Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Legendary Birmingham DJ, Dave Roddy, also to be at the CD & Record Show

If you grew up in Birmingham in the 60s, most likely you listened to one of the best radio stations in the south, WSGN, the big 610. They called their DJs, the Good Guys. One of the most popular Good Guys was Dave Roddy, sometimes called, “Rockin’ Roddy.”

Dave grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He began radio in Knoxville and came to Birmingham in 1960, first on WYDE, which was a rock station at that time. After one year, Dave moved to WSGN and became one of the Swinging Southern Gentlemen DJs. In 1963, WSGN hired Jim Taber as the Program Director and he immediately went to work revamping the station. WSGN moved their studios from the 7th Avenue South location to the penthouse above the City Federal Building. Taber made other changes such as using PAMS jingles, adding a distinct echo (reverb) to the signal (which gave it a more polished sound) and using the cute smiley face logo on surveys, tee-shirts, etc. He also renamed the DJs, the Good Guys. Principle among them was Dave Roddy. Others of note included Glen Powers, Walt Williams and Steve Norris. Dave was named Music Director and is responsible for being the first to play a lot of records which became hits. National radio stations monitored WSGN's playlists. These changes and the Good Guys helped to make WSGN one of the best radio stations in the country. In fact, WSGN was so popular, that WYDE changed their format to country in 1965, leaving WSGN the sole 24 hour rock and roll station in Birmingham for many years. Their next strongest competitor, WVOK, signed off at sunset.

Dave was extremely popular with the teenage rock and roll crowd and also hosted rock and roll shows at the Airport and Oporto armories. He was instrumental in bringing national and local artists to Birmingham. WSGN would also set up live at the Alabama State Fair each year and, since Dave was the evening DJ, he would broadcast his show from the fair.

In 1968, Dave was the first DJ to play “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro and, to capitalize on “Honey’s” success, Dave went into the studio and recorded a similar record, “The Last Goodbye.” It was released on Warner Brothers and got heavy airplay in Birmingham where it topped the charts in April and May 1968. That record is still a highly sought after collectible (“The Last Goodbye” is available for playing from this blog, see left column).

Dave left WSGN and Birmingham in 1972. He now lives in Columbia, South Carolina and owns a successful advertising business.

For a special feature on Dave Roddy and a scoped air check of one of Dave’s shows visit Birmingham Rewound.

Dave will be appearing in addition to Revolver on Saturday, May 1 at the CD & Record Show beginning around 10:30 am. Who knows, you may even find some copies of Dave’s record at one of our dealer tables.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birmingham band 'Revolver' to appear at annual ARCA CD & Record Show

One of Alabama's own power bands, Revolver, will make an appearance at this year's annual ARCA CD & Record Show. Four very gifted musicians and songwriters first formed in Huntsville in the early 60s. The band consisted of two sets of brothers, Mike and Kenny Webber and Vannie and Dannie Warren. Like a lot of bands back then, they were heavily influenced by the British Invasion sound of The Beatles. They began to perfect their sound by performing Beatle's songs and eventually changed their name from ‘The So…But So What’ to 'Revolver' based on the 1966 Beatles' album of the same name. They could pretty well do any Beatles' song and sounded enough like the Beatles to fool the most avid listener. While they became known for their Beatles' shows, they also perfomed rock standards and a lot of original material written by the various band members. Their first single was issued while the group was using ‘The So…But So What’ name. Their other singles were issued under their ‘Revolver’ name. All four members continue to perform with various bands and occasionally reunite to do Beatle shows at various locations around Birmingham and Huntsville. 'Revolver' will be appearing on Saturday, May 1 at 10:30 am, so be sure to make plans to see them. (Four of their songs are available for playing from this blog, see left column.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 CD and Record Show

Our annual CD and Record Show is April 30 & May 1, 2010 at the Bessemer Civic Center. Hours for the show are:
Friday, April 30, 2010, 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (early birds 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m)
Saturday, May 1, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Complete Show Details.


