Wednesday, February 13, 2008

those oldies but goodies part 2

brother love
Brother Love's Underground from Larry's page


Yah, yah, I know I missed a lot of 1960s music in my "Oldies But Goodies" post. And I'll miss a lot more - after all, 40 years worth of memories do get somewhat diluted as the neurons quit firing with their usual reliability. But here's a couple of additions that popped into what's left of my mind (a terrible thing to lose, take my word for it!)

How could I forget Chuck Brinkman from KQV radio? He was one of the premier top 40 jocks of the era, and the first host of "Come Alive" on WIIC - TV, a local teen dance party show. Brinkman spun disks on TV for eighteen months before handing the torch to Terry (TL) Lee. He came to KQV in 1960 and eventually worked every time slot they had to offer.

Brinkman's famous for stealing KDKA's thunder when the Beatles came to town in 1964. He and brother jock Dexter Allen got to New York to interview the Beatles. Through connections, they managed to talk their way into a seat on the Beatle's private plane to the 'Burgh, bumping KDKA's Clark Race in the process. Once here, they got the KQV banner hung front and center on the Arena stage, and Brinkman introduced the Beatles to the screeching mob, one upping Race again. Clark Race bitched about it on air for the longest time.

In 1972, he moved across town to WTAE and ten years later made a clean break from here and went to San Diego. He came back to Pittsburgh briefly and has worked the Dallas area for the past two decades, moving from an oldies format to adult contemporary.

And speaking of dance shows, some folks used to watch "9 Teen Time" from WSTV in Steubenville, which used to have a pretty strong signal into the area. Its' hosts were Wayne Van Dine, later a TV consumer advocate on Pittsburgh TV, and Stan Scott.

I ran across some more on Brother Love's Underground. Ken Reeth was Brother Love's given name, and he was part of a morning comedy team in Hartford, where he and his partner Eddie King actually did stand up gigs at the local clubs. He came to Carnegie's WZUM in the 60s and then moved on to WAMO.

After San Francisco's Summer of Love, he thought Pittsburgh was ripe for some progressive rock. Somehow he sweet talked soul station WAMO into allowing him one night a week to pump out Iron Butterfly, Country Joe, Hendrix, the Doors, Vanilla Fudge, the Mothers and others of their ilk . The show became Brother Love's Underground.

The Underground was campy and true to Reeth's comedy roots. His studio sidekicks were Frank the Freak, Raymond the Condemned, the Observer, and the Mellon Square. He would engage them in comedy skits, ala Chilly Billy Cardille on Chiller Theater with his ensemble. Raymond and the Mellon Square were the crowd favorites. Raymond would spout bad poetry while the bewildered Square would rant about those darn hippies and the events of the day.

At one time, the Underground was broadcast by Dynamic Broadcasting into Boston, Miami and Buffalo, so Brother Love was more than a Pittsburgh phenonema.

He later made a complete about face and bought a country station in California. He DJ'ed under the moniker Romeo Jones there and eventually became a director for the Academy of Country Music. Reeth also wrote one of the first e-books, Dreamland, about his radio days. He passed away in Vegas in 2005 from leukemia.

And finally, a few more tunes that fell outta the cobwebs of my mind: "Hold Me," Mel Carter; "Our Day Will Come," Ruby & the Romantics; anything Skyliner, like "This I Swear" or "Since I Don't Have You," "Cara Mia," Jay & the Americans; "Draggin Waggin," Triumphs; "Elephant Walk," Donald Jenkins; "Dry Your Eyes," Brenda & the Tabulations; "My True Story," Jive Five; "Gloria," Shadows of Knight; any Righteous Brother tune, such as "You're My Soul & My Heart's Inspiration" or "Ebb Tide," "Walk," Fenways; "Harlem Nocturne," Viscounts; "Blue Moon," Marcels; "The Bird," Rivingtons; "Come Go With Me," Del Vikings; every Little Anthony song, like "Hurts So Bad" or "Going Out Of My Head," "The Loser," Racket Squad; "Oh What A Night," Dells; "My Heart Cries," Romancers (a cover that may be better than the original), "Farmer John," Premiers; "Rinky Dink," Baby Cortez; and everything by the Beach Boys (try "In My Room" or "Surfer Girl") and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who sang too many songs and gave me too many memories to fit on this page. Trust me on that.

That's it for now. Maybe my mind will shake loose a couple of more recollections as time goes on, and please feel free to nudge my memory if you recall things I've forgotten or missed.

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