From the Valley: Flashback, Part 3.

I seem to spend a lot of time lately complaining about music I don’t like.

There is a great quote credited to Jerry Garcia that I would do well to remember: “Even the worst, most ill-thought-of music in the world doesn’t hurt anybody.”

And yet, another From the Valley flashback post has me sharpening the rough side of my tongue again.

A few months ago I looked at old local airplay charts from Allentown’s WAEB-FM, formerly the top hit-radio station in the Lehigh Valley, now a talk-radio station. I wrote about charts from 1968 and 1970, both preserved online by the marvelous ARSA database.

Whaddya think I found but another WAEB local airplay chart, from this week in 1960.

And … well, it hurts to look at.

Because it just drips with the marshmallowy, string-laden, soulless, sweatless, sexless, grooveless music that owned the world between the fall of Chuck Berry and the rise of the Beatles.

The Four Preps? Steve Lawrence? Jimmy Clanton? Bobby Rydell? Mitch Miller? Frankie Avalon? A teen-tragedy record? All present and accounted for.

Here are a couple of examples. See if you can sit all the way through them. First, this week’s WAEB Number One, Dion and the Belmonts with “Where or When”:

And up a notch this week to Number Six, the Four Preps with “Down By The Station”:

Sure, there are a couple of worthwhile records here.

Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” is part of the Great American Country Songbook. I know reasonable adults who like Bobby Darin’s version of “Beyond The Sea.” And if you look carefully, you’ll see a young James Brown at the bottom of the chart, under the nom de plume of Nat Kendrick and the Swans.

But I think the whole thing is summed up in the Big Six Pix of the Week, which I’m guessing is a list of “bubbling under” hitbound singles that hadn’t made the main list yet.

What was moving up this week in 1960 but “Onward Christian Soldiers,” performed by the Harry Simeone Chorale?

Imagine a couple parked on Lovers’ Lane in Allentown, wherever that was, in February 1960. (Or, since it can get cold here in February, maybe they are parked on a couch in a house that has helpfully been left unattended.)

The radio is playing low and the light is shining in their eyes as the boy reaches over and draws his sweetheart’s lips to his …

… and then the Harry Simeone Chorale comes on the radio singing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and the moment is ruined, and the boy and girl dispiritedly get out the Mille-Bornes deck and start playing because what the hell else is there to do in a world that feeds you “Onward Christian Soldiers” at every opportunity?

It’s almost as if this music was forced on the youth of America as a placebo to keep them well-behaved and compliant.

No wonder songs like “Satisfaction” flipped people out so much. Just five years before, everything on the radio had been so clean, so chaste, so inoffensive, so soft-edged.

(Unreliable narrator alert: A number of religious songs made the charts in the ’70s, too. You could move the frustrated teenage couple forward about 15 years, and the radio might be playing “My Sweet Lord” or “The Lord’s Prayer” or “Day By Day” or “Morning Has Broken.” So what made 1960 so much worse than 1974? The impenetrable wall of vanilla surrounding the hymns in 1960, I’d argue. But I could be seeing things just the way I want to see them. Wouldn’t be the first time.)

If there’s a silver lining in this countdown, it’s that the development of pop music must seem like a continual wonder to my parents’ generation — those unfortunate kids who had to sit through Bobby Rydell and Jimmy Clanton when they were young.

Every time someone of that generation hears something new and creative that grooves them — whether it be the Beatles, or Aretha, or Al Green, or the Sex Pistols, or U2, or Radiohead, or you name it — it must feel like they survived the famine and are now seated at a lavish buffet.

I feel that way just reading this chart.

From the Valley: Octopus Logic, “Live Demo.”

The latest in a series of posts reviewing online music releases by Lehigh Valley bands.

Some premonitory rumble, a few stick clicks, a countoff that sounds like “One-tay-ay-ay!” and … well, what exactly are we diving into?

It’s a two-song online release by Octopus Logic, a punk-alternative band from Easton, and it’s simply called “Live Demo.”

There’s a reason most demos get done in studios: They sound better.

And I’m afraid this live recording doesn’t do Octopus Logic all that much justice. There’s a fair amount of cymbal, guitar and miscellaneous room-rumble, and not that much bass or vocal.

Which is kinda too bad, because I wouldn’t mind hearing “Wode Things” and “Total Cave Darkness” in a setting that does more justice to all of their component parts.

For instance, what exactly is up with the shouted midsections of “Wode Things” (“I AM NOAH, AND I AM ALONE”)? It might register a little better with me if I could hear it. Same with the stop-start drumming and ringing guitar riffs featured in both songs.

This recording probably sounds exactly what it’s like to hear them in person in some small club. And if that’s what you’d like, you’ll want to download this.

