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3 Chords and the Truth: Merry Christmas!
December 20, 2014 01:23 AM PST
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I could tell you all about how much of this special Christmas edition of 3 Chords & the Truth has its genesis in thrift stores, estate sales, hand-me-downs and family treasures.

(Answer: A lot.)

I guess, too, that I could tell you all about turning lost audio history into modern Big Show podcastery.

(Interesting stuff if you're as big a geek as your Mighty Favog.)

Or perhaps I could tell you about the amazing, tuneful Christmas party inside the 3 Chords & the Truth studio . . . and now just a click away from being inside your favorite audio device. Which makes it just a click away from putting a big smile on your face.

(Would that be too immodest? Too much like a TV infomercial or something equally unauthentic?)

OF COURSE, I could just say that the expanded Christmas edition of the Big Show is really, really good this year.

(WARNING! WARNING! Bragging detected. Ego suppression activating in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . .)

On the other hand, perhaps I'll just repeat a beautiful passage given to us long ago. It tells why we celebrate . . . why we are filled with joy in the remembering:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of Davidsmiley

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lordwinking

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

THAT, FRIEND, is reason for a party. Two millennia ago, hope came to a hopeless world, and the darkness shall prevail not.

Merry Christmas . . . and party on.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Yule love time travel!
December 13, 2014 01:05 PM PST
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Do not adjust your TV set. It's 1963. There is no HD.

You'll have to settle for some great music instead. And the hi-fi equipment is kinda cool here, to tell you the truth.

So while we at 3 Chords & the Truth linger in Mid-Century Modernland, we'll take the opportunity to adjust the color wheel so it shines better onto the aluminum Christmas tree -- and we'll throw a few LPs on the phonograph while we do that.

Have you heard about this group of long-hairs that has the kids going crazy over in England? The Beatles, I think they are. Whatever. They can't even spell "beetles" right.

Geez Louise.

ANYWAY, we'll linger a while here a half century past before we venture elsewhere along the musical timeline. The Big Show will even stop for a time in 1915.

Everywhere we stop, though, the music will be spiffy. That's our Christmas gift to you, the 3 Chords & the Truth listener.

Spiffy music also happens to be your Hanukkah gift, your Thanksgiving gift, your Easter gift, your Labor Day gift, your Fourth of July gift, your birthday gift and your "Hey! It's the weekend!" gift.

That's about all I have to say about that. The proof's much more in the listening, to tell you the truth.

So, go listen. There's links to the Big Show here, there and everywhere. And audio players, too. Really, you can't miss it.

THAT'S a good thing, because missing it would be a crime.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Alo-ho-ho-ho-ha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Treasures for a winter's eve
December 06, 2014 01:30 PM PST
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You ever wonder from whence all this fine music on 3 Chords & the Truth comes?

You do? I'm glad you axed. Sorry, "asked." You can take the boy out of south Louisiana. . . .

Well, much of the music on the Big Show, I've been collecting since I was a kid. Some was my parents, particularly some especially tasty 78 RPM records. Other stuff was other people's tuneful treasures that ended up in antique stores, the used-record bins at various music stores . . . and on sale for 99 cents at the local Goodwill.

One treasure featured on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth was in the collection of the parents of a dear friend since our days at Baton Rouge High School, taken from a real album -- an album of several 78s, which is why we call multitrack records or CDs "albums" even today. The song is "Embraceable You" from the "Strictly From Dixie" album released in 1942 by Henry Levine's Strictly From Dixie Jazz Band, featured on a regular program on NBC radio, The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street.

It's also an album that never was later released on an LP, much less a CD.

The popularity of the radio show on the NBC Blue Network might be why my friend Doug LeBlanc's mother, Janice, had the album. She still had it when she died earlier this year at age 87, which is how I came to possess it and how you're hearing some of it on the Big Show this week -- Doug sent it and another 78 album to me when he and his brother cleaned out Janice's house.

