. What this world would be like if we lived in a world without music being taught.

One answer would be that young minds would find a way to learn music anyway. Some of the very best musicians learned without the benefit of teachers. They are the exception. If music is not taught in the schools then a very important learning tool is lost to many who will never grow up to make a living playing music. It has been proven that music improves not only your reasoning ability, it improves all facets of the human existence.

On January 17, 2018 the January lunch and panel discussion of Delco Press club was held at the Springhaven Country Club. In Wallingford, PA.

The panel answered questions from the moderators (Andrea DiFabio and Lorraine Ranalli) and the audience. Both provided very thoughtful questions and got some very informative answers.

The panel considered of several prominent people from radio. The topic of the day was centered on the future of radio.

Those on the panel included:

Sara Lomax-Reese is the president and CEO of WURD Radio in Philadelphia. She is credited with transforming WURD from a struggling legacy talk radio station into a multi-media success. Most recently they have expanded to simulcasting on 900 AM and 96.1 FM. She spoke brilliantly about the struggles of the station and what they are doing survive in the market place. Her leadership has made the stations and their magazine outlet very viable in the marketplace.

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