As for me … well, I don’t want to belittle anybody’s efforts, and I know a two-song “live demo” by a local band shouldn’t be expected to be diamond-clear. Still, I’ll wait and hope that Octopus Logic gets its sound down a little better in some other setting.

Octopus Logic’s “Live Demo” is available for download here. They’ve also got a couple clips on YouTube, if you feel like watching the people behind the sound:

 

From the Valley: Kurt Blumenau, “In The City Of Churches And Cannons.”

Another in my intermittent series of posts about online releases by Lehigh Valley-based performers.

I am proud to announce the release of the finest avant-garde free-jazz experimental diddley-bow album of 2014.

At least so far.

CityofChurchesandCannons1

Regular visitors to this blog have already learned to dread my periodic stabs at diddley-bow playing (and “stabs” indeed seems like le mot juste, doesn’t it?)

Up to now I’ve confined myself to covering the most treacly hits of the Seventies. But that wasn’t good enough. I decided I needed to go farther out.

So what we have on In The City Of Churches And Cannons are five distorted, raucous, wandering, whinnying, semi-sorta-tonal diddley bow solo performances.

It’s not quite the Metal Machine Music of diddley bows — though I might have that in me yet; don’t count me out.

But some of it reminds me distantly of someone like Albert Ayler, or of the noises Jerry Garcia used to wring out of his guitar when the Dead would go really, really out. So I labeled it “avant-garde” and “free jazz” and “experimental” on Bandcamp, and here as well. Each label sorta seemed to fit in its own way.

Most people will probably settle for labeling it “shit.” But, who knows? There might be a couple madmen out there who enjoy listening to these noises as much as I enjoyed making them.

For them, I am only too glad to perform a public service.

In The City Of Churches And Cannons is available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here.

Turn it up. And enjoy.

From the Valley: Katahajime, “Fall Tour Tape ’13.”

Getting tired of “Wonderful Christmas Time” and “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” and all those coy, equally loathsome versions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”?

Allentown’s Katahajime (the name refers to a type of martial arts chokehold) will clear all the cheer from your ears before you can say “Yukon Cornelius.”

Consider a few lyrical samples from the crust-metal quartet’s Fall Tour Tape ’13, a three-song online EP posted last month:

Brighter and brighter as the end grows nigh
I’m living in this misery called life
I have nothing left as I self-destruct

Or:

Born into misery, suffering.
Eternally, internally. stranded
Cursed to serve time on this earth

This is all delivered in a tuneless torn-throated bellow-vocal, too, if you hadn’t already guessed that. (Actually, they have two guys in the band who sing like that, and sometimes they trade off, like Sam and Dave. OK, not like Sam and Dave, exactly.)

So, yeah, these guys won’t turn your frown upside down. But are they worth listening to anyway?

I think so. They have a solid command of essential metal moves, like the way two of the songs start with quiet, resonant passages before moving into the heavier stuff. That’s not hugely original, of course, but it is effective.

It works nicely when they do it in reverse, too — like at the end of “Whispers of a Fading Existence,” when the closing shouts of “Finally free!” give way to a quiet, resigned-sounding instrumental outro.

I particularly liked the third song — the wonderfully titled “A Bouquet of Rotting Flowers Lining the Mass Graves of Humanity” — which was recorded live on local radio station WXLV.

It begins with some vaguely Robert Fripp-ish guitar swells above a backing-tape atmosphere that sounds like 2 a.m. on a summer morning. The whole thing builds nicely into a clean-toned jam that could easily draw in listeners (like me) who wouldn’t ordinarily think something labeled “crust-metal” could be for them.

(Of course, they get to the crusty parts eventually. But I find the dark parts more effective when the band takes its sweet time getting there.)

So there you have it. Katahajime isn’t for everybody; but, more power to the sound of local crust. Give ’em a listen. You might find something you like —  or, if nothing else, you might find a momentary antidote to “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.”

Katahajime’s “Fall Tour Tape ’13” is available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here.

From the Valley: RIP.

I play at being a local music writer here and there, writing about online music releases when the spirit strikes me.

Alas, the Lehigh Valley has lost someone who chronicled local bands for real, with the passing of local media veteran Len Righi.

WFMZ-TV, Righi’s most recent employer, reports he died Wednesday at age 63. Before joining the station, he’d worked for 30 years or so in the newsroom of Allentown’s daily paper, the Morning Call, most recently as a music and arts writer.

I worked with Len in the newsroom of the Morning Call for five of those years. I didn’t know him personally. But a lot of people whose judgement I trust did, and they all have positive things to say about him.

