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Playlist: Tex Bailey's Favorites

Compiled By: Tex Bailey

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The Beatles: Every Little Thing - Episode 4

From Andy Cahn | Part of the The Beatles: Every Little Thing series | 54:00

ELT 4 includes a "Songs Within Songs" set (songs with references to other Beatles songs in the lyrics,) plus a two-fer from a John Lennon collection, and George Harrison discussing his first composition.

Elt-logo3_small ELT 4 includes a set of Beatles songs that mention other Beatles songs in the lyrics, Ringo Starr covering a Beatles song as a tribute to John, Paul McCartney teaming up with another British legend,  a two-fer from a John Lennon collection, and George Harrison discussing his first composition.

Beyond a Song (Series)

Produced by ISOAS Media

Most recent piece in this series:

Beyond a Song: Al Staehely (Part 3)

From ISOAS Media | Part of the Beyond a Song series | 01:00:00

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AL STAEHELY (Part 3): PUBLISHED ON PRX 1 / 23  / 2022 - BEYOND A SONG originates in BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA and is sponsored by:
THE BLUEBIRD NIGHTCLUBREAL TO REELS RECORDING STUDIO, AND VISITBLOOMINGTON.COM

Beyond a Song host Rich Reardin interviews bassist, guitarist, and singer/songwriter Al Staehely. Discussing a most unusual career divided between practicing law and performing rock ’n’ roll, Al Staehely describes his path almost like Dorothy traipsing through Oz, with numerous surreal encounters along the way.

He remembers working for ASCAP, the music-licensing organization, one summer in New York in the late 1960s when somebody offered two tickets to “The David Frost Show.” Staehely heard the Rolling Stones might appear. Turns out the guests instead were Linda Ronstadt and John Hartford. During the show, Frost asked Hartford about songwriting, and Hartford — a beloved roots-music square peg — asked if there were any songwriters in the audience.

I put up my hand and said, ‘I do,’ and the camera swung over to me,” Staehely says. “I about (expletive) my britches.”

Staehely didn’t have a lot of songs to his name, but had one about New York that he thought was catchy. Hartford handed him his guitar and added some banjo.

At the end the crowd was responsive. Frost gave me a thumbs up. An English journalist told me in the U.K. that would’ve made me an overnight sensation,” he recalls. “Linda Ronstadt came to the lobby to find me. But I didn’t have the presence of mind to get it all together and do something with it. I was just a greenhorn. By the time the show aired, I was back in Austin.”

In Austin, Staehely finished law school, which would provide security for him for most of his adult life. But not before he took a detour: finding his way into the renowned rock band Spirit.

He wrote songs recorded by artists including Bobbie Gentry and Keith Moon. As half of the Staehely Brothers, he made a firecracker of an album with his sibling, guitarist John Christian Staehely. Even as he drifted away from music as a career, Staehely built a formidable archive of music that he’s been slowly unearthing and releasing, documenting life before his career as an entertainment lawyer.

I euphemistically refer to it as my vault,” he says. “But there is no actual vault.”

Go west

An Austin native, Staehely grew up in the city’s music scene in the 1960s. He describes that time as creatively fervent, but also jittery. Aspiring musicians found themselves going to college in hopes of avoiding being drafted and sent to Vietnam. Staehely saw law school as a way to stay out of combat and also as a vocational safety net.

Staehely thought he might settle in New York. He even auditioned for “Hair” during the summer of 1969. But he had more connections out west and knew “I wasn’t going to practice law until I’d given music a full time shot.”

In 1971, he headed to Los Angeles. He knew William “Curly” Smith, a drummer he’d played with, as well as several other Texans, like songwriter and Houston native Patti Dahlstrom and Linden native Don Henley.

His brother John had earned a reputation in Austin as “a hot (expletive) guitarist in Texas, where that’s a kind of currency.” John found himself in demand out west, too. After the psychedelic rock band Spirit released its landmark “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” in 1970, the lineup underwent an overhaul with the departure of three key members. Staehely became the singer and bassist, while his brother stepped in as guitarist.

The new Spirit released “Feedback” in 1972. With singer and guitarist Randy California gone, Spirit sounded quite different on standout tracks like “Cadillac Cowboys.” “John and I brought a little Texas flavor to the band that didn’t exist before. It wasn’t anything we tried to do. It’s just the way we were. The way we were writing, the way he played and the way I sang.”

