Friday, December 29, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #15: Podsafe heaven

My little attic studio is still under reconstruction, so nothing from my collection this time, but lots from the Podsafe Music Network!

"The Awful Green Things from Outer Space," Clouseaux

"Joy," Michael Lucklow

"Married a Magician," Dust Poets

"Betty," The Lascivious Biddies

"Loopy" (GarageBand experiment), w.p. bluhm

"Rocking Harder," Lee Rocker

"WNBC," Gentlemen's Gun Club

Back to something resembling normal next time - in the meantime, Happy New Year and see ya soon!

To download, click on the little "pod" icon above or here. To just listen, press the "play" button on the player.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The problem is not in your set

I was hoping to post Uncle Warren's Attic #15 tonight, but we're experiencing technical difficulties. The good news is the problem does not seem to be in my set - it's the usually reliable folks at We'll wait out their headache and be back, I imagine, sometime Friday.

This one will be a departure from previous episodes, in that it's comprised mostly of all fairly new music from the Podsafe Music Network. This is largely because I haven't finished re-assembling my studio, but partly because there's a lot of great podsafe music out there and I wanted to share some of the cool stuff I've found while browsing.

So, hang out, browse around the network, and we'll talk to ya real soon!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Those incessant carols ...

It seems there are only about 20 Christmas songs, and they get repeated in endless permutations for six weeks. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and the other 16 songs seem to have been recorded by every artist on Earth, and several times each.

But still ...

Today in church "Silent Night" reminded me of the glisten in my mom's eyes when she heard it sung ... by anyone.

And "Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria, in excelsis deo" brought me back 23 years to the time a children's choir, string quartet and the adult choir sent my heart soaring and converted "Angels We Have Heard On High" from an also-ran into my favorite Christmas carol.

When the aches and pains of the years have healed or at least faded, the sweet memories remain. The familiar carols carry us back to happier times, comfort food for the soul.

Merry Christmas and/or any other holiday greeting you prefer!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #14: The Christmas Show

A new era begins in Uncle Warren's life as he produces his first GarageBand podcast. Bert, what do you know about that? Merrrrry Christmas!!!!

This is an odd one, because the musical selections are either from 78 rpm records or .mp3s - there's no in-between. Among the gems here:

"Joy to the World," Robert Shaw Chorale

"March" from "The Nutcracker Suite," Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.

"Chiron Beta Prime," Jonathan Coulton

"The Cherry Tree Carol," Robert Shaw Chorale

"Twelve Days of Christmas," Robert Shaw Chorale

UW's Christmas memories, music "The First Noel," Mario Ajero
a nifty piece I found at the Podsafe Music Network

"Podsafe Christmas Song," Jonathan Coulton

UPDATE: Whoops! I forgot to mention Orson Welles and Lionel Barrymore from the 1939 radio performance of "A Christmas Carol"

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," Philly Orchestra

As I say in the podcast, this show is to celebrate the holiday season. If you�re celebrating something besides Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or Merry Solstice, Awesome Kwanzaa - whatever greeting you prefer, consider yourself greeted. Pour out a glass of milk, grab some cookies, and settle in!

Download UWA 14 here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Are you kidding me?

I started trying to figure out how to produce a podcast using the GarageBand and iTunes software on my new iMac - my Christmas present to myself - and as often happens when I work with Macintosh stuff, I am overwhelmed with how downright easy it is.

My original plan was to record the UWA Christmas show the same as the first 13: Tape it on my trusty old reel-to-reel recorder, dub it to CD, and convert it to .mp3 on the sturdy old Windows 98 machine. That was based on the thought that I probably couldn't figure out a new program (GarageBand) quickly enough to do the Christmas Show justice.

My new plan is to use my new toy. I just love it! Why doesn't everybody own a Mac?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Uncle Warry's new toy

Well, this site is now powered by a lovely new iMac. I thought about it and researched for a very long time before pulling the trigger the other day. I'm still in the process of transferring files from one place to t'other, taking the software for a test drive and such.

This means at some point I'll be able to record the show directly on GarageBand without the intermediate steps of assembling it on the old Pioneer RT-707 reel-to-reel recorder and dubbing it onto a CD-RW, then walking it over to the computer to transform it into an .mp3. Whether that will improve your appreciation of my ancient recordings, or suck the analog joy completely out of the equation, remains to be seen.

