Fight Mr. Radidio

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Forgive me for being an old wistful fart here, but so-called “free” radio is just another relic of the past like 30-cent-per-gallon gasoline and riding your bicycle on endless summer days.

It’s gone beyond the days when, as described by John Prine, the “radio knows all my favorite tunes.” The radio has learned a boatload of favorite tunes. Few of those could I consider as my favorites.

I got fixated last night on the song generically known as “Fight the Power” by the Isley Brothers. I say generically because the Isley Bros. were in that strange tradition like soul brother James Brown that if something was good, it needed more than one part. Such as: “Fight the Power (Part I).”

“Fight the Power” belonged to that whole where music was music was music. It may have been R & B but it wasn’t classified as R & B. It wasn’t hip-hop because that wasn’t in the mainstream back in the 70s when that particular song came out. It might be more soul than rock. But it was rock music — where all comers ended up on Mr. Radidio back then. It’s an edgy song and even the remakes of it aren’t heard on probably 85 percent of radio stations today. That’s even with bleeping out the “shit” in the lyrics “with all this bullshit going down.”

It’s kind of sad you can’t turn to a classic rock station these days and hear classic rock, or whatever it was, but it was music we were tuned into it. I think about Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” album, which I probably played until it was worn out. I even used to make a joking reference to a song on that album when I lived in Waco that probably only a few would catch.

I’d say: “Waco, Texas, just like I pictured it. Skyscraper. Everything.” The line was paraphrasing an intro to the fantastically-edgy “Living for the City.” It is where the boy who’s born in Hardtime, Mississippi, comes to New York City and upon departing the bus says: “New York City, just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers. And everything.” You see, Waco only had one skyscraper and oh well, you had to be there.

I have visited my current home city enough after being gone seven years to realize the radio scene here has long been drab. It’s even worse than before. How much Creed can one person take? We also get radio signals from 90 miles away in Houston and they are more dreadful than before. Thank God that the evil talk radio station here still has a Cajun music program on Sunday mornings.

I guess the Internet and satellite is where one now has to go to find good music. That means, if you play you pay. The same happened to TV. That means the free ride is over. It’s too bad.

I can’t play my music
They say my music’s too loud
I kept talkin’ about it
I got the big run around
When I rolled with the punches
I got knocked on the ground
With all this bullshit going down

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