The album sold fairly well, and a subsequent tour was successful, but soon that version of Spirit splintered and the two siblings formed the Staehely Brothers, who released “Sta-Hay-Lee” in 1973. The album sounds fresh nearly a half-century later: guitar-led ’70s rock with a soulful, rootsy vibe not too far removed from the sounds perfected by Delaney & Bonnie.

We were the same two guys, but we weren’t using the Spirit name anymore,” Staehely says. “That’s when I learned the value of a brand name. The reality is we couldn’t make a living just being the Staehely Brothers. John got an offer to join Jo Jo Gunne, and I couldn’t say, ‘Don’t do that.’ That was the beginning of a bunch of interesting stuff that happened.”

Licking wounds

Interesting stuff” includes further close calls with success and record label misadventures. Staehely got a deal for a solo album and was recording with an ace set of players that included guitar great Steve Cropper. But halfway through recording, the label went under.

Staehely got songs cut. Bobbie Gentry did “He Did Me Wrong, But He Did It Right,” which Staehely co-wrote with Dahlstrom. But it ended up a B-side on a single that would be her last.

It was exciting to hear Keith Moon do my song, to do a tour with Chris Hillman,” he says. “But there were still some really lean years. I went from a group headlining Carnegie Hall to playing talent night at the Troubadour (in West Hollywood), where they give you 20 minutes. I will say I saw Al Jarreau there at talent night. I remember thinking, ‘If this guy doesn’t have a record deal, what am I doing here?’”

He came back to Texas to visit his parents and “to lick my wounds.”

Staehely was hoping to pitch some songs to the music supervisor for what would become “Urban Cowboy.” While in Houston, he visited an old friend, Mike Hinton, a drummer turned attorney, who had advised Staehely to go to law school a decade earlier. At the time, Hinton was a criminal lawyer doing defense work.

He told me if I had a suit, and if I’d paid my bar dues, he could get me court-appointed cases paid by the county,” Staehely says. “I was pretty broke …”

He also didn’t have a suit. But his parents were friends with Sam Houston Johnson, brother of Lyndon B., and Staehely’s father was the executor of Johnson’s will when he died in 1978.

He left most of what he had to my parents, which wasn’t much,” Staehely says. “But it included his suits. So I got three of Lyndon Johnson’s brother’s suits that I brought to Houston. I trotted off to the courthouse with Hinton, who took me to meet the district judges and introduced me as his old pal from the rock band. Because I was with Mike, they appointed me felony cases right off the bat. ‘Here’s an arson case …’ What do I do now? But one thing led to another …”

Staehely thought it was temporary. After about a year, he admitted he was a lawyer living in Houston. Even then, he’d get calls from his old life trying to pull him back. A drummer he knew offered a European tour for Staehely with John Cipollina of the old psych-rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service and Nick Gravenitis of the blues rock band Electric Flag.

But by the mid-1980s, he had a family, and more of his time was dedicated to law than music.

Music and law

Staehely dabbled in entertainment law as early as 1979. An old acquaintance, Cutter Brandenburg, was working as a roadie for Stevie Ray Vaughan and held a general distrust of the music industry, such that he urged Vaughan to hire an attorney to oversee his career. Staehely calls Vaughan, “my first client of any significance.”

From there, he built a law practice. The past 20 years witnessed enormous evolution and upheaval in the music industry, particularly as CDs fell out of favor and the music industry shifted toward downloads and then streaming. Staehely remembers being on tour in Europe when he visited the offices of Deutsche Grammophon, a prestigious classical music label, and was introduced to the compact disc for the first time.

They told me it was the next big thing,” he says. “I laughed. But it was the next big thing. Until it wasn’t.

The whole intellectual property side of it is always changing,” Staehely says. “It always seems to be lagging behind the technology part of it. We have technology that wasn’t even contemplated in previous copyright laws, going back to not long after the turn of the century. So there is plenty of work to do.”

