Hey y’all! As the vast majority of you know, I’ve been the host of The Jazz Program on datafruits.fm for a good couple years now, and the host of a small show called Talkie Time on the timeslot before it. I’ve decided to make a monthly post here to let you fine folks know which records we’re going to be playing each episode, as well as take a bit to talk about some of my favorite jazz and jazz-related artists and records. This one will be our programming calendar for the month of March, 2023.
If you’d like to tune in, head on over to datafruits.fm/chat on Tuesday evenings from 10 PM EST/7 PM PST to 1 AM EST/10 PM PST. If you’d like to learn more about the show and read about the fantastic artists and old-time radio shows we’re broadcasting this week…well, read on.
First, a bit of an interlude…
WHAT IS A TALKIE, AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
“Talkies”, as I call them, are basically exactly what it says on the tin–radio dramas, usually older ones from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. You know how your gramma complains about how people are interrupting her TV stories? Well, take away the TV and add the radio and you’ve basically got the idea.
(And yes, I am basically a 75 year old woman trapped in a weird transfemme’s body. Now be a good kiddo and fetch me my pipe, Gramgram Sarah’s got some stories to tell you.)
I’ve been in love with radio talk shows for years now. As most of you know (seeing as you’re on the website that hosts my studio blog and professional portfolio) I work in professional illustration, specializing in sequential art and storytelling. What that means is that I spend a lot of my time staring at a drawing table making tiny lines on paper, with not a lot of time to watch TV or take my attention elsewhere. I’m also a noted advocate for open-source software, and not only have I never had a Spotify account but I’ve also never been arsed to check out any “podcasts” that required me to have a proprietary app or anything of the sort. Hell, for most of my life I’ve not even had a smartphone if I can avoid it.
This brings us to the magical work of the Old Time Radio Researcher’s group. These fine folks find their roots in the old days of tape trading. Back in the day, a lot of the only records of talk shows and those sorts of programs were thanks to home taping and bootleg audio recordings, ripped straight from the air. Eventually, as the years went on, these tape rips gave way to CD rips, then .mp3 files. Thing is, very few of these types of programs had any real classification system–most folks wrote down the details of the show on the tape box or in a notebook, and everyone recorded them differently. There was also an issue of access–not a lot of resources were available for the younger generation to enjoy these programs, or even have much of an idea as to what they were listening to.
The Old Time Radio Researchers, or OTRR for short, fixed this by doing two things–compiling their old tapes and uploading them to the Internet Archive for anyone to enjoy, and creating a catalogue of said tapes to make sure everyone had a record of what they were listening to, who it starred, and when it originally aired. I stumbled upon the radio drama collecting hobby through these fine folks a good few years ago, and I’ve been collecting recordings and doing my best to spread the word of old-time radio ever since.
I’ll have a few more words next month on the subject, but for now, here’s our schedule…
March 2023 Talkie Time/Jazz Program Schedule
March 6, 2023
Talkie Time : Rocky Fortune - The Prize Fight Fix / Honor Among Thieves
Francis Albert Sinatra was no stranger to either acting or radio–the crooner had multiple incarnations of fifteen- to thirty-minute variety programs throughout his career and a good many fantastic films–but the most interesting of his radio appearances (at least to me) is his role as Rocky Fortune, a frequently unemployed problem solver who shows up and solves crimes.
If that seems like a bit of an underwhelming elevator pitch, it is–to be frank, the most fascinating part of the whole thing is that it stars The Chairman Of The Board as a murder-busting layabout. Slot literally anyone else in that role and you’d have had a recipe for middling reviews at best and a stinker at worst. Thankfully for all of us, you can’t keep Ol’ Blue Eyes down.
The Jazz Program Presents First Of The Month: Listener Request Night : Slim Galliard - Laughing in Rhythm (Box Set), Discs 1-2
I’ve had a decent amount of requests for features since starting this show years ago. In its early days before the single-artist-feature format we do now, I’d simply slot in tracks as requested if I could fit them in, but with this new format I’ve had to do something a bit different.
Starting this month, the first Tuesday will see the First Of The Month Listener Request Night, where I run a feature on an artist suggested by listeners in the Datafruits chat. This month’s inaugural request comes from Datafruits chat member river, with two hours of Slim Galliard’s “Laughing In Rhythm” multi-disc career-spanning set from Proper Box UK. We’ll start with the first two disks and–who knows?–maybe play a bit more.
