Radio, cowboys and war | Columnists


Before diving into today’s Escape to the Past, Kirk Douglas fans, whatever you do, don’t read Lana Woods’ latest book, “Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood !”

If you read it, as Briscoe Darling would say, “More power to you.”

Ditto, for the two fans of Robert Wagner.

Let’s see, one afternoon in the spring of 1962, six of us neighborhood baby boomers played a rousing softball game against the Florida Boys Quartet in the parking lot of radio station WIRB, while their leader, Les Beasley, was inside talking on the radio, peddling their new album/promoting a Wiregrass area gospel song.

The Alabama Boys Sextet won the match, using a Florida ball; we were really badass.

It was 60 years ago, in the Dark Ages, when the Enterprise had a radio station, Jitney Jungle, oyster bars, chilidogs galore, fresh boiled peanuts (in season), an ice cream factory, Fortune’s Seafood, Marsh’s Snooker & Eat, a peanut butter mill, live bait , Grilled Chicken, West Indian Salad, Reese’s Diner, Farm Tractor Dealers, Bandy’s, Postmark, et al.

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Monday night I was able to listen to absolutely the best recordings your scribe ears have ever seen, The Four Seasons early hits, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”.

We started hearing the band in late 1962, when we were still playing almost endless neighborhood baseball/football games in broad daylight and listening to Art Roberts and Dick Biondi on Chicago’s WLS after dark. of the night.

Picked up WLS on a 6-transistor Bulova radio, with earplug, without too much static between us and the 50,000 watt clear channel station heard in 38 states and parts of Mississippi.

The late David Mitchell, as mentioned here earlier, circa 1965 had a 4-track tape recorder, in his Mustang, delivering insanely better than AM radio sounds, fuller of Frankie Valli and them, and backing musicians, in the pre-Beatles days when our music was changing .

Last month, after Carlton Carr’s funeral, your scribe suddenly found himself up to his neck remembering some Saturday mornings in 1958, when he spent weekends at Carr’s farm, with his lifelong friend Charles Carr.

We listened to WBAM play songs such as Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater”, Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash”, “Volare” sung in Italian by Domenico Modugno and “Bird Dog” by the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil.

Deep, heavy, thought-provoking music.

Hey, we were in second grade, so what did we know other than train rides to Elba?

Well, we knew – or learned later – that Pony Express started operating on April 3, 1860 and Jesse James was murdered on April 3, 1882, the same year that John Henry Carmichael and his family settled the town of progress.

We guys developed a lot of our critical knowledge from watching westerns on the three TV channels we had, like knowing that in the west the only types of cowboys were the living and the dead, the smart and stupid.

Later in our schooling, we learned American history, a subject that is always interesting in Adams’ house.

We have learned from wars and more wars.

In recent years, with the release of classified information, World War II has become increasingly personal, even though it ended four years before your scribe arrived.

Last week, Moscow announced it would end negotiations with Japan over a post-World War II peace treaty, in response to Tokyo’s escalating sanctions against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Luckily there was no test on it…


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