Hey Music Lovers,

ARCA has traveled 30 years along with US as a musical companion. ARCA has been with us through Record/CD Shows, monthly meetings, Christmas parties, “Original Gold Wax,” mail-outs, summer record/picnic parties, etc. What a journey it has been since that day in February 1980 when a handful of music lovers decided to join me and be a part of a record collecting club called ARCA and begin musical friendships that have endured through the years. I want to thank you, the members and honorary members, who have shared your love of music with us all. We have seen a lot of changes in music in the past thirty years. We have had some of our ARCA members pass away, but they left us with some great memories to share. We won’t forget them. ARCA has changed since its infancy. Websites, emails, Alabama Music Hall of Fame, etc., were words that wasn’t yet in our vocabulary and ARCA grew up alongside them.. What a Journey! What a ride! Thanks ARCA and Happy 30th to you!!.

ARCA Founder,
Fred Dahlke

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Vinyl Renaissance

I’ve been looking for vinyl sales data for 2009 and found some interesting information. From an October 23, 2009, Goldmine article , “The numbers are in: music sales are down. All across the board the music industry is taking a hit - everywhere except vinyl records… vinyl sales are up 124 percent. Vinyl shipments more than doubled year-over-year to $57 million, the highest level since 1990, said RIAA vice president of research and strategic analysis Joshua Friedlander.” From the RIAA’s own site , “Looking to re-energize your music collection? Give it a vintage touch. More and more artists, from your favorites of yesterday to today’s hitmakers, have released or re-released various albums in vinyl format. Now, we love all the different kinds of legal formats in which fans can enjoy their favorite tunes, but we can’t ignore the LP frenzy that has connected music fans of all ages. In fact, our own annual music shipment report shows vinyl shipments more than doubling last year to $57 million, the highest level since 1990! In November alone artists from Norah Jones to The Flaming Lips to Tom Petty will offer their new album releases in the format. So dust off your record player, check out the liner notes, take in the sweet smell of a fresh album and give it a whirl.”

The Vinyl rebirth is spreading and gaining traction. Brick-and-mortar music stores that specialize in selling new vinyl albums are appearing. The L.A. Times has a good article, “ In A Digital Age, Vinyl's Making A Comeback ” concerning new stores in its market. Also, existing stores like Best Buy and J&R Music now sell vinyl records. Best Buy started a pilot program selling vinyl albums at 100 stores earlier this year. In Alabama, the Best Buy store in Huntsville is the first to start selling vinyl albums. Although I encourage you to read all the linked articles, I particularly wanted to include the following from the Goldmine article:
Beyond the baby-boomer generation, a new demographic of record-buyers is unfolding. "I've seen a true increase in university kids and beyond," said Evan Chern, owner of Yesterday and Today Records in Florida. "It's exciting to see a young generation that is into records."

With music just a click away thanks to more affordable MP3 devices and digital downloads, why is Generation Y choosing to purchase vinyl?

"People older than me purchase records for nostalgia, but today's crowds are purchasing the music to listen to it," said Tim Schweiger, a 28-year-oid musician and record collector. Schweiger likes The Beatles on vinyl, although his generation "grew up with Abbey Road on CD."

25-year-old collector Ben Hendrickson said, "If there's an album I really like, I buy the vinyl - it's worth the investment." Unlike collectors who grew up during vinyl's heyday, Hendrickson didn't grow up with a record player in his home. "My mother thought they were ugly, so we never had one," he said. Hendrickson began collecting when he moved to college.

Music fans witnessed music changing to compressed digital formatting and have heard the sound quality disappear, said Mark Hillstrom of The Exclusive Company in Appleton, Wis. "[Vinyl] gives a fuller frequency response; you're able to hear a direct representation of what was recorded. A MP3's sound is compressed so much it's not a direct recording."

Wolak says collectors, like Hendrickson and Schweiger, are part of the digital-music resistance. "I think they want to own something, rather than having 1,400 sounds on their iPod that they can replace in a week."

Collectors across the country predict that vinyl records will overtake CDs. Wolak calls the new phenomenon the "vinyl renaissance" and says that he has switched his shop from selling mainly CDs to having 95 percent of stock in vinyl records.