Friday, 19 February 2016

Soul Coaxing and Volare

Did you know that it is 69 years since the transistor was invented and 62 since the first transistor radios appeared in the shops? Do you care? Mmm. Probably not. This magazine ad appeared in USA in 1959, the same year that I bought my first 'tranny' in Houston Texas.
I grew up with radio as the prime source of our home entertainment, long before television was even affordable in households like ours. I have been a fan of radio ever since.
This week I found what may well be the best ever value in personal radio sets...the Roberts Sport 925 at £16.99 which makes it that long established brand's entry level model.
This blog lives in a communications black spot where the only mobile phone provider that connects is O2, where DAB is just a rumour and where we can get French radio clearer than our local UK station just a couple of miles away.
Roberts is a well respected brand that goes back over 80 years and this sturdy little set has no pretensions beyond doing what it does well. It is mono, it has FM, Medium and Long wavebands and that is pretty much it, powered by a pair of AA batteries. I use the earphone socket for early morning listening while the house is asleep and the day is young and full of promise.
This morning I heard a blast from the past. It was a recording of Soul Coaxing from 1968, the year when a few pirate stations were still on the air in defiance of the Marine Offences Act of August '67.  DJ Andy Archer used it as his signature tune. Wow, how memories flooded back. It was the year that my beautiful wife gave birth to our son and heir - to be followed by his sister 18 months later [then we found out what was causing them!] and it was also the year that I quit my job to go self employed at three times the income ... a time when few even considered self employment as an option.
Leading up to those amazing days we were permanently tuned to Radio Caroline, Radio 355, Britain Radio, Radio England and Laser 558.
To get a flavour, listen to Britain Radio/355 on your computer. Find it at:-
You can still find singles of Soul Coaxing on eBay
Or, go to Youtube and select from all the versions there.
Warning: You will find that it sticks in your mind all day.

Before we leave these hallmark of quality days, you must surely be familiar with the evergreen song Volare? Chances are that you think that Dean Martin recorded the definitive version. Until a few days ago I would have agreed.
Then Britain Radio played another arrangement that set my pulses tingling and had me grinning from ear to ear. No wonder that this upbeat and typical '50s Rock n Roll rendering hit the charts when it was first released ... and the energy is still palpable,

The way we were - well some of us were!
 Bobby Rydell was the guilty party and he was just a teenager at the time. Now, at 74 and after a double organ transplant he still tours in the USA with his contemporaries from the same Philly 'burg where they all grew up ... Fabian and Frankie Avalon. I have just ordered this cd from eBay and do go look at the various clips of him on You Tube. I was delighted to find his lyrical treatment of my all time fave big band number So Rare as well.
 The Isle of Thanet really is an island. It is on the extreme north east tip of the Kent coast and is separated from the mainland by a once navigable river that is now just a muddy stream. The isle has many villages and three main towns - Margate where this blog lives, Broadstairs where this blog once owned a shop and Ramsgate where we once owned an hotel. 
I have added two local blog mentions alongside. Promote Thanet is from Don Wood who fights a daily battle with MS and posts about upcoming events in the area and Michael Child, a prolific artist who owns a used book shop in Ramsgate and frequently posts local photos.[Thanet On Line]
Take a look when you can. Then Come on down to our Sunshine Coast for a seaside holiday like it used to be.