It’s nice to see some of my past is still around. Was pleased to see Bill Moen’s letter to the editor in San Franicsco Chronicle the other day…. Moen was the lead broadcaster / DJ / Announcer on San Francisco-Oakland’s KABL ‘MOR” (middle of road) radio during the ‘Golden Era’ fifties and sixties right on up not that many years ago when the station was, unceremoniously sold / changed – and never replaced (How could it be)… So, what did Moen do but put his new digital technical skills to work and keep the station on the air at KABL960.com. Give a listen! You’ll be glad you did… Funny , growing up as a kid I didn’t appriciate this kind of music as I do now.. Great variety, frombig band to 50s crooners to even some of the better later music – and lots of Moen humor and trivia thrown in…. Didn’t realize KABL was broadcast out of the legendary Cliff House Restaurant
at Land’s End, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean (next to the old Sutro Bath House! )
We’ll be doing some more features on KABL and Bill, I’m sure, in the future… San Francisco – Oakland had so many great stations during THE ERA… KSFO, KEWB, KYA, KDIA, KOBY along with KABL with legendary DJs or broadcasters like Don Sherwood, Russ The Moose Syracuse, Al Jazzbeau Collins, Bobby Dale, Gene Nelson, Tommy Saunders, Tom Donahue -and many more.. Plus, even legendary Gary Owens and Kasey Kasem (who celebrated a birthday last week) came through town (KEWB) to work a spell.well as other Radio.. KYA , we’re happy to say, still LIVES much like Moen’s KABL. You can listen to it here thanks to long timeKYA DJ Gary Mora. Gary’s got some nice
airchecks linked from the San Francisco Radio Museum so you can listen to your favorites again …
Russ “The Moose” Syracuse
Emperor Gene Nelson
The legendary 1260 KYA was the radio home of many of the most talented announcers in the history of the industry. Bay Area listeners were entertained over the years by stars such as Emperor Gene Nelson, Johnny Holliday, Tommy Saunders, Russ “The Moose” Syracuse, “Big Daddy” Tom Donahue,Jim Stagg, Chris Edwards, Tony Bigg, Peter Tripp, Gary Schaefer, Bwana Johnny, Norman Davis, Bob Mitchell, Casey Kasem, Ed Hider, Mike Cleary and Bill Holley, and legendary newsmen like Tony Tremayne, Larry Brownell, Brad Messer and John Ferriss. Learn more about these and other illustrious KYA alumni!
KABL, KYA Radio Live – San Franciso’s Classic Radio
Comments Off on NO RETIRING DOC SEVERINSON – Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show and Beyond
For DOC SEVERINSON, Former
Johnny Carson Band Leader
There’s No Stopping at 83
Doc Severinson is going stronger than ever. Now living in Mexico, Severinson still tours heavily , has a new CD and says he ‘is now working harder than ever.”,after trying to retire – which is the thing one’s ‘supposed to do’ at age 79′ Severinson couldn’t stand it. He happened upon a couple ‘ world class trumpeters’ playing a small dive near his new Mexico home and asked them if they’d be interested in working with him. They didn’t know who he was at first, but the rest is history, as they say…
‘I want to be remembered as a guy who played way beyond the age when trumpet players are not supposed to be able to play anymore.’ -Doc Severinson , Johnny Carson’s longtime band leader
Don’t Forget DOC SEVERINSON
(Editor’ s Note: Before we continue with the rest of this remarkable story of a remarkable, if overlooked man today, let me just say that this is just another excample of an older person,a Senior, or Senor , in Mexico, who has been neglected, overlooked, forgotten or however you want to say it – by the folks in the US where he was a star for so many years. Why isn’t this still-talented, interesting and colorful man no longer seen on the Tonight Show, or most other media . Because the media and rest of us have neglected our heros of yesterday. If it weren’t for NPR and the interview you can listen to here, we wouldn’t have known about Severinson’s new projects.
It’s funny that , as much as a recluse Johnny Carson became after retiring, the opposite can be said of Severinson. Ed McMahon, who was the other third of the Tonight Show Gang Leaders also worked until his recent passing at 86.)
Ask Doc about retirement and the answer you will get leaves you with a very clear impression: he is not ready to hang up his horn or his traveling shoes.
Since moving to Mexico at the end of 2006, Doc has kept a busy performance schedule and made new discoveries in two very talented musicians from Mexico. Together with these gentlemen, Doc has crafted an innovative and exciting program.
El Ritmo de la Vida” is, of course, “the rhythm of life,” a very apt description of Gil Gutierrez and Pedro Cartas and their music. It is classical Spanish with a jazz flair, gorgeous ballads, both Latino and American, plus some great movie music,and among their best received — gypsy jazz, a la Django Reinhardt. Each are virtuosos and combined are electric. Add to this the soaring trumpet of Doc (not to mention his wardrobe!) and the experience is indescribably brilliant.
‘Doc’ is now a resident of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and first heard Gil and Pedro playing at an Italian bistro to throngs of admirers, both American and Latino. He later recorded a few tunes with them and then immediately asked to join them.