I haven't started putting the Christmas show together yet, but I'd better get started before next Monday, hadn't I? Stay tuned! And/or stay subscribed!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #13: The War Prayer

Toss out the script and grab that guitar - it's Uncle Warren unplugged to start the night with (once more) "Seems Like Old Times."

After a word from our sponsor, we make a quick visit to the Evil Genius Chronicles to talk about podcasting for a spell.

Our first musical guests are Josh White, singing "Take a Gal Like You," and Josh White Jr. with "If I Knew Then."

Then let's gather around for a reading of Mark Twain's famous story "The War Prayer," written in 1905 but not printed until 1923.

While we're in the '20s, it's Paul Whiteman with the slightly naughty "Last Night on the Back Porch."

And after an important word from Johnson Wax, Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, with help from the Pied Pipers, Connie Haines and a young man named Sinatra, bring us our musical finale, "Snootie Little Cutie."

Download the episode here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The switch is made

Being conservative by nature, I waited until now to respond to those invitations to "upgrade" to the "new, improved" Blogger. We'll see how much "better" it is - but nothing exploded as far as I can tell, so ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Evil Genius Chronicles

I've just discovered what, to me, is a new podcast - the Evil Genius Chronicles. Dave Slusher has actually done 191 episodes of his show, and while I can't yet speak for the first 190, I was extremely impressed by #191, which you can download here.

In addition to great tunes from Sufjan Stevens and Michelle Malone, the show has a number of interesting clips from other podcasts tied together with musings by Slusher about new media and the nature of art and creativity. How interesting? It influenced the way I think about Uncle Warren's Attic, in ways that likely will become apparent almost immediately.

I can't recommend the Evil Genius Chronicles highly enough - at least #191.

UPDATE: Whoops! I was sending you to the wrong link when you clicked on "Evil Genius Chronicles." Try it now. Sorry!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #12: What a world

What it is:

Excerpt from radio dramatization of It's A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed

Theme: "Seems Like Old Times," w.p. bluhm

A plug for the new Uncle Warren's Attic a-store

"Tip Toe Through the Tulips," Johnny Marvin (pictured)

A collage from the CD A Guitar's Carol by Keith L. Cooper

"Toastin' Marshmallows," Judy, Johnny & Billy (1959)

Vintage radio ad: Spry

"Melting," w.p. bluhm

"There Goes Robin" by "the Batman band." On the show I say this is the song that taught me the words pugilist and philanthropist, but when I listened again I misremembered. The mighty Robin is not described as a philanthropist in the song.

Coming soon: The "first annual" Uncle Warren Christmas Show.

Download UWA#12 by clicking on the "Pod" icon or here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Soft opening

So that you can browse and shop in time for Christmas, here's the work in progress known as the Uncle Warren's Attic astore.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #11: Spigot lines

Odd that DVD troubles would delay an audio podcast, but that's what happened - I finally decided to go on with the show despite a pesky machine that only played half of the movie clips I wanted to use to explain "spigot lines," those miraculous movie moments when someone turns the spigot on your tear ducts. Musical moments:

New theme: "Seems Like Old Times," w.p. bluhm

"The Christmas Song," King Cole Trio, off an authentic 78 rpm record.

"Riders in the Sky," Spike Jones

"The Day John Glenn Came Home," Fifi Barton

Watch for "Uncle Warren's Attic," the astore, coming to a Web site near you, hopefully in time for Christmas!

download UWA#11

Monday, December 04, 2006

A new Christmas voice

I played you a piece by guitarist Keith Cooper back in Uncle Warren's Attic #3. Now he's put together a CD called "A Guitar's Carol," which has 11 wonderful tracks, ranging from amazing solo efforts on "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and "We Three Kings of Orient Are" to festive arrangements of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" to an atmospheric rendering of "Carol of the Birds."

It's the best new Christmas music I've heard in a long time. It's only available now in "pre-release" form, as an insert to a Christmas card that's available only at Keith's concerts (we saw him over the weekend) and over the Web. You absolutely should check it out.

