Not to be confused with all those other Socialist Parties. Equal Time was in full bloom in 1956.

Not to be confused with all those other Socialist Parties. Equal Time was in full bloom in 1956.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Address by Eric Hass, Socialist Labor Party – October 19,1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

There was a time our political system was awash with parties. Up until 1954, The Communist Party was represented in the polling booth until an act of Congress, largely in response to the Red Scare, declared the Party outlawed.

And those “outside” parties ran the gamut of political thought. And more confusing were how many had similar names. In this radio address by Eric Hass, who was the Socialist Labor Party candidate for President in 1956, he reminds the audience that The Socialist Labor Party shouldn’t be confused with The Socialist Party, or the Socialist Workers Party, or even The Communist Party.

The Socialist Labor Party was all about doing away with Capitalism. And their Standard Bearer Eric Hass went to great lengths to distance himself from even the Communists, whom he said didn’t practice anything resembling Socialism in Russia. Easy to forget, if you were prone to forgetting things.

But it points up to the fact that the Political landscape in America was rather healthy, even in the 1950s where many parties were represented and had equal time on the airwaves, even if some of them had been banned and their members routinely rounded up at attempted rallies and hauled off to jail for inciting civil disobedience. There were still a few outside parties and they got equal time on the networks to give their message.

And I guess that’s the big difference between politics then and politics now – no Equal Time – no Fairness Doctrine. No forum for a candidate like an Eric Hass to extol the virtues of a Capitalist-free society. And whether we agreed with him or not, he wouldn’t get a chance these days to share his views with the public at large – and that doesn’t serve Democracy a whole pile of good. Especially when some interests controlling the purse-strings can also control airwaves and shape the argument to their own political leanings.

We live in interesting times.

For a sampler on earlier times, here is that address by Eric Hass, as broadcast over WJR-AM in Detroit on October 19, 1956.

On this day, MacArthur made good on his promise.

On this day, MacArthur made good on his promise.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – News Of The World – October 20, 1944 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

On this day 70 years ago, a promise made by General MacArthur as he was leaving the besieged islands of The Philippines that he would return, became fact.

On October 20, 1944 an allied invasion force reported to be an entire army stormed ashore, effectively cutting the island in two. Reports were sketchy and subject to censorship, and the complete story wouldn’t be known for many weeks. But even Japanese Radio was reporting the Philippines were being invaded.

Meanwhile, the war in Europe was continuing at breakneck speed with Canadian troops reported to have launched a new attack near Antwerp and Russian forces were driving on to East Prussia.

Back home – the Hurricane which promised to wreak havoc on the Caribbean and Cuba didn’t spin out to sea as originally predicted, but was instead poised to land somewhere near Columbia, South Carolina. Hurricane prediction was practically non-existent around this time. The results were usually devastating.

But the news of the day was word on the Philippines invasion. At the time of this broadcast (8 in the morning), everyone was hanging on any word from Invasion headquarters or the White House.

And that’s pretty much what went on this October 20th in 1944, 70 years ago today as reported on NBC’s News Of The World.

John Elliot of The Little Unsaid - new sounds on the horizon.

John Elliot of The Little Unsaid – new sounds on the horizon.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Little Unsaid – w/The Southfields Quartet – The Highgate Cemetery Sessions – May 14, 2014

Something new on the horizon tonight. The Little Unsaid is a new musical project, the brain-child of one John Elliot whose song-writing capabilities send him head-and-shoulders above a lot of current acts.

Relatively new, The Little Unsaid have been getting positive feedback at home and Elliot has been steadily gigging around, working on chops, building up a fanbase.

Tonight it’s a group of three songs Elliot (aka The Little Unsaid) performed with The Southfields Quartet at Highgate Cemetery this past May. Each track is an elegantly crafted work, balanced perfectly between singer and String Quartet.

Strangely, Elliot isn’t signed at the moment, and is in the process of finishing up his debut album. I suspect that will be a situation rectified pretty soon. Elliot’s is a voice that is haunting and bordering on the ethereal and listening to these three tracks has drawn me in and taken me for a sonic ride.

Since The Little Unsaid aren’t signed to a label in their native UK, getting them signed to a label here in the U.S. might be even more difficult. But word of mouth can work wonders, and there is a rumor we’ll be seeing The Little Unsaid on a concert tour here in the U.S. at some point in 2015. I suspect fortunes should change soon.

In the meantime, check out his site and check out these tracks. I believe we’re on to something here.

I predict . . . jus’ saying.

Special thanks and h/t to Pat Troise for making the discovery.

Artur Schnabel - one of the greatest Pianists of the 20th Century.

Artur Schnabel – one of the greatest Pianists of the 20th Century.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Alfred Wallenstein, Cond. – Artur Schnabel, Piano – The Standard Hour – March 4, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Something historic for a Sunday night. A performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by then-Music Director Alfred Wallenstein and featuring the legendary Artur Schnabel, piano.

This was part of a weekly series sponsored by the Union Oil Company of California, who ran it from the early 1930s until the 1950s. The broadcasts alternated between Los Angeles and San Francisco and featured some of the greatest soloists of the day.

This concert was recorded on March 4th 1945 and features the orchestra in music of Humperdinck, Wagner, Schumann and Dukas. The concert begins with the overture to Hansel & Gretel by Humperdinck. And then they play an orchestral arrangement of The Prize Song from Tannhauser by Wagner. Artur Schnabel joins the orchestra in a performance of the Schumann Piano concerto. The concert finishes up with a performance of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas.

As far as I know, this performance has never been available commercially, although I would imagine it has been widely circulated among Schnabel fans – but I’m not sure of that either.