MUSIC IS special on its own accord, but it also is special because of the love people have for it. The feelings, thoughts and memories it evokes in us. In honoring music, we acknowledge that we matter -- matter apart from what we do, how much we earn or what status we have attained.

By honoring vintage music, of which we play our share on 3 Chords & the Truth, I think we also honor those upon whose shoulders we stand -- those who lived and struggled and loved before us. We Catholics refer to those souls as "the communion of saints," who are not gone but are with us still.

They may have passed from this world to the next, but the best parts of them live on here in blessed memory and in our hearts. And what they knew . . . what they loved also can be part of what we know and what we love.

Christmas is coming upon us fast, a time of the year when our thoughts turn to those we love and times gone by. I think this show -- indeed, most episodes of the Big Show -- are right nice listening for a cold winter's night, "when all through the house not a creature (is) stirring, not even a mouse."

It is then when we cab be alone with our thoughts, with our memories, and with our dreams. And we can be alone with the music, the music of our lives . . . and that of the communion of saints.

THAT'S WHY I do this show, and that's why no decent "radio" program is just a radio program, even if it's on the Internet and not the airwaves. I guess I could have said this on the show this week, but then it would have run a even longer than it already has, which would be a wee bit longer than normal. But I didn't, so I'm saying it now.

Because it's worth saying.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Alo-ho-ho-ho-ha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Boom goes the dynamite!
November 21, 2014 10:51 PM PST
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This week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth came this close to ending life as we know it on Earth.

And with just a little less skill by Yours Truly, it would have. Instead, it merely will blow your mind.

That quite the claim for the Big Show. But it's true. A couple of things happen on this week's program that -- and words fail here, but this is an approximation -- boggle the mind.

Consider, for example, Waylon Jennings covering. . . . No, you just have to hear it to still not believe it.

And then there's the transition from Chicago to. . . . No, you wouldn't believe it if I told you. The proof is in the slack-jawed hearing.

JUST CONSIDER it all a Thanksgiving treat from 3 Chords & the Truth to you. A bit of blown mind to go with your turkey and pumpkin pie.

It's what we do.

All it's going to take is your complete cooperation, absolute secrecy and 20 live turkeys.

IT ALSO is just more proof -- as if you needed it -- that you never know what's coming next on the podcast that takes freeform radio to a whole new level of "WOW!" and wonderment.

And that's all I have to say about that. Really, you have to hear it for yourself to grasp the musical possibilities.

Just remember our motto: There's only two kinds of music -- good and the stuff we don't play.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Musical antifreeze
November 14, 2014 07:07 PM PST
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Somebody stuck most of the country in the deep freeze.

And Omaha hasn't been even close to freezing in days -- as in "32 degrees would be a vast impr-pr-pr-pr-provement." It's supposed to start snowing again shortly.

Old Man Winter done kicked autumn's butt. We are so not amused when it's only mid-November.

So . . . what to do? What to do?

WELL, DUH. What you do is turn up the heat, make yourself a piping-hot beverage, curl up under a blanket and listen to the comforting, warm sounds of 3 Chords & the Truth. If this here music program can't warm your soul and circulate your blood, your next conversation probably will be with St. Peter.

Good luck with that. No . . . really.

Assuming, however, that you indeed are still with us, there is no better time to treat yourself to yet another episode of the Big Show. It's another stellar effort, of course, and with the weather the way it is, you need to treat yourself.

Because eventually you will have to go outside.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Big noise from Omaha
November 07, 2014 11:42 AM PST
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There's a big noise coming from Omaha, and we call it 3 Chords & the Truth.

It's a good kind of noise.

It's the good kind of noise that once came from your radio -- remember those? -- although, to be fair, you usually would have had to go through several stations to compile the mind-blowing musical diversity of the Big Show.

Let's put it simply, 3 Chords & the Truth is the good kind of noise that doesn't just talk about musical diversity but delivers it. Big time.