Friday, December 01, 2006

La de da, la de da, talk amongst yourselves ...

It figures, after I bragged about my amazingly retro equipment last week, that my amazingly retro equipment would start rebelling as I attempt to throw together UWA #11. I believe it's in the category of temporary setbacks, but it's a tad irritating nonetheless. But never fear, the problem is not in your set, we'll be up and at 'em in no time ...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

UW Attic #10: No Man is a Pizza

Happy Thanksgiving! This episode contains:

A scene from March of the Wooden Soldiers

"Perry Shriner: Court-Appointed Lawyer" from the National Lampoon Radio Hour, Nov. 2, 1974

"How Do You Do, Mr. Sponsor" - unidentified jingle

"Hot Pretzels" - The Glahe Musette Orchestra

"Der Froehliche Wanderer" - Obenkircher Children's Choir

"At the Ball, That's All" - Sons of the Pioneers

download Uncle Warren's Attic #10

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Daughtry rocks

I made a good on a promise Tuesday. It wasn't a big promise, but it was.

Last winter Red and I were watching the early stages of the annual "American Idol" competition when I sat up and took notice of a young man who was helping his lady raise her two kids. She wept with gratitude about how the man was willingly giving up his dream of doing something with his music, in order to take care of her and her children in a more "practical" way.

It was a sweet story of sacrifice, typical of the heart-tugging tales that make the show so appealing - until he began to sing. Nothing typical about that voice, a powerful rock and roll voice dripping with passion.

"That guy's going to win," I said to Red. "And I can't wait to buy his album." This was the beginning of the competition, where they cull out the best 200 or 300 or however many it is who are "going to Hollywood, baby." But from the moment I heard that story and heard him sing, I expected Chris Daughtry to win.

Every week the guy was head and shoulders the best performer on the show - not the flashiest or the prettiest, just the one who left everything he had on stage, just the one who kept me coming back to watch and to listen. From the buzz around the show, I wasn't alone. Even the judges started saying they couldn't wait to buy his album.

Daughtry is the best rock voice I've heard in five (!) years of on-and-off viewing of "Idol." Maybe that's what happened - they're looking for a pop music icon, not a rocker.

When he was eliminated four spots from the end, Red and I looked at each other in shock. In hindsight, it probably was a blessing. Judging from past entries by "Idol" winners, I can't imagine winner Taylor Hicks being able to turn in an album as free-wheeling and passionate as "Daughtry," the album that came out Tuesday. The "Idol" machine just likes its idols to be more polished and predictable than this.

Turns out Daughtry's a pretty good writer, too - his name is in the credits on 10 of the 12 songs. First impression: Not disappointed. Very tasty, hard-driving, passionate rock, just what you'd think he'd deliver with his new band. In his acknowledgements he thanks his wife, Deanna, for her support, and tells her and the kids how much he loves them.

He also begins by saying, "I'd like to thank God for the gift of music and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being the greatest example of love I know." Huh. Now that I didn't expect, but I guess I'm not surprised. He never preached a word, except in the way he loved his family.

Yeah. I bought his album the day it came out. Had to. Needed to. I promised.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic Number Nine

After opening with a blip from the immortal "Revolution 9," we revisit the Beatles mono vs. stereo phenomenon with the near-breakdown that made it onto the official stereo version of "Please Please Me." Then it's on to Uncle Warren's homage to "Revolution 9," a little number called "I Can't Do That."

Next up, John Kongos' tender ballad "Tomorrow I'll Go," not from his cult classic album Kongos but from an earlier album called Confusions About A Goldfish. Then, after a vintage ad for the new RCA Victor 45 rpm music system, it's time for the centerpiece of this visit to the Attic.

Jean Shepherd is best known as the author/narrator of the wonderful 1983 movie A Christmas Story, but from 1957 to 1976 he was a fixture on WOR radio, New York, where he established himself as (IMHO) the best storyteller in radio history. Here he gives a dramatic recitation of "The Face Upon the Barroom Floor," an 1887 poem by Hugh Antoine d'Arcy, illustrative of how his show was a fantastically eclectic mix of stuff that we'll no doubt share in future episodes. For now, your best bets in learning and hearing more from Shep are and the Shep Archives.