At 75, Staehely is still doing that work, but he’s also been busy putting music into the world. He and his brother perform regularly as the Staehely Brothers around Houston, including a gig Jan. 8 at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. The Austin-based Steady Boy Records has put out a few recordings. And more recently, Staehely has been digging out songs from his not-a-vault, such as “Feel the Heat,” which mixed an old backing track from the vault with a few new touches, like some saxophone by Evelyn Rubio.

There’s so much unreleased stuff, I just wanted to get it out with no great expectations for it,” he says. “There’s a lot of music from those years when I started to bear down on the law thing so I could make a living. Back then, I was just starting a family. Now I have two small granddaughters. If I get some of this music out there, I figure one day, when they’re grown up, they can see what their grandpa was doing.”

Musical selections include: All is Forgiven, Feel the Heat (4th of July NYC), Safecracker, Chipping Away, Live Like a River, Put Your Life in my hands

For more information, visit BEYOND A SONG.COM

Still Singing the Blues (Series)

Produced by Richard Ziglar

Most recent piece in this series:

Crescent City Blues

From Richard Ziglar | Part of the Still Singing the Blues series | 55:00

Young_at_heart_small_small Crescent City Blues  takes listeners to the hidden world of New Orleans corner joints—bars far from the French Quarter, in neighborhoods like Central City, Treme, and Pigeontown. These clubs, patronized almost entirely by locals, nurture a resilient blues and rhythm-and-blues scene that is often overshadowed by the Crescent City’s legacy as a jazz town. They are an essential part of New Orleans’ cultural history, but they are struggling—because of the recession, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and potentially the BP oil spill.

This hour-long music-rich documentary features four talented musicians: Tommy Singleton, a vocalist who until recently drove an oyster truck for a living; John T. Lewis, a former appliance repairman who now plays R&B guitar full-time; Ernie Vincent, a bandleader and guitarist who learned to play at the neighborhood fish fries of his childhood; and Deacon John Moore, a bandleader and guitarist who played on hundreds of R&B recordings in the 1950s and ’60s. Also interviewed are bar owners Betty Fox (Mother-in-Law Lounge) and Guitar Joe Daniels (Guitar Joe’s House of Blues), along with other veterans of the city’s music scene.

The program takes readers back into history. They’ll visit bars like the Dew Drop Inn, with its female impersonators and all-night jam sessions, the Green Room, with its smells of spilled liquor and spittoons; and the Sportsman’s Lounge, where an underaged Deacon John witnessed police raids and back-room gambling.

Crescent City Blues is the second of a two-part series, called “Still Singing the Blues,” about older musicians in New Orleans and South Louisiana. Part 1, also called Still Singing the Blues, was released in June. The two hours can be broadcast separately and independently. Accompanying this series is a web site, http://stillsingingtheblues.org, which features additional audio clips, photographs, a blog, and links for readers who want to obtain CDs, find music venues, and learn more about non-profit organizations that promote Louisiana's music and support its musicians. The producers will add audio and photos to the site throughout the coming year.

Producers Richard Ziglar and Barry Yeoman have been interviewing older Southern blues and R&B musicians for the almost two years. Their first blues documentary, Truckin' My Blues Away, was commissioned and distributed by AARP's Prime Time Radio and broadcast on 340 stations.

The current, independently-produced “Still Singing the Blues” series is sponsored by Filmmakers Collaborative and funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Project director Richard Ziglar is an audio documentarian whose credits include Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions; AARP’s Prime Time Radio; American Public Media’s “The Story”; and the North Carolina Arts Council. Reporter Barry Yeoman, a former Louisianan, is a freelance journalist who writes for O, The Oprah Magazine; AARP The Magazine; Audubon Magazine; OnEarth; and Good Housekeeping. His radio program Picking Up the Pieces, about the parents of injured veterans, won the 2009 Gracie Allen award for outstanding mid-length documentary. Ziglar and Yeoman can be reached at info@stillsingingtheblues.org.

The Top 10 Texas Songs That Changed Rock and Roll

From KUT | 01:47:15

Which Texas songs forever changed the rock and roll landscape?

