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 ...