After a complete left turn to bring you an unforgettable moment from Gammera the Invincible, we close with a lovely tune called "Whatever Happened" by Lazarus, a very fine folk band from the 1970s.

Technical note: You may notice (but hopefully not) a drop-off in audio quality this week - a few hiccups occurred on the way to converting the analog tape recording into an .mp3. But on a show that likes to keep the wear and tear of old recordings intact, it should not inhibit your enjoyment of the ride.

download #9

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I've got nothing to say but it's OK

If I've piqued your interest about the mono versus stereo versions of Sgt. Pepper, there are a few places out there where it's all documented. Here's a good one.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A new place to stay

I'm still not completely "at home" with the Liberated Syndication blog software, but it has a huge advantage over Blogger - I haven't figured out how to attach an .mp3 player to the blogspot page. So I'm moving over to libsyn for people who'd rather just listen to the show than download it, but I'm keeping for the time being for folks who like the pictures. Wherever you find it, the show is the same. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #8

Another Sunday night visit - I may be back Wednesday again, but let's enjoy this trip first. The long-awaited Sgt. Pepper tracks, Lonnie Donegan, Leadbelly, Connie Francis, Wilfred Glenn and Glenn Miller all are part of this trip - oh, and hey, hey, it's a radio ad from the Sixties, too.

Sorry the show notes are a little sparse today - I'll try to fill them out as the week wears on.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #7: Things Are Looking Up

For a time I thought we'd never get this show going again, but here 'tis, the seventh edition of Uncle Warren's Attic. Just in time for Election Day, we have some deep thoughts about freedom from William Wallace, V and Malcolm Reynolds sprinkled among some fun old tunes, mostly from the 1960s and 70s this time. And even a couple of memorable moments from the so-bad-it's-good classic "The Creature with the Atom Brain." And you might want to try a drinking game: Take a shot of your favorite beverage every time I say "Anyway." Just don't drive afterwards, unless your favorite beverage is Pepsi.

The musical features:
From U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd's immortal album, "Mountain Fiddler," the confessional "Rye Whiskey."

The return of The Morgan Brothers, central Wisconsin's tastiest 1970s bluegrass band, and their take on "As Tears Go By."

It wasn't exactly the hula hoop, but at least the 1960s 10-minute craze the "Jingle Jump" had a catchy, er, jingle.

According to the record collectors newspaper Discoveries, "No Vacancy" is just about the only song Neil Sedaka released on vinyl that hasn't been collected on CD yet ... It reminds me a little of "Splish Splash," the Bobby Darin hit from the same general era.

Reminiscing about Neil Sedaka's multi-tracked tunes gives me a chance to segue into one of my own little efforts, "Sha-la-la-la-la-la."

And finally, the late, great, underappreciated Judee Sill with "Things Are Looking Up," one of the unfinished tracks from her never-completed third album. You really, really have to hear Judee Sill's stuff.

Thanks for your patience, and enjoy UWA #7! See ya again soon.

download uncle warren's attic #7

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Please stand by

Something went kerflooey with the file when I tried uploading the next edition of "Uncle Warren's Attic" Wednesday night. I don't have the time to try it again this morning, so I will work on the problem Thursday night. Meantime, talk amongst yourselves, play a game of Scrabble, and watch this space for another exciting episode of UWA. Humble apologies.

UPDATE: Eek! It's official. My .mp3 software is acting up. Instd of making a nismooth show it kskipping like a broken record. I'll keep trying to get this thing fixed ... where did I put that hammer? Thanks for you patience. Friday, 7:05 a.m.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #6

In this special edition of UWA:
Flying Saucer, Part 1 - Buchanan and Goodman
Not to Return - Randy Bachman
Any Road - George Harrison
I Don't Want to Know - The Donnas
Joe - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
The Rollicking Man From Mars - Scotty MacGregor
Flying Saucer, Part 2 - Buchanan and Goodman

Monday, October 23, 2006

Turn and face the strange changes

B.W. Richardson and I have been working together for quite a few months now; I have been the narrator of his first podcast novel, The Imaginary Bomb, and will soon be doing the honors for the first sequel, The Imaginary Lover. In fact, I got Chapter 1 of the I-Lover out and then Brian yelled, "Wait! Wait! Wait! I want a do-over," which is where we've left it. The new improved Chapter 1 should be arriving soon, followed by Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and et cetera .... this time fer sure, Rocky.