Bholly2_small Texas has left an indelible mark on the history of American music, but its impact on rock and roll has sometimes been underestimated.  When asked in an online poll which ten Texas songs changed rock and roll, our listeners picked some interesting choices, eschewing obvious names for a more varied sonic field: blues, psychedelia, soul, and even country wound up in our top ten. With insightful commentary by music journalists, local luminaries, and even rock and roll academics, we'll discover some unheralded names and even find out John Lennon's important connection to Texas music.  Hosted by David Brown.  This program is a production of Texas Music Matters, the award-winning music journalism unit at KUT Austin.

Rolling Stones Radio Hour (Series)

Produced by Kevin Yazell

Most recent piece in this series:

Rolling Stones Radio Hour/Bernard Fowler Inside Out Interview Special

From Kevin Yazell | Part of the Rolling Stones Radio Hour series | 56:56

Inside_out_record_cover__small I spend the hour with Bernard Fowler's new release Inside Out. Bernard reworks and reinterprets 8 Rolling Stones songs. The songs have been turned "Inside Out" and shed new light on each of these songs' content and context.

Johnny Cash: Legend (Series)

Produced by Joyride Media

Most recent piece in this series:

Johnny Cash: The World Needs a Melody

From Joyride Media | Part of the Johnny Cash: Legend series | 01:00:40

Cashgreenacres_small One of the first country stars to write most of his own material, Johnny Cash created a songbook to rival Porter and Gershwin. We look into the craft of Cash, how he shaped his stories, told tales of the people and places around him, and influenced the songwriting and arranging of artists now. Audio will be available here by Aug 10, 2005. Please contact Andy Cahn at cahnmedia@comcast.net or 201-386-1736 for more details.

An Evening with Los Lobos-Acoustic En Vivo

From Southwest Stages | Part of the Southwest Stages series | 58:26

This program features an evening of music and interviews with Los Lobos-Acoustic En Vivo. This performance was recorded live at the Historic Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona.

Los_lobos__small This program features an hour of music by Los Lobos, Acousic En Vivo. This performance was recorded live at the Historic Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona in February of 2007. This show also contains a phone interivew with Los Lobos' Steve Berlin by Southwest Stages' host John Strader.

For nearly three decades Los Lobos have been exploring the artistic and commercial possibilities of American biculturalism, moving back and forth between their Chicano roots and their love of American rock. Although the band first gained fame as part of the early-'80s roots-rock revival, they don't so much strip music down as mix it up, playing norteño, blues, country, Tex-Mex, ballads, folk, and rock.

Los Lobos have been guests on albums by Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roomful of Blues, and Paul Simon. Their music has been used in the films La Bamba, Eating Raoul, The Mambo Kings, Alamo Bay, and Chan Is Missing.

Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, David Hidalgo, and Louie Perez have known one another since they were adolescents in East L.A. They formed Los Lobos (Spanish for “the Wolves”) to play weddings and bars in their neighborhood. Although they had previously played in rock and Top 40 bands, together they decided to experiment with acoustic folk instruments and explore their Mexican heritage, playing norteño and conjunto music on instruments including the guitarron and bajo sexto. Los Lobos got their first full-time gig in 1978, playing at a Mexican restaurant in Orange County. That year they also released their debut album, Just Another Band From East L.A..

Eventually, Los Lobos’ experimentation led them back to electric instruments. They played one of their last acoustic shows opening for Public Image Ltd. at the Olympic Auditorium in L.A. in 1980, where they were booed by the audience. Nonetheless inspired by punk’s energy, Hidalgo and Perez began writing songs and playing Hollywood clubs. The Blasters became fans and urged Slash to sign Los Lobos.

...And a Time to Dance was produced by T Bone Burnett and Blasters saxman Steve Berlin. Its divergent collection of dance songs included the 70-year-old Mexican Revolution song “Anselma,” which won a Grammy in 1983 for Best Mexican-American Performance. Berlin joined Los Lobos for Will the Wolf Survive? a much praised album whose title track later became a country hit for Waylon Jennings. On By the Light of the Moon, coproduced by Burnett, Los Lobos wrote political songs about life in the barrio.

In 1987 Los Lobos recorded several Ritchie Valens songs for the La Bamba soundtrack (#1, 1987). Though the success of the title track (#1, 1987) and “Come On, Let’s Go” (#21, 1987) suddenly lifted Los Lobos out of their bar-band, critics’ fave status, they took a noncommercial detour with La Pistola y el Corazón, featuring the traditional Mexican music they had played throughout the ’70s.