March 13, 2023
Talkie Time : Mercury Theatre’s The Campbell Playhouse - The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd
On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and his troupe at the Mercury Theater repertory company broadcast one of the most infamous radio plays ever aired. Their interpretation of H.G. Welle’s “The War Of The Worlds”, interpreted live on-air as a faux real-world emergency broadcast, was so realistic that the cops got called, multiple small towns went into states of panic, the FCC nearly barred them from the air–and earned them a sponsorship from the Campbell Soup Company.
First airing on December 9, 1938, The Campbell Playhouse aired the same kind of programming that made The Mercury Theater On The Air famous, but now with cash flow. A masterclass in foley, radio drama, and narrative adaptation alike, the entire series is absolutely worth a listen. We’ll be airing their interpretation of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ tonight, which originally aired on November 12, 1939.
The Jazz Program: Zofka - Bikini / Chocolat / 2000-2015 Le temps passe
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for making my audiences listen to whatever I’ve been fascinated by at any given moment. I don’t mean that as a deterrent, mind–I’d like to think I have decent taste, and part of why I got into radio in the first place is to share what I’ve found with all of you. This is very much one of those episodes.
I’m a huge fan of online radio pioneers soma.fm, and often have one of their “stations” (read: curated playlists by a selection of fantastic DJs) playing while I work. Zofka has at least one track on their “Illinois Street Lounge” station, and it’s that track that sent me down a rabbit hole of trip-hop and nu-jazz. We’ll be playing three of their records tonight, including the retrospective “2000-2015 Le temps passe” which has the dubious honor of having one of the most unsettling pieces of cover art that I’ve ever seen on a trip-hop record.
March 20, 2023
Talkie Time : Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar - The Rat Pack Matter / The Wayward Fireman Matter
Johnny Dollar is one of the more interesting of the leading men in the radio noir genre for a couple reasons. Not only is he not a PI–he’s an investigator for an insurance company, often going out to investigate “accidental deaths” and finding them more often than not to be murders–but he’s had more people voice him than nearly any other character in the history of radio noir dramas. You’d think that a downside at first glance, but every single actor who takes up the mantle plays the character very well in their own unique way. Tonight, we’ll be taking a listen to Bob Readick’s version of the wielder of the action-packed expense account, with two cases to die for–The Rat Pack Matter and The Wayward Fireman Matter.
The Jazz Program: The Grateful Dead And Ornette Coleman - Live at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 2/23/93
The Grateful Dead might not be known for their proximity to jazz, but they toured with more than a few jazz legends in their time. Jerry and the crew have shared the stage with the likes of Branford Marsalis (fantastic sax player, brother of Wynton Marsalis, the world-famous trumpeteer, and son of Ellis Marsalis Jr., pianist extrordinare), David Murray (New York based legendary saxophonist), and Charles Lloyd (west-coast based flautist and tenor saxophonist), as well as tonight’s feature–the legendary Ornette Coleman. We’ll be playing a live tape from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a night that featured Ornette opening the show with Jerry joining him onstage later on and Ornette returning the favor near the end of the Dead’s set. This set is an absolute must listen for jazz cats and deadheads alike.
March 27, 2023
Talkie Time: Cloak And Dagger - File 2218 / The Trojan Horse
Based on Corey Ford and Alastair MacBain’s 1946 book “Cloak and Dagger: The Secret Story of the OSS”, Cloak and Dagger has proved a frequent listen while I’ve inked away at Our Lady Maven, and it’s absolutely worth a listen even for those of you who aren’t currently drowning yourself in WWII spy history for work.
While claming to be based on fully authenticated case histories of OSS espionage, the series is about as wild as your average pulp from the era. Some language and themes haven’t exactly aged well (as with a lot of its ilk and similarly-themed shows from its era up until the 80s–see also half of James Bond’s catalogue) but if you can look past its flaws, it’s still an entertaining romp for those of us who love a good spy romp.
The Jazz Program Presents CRIME JAZZ NIGHT! : Crime Jazz Volume 2, Discs 4-6
Those in the know, know about Crime Jazz–both the moniker denoting the weird hodge-podge of genres from lounge to exotica that acompanied the numerous neo-noir and police drama epics that haunted cinemas in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the now-defunct series of compilation records hosted on Blogspot and lost due to the demise of Rapidshare. We’re talking about the latter in this case. And if you don’t know, we’ll be getting you in the know tonight for yet another end-of-the-month installment of Crime Jazz Night. We’ll be playing Discs 4-6 of Volume 2.
That’s our schedule for this month. Thanks in advance for tuning in; hope you enjoy the show. I’ll be back soon with a bit of information about Talkie Time, as well as our schedule for the month of February.1 Thanks as always for reading; you’re amazing and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not. Talk soon.