Tag Archive: WWRL 1600 AM


Attention: This is my 300th blog post here since November, 2009 and this month I mark the milestone: ten-years of blogging!!

Always a kind of counter-culture kind of a guy walking and dancing to the beat of a different drum, working the overnight shift playing music on the radio came easy for me. It was also encouraged by my mentors as a way not to become stereotyped as ‘just another black radio jock’ and allowed me to play mainstream, Top 40 music. The catch was, the powers that be usually only let the ‘black guy’ pull the overnight shift. I was okay with it.

I’m one of the kids of the 1960s who listened to his first transistor AM radio – a Zenith – under the pillow in his room when I was supposed to be asleep, parents in their room, not too far away, with my dad trying to put me down by calling me “an owl” whenever they caught me. I like “owl”; he was giving me a compliment. Why do everything like everybody else? I grew to never wanting to be part of the “Rat Race” of drones on the same rush hour, every morning and the same rush hour in the evening, day after day. Nyet! Nope. Going to work at 11PM, though sometimes hard, back when I was addicted to television, was always more fun once I got there, and the morning payoff of going home to chill with a beverage, maybe a female fan from my show or just to sleep while the world was awakening again was just really chill!

Little did I know, that the graveyard shift was resetting my body clock forever.

Or maybe I was born with that overtime set to my circadian rhythm’s DNA and the fate of career choices visa v the compliments I received on how my voice sounded over the air, extracted that natural inclination?

I surely adapted to it easily and it was fun, except when the day-timers at the job scheduled staff meetings back at the station in the middle of what was my “night” – sometimes as early as 11 AM – those would take me literally a couple of days or nights to recover from, and became sources of contention when I asked for a little consideration from the diurnal management.
I was fully committed to the day-coffin, learning to use heavy curtains with linings that would turn my day room to night until my alarm clock awakened me to watch the hottest soap opera of that era, General Hospital” with Luke and Laura at 3pm.

Recently, I began reflecting upon the radio stations boards which I learned to jock during the third shift throughout my two score on the air, at a point when I learned about the sale or demise of the name brand that I saw all the time but took for-granted, Gates.

Not sure if this one from my first commercial station, WFLB AM, is a Gates. Maybe your keen, expert eye can spot the characteristics.

Most of them had the Gates insignia on them until I graduated to stations in the mid-1980s that had sliding faders instead of round knobs we called pots.

The next one my research recognizes is the one I bounced with on WBSS FM, “BOSS 97”, Atlantic City, New Jersey fifteen years after ‘FLB. It is the Gates Executive 2.

Meanwhile, I learned that there is a whole world of fellow graveyard shifters who shared my unique pain mixed with laughter. Its almost cult-like…I developed “honored groups of the nyte” to acknowledge and play requests for such as hospital worker, cooks, street sweepers, bakers, bartenders, toll collectors, night watchmen, security guards,law enforcement types, like the detective who used to call into my show and ultimately invited me for a couple of boilermakers at this basic bar, at the unheard of hour of six A.M.! He became like a bodyguard for me up there in Worcester.
Next is a board that reminds me of the one I worked at New York City’s 1600, WWRL AM:

My unofficial research gleans that working the midnight shift may have altered when my body naturally produces melatonin! “Peak levels of melatonin are produced before 3 a.m., when it sharply decreases before natural daylight returns. (Higher levels of melatonin have been measured in the fall and winter when the days are shorter, thus the reason you may be sleepier in the winter months.)”  Wow, that might explain why I still can stay up with the best of ’em!
Even as I write this post #300, most of them are edited during the wee hours of the early morning – after midnight (an Eric Clapton song, btw).

Pickhit: On this “Blog Post #300” and upon our 10 Year Anniversary with WordPress, I was pondering what I would post so momentously. Originally pitched as a source of income in 2009 by an acquaintance, nothing of the sort has materialized – milestone not achieved.
I guess I came to keep doing this as writing practice, an outlet for free expression and a way to display my contemporary music knowledge via the amazing YouTube video attachments which accentuate my opinions and reviews.

***Thank you dear reader, who have happened by to peek and read my public “diary”. The private one? I will save for you, who I shall leave behind in the physical realm, someday. This is a milestone.
Peace.

I played this song while a afternoon fill-in DJ for the late Jerry Bledsoe on WWRL AM 1600 radio, New York City, the original Black American music station in the nation, circa 1983 after doing the 2AM – 6 AM shift on North Haven, Connecticut’s WKCI/KC101FM. I really never knew what this song was about until now – domestic violence, which they did not have a name for back then. Songs come and go sometimes when you are a radio personality. I guess I did not have time to analyze every lyric and message. Sometimes you just like the “sound” of the hook of a hit record, it seems to topically fit your personal experiences and it sticks.