On The Neighborhood they returned to more rocking material, working with John Hiatt, the Band’s Levon Helm, and drummer Jim Keltner. The album’s title paid homage to the deep connections the band still feels to East L.A. In 1991 Hidalgo and Perez wrote songs with the Band for that group’s reunion album. The material inspired Kiko, an evocative, avant-Latin-pop album produced by Mitchell Froom. In 1993 Slash released a 20-year-anniversary retrospective of Los Lobos songs; Just Another Band From East L.A.: A Collection includes material from the band’s debut LP, rare B sides, and live tracks, as well as theband’s hits.

Latin Playboys (1994), a self-titled album by an ad hoc group consisting of Hidalgo, Perez, Froom, and Tchad Blake, was a cross between the music of Los Lobos and Captain Beefheart. The muscular funk rock of Los Lobos’ next album, Colossal Head (#81 pop, 1996), split the difference between Kiko and Latin Playboys.

In 1998 Rosas and Hidalgo released Los Super Seven as part of a loose-knit Latin supergroup of the same name that included Freddy Fender, Joe Ely, and accordionist ace Flaco Jiménez, among others. A followup was released in 2001, which included vocalists Raul Malo of the Mavericks and Caetano Veloso. In 1999 Rosas released Soul Disguise, a gritty, R&B-inflected solo record. For his part, Hidalgo teamed up with ex–Canned Heat guitarist Mike Halby as Houndog for a self-titled blues album. After this rash of side projects, Los Lobos returned to the studio to make This Time, the final installment in a trilogy of heady, groove-rich albums (including Kiko and Colossal Head) exploring Mexican folklore and mysticism. In 2001 Los Lobos was the recipient of the Billboard Century Award.

from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)

The Byrds: There is a Season / Farther Along (Series)

Produced by Joyride Media

Most recent piece in this series:

The Byrds (part 2): Farther Along

From Joyride Media | Part of the The Byrds: There is a Season / Farther Along series | 59:05

Unissued_small The second of two one-hour documentaries on The Byrds, the continuously groundbreaking band who bridged the gaps between The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, the Beach Boys, the Los Angeles psychedelic underground and classic country. Each hour is hosted by singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell, and covers a distinct period of their prolific history that can either be aired as one two-part series, or as your choice of two insightful one-hour programs. FARTHER ALONG picks up the story in 1968 and details how the Byrds' legendary Act I was followed by one of rock history's most fascinating second acts. Despite their lower record sales, the Byrds' later incarnations alternately defined and re-defined "country-rock," thanks to the influential contributions by folks like Gram Parsons and guitarist Clarence White. As with the first segment, FARTHER ALONG feature the wide range of music that made The Byrds of the 60s most influential bands, along with comments by its two longest-lasting members: Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. Writers David Fricke, Anthony DeCurtis, Lenny Kaye and Byrds historian Sid Griffin are also interviewed. Instead of being directed by the singular vision of one leader, The Byrds were consistently led by everybody's contributions - from their original five members to the musicians involved with their later years. "They all brought something new and something defining," says journalist David Fricke, "and it all became part of the Byrds sound. They didn?t change the Byrds to the degree that it changed the sound. What they did became the Byrds." Broadcast Window: Begins late September 2006, available for all USA radio broadcasters at no cost. 9/30 update: In addition to the 0:59 version posted on the audio page, there is also a 0:54 "news-hole" show in two parts - a 1:00 billboard and the 53:00 program.

A Tribute to Spalding Gray

From Jon Kalish | 28:51

Interviews with Gray and those who knew him, as well as excerpts from one of his performances.

Default-piece-image-1 New York reporter Jon Kalish spent a significant amount of time with Spalding Gray in the last years of the performer's life, interviewing him about another autobiographical performer and doing a profile of Gray for NPR. The late performance artist explains the mechanics of his craft to a seminar of aspiring monologuists at a New Age institute. Kalish hangs with Gray at home on Long Island and at a summer home in upstate New York where Gray recounts his horrific auto accident in Ireland. Included in the program are excerrpts from a monologue-in-progress about the accident. Kalish also talks to performer Eric Begosian and storyteller Mike Feder, both of whom were close to the man.