Anyway, meanwhile I hatched Uncle Warren's Attic, and it certainly appears at this stage that UWA will be coming out more often than the Imaginary novels, so we've reached an agreement to fold B.W. Richardson's Imaginary Age into the Attic. The Liberated Syndication site can now be accessed via, which gives you an added option: There's a handy-dandy little libsyn player on the site that lets you hear the shows without having to download 'em.

As I get more adept at manipulating art on the libsyn templates, I very likely will move out of the Blogger attic and make the libsyn attic our main location. But that'll be a while, probably. Still, don't be surprised somewhere down the line if you hit your "" bookmark and it lands you here. Don't worry, I'll hang some curtains and put some pictures on the walls before I make it a permanent switch.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Shucks, folks, I'm speechless

... at all the nice things that were said at Sunni's place about the Attic. Not sure what the posting problem is, Xpat - all the Blogger settings look right at this end - but I'm glad to hear what you had to say. And at some point I'll understand Podcasting for Dummies well enough to graduate to an domain of my own.

I really am having fun doing this little show, and I'm tickled that you're enjoying it, too.

Last night (Saturday, Oct. 21) was the benefit concert for the Cup O'Joy Christian Coffeehouse featuring Sara Groves and Keith L. Cooper. I have to say that Keith's CD only gave me a hint of what the guy can do just standing on the stage alone with an acoustic guitar. I heard several people say on the way out that they've never heard someone get that much sound - or those kinds of sounds - out of a guitar, and I have to add my own "wow!!" to that mix. I'm no longer certain that there were multiple guitars or a percussionist in "Cloud Burst," the song I included in UWA #3 - I think all of those sounds may have come out of a single guitar.

And Sara is simply the most "real" person I've ever seen on stage. Her songs are personal and revealing, and the conversation she has with her audience is all the more so. She continues to grow as a musician, a Christian and a person (in no particular order), and it's been a real treat catching her in concert every year or so. This was the fourth time Red and I have seen her, and I sure plan to keep coming back.

I'm really looking forward to this week's show. I've entered into an agreement with a new news network that has the technology to break into a podcast with news in "real time." I have no idea how it works, but I suspect it'll be very interesting. I'm also planning to throw caution to the wind - so far I've been playing stuff that I'm pretty sure is in the public domain, but some of the music people are putting out these days is just too good to ignore, and radio's pretty much ignoring it. So ... well, keep an eye out Wednesday or Thursday for Uncle Warren's Attic #6. And thanks again for all the kind words!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #5

"Nothing came at all, I just got stuck on these two chords and a phrase ..."

I had a lot of fun putting this one together - thanks for coming by for a visit! Oh, and you need this link for sure to order a few pounds of Sunni's caramels:

I was a huge New York Mets fan growing up. Not so much nowadays - I didn't watch any of the recent games when they came within a game of the World Series - but as a kid I was nuts about 'em. The 1969 World Series was one of the great highlights of my kid-dom. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I remembered all the words to the "Meet the Mets" theme that started out all their radio broadcasts back then. For all I know, it still does. Haven't been out there to listen for a while.

I don't know why I decided to share the beer sounds with you. It was an impulse. It adds to the show's atmosphere, though, don't ya think?

While on the subject of my childhood, I also loved comic books, which is how the Batman records got into my attic. The songs were somewhat disappointing, as you'll no doubt hear, but the packaging was pretty nifty and well worth the 49 cents each (I think this was before the New Jersey sales tax was invented, too! so it wasn't 52 or 53 cents, it was what the label said: 49 cents.) It was tough picking out which song to inflict on you, but "The Joker Gets Trumped" won out.

Reminiscing about my childhood morphs into discussion of caramels, with a hearty recommendation from your humble host.

This week's foray into the mid 20th century brings us Nat Gonella and his New Georgians with an infectious tune called "I'se a Muggin'" - I figured you might need another infectious tune to get "The Joker Gets Trumped" out of your head. Gonella's has the advantage of being a tasty jazz recording.

