All Hopped Up, Mambo Madness, Radio Radio and more…
“All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77” received a full page critique in the New York Times Book Review yesterday. Though Ben Ratliff clearly had some issues with the book, I’m certainly not complaining about the size of the review. And I was grateful to note – albeit after the event – that the Times’ online review links to my web site. So in the likelihood that there are a fair few people visiting iJamming! for the first time right now, let me offer you a friendly welcome and something of an overview.
iJamming! started out as a place for me to archive my older work and provide a home for some newer writing. As the Web developed organically (or as organically as bits and bytes can ever do), I began posting a daily/weekly diary, and then, as tens of millions of other people began to do the same thing, and they all came to be grouped together as “blogs,” and nobody had time to read them any more because they were so busy writing their own, I backed away from relentlessly commentating on my own life, and, in the last two-three years, have been very hard at work on my book projects. (And parenting. And running. And being on the school board. Etc.) In something of an ideal world, I’d write news, reviews and opinions at iJamming! every day, but that ideal world necessitates getting paid to do so. Any old-fashioned Patrons of the Arts out there, you’re welcome to get in touch.
So, and anyway, please enjoy looking around. Apart from archives accompanying my many books, and hundreds of postings on everything from wine and travel to vegetarian food, politics, music and my home life, there’s a wealth of material to accompany All Hopped Up and Ready To Go. The Introduction to the book is here. The first chapter is here. And in recent weeks, 8tracks.com have been taking my original 30-second teaser Amazon MP3 playlists and turning them into fully fledged “Mix Tapes.” I’m happy to introduce the latest mix, “Mambo Madness,” to accompany Chapter 5. One more chapter to go, and we’ll be up to date with my original postings for each chapter; then we can spring forward from Chapter 7- 17. These Music Mixes are joined in each case by a Google Map which helps show the cluster of activity around the given area of each particular chapter, which I began putting together during the research stage of the book. I found them fascinating; I hope you do as well.
There are links to various reviews and interviews about the book on the sidebar to the right hand side. You can also tune into some of the radio shows I’ve appeared on of late, including WNYC’s Soundcheck with John Schaeffer, WRXP with Matt Pinfield, and the ever-engaging Culture Catch podcast with Dusty Wright. In addition, yesterday, February 21st, earlier in the morning than I would typically like to on a Sunday (but early enough to allow me to still get in a full day’s skiing with the family), I returned to our local Woodstock Station, WDST, for the Roundtable show. There I chatted with its knowledgable host Doug Grunther about the subject matter of Chapters 6-10: the Greenwich Village folk-turned-folk-rock scene; the Brooklyn Jewish songwriting partnerships; girl groups like the Crystals, Ronettes and Shangri-Las; and the importance of the Young Rascals, Lovin’ Spoonful and Blues Project. Given that we didn’t get out of the 1960s, Doug’s promised to have me back yet again, at which point we’ll play some glitter, some disco, some punk and presumably, some of the music that influenced early hip-hop as well. For the next week, you can listen to yesterday’s show via this link or, so it seems, at the bottom of this post!. Scroll forward to 66 minutes if you want to jump straight into our discussion.
This Saturday, I’ll be DJ’ing at a fundraiser in Catskill for the new community radio station WGXC. Though I live just outside its immediate listening range (the Greene and Columbia Counties of its call letters), I’m fully supportive of its endeavors. Founder Tom Roe has been involved in left-field radio since establishing the pirate station Free103point9 in NYC back in the pre-internet radio days. I first met Roe at a Christmas party on my old block in Brooklyn; he’d just reviewed my Keith Moon biographyfor the New York Post, but it turned out we plenty of other things in common, too. He subsequently moved upstate, not far from our old weekend place in Hunter, where, with his wife, he opened “Wave Farm” on his land, hosting all manner of interactive sonic frequency events until he heard that the FCC was opening up the local airwaves, and successfully pitched WGXC as a Community Station. As you can see from the flyer below, the party this Saturday promises to be a treat, and it will allow me to play some of the music from the tail end of All Hopped Up and the period just beyond.
In mid-March I’ll be heading over to the UK for a long-overdue visit. It also coincides with the British publication of All Hopped Up and Ready To Go. We’ve just confirmed an event at the British Music Experience on Thursday March 25th. More information as it becomes available. I also plan on announcing my next biographical project in the next few days.
So, welcome the new visitors. To the long-term travelers, I appreciate that you keep checking in. There’s an iJamming! Pub for interactive conversation. I don’t hang out at Facebook, but my page there uploads all my iJamming! posts and I do read all comments. You can also find me on Twitter, useful for the quick missives and observations that I otherwise never get around to any more at iJamming! Finally, you can find my e-mail at this page if you look round hard enough or you can drop a comment at the end of any post. Cheers.