Last weekend, I had the distinct honor to fill two hours on one of New York’s most historic radio stations. I was on air at WBAI (99.5 on the FM dial) where (amongst other things) George Carlin’s infamous “Seven Words” bit was first aired, unedited and unfiltered, for the biggest radio market in the country to hear.
I wasn’t doing anything quite as revolutionary or incendiary, but I still had the freedom to play whatever I wanted (as long as it didn’t include those now-famous words).
Pops worked the board, since I was freaking out half the time trying to find the next tune, but I think I did pretty alright, considering we threw a pile of CDs in a big bag as we left around 11:30 on Saturday night. From one to three in the morning, a slice of the airwaves in New York broadcast some tunes that I’m sure haven’t been heard since they were new.
It was awesome.
The show is up here in horrible 64kbps quality, with some random drop-outs and crackliness. I’ve got it on two CD-Rs right off the board though, if you’re crazy like me and really want a nice-sounding copy.
Or, if you’d rather throw together your own version, here’s what our set ended up consisting of. Songs with asterisks were used as bed music while we backlisted or otherwise spoke:
White Summer - Yardbirds*
Memphis Soul Stew - King Curtis
Sandpaper Cadillac - Joe Cocker
Sunny Afternoon - Kinks
Neighbor Neighbor - Jimmy Hughes
Baby Please Don’t Go - Amboy Dukes
Time Is Tight - Booker T & The MGs*
We Gotta Get Out of This Place - Animals
She’s Not There - Zombies
Don’t Bring Me Down - Pretty Things
Is She Really Going Out With Him? - Joe Jackson
I Want To Tell You - Beatles
Itchycoo Park - Small Faces
Product of DK - Blue Van
Over Easy - Booker T & The MGs*
Creampuff War - Grateful Dead
Talk Talk - Music Machine
You Belong To Me - Elvis Costello
I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea (Basing Street Studios Alternate Version) - Elvis Costello
Easy To Slip - Little Feat
Shady Esperanto & The Young Hearts - Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
Bluebird - Buffalo Springfield
Hang Em High - Booker T & The MGs*
Needles & Pins - Searchers
Incense & Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock
Paper Sun - Traffic
Live For Today - Grassroots
This Whole World - Beach Boys
Happy Jack - Southern Culture on the Skids
Wait So Long - Trampled by Turtles
Have You Seen Her Face - Southern Culture on the Skids
Fuquawi - Booker T & The MGs*
Rag Mama Rag (From The Last Waltz) - Band
Comin Home - Delaney & Bonnie and Friends
Well All Right - Los Lonely Boys
Rave On - Buddy Holly
Rumble - Link Wray
Something I Didn’t Write Down - Booker T & The MGs*
Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
At this point, the show should have been over. But, ‘BAI being ‘BAI, something went wrong, and the next show, which was supposed to be delivered digitally, was not playing. We jumped back behind the board and threw on some more tunes, the titles of which now escape me. Eventually, the engineer on duty, Sydney, fixed the problem (and delivered a beautiful rant on the perpetual derelict state in which WBAI finds its studios) and we all went home.
Being on the radio is a blast, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who finds themselves with the opportunity to do so.
Rock & roll.