After a brief interlude, we move into the tale of how "Wanting to Live Forever" was composed. "WTLF" is the true story of a morning in January 1986 when I sat down with my guitar with a goal to write a new song, got stuck on two chords, and found myself wondering what the point was. As I wrote, I ended up with some words of encouragement for anyone who ever wonders why they're following whatever dream they're pursuing.

Once again Kirsten contributes a valuable piece of the podcast - thanks! - when I mentioned the other day I wasn't sure which version of "Wanting to Live Forever" I was going to play - the 1986 recording, which I made about four months after writing it, or the new version I'm just polishing now, she wrote, "I'd like to hear both." Why not? It means postponing a bit from the National Lampoon Radio Hour for a couple of weeks, but it was fun to spend time talking about the creative process and sharing the evolution of a song I'm kind of proud of. I hope you like it.

Next week should be a fun one - y'all come back now, here?

Download .mp3

Monday, October 16, 2006

CD review: All Right Here

Sara Groves is one of the most talented singer-songwriters currently recording. Her honest words go straight to the heart, and her music often takes unexpected and interesting turns. The fact that she is a devout Christian limits her audience in an era where it's OK to be honest about anything except a belief in God.

So I would recommend her album All Right Here to anyone who'd like a taste of this lady but is off-put by Jesus. No, she doesn't disguise that aspect of her life - heck, the closing song is "Jesus, You're Beautiful" - but she spends a good chunk of the album writing and singing about more general themes. "Every Minute" is about friendship; "Fly" is an amazingly sensual song to her husband, Troy; "You Cannot Lose My Love" is for her infant son - all three of those songs are so achingly sincere that you want Sara as your friend, your wife, your mom.

"Just One More Thing" catches the tendency to let all of the pressures in life steal time from the important things ("Love to me is when you walk out on that 'one more thing' and say 'Nothing will come between me and you'"). "Tornado" is a nifty fusion of country, jazz and bluegrass that sings about a lost love in a way that would feel right on any radio station that played country, jazz and bluegrass - if there was such a station. For unapologetic contemporary Christian music fans, there's "First Song That I Sing," the catchiest praise song since Amy Grant's legendary "Sing Your Praise to the Lord," and as if aware of that fact, Groves merges the two songs in a glorious climax.

The title track says it all - it's the sixth song on the album but it's such a great introduction that she played it first and second at two of the three concerts I've attended - "It's what is best and what is worse/It's how I see the universe/It's in every line and every verse/Oh, it's all right here."

In 2000 Sara Groves put out one of the all-time great CCM albums in Conversations, and she had the CCM magazine Album of the Year in 2005 with Add to the Beauty, a project so damn near perfect it reminds me of Carole King's Tapestry, but listening yesterday to 2002's All Right Here, I realized this is the album to hand to skeptics or even atheists and say, "Listen to what this lady has to say. If the Jesus stuff makes you queasy, just skip to the next song. You'll find something cool there." But you might even like the Jesus stuff.

(Reprinted from the Green Bay Free Radical)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Closing off a mini-sabbatical

I'm in the final day of a five-day "stop and smell the roses" break - a little tough because the roses don't bloom in October, but the most important part of the equation was "stop" anyway. I've taken three or four sick days in the last couple of months, and finally I diagnosed myself with the early to mid stages of burnout.

This was to be my time to do what I please and get re-oriented. It's been a fair-to-middlin' success - about a half-day of the five will have ended up being devoted to the day job after all. Can't seem to get away from that thing.

No surprise that pretty close to a full day was spent on my new podcast, "Uncle Warren's Attic." I love talking about, sharing - and making - music, and this is an outlet I think I've been needing to create for a long time. Even if nobody listens, it's therapeutic, and it's gratifying that some folks have not only listened but come back for more.

The "re-oriented" part included cleaning up the basement work area where I write and such. This will come as no shock to people who have seen the desk at my workplace: It was piled high with papers and junk. The articles I'd printed up off the Web to save for future reference filled four binders. The papers I sent through the shredder as no longer important filled two grocery bags. Those are just the papers - I still have to figure out what to do with the piles of books, CDs, wires and miscellaneous electronic stuff that I pulled off the desk and onto the easy chair and floor. But I have a mostly-clear desk - at least here at home - for the first time in a long while.

