Summer '71 - Started off great - ended with one giant question mark.

It’s Labor Day Weekend 1971 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – You Have Plans – So Does Your Draftboard.

Summer ’71 – Started off great – ended with “Greetings!”.

KPPC – Mississippi Fats – September 6, 1971 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

The last weekend of Summer, at least as far as parties go. The last weekend to walk down any given street in any given neighborhood and smell burning charcoal. The last weekend before school starts. You already rushed for classes and got most of the ones you wanted. Heading in the direction of finishing your first year of college you’ve finally made peace with your allergic reaction to education and actually look forward to heading off to class.

You don’t feel like a kid anymore – don’t have to ask permission for things (not that you ever listened to any authority figures anyway). The future doesn’t seem impossible or distant – life has stopped existing in the absolutes. It starts having possibilities – lots of possibilities, possibilities with a warm and rosy glow.

But then you get this telegram. Just the fact that it was delivered by somebody in a uniform has you more than a little suspicious. Well, you’ve been 18 since February – you did register for the draft and they did read the lottery numbers in August and you did get number 90. Should have been a clue.

Okay – you blocked it out of your mind. You’re smack in the middle of Summer – endless nights, bags of promise and a head full of clever. There isn’t any time to ponder life’s big question mark.

But there it was: “Greetings!” – The crude, slapped-together salutation, staring at you and turning your stomach lining pale.

Your life just managed to fall down a flight of stairs and you’re trying to figure out how you try and recover from it. One thing you’ve learned, being on the planet for 18 years – life comes with curveballs; big ones.

Someone is burning tri-tip on the next block. The smell reminds you it’s still Labor Day – you have a date and you have friends and there’s still every possibility in the world.

You may never figure this out.

It’s 1971 and it’s KPPC and it’s almost an hour’s worth of Mississippi Fats. The moment is good.




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4 thoughts on “It’s Labor Day Weekend 1971 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – You Have Plans – So Does Your Draftboard.

  1. My draft number was 99 — very uncool at the time. Also, coincidentally, I was interviewing with KPPC’s program director, Les Carter, for a gig right around the time of this aircheck. Didn’t meet Mississippi Fats, though. I was working at their sister station , KMPX in San Francisco, and they were asking me to move to LA. It’s a good thing I declined because the whole airstaff was fired a few months later in some weird shakeup at the parent company. Didn’t like them longhairs anymore, I guess. So thanks for posting this aircheck. It’s a great example of the very loose style of deejaying at that time, especially on the graveyard shift. I’m wondering if your sources ever airchecked KMPX around the same time. We were doing a lot of great live remotes from places like the Boarding House and a club in North Beach called (imaginatively) the “North Beach Revival.” Keep up the very good work that you’re doing, Gordon.

    1. I was in the hundreds for the first one – life stopped when they read the numbers. You dodged a bullet with KPPC – I remember the mass firing. I run the occasional Boarding House gig from the late 60s/early 70s – KMPX was the station everybody loved. I do have a lot of KMPX – not sure about graveyard shifts – you never know.

      Thanks for the kind words and the background Tom – they’re always appreciated!

      Gordon

  2. Mississippi Fats’s real name was Joe Rogers, although he never used that on the air. He was on KPPC only about a year.

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