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“Too Late” by Junior is on par with and, in my mind, the follow-up to the SMASH hit, “Mama Used to Say”, IMO.
I am humbled and shocked by my naivete` not originally knowing what this song was about. Until a few minutes ago, I thought it was about unrequited love and the breaking up of two lovers! When I heard it in my musical jukebox mind and found it finally on YouTube, it was always about her being “too late” because I have moved-on to another relationship. Yeah, Right! As-if I always had that control, lol.
That was what I was all about in the early 1980s. If I’d really listened to the vamp, “I don’t have to stay with you, I can take the kids and go” I might have gleaned a more clean analysis. Such is life.
I am blown away that this song was so far ahead of its time, preceding the “OJ Simpson trial” and all of the ancillary offshoots that precipitated the lame and unecessary reality television of today that has contributed to the dumbing-down of America that now permeates every aspect of society, from how people drive their cars to our manners and morality. I wonder now, was this Junior’s experience, growing up?

I could/can never tolerate when a nice-looking lady told me her man “beat her up”. How cowardly! And I always say, “Just leave him!” Yet, curiously, in most cases they made excuses not to do so! WTF? If someone I was living with was violent, it would not take me a second heartbeat thought to get the f*** out! Yet, many women seem to think differently regarding this, despite the physical abuse and stay upon a bullshit excuse.

**PICKHITT: This can become an anthem for the “MeToo” movement.

When he comes home intoxicated from the club
All the kids they go and snuggle up to mom
He starts shoutin’ again, and they start runnin’ again
This ain’t no life for them to lead

In her mind she knows she has to let him go
In the children’s eyes she sees the fear inside
How does she tell him, he won’t take nothin’
This ain’t no life for them to lead

Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go
Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go

In the morning when he wakes up from the couch
Not recallin’ what had happened the night before
He starts askin’ questions, he don’t get no answers
What the hell’s goin’ on in here

Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go
Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go

Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go
Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to

She starts saying she can’t take it no more
When he comes home he always beats her to the floor
This old line she’s givin’, hey, about them leavin’
He can’t take it at all

But it’s too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go
Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye (I just got to let you know)
Now’s my time to go (Yeah, yeah)

Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye
Now’s my time to go
Too late, too late, baby, bye-bye (Bye-bye)
Now’s my time to

Too late (Too late), too late, baby, bye-bye (Too late, yeah)
Now’s my time to go (I don’t want to be around you)
Too late, too late (I just got to take the kids and go), baby, bye-bye (Oh, no)
Now’s my time to go…”

Comment please and Take GOOD care.

Johnny Taylor was a giant of R&B music.  Introduced to me by the late and great radio program director, Frankie Crocker, on WLIB FM which later became WBLS FM, I came to love his music.  I also have to give props to New York City’s first black music station of the 1960s, WWRL AM, as a station where I first heard this record, “Take Of Your Homework” on Memphis, Tennesee’s Stax Records back in 1969.

 

As a tune-wedgie, this classic has been ringing through my musical mind of-late. This is one of my first 45rpm records I bought at the record shop on the way home from school, as was my custom with my “allowance” money from my parents as well as the the clean and soulful album this song was featured on, ‘Who’s Makin’ Love”!

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It is a great, simple song and concept that became one of Johnny’s greatest hits. I found this cool video about it on You Tube! Check it out:

Is there still infidelity in marriage and relationships here in 2014? If so, then this record still is relevant as a cautionary tale. Check out the lyrics, if you don’t believe me! lol

“Got to tell you the truth, I got to tell you truth..

Oh brother Jack, you goin’ with sister Sadie
When you ought to be home with your old lady
But your heart is divided in so many pieces
Tryin’ to please them both, never pleasin’ neither

Oh Jack, take it on back
Before your good thing is gone
Because the downfall of too many men
Is up keep of too many women.
So…

Take care of your homework fella
If ya don’t somebody will, oh yeah
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Now wait a minute, yeah!

Oh brother Fred, how he used to run,
Stayin’ out all night leavin’ his homework undone
Now Fred’s old lady, took as much as she could stand
Then one night the next door neighbor, gave him a helping hand

Oh Brotha, take it on home,
Before your good thing is gone
Because the downfall of too many men
Is the up keep of too many women, so..

Take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will, oh
You gotta hear me now,
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Listen to me y’all

Take it on home
Get off the streets y’all
Take it on home, Ahhhhhh!
Alright! [interlude]

But fellas let me tell you
These girls are gettin’ hip
You can only slide so long
Before you make a slip.

Take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Oh, hear me now, hear me now, hear me now
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Take it, take it, take it on home..”
Take it, take it, take it…

Songwriters
BANKS, HOMER / JACKSON, RAYMOND E. / DAVIS, DONALD / KELLY, THOMAS F.

Comments or tales of how this song saved you from losing your relationship are welcomed feedback. So “take care”!

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