And I picked up my guitar and played - just like yesterday - for the first time in a longer while. The motivation was a song I want to share in the next "Attic." I plan either to play the recording I made of it in 1986, a few months after I wrote it, or a new recording (in progress) that will incorporate a fuller arrangement and a three-minute coda I composed over the ensuing 20 years. I still don't know which version will fly; it depends on how the next few nights work out. I'm a bit nervous in either case; putting forward a five- or eight-minute song for people to digest is asking a lot. I have a couple of friends encouraging me to put this one out there, though, and that helps.

The time off has served its purpose for the most part - I'm feeling a bit calmer, relaxed and "centered" than I did when I walked out of the office just before midnight Tuesday. The challenge will be to avoid damaging that calm first thing Monday morning.

Cross-posted to Green Bay Free Radical

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #4

"When I pretend I'm gay,
I never feel that way -
I'm only painting the clouds with sunshine."

This week I started digging in the boxes of old 78s and fell in. The result is a show that's top-heavy with bakolite platters for the Victrola. We start out with a song I've loved since I was a kid growing up in New Jersey: "Powerhouse" by Raymond Scott. It was the theme song of the make-believe radio shows I'd invent in my room, so it makes a guest appearance as the opening theme here.

After a little background about "The Making of Uncle Warren's Attic" and a comment from Kirsten, we introduce the sponsor of this week's show, the 1967 Audrey Hepburn movie "Wait Until Dark." I regret that there's only time for two of the vintage radio ads I found on a 10-inch disk in an antique store once upon a time; maybe in some distant future show ...

"Jazznocracy" by Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra comes next. I thought it had a nifty title, and you can't go wrong with Bluebird records. Very tasty - and it's the "B" side!!!

One of my mom's favorite radio shows was "The Shadow," and a listener asked if I could sneak in a taste of that great series, so I snuckthe open and close into the mix.

The most worn-out record I slapped on the turntable this week was "Ain't We Got Fun." Van and Schenck's recording popularized this 1921 nugget.

I resisted the urge to follow one old nugget with another - instead of playing Johnny Marvin's rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips With Me," I flipped the record over and played another song from the same long-lost musical ("Gold Diggers of Broadway") - "I'm Painting the Clouds with Sunshine."

Then it's off to the racetrack to hear the immortal live call of the Pimlico Special, Nov. 1, 1938: Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral for the right to be called the greatest horse in the world.

Another ad for "Wait Until Dark," and then Tony Martin belts out
"I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine," which Elvis Presley later recorded as the "B" side of "Good Rockin' Tonight" for Sun records in 1954. Mr. Presley's version is a bit different from the tune crooned by Mr. Martin.

The "A" side of the record by Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra was called "White Heat," and it scorches the end of this week's show - tagged by the signature weekly conclusion of "The Shadow."

This one's a little different from the first three - I'm trying not to settle into a "format" for the Attic. Next week's show will be closer to what you've heard before, and I have something special planned for #6 - so come back for more, please! I think you'll like it. Leave comments here or send me an e-mail.

Download Uncle Warren's Attic #4

Friday, October 06, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #3

I'll give you eclectic, my pretty - and your little dog, too!

Our third trip to the attic, first in the new (ironically enough) basement studio, features:

Introduction: Galaxy magazine plug and close from X-Minus One
Theme: "Not to Return," Randy Bachman
Old radio PSA
"The Stars and Stripes Forever," Hurtado Brothers Royal Marimba Band
Warren nitpicks: Alternate endings of "Mirage" by Tommy James & the Shondells
"Kookie Hat," Freddy Cannon
"Cloud Burst," Keith L. Cooper (performing in Green Bay Oct. 21 to benefit Cup O'Joy Christian Coffeehouse)
"Outside Lefty's," w.p. bluhm
Ad: Rover 2000 TC, 1966 live ad by Jean Shepherd
"Keep Your Skirts Down Mary Ann," Aileen Stanley and Billy Murray; Frank Banta, piano

direct download

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Settling in with a meme

I wanted to create a unique Web site for, but I haven't mastered all of the concepts in Creating Web Pages for Dummies yet, so I set it up over here at Blogger, where I understand how things work a little better.

