Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, March 31, 2008

Music of the Night (how appropriate!)

I've just been listening to this splendid programme from BBC Radio 4 via its "Listen Again" facility. My personal introduction to Howlin' Prowlin' Wolfman Jack was (like most Brits) via George Lucas's American Graffiti. What strikes me now is how much he both looks and sounds like Don van Vliet (Captain Beefheart): almost as though CB deliberately modelled both his persona and his sound on the Wolfman's. It's not unlikely, as they were both in the same part of the USA at the same time, and what counter-cultural type wouldn't want to adopt the Wolf as a role model?

And what else strikes me, listening to Wolfman Jack from 1961, is how far behind the curve we were in the UK then. We didn't even have pirate radio stations domestically: we had to get all our coolness from Radio Luxembourg (wow! exotic! with advertisements!) (hands up all who remember Horace Batchelor's Infra-Draw......) Now while growing up with the BBC Light Programme helped to form my future musical personality, so did exposure to Radio Luxembourg and eventually to Radio Caroline (I remember being off school sick with something, and finding "199 Caroline" on my radio while in bed: nerdy to the last, I did the whole "v=fλ" thing to make sure I could relocate it because my new transistor radio was calibrated in kHz instead of the more usual metres ). How might I have turned out if only I could have tuned in to the Wolfman's "50,000 watts clear"?


At 01 April, 2008 15:06, Anonymous JoeInVegas said...

I couldn't get the Wolfman where I grew up in New Jersey, but first heard him when in the Navy down in Memphis, and continued to listen after moving to California. His appearence in American Grafitti did accurately portray how we viewed him. Broadcasting from Mexico on XERB to bypass the US FCC rules on power output.

At 03 April, 2008 11:35, Anonymous Eddie Louise said...


The Wolfman and I had a clandestine relationship. There was a student radio station out of Denver that carried re-broadcasts of his shows at mid-night. My older brother Charlie and I would huddle under blanket tents listening avidly... knowing that if our Dad caught us we'd get thrashed as much for listening to the 'subversive' music as for being up at mid-night on a school night. Ah childhood!

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