In any event, it’s a wonderful performance of the Schumann by a pianist who was regarded as one of the greatest of the 20th century. One I am sure practically ever Piano student on the planet knows about.

Billy Faier - Crown Prince of the 5-String Banjo

Billy Faier – Crown Prince of the 5-String Banjo

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Billy Faier and Leon Bibb – Live on The Les Claypool Show – Feb. 7, 1959 – KRHM-FM – Los Angeles – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

While AM Radio had comfortable domination over most homes in America, FM Radio was relegated to that segment of the population known as The Audiophile Crowd. These were people who either had massive home stereo systems, or were eclectic in their appreciation of music. Because FM catered to a crowd that listened exclusively to Jazz, Classical and Folk. Rock n’ Roll was not a staple in the diet of FM, and wouldn’t be until the last years of the 60s.

The formats were loose and were occasionally haphazard. But the one thing FM radio excelled at was the ability to offer live music sounding in a way it never could on AM radio. And concerts and in-studio sessions were a big deal in this freeform atmosphere.

One of the bigger FM stations in Los Angeles was KRHM. It is long gone and in reality, didn’t quite make it into the 60s before it was sold and had its call letter changed to KMET and was turned into an automated “good music” station. Years later it became one of the premier underground Rock stations in Los Angeles, along with KPPC and the revolution in sound was on.

But before then, in 1959, KRHM was home to a folk music program hosted by Les Claypool (no relation to the current Les Claypool, I don’t think). Like everything on FM at the time, it was an eclectic mix of Folk, Jazz and World Music and regularly featured live performers in session at the station.

This particular program is from February 7, 1959 and features 5-String Banjo virtuoso Billy Faier and Folk singer Leon Bibb, who has stopped in on his way to a gig at Cosmo’s Alley, one of the more popular Folk Clubs in Hollywood.

For fans of L.A. radio from the late 1950s and early 60s, this is something of a treat. The tapes have been sitting untouched for the better part of 50 years and offer up a rich treasury of music of the time and musical activity in Los Angeles in 1959, when Folk Music was at its peak in popularity and the club scene was thriving.

And for fans of Folk Music, two of the more notable figures in the Folk scene at the time. Faier was a huge influence on a lot of Banjo players during the time and Bibb was a popular Artist as well as Actor who was heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement.

Just a sampling of what else was going on in L.A. during the 1950s.

Leon Bibb - Folk Singer, Actor and Activist. Renaissance People were in big demand.

Leon Bibb – Folk Singer, Actor and Activist. Renaissance People were in big demand. Still are – they’re just not as plentiful.

Thelonious Monk - Genius of Modern Music - for once, they were right.

Thelonious Monk – Genius of Modern Music – for once, they were right.

Click on the link here for Audio Player - Thelonious Monk Quartet – Live in Copenhagen – May 17, 1961 – Radio Denmark

Monk this week. From a concert recorded in Copenhagen on May 17th 1961 by Danish Radio, the Thelonious Monk Quartet featuring Charlie Rouse, John Ore and Frankie Dunlop.

This concert comes around the time Monk was ending his relationship with Riverside Records and about the sign with Columbia Records in what would become a new era in his career.

As always, the ever-innovative and unpredictable ensemble is in great form. However, this would be some of the last live appearances with Ore and Dunlop, as they would leave and be replaced by Larry Gales and Ben Riley.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday than getting into some Thelonious Monk. One of the true giants of American Music, Thelonious Monk has long been considered one of the most important figures in the field of Jazz. His innovations and style have put him in a class alongside Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong in figures who have made inestimable contributions in America’s Art Form. The Danish Radio recording team do a great job, so you’ve got no excuses.

Turn it up and relax. The Genius of Modern Music is in the room.

Ian Matthews - from founding member of Fairport Convention to decided twang.

Iain Matthews – from founding member of Fairport Convention to decided twang.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Ian Matthews Southern Comfort – In Session – May 1971 – BBC Radio 1

Something which may not ring a lot of bells, unless you were knee-deep in the late 60s and were listening to a vast array of musical styles.

Although you might be prompted to consider Iain Matthews Southern Comfort a one-hit wonder, with their sole U.S. hit, a rendition of Woodstock, they were around for a while and had three albums and a string of singles. They were actually the brain-child of Ian Matthews, who was not only a founding member of Fairport Convention, but also went on to a successful solo career, which continues to this day.

Matthews Southern Comfort was a mid-point in Iain Matthews career – it was a transition over to a countrified sound, not at all dissimilar to what many West Coast bands were up to around this time (i.e Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds), but they were a British outfit. Country, it was learned, was huge in Britain and introducing it in a Pop context just seemed like a natural. In addition to Matthews Southern Comfort, Cochise was around during this time and had several hits on both sides of the Atlantic. And it also figured into the repertoire of a most Pub-Rock bands.

So a UK band playing a hybrid country-rock wasn’t all that unusual in 1969. But it didn’t last. Iain Matthews split from Mathews Southern Comfort (leaving the band to just be named Southern Comfort), shortly after this session was recorded, and went on to form Plainsong.

But tonight it’s one of the rare sessions recorded at the BBC. Strangely, the information I was given claims this session is from 1973, two years after Ian Matthews left. By 1973, Matthews was already performing and recording with Plainsong and had moved to Los Angeles. So either this session is actually from 1971 or this is Matthews Southern Comfort without Iain Matthews. I am sure one of our encyclopedic readers will get us to the bottom of this. Calling for fact-checks and session sheets!

In any event,  here is a rarity and something you don’t hear every day.

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