Also, I'm still piggybacking the feeds with the Imaginary Age stories that B.W. and I are telling, so if you subscribe to the RSS feed you'll still get both. No doubt there's a way to separate the two shows, but I'm still working my way through Podcasting for Dummies, too. That, and I'd just as soon everyone sample both shows anyway.

The reaction to the show so far has been very positive, and thank you one and all. I'm going to try to go with a weekly, Wednesday routine, so watch for a new show tomorrow, Oct. 4.

This seems like a good time and place to respond to the meme that Kirsten has tagged me with, along with a lovely plug for the podcast:

1. Have you found a song running through your head on more than one occasion? What is it?
Since eighth grade I have occasionally been stuck singing "Yellow Submarine" incessantly. I think that explains many things about me.

2. If you've gone through a particularly bad breakup, what song do you associate with it?
Not meaning to be narcissistic or anything, but I sat down one day and wrote a silly little pop-country song about a guy who wakes up, his dog jumps up on the bed and he starts petting the dog, and then he remembers his girl has left him and thinks "Who's gonna pet me in the morning now that you're gone?" Well, I was playing the song and patting myself on the back for my musical genius when the phone rang, and the ensuing conversation set a particularly bad breakup in motion. So I don't play that song very often anymore.

3. What's your musical guilty pleasure? A band, song, or genre that you enjoy but are ashamed to admit it?
I'm not ashamed, but I don't mention my addiction to contemporary Christian music very often, because I know it makes some folks uncomfortable and I hate to offend my flying spaghetti monsterist friends and acquaintances. UWA #3 will have a couple of very cool selections along those lines, BTW. I think even FSMers will approve.

4. Name a song that makes you sing out loud when you're alone in the car?
Oh, wow, see 1 and 3 above. "Yellow Submarine," "Thunder Road," "Painting Pictures of Egypt" by Sara Groves, and miscellaneous others as the mood strikes.

5. Name a song, band, or genre that forces you to change radio stations and possibly even rip the knob off?
"Nothing Compares 2U" by Sinead O'Connor. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. That "Titanic" song by Celine Dion. Fingernails on the blackboard. Yeesh!

6. Is there a song that can make you cry?
Lots of 'em. I'm a big mushpot. "Thunder Road" for its hope-against-hope ending: "I'm pulling out of here to win." Gets me almost every time.

7. Is there a song that always cheers you up?
"Thunder Road."

8. Is there a single song that reminds you of high school?
A single song? No. The first ones that come to mind: "Born On the Bayou." "Bluebird." "Hey Jude." That was a pretty rich time for popular music ...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #2

Another episode of my new podcast while we wait for B.W. to finish writing ... Warren

"The Cliff," by Warren Bluhm
Theme, "Not to Return," Randy Bachman
1966 ad: Palisades Park
Pet Peeve: The mangling of "Devil with a Blue Dress"
"Happy Talk," w.p. bluhm
"Toot Toot Tootsie," Arthur Lange's Orchestra
"Two for the Road," The Morgan Brothers
"Branded" TV theme

Nice folks mentioned on the show: Wally Conger and Sunni Maravillosa.

download Uncle Warren's Attic #2

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Uncle Warren's Attic #1

Hi folks, Warren Bluhm here -- while waiting for The Imaginary Lover "This time fer sure, Rocky" edition, I sat down to tinker with the tape recorder and came up with a "test" version of Uncle Warren's Attic, a little podcast that shares stuff I've accumulated in my lifetime as a packrat. If you like it, I'll do more. In fact, I'll probably keep trying until I come up with something you do like, either here or at its own site.

Stuff I've packed into this trial run:
Take 1 - Take 2 - Take 3
Theme: "Not to Return," Randy Bachman
An update on plans for The Imaginary Lover
Vintage ad for Miller High Life
"Harmonica Player," John Sebastian
Alternate fadeout of "God Only Knows," The Beach Boys
"There's Nothing Else to Say," The Incredibles
"First Date," w.p. bluhm
Vintage ad for Blue Coal

If you like the show, let me know by e-mailing me at or just click on "Comment." Thanks!

download Uncle Warren's Attic #1