According to ‘Doc’: “I came to Mexico with retirement on my mind, but when I heard them play I knew that I would be playing with them for some time to come. Latino music, along with the blues, has always been among my favorites, and Gil and Pedro do it along with a European style that I love and so do our audiences.
They are mature, gifted young men who play great, look great, and PLUS, we share a great lifestyle together. Our music is totally organic to us.”
Collectors Choice Music
Recordings from Doc
A Grammy award winner, Doc has made more than 30 albums–from big band to jazz-fusion to classical. Two critically (more…)
Comments Off on Last King of the Piano Bars? Dibble Still Ticklin’ 50 Years later at the Alley, Oakland, CA
Last King of the Piano Bars?
Rod Dibble Still Tickling Them 50 Years Later
When one passes by the Alley on Grand Ave in Oakland, CA you hardly notice the place. It’s always looked kind of dingy from the outside. Come to think of of it, it’s pretty dingy-looking on the inside, too,but the good kind of dingy.
As a kid growing up in Oakland , the Alley was all but ignored as a place for older folks, with a bohemian bent- weirdos back then . Over the years the neighbor hood changed -especially the parallel-running Lakeshore Ave, where perhaps only 1 or two original businesses remain out of the 50 or so… Grand isn’t much differrent. But, somehow, The Alley has survived. Lots of down years and population changes as Oakland has gone from all white to a largely minority city. Original owners have passed on and most of the original followers. However, the daughter of the original owners still runs the place, we are told, which probably explains, in part, how the Alley has stood the test of time. Kudos to her.
But through it all , there’s one constant – Rod Dibble at the Piano, now going on 50 years.
PIANO BARS – DIBBBLE STILL TICKLIN’ THEM 50 YEARS LATER
Dibble began his stint in 1963 . And, it’s as if time has stood still since then. While the crowd may have changed, the place hasn’t and , of course, Dibble’s still there, and he says he doesn’t play any music after 1963. If that’s not time warp , what is? But, we love it. In today’s fast-paced world of quickening technology , media hype and disfunctional or non-existent families its kind of nice to see a that a place like the Alley – and it’s current family of regulars – can still exist in 2910.
If there’s another place like this in America that hasn’t changed a lick, with a veteran piano player of 50 years, I’d like to see it. And there well may be one or two somewhere .However, piano bars, themselves , are pretty rare these days, having been replaced by automated Kareoke .
We say there’s nothing like the real thing, and , apparently, so do a lot of others, as seen by a resurgence at the Alley in recent years, with the current crowd of mostly 20-somethings. However, this recent night we were there we witnessed a number of spirited seniors , like Frank, as animated in his singing as any of other younger folk , who gather at the 9 or 10 seats around the grand piano and take turns singing into the nicraphones. Frank ended ever classic song with a high-pitched last note; so what if it was off-key. That’s what makes this place so special. It’s all off key by today’s standards. And that’s good.
There’s a book of hundreds of songs, with lyrics to choose from. It was refreshing to hear song after song from the great American song book, when melody and lyrics seemed to have more to do with music. Each song told a story – take Route 66 for example – and the unique singer behind the mike. No generics as you get at a Karaoke bar. Only real personality here. And Dibble, now in his late 70s but still with a youthful spark, is able to tackle most every song but, again, it’s gotta behind pre-1963. He still sings, too, and in a whiskey-inspired voice one might expect for a guy who has spent thousands of nights singing, playing and, yes -drinking the night away at the Alley.
FIND ALMOST ANY GREAT , OLD, VINTAGE MUSIC – LPS, CDS, DVDS:
I try to get to the Alley now as often as possible as I’m afraid this fun can’t last forever. Dibble’s doing great but he won’t be there forever. And , one must wonder, how the alley has escaped the fire inspectors , with all the old business cards, flyers and paper lining the walls and ceiling, much of which has probably been there the whole time .
So, if you live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s worth a trip to see this place. Even if you live in another state, its work a trip to spend a weekend with Rod and the gang… Pick a weekend night or two when you’re sure to see Dibble at the ivories — there’s a new young upstart singing weeknights – and a full host of singers at the piano bar; this place makes Cheers pale. I will go in and sit in the back corner and just take in the whole atmosphere. Talk about time standing still. I love this place – and to think we would have nothing to do with the place as kids in the 60s and 70s…
If you know of any special vintage piano bars that might possibly rival the Alley please comment…
VIDEOS : Top Video from 2009 features Dibble going solo, Bottom Video gives a more real ‘vibe’ of the Alley experience…
By Kimberly Chun / CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER | February 5, 1999
1999-02-05 04:00:00 PST EAST BAY — Most of Oakland has had its first drink there say the regulars at the Alley piano bar and restaurant. And just as many have been thrown out by its longtime owner Jody Kerr. The rest just pass by the pink and green neon-trimmed cottagelike facade on Grand Avenue day after day and never go in. They ought to. They would enter a dim wilderness of sensory overload. Imagine an alley re-created by a drunken Walt Disney lined with dark wood Formica street signage weird paper ephemera and thousands of business cards. click headline for more
Comments Off on JUKEBOX for Your Favorite Oldies Music
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