Song traditions on Radio Crystal Blue

Have you wondered why I spin certain songs of certain styles at certain times on Radio Crystal Blue.  Here’s a primer for you!

For a number of shows including seasonal themes, I’ve delved into my collection of CMJ compilations I collected in the late 90s. So many true gems of songs emerged from there. Probably most notable was Garrison Starr, who has found a somewhat regular presence in the RCB rotation.
January: First show of the year always introduces the ‘new year’ element into the show….and the end of the old
The Ramones “End Of The Century (Do You Remember Rock N’ Roll Radio)” – End Of The Century  Why this song? Well there was the whole thing with the year 2001 the real end of the century and not 2000, or was it not 1999?
The Royal Guardsmen “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” (parts 1 and 2)
The Animals “Sky Pilot” – The Twain Shall Meet
U2 “New Year’s Day” – War
Death Cab For Cutie “New Year” – Transatlanticism
The Breeders “New Year” – Last Splash

March: The week of St. Patrick’s Day and the equinox always bring out the Celtic and spring tunes.
For the week of the Ides Of March, 3/12-15 I spin Iggy Pop’s “Caesar” – American Caesar CD
Any number of Celtic or contemporary Irish tunes have found their way into my show the week of St. Patrick’s. Most notable are the Gaelic tunes from the band Capercaellie, off of their Anthology CD released in 2009. Years ago I had regularly spun music from the Celtic band Rise, situated on the Isle of Bute. The end of those shows always includes a Van Morrison, often “Into The Mystic” but lately different songs of his have found their way in. Also I’ve included music from Hearts Of Space compilation “Celtic Women 3”
For the spring equinox I have taken to Saint Etienne’s “Spring” from their first album “Fox Base Alpha”. I used to spring The Sprinkle Genies‘ “Spring”, tho that CD is no longer functioning.

Last show in May, coinciding with Memorial Day weekend here in the US I would always add a choice collection of summery tunes..some classic, some more indie. Just about every year I would spin these among the notable:
Spike Jones & His City Slickers “Dance Of The Hours” with the setting being the Indianapolis 500, run that very weekend.
Martha & The Muffins “Echo Beach” – Metro Music
Tangerine Dream “Too Hot For My Chinchilla” – Lily on the beach

Anything appropo by The Pixies,The Breeders, Dick Dale, Primal Scream (generally from the “Screamadelica” album) and The Ramones
Uptempo dancehall reggae and ska
This year I had spun more of the British rock s
Also on that show I would devote time to spinning music of the finalists in that year’s Kerrville Folk Festival ‘New Folk’ competition.

In mid-August, to open the show I would always spin The Velvet Underground “The Gift” from their White Light/White Heat album, for the setting of the song takes place in mid-August. In recent years I have followed it up with a psychedelic theme, sometimes accenting dub or rock, or even modest techno or trance-like music.

For a number of years in late August I would recite verse and spin music name-checking Allen Ginsberg or Jack Kerouac and related poets.
First show in September, coinciding with Labor Day weekend, I would add in some leftover summer songs, and always doing a ‘transition’ to autumn songs. Every year I’ve spun a long Dick Dale tune (mostly “Surfing Drums”), leading into The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Third Stone From The Sun” with the iconic line “And you’ll never hear surf music again”. Then a pause….and then….jazz…or some easy listening tune, or similar. When I lived in NYC I would always spin “Autumn In New York”, a different version each year. I would often add related music for the year. Most recently I’ve spun from Celtic songwriter Pamela Wyn Shannon to ease into the transition.

Yes I take this very seriously.

Late October, the oldest tradition in my annals, is to add a number of seasonal music for Halloween, or whatever you call the holiday. I’m very fond of Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Misfits, The Reverend Horton Heat, music from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Cramps and The Ramones (yes, again). Every show has ended with Lou Reed “Halloween Parade (AIDS)” from his iconic New York album.

November: Thanksgiving week has seen me spin Lara Herscovitch‘s “Tequila Over Turkey”, from her 2003 album “There”. Only this year I even gave a nod to a Thanksgiving staple heralded by many classic radio stations, Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restauraunt Massacre”, tho I gave you the updated version, recorded some 30 years after the original.

December I always take off the last 2 weekends of the year and do not publish new shows. In that last show, I do a loose holiday theme alongside the standard radio segments. I’ve spun any number of classic holiday tunes, focusing on Christmas, December, winter, the end of the year, and such. Some songs that continue to get aired over the years include

Each year on that show include the reciting of Jack Kerouac’s “Home For Christmas”, a short non-fiction story set in the 1930s of Lowell MA.
The final segment of the year always includes certain songs that are my personal ‘Christmas’/holiday songs:
Tom Waits “Alice” – Alice CD
Simon & Garfunkel “I Am A Rock” – The Sounds Of Silence CD
The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl “Fairytale Of New York” – If I Should Fall From
Grace With God CD
The Passengers “Miss Sarajevo” (with Luciano Pavarotti) – Original Soundtracks 1
Jimi Hendrix “Silent Night/Little Drummer Boy” – Merry Christmas And Happy New
Year CD single
The music has changed a bit over the years but these are the staples.
In earlier years I would follow this up with some bagpipe music.

Now that you have the 411, why not listen to some of those shows at my FeedPlayer on the site?

And if you want to get detailed, this page is where I have listed playlists going back 11 years.


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