CUE broken record, which I'm probably sounding like here. But that fact needs repeating, because the fact in your ear is the this little show with the big sound is the kind of thing you don't come across often when your searching for tunes . . . either on the radio or across the Internet.

What took many of us years to discover in a much less atomized popular culture is at the heart of every episode of the Big Show. Namely, it's all good.

That and, of course, as the old saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life."

And of a little podcast that's making a big noise out here on the Great Plains.

THAT'S ALL for now, because you need to be spending your time listening to the show instead of reading about the show. So listen already, will you?

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Music by the book
October 31, 2014 09:30 PM PDT
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I just wanted you to know that we will be doing things by the book on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

We at the Big Show consider the book to be of paramount importance.

That is why we do things by the book. No deviation. No freelancing. No screwing around..

At 3 Chords & the Truth, our guiding manuscript is orthodoxy in the praxis of musical presentation. That praxis is outlined in The Book.

By which we do things.

You will hear a variety of music presented in a way consistent with The Book.

Carefully presented.

THE AIM here is a consistent presentation of musical selections, designed to avoid -- WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! -- undue surprised to the listener -- WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! -- base, as outlined in Our Guiding Manuscript.

We thought you ought to know this before embarking on the musical journey that is this (and every) week's edition of the Big Show. Teacher, is this 250 words yet?

Oh, yes. This, by the way, is The Book:

http://www.madcoversite.com/index.html

IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Mix 'n' match music
October 24, 2014 10:08 PM PDT
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What do you get when you cross Grace Slick with Doris Day?

The Moody Blues with Woody Herman?

Modern English with Jackie Gleason?

Nat "King" Cole with the O'Jays?

16 Candles with Young at Heart?

WHAT happens when you're facing down the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man and you cross the friggin' musical streams?

Well, I guess you'll have to listen to this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth to find out, now, won't you? After all, the Big Show may be many things, but boring ain't one of them.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

3 Chords and the Truth: Eine kleine nachtmusik
October 17, 2014 10:12 PM PDT
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This week, it's just you and me and the music in the night.

A funny thing happens when you're burning the midnight oil to get another edition of 3 Chords & the Truth in the can. Or on the Internets, as the case may be.

In the middle of the night, just like listening to all-night radio way back when, it's just different. Quieter. You're alone with your thoughts. You're alone with the disc jockey playing the music . . . assuming there is a DJ and not a computer server at the helm.

You're alone with the music. In the quietude of the night, where the world seems to give you a little more space -- a little breathing room. This can be a good thing.

It also can be a bad one.

MAYBE you're listening -- or will listen -- to this edition of the Big Show in the still of the night. This, I would recommend highly.

Maybe, though, you'll hear this 3 Chords & the Truth in the light of day. That's OK, too. A little less magical, but just fine nevertheless. But however or whenever you're listening, I hope the music both expands your horizons and touches your heart.

If you're listening in the dusky stillness, I hope it leaves you good thoughts to be alone with. I hope therein you discover magic -- the magic of you and the night and the music.

Big Show music. That's always a good thing.

IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Four Songs: Yesterday Once More
Clean
March 21, 2008 12:40 AM PDT
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This week on Four Songs: five songs. It was necessary, one of the songs is by John Denver, and a "make good" was in order.

IN MY DEFENSE, I didn't pick the music. That was done according to what was hot with the record-buying public . . . in April 1975. Unfortunately, John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" was big back then.

Unsurprisingly, I would have picked differently. But they don't let 14-year-old kids program Top-40 radio stations, and that's how old I was when this episode of Four Songs was done. Live. Through the facilities of the Big 91, WLCS radio in Baton Rouge, La.

In all its amplitude-modulated glory.

And glorious it was. So glorious that I was sitting at the kitchen table, early the morning of April 17, 1975, with my portable reel-to-reel tape recorder patched into the earphone jack of my clock radio to preserve a piece of WLCS forever.

It was a Thursday. Gary King was the morning man.

WLCS was one of Baton Rouge's two Top-40 blowtorches. Radio 13 -- WIBR -- was the other. 'IBR had some great jocks, and a friend of mine even was a part-timer there when I was in high school . . . but I was an 'LCS man.

No offense to WIBR.

Of course, by 1976, I was firmly in the camp of Loose Radio (WFMF during its album-oriented rock salad days). But I'll always love Double-U ELLLLLLL CEE Ess . . . even though it died in 1983, a few months after I married a KOIL woman from Omaha.

And if you're under, say, 30, you're not getting this conversation at all, are you?

LET ME EXPLAIN. Once upon a time, there was this thing called radio -- AM radio -- and we listened to it on "transistors," which were like iPods, only affordable. And better.

An iPod only can bring you the few hundred songs you load into it after illegally downloading them off the Internet or legally buying them on iTunes. But a transistor radio, that could bring you the world, baby.

All for free. And without the threat of a lawsuit by the music cops.

The world first came to my bedroom on a transistor radio tuned to WLCS. I also could tune in the whole wide world on WIBR, or maybe WTIX in New Orleans -- and sometimes KAAY through the ether from Little Rock at night -- but I mostly dug those rhythm and blues . . . and rock 'n' roll . . . and countrypolitan . . . and a bit of ring-a-ding-ding, too, on the Big 91.

What it was, was the breadth of American popular culture at my fingertips. And British Invasion, too.

Never was education so fun. I turned on the radio just to listen to some tunes, and I found myself under the spell of a thousand different tutors -- friendly voices from morning to overnight -- playing for me the breadth of musical expression . . . or at least the musical expression that charted well. It is because of 'LCS, 'IBR, 'TIX (and later, 'FMF) that this Catholic Boy has catholic tastes.

Your iPod is cool and all, but it can't do that.

SEE, THE DEAL IS that I can't repay the debt I owe to WLCS, for one. I can't repay the debt I owe to Gary King, that friendly morning voice on this episode of Four Songs.

For a spell there, King's was the voice I woke up to, got ready for school to and ate breakfast to. He played the hits and told me what the weather was outside, and Gene Perry gave the news at the top and bottom of the hour.

Back in the day, radio was a well-rounded affair.

King's also was the friendly voice that answered the studio line when an awkward teen-ager in junior-high hell would call to request a song. And his was the friendly voice that would take time to chat for a bit when that kid -- or his mother -- sometimes thought he had nothing better to do . . . like put on a morning show.

I didn't know it then, and Gary King (real name: Gary Cox) probably didn't know it, either, but what he was doing was being Christ, in a sense, to a lonely kid and his -- come to think of it -- lonely mother. I shudder to think what one of today's "morning zoo" shows would do with rich material like me and Mama.

That is, if they answered the studio line at all.

Via the AM airwaves, I made a human connection with WLCS and Gary King. I needed that. We all need that. And you can't get that from your iPod, though some of us will try to give it, because you have to work with what you have.

BEFORE APRIL 1975 was done, Gary King was gone. He originally was from Kentucky, and one day the call came from WAKY, the Top-40 powerhouse in Louisville that Gary grew up listening to.

On his last show, Gary's ending bit was "convincing" Gene Perry that he could catch a bullet in his teeth if the newsman would just help him out on the gun end. It didn't work as planned . . . which means it worked perfectly in radio's "theater of the mind."

I think I shed a tear or two.

And a couple of years later, I was learning the ropes at WBRH, Baton Rouge High's student-run FM station. And 33 years later -- after various pit stops on the air and hot off the press -- here we are at Revolution 21, trying to figure out what "radio" will be in this new millennium . . . right here on the Internet.

Thanks, Gary. I can't repay you in full, but maybe this will make a nice down payment.

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