One former Morning Call writer, whose confidence I trust I am not betraying, sent me a social media message saying: “I got to do so many cool things … because of him.”

While I don’t remember Len on a deep personal basis, I remember his local music reviews.

He would go to shows in Philly, sure. But he would also trek to the Slovak Social Club in North Catasauqua to see a wise-ass British punk band called the Pork Dukes.

He might review the latest release by a nationally known indie-rock band; but he would also chronicle otherwise obscure local efforts by bands like the Russian Meat Squats.

I don’t know how much the Morning Call does that kind of local music coverage any more. I don’t get the sense it does, based solely on the headlines on its website, which mostly seem to be about national acts.

(Could be the local reviews run in the hard-copy paper but don’t get highlighted on the website. I don’t read the hard-copy paper, so I don’t know.)

Local music scenes need their chroniclers just as much as they need drummers and singers. It’s good to have an intelligent outside commenter around to provide encouragement, poke the occasional hole when it’s needed, and preserve the action for posterity as much as possible.

If I could build the From the Valley series into something approaching that, I’d be happy.

Len Righi did that for many years as part of his daily work.

Hopefully, all those local musicians he wrote about — those countless guys who passed through bands like the Russian Meat Squats — are thinking fondly of him tonight.

From the Valley: Sunday Guts, “Wet Salvos.”

The latest in my occasional series of music reviews spotlighting releases by Lehigh Valley-based bands.

NOTE: The original version of this post repeatedly and egregiously misspelled Billy Kilgannon’s last name. It’s fixed now. My apologies for the error.

When last I crossed paths with Bethlehem-based pop band Sunday Guts, I was praising them for the catchy guitar-based pop of their Leave It Go EP, while also taking a few unsolicited and subjective digs at frontman Billy Kilgannon’s voice.

The band is back with a new EP that finds it going down a different stylistic avenue, one that I think fits Kilgannon’s style a little better.

The three songs on Wet Salvos find Kilgannon landing with both feet in an ’80s-style synth-pop setting … not entirely dispensing with the guitars, but pushing them into the background.

I am somewhat ill-positioned to evaluate Sunday Guts’ new turn because I didn’t like that style of music much the first time around. I spent the Eighties as a staunch defender of electric guitars. (See previous post.)

Still, I enjoyed this limited dose of electropop. I can easily imagine Wet Salvos’ uptempo first tracks, “Truthman Who?” and “Fun-A-Me,” playing over a club sound system.

The latter song has an especially catchy bridge featuring splashy synths, vocal harmonies and a typically Sunday Guts obscure lyric (“Looks like we’re ready to go  / Get on your radio  / Gather in the yard / In your uniform.”)

Closing song “Your Golden Age,” while still kitted out in the brash sounds of Eighties synthology, is a little more pensive and thoughtful: “Follow me, and we’ll break the bread and promises, I’m sure.”

Kilgannon’s guitar comes to the fore on the last song, draping it with some uber-’80s ringing, echoed licks that break up the keyboard textures nicely.

Wet Salvos leaves a couple questions of interest unanswered:

– It went up on Bandcamp a week or three ago, but its release date is posted as “01 February 2014.” Does that mean this is just a teaser for a longer upcoming album?

– Is the synth-based sound the future of Sunday Guts? Will the band go back to its earlier sound? Or, will it throw us yet another curveball, and make the next EP reggaeton or Afrobeat or something?

– What the hell does “Wet Salvos” mean, anyway? I went so far as to feed the phrase into the Internet Anagram Server to see if it rearranged to anything meaningful. “Two Slaves”? “Vestal Sow”? “Steal Vows”? “Waves Lost”? I dunno.

Make of it all what you will, anyway; but give it a listen. So far, these guys have yet to take a path that hasn’t been worth following.

Wet Salvos is available here as a name-your-own-price Bandcamp download.

From the Valley: November Is For Friends, “Subject: To Change.”

The latest installment of From the Valley, an ongoing series of reviews of online releases by Lehigh Valley-based bands.

It’s around the time of year when music scribes of all stripes write about the new music they liked best over the past 11 turns of the calendar.

The new release of 2013 I liked best was probably Hangovers by the Tallboys, an irregular folk-pop-punk-emo assemblage from (I think) Long Island.

I haven’t written about that EP yet, but I will.

When I do, I plan to write about the way the instruments seem to come and go and tumble playfully over each other; and how having multiple singers really adds something to a record; and how well-chosen, unforced detail is more important than rhyme to the success of a lyric; and how sad-sack, self-loathing suburban bro-ism can actually be presented in an appealing way.

I don’t know if the five members of Allentown’s November Is For Friends know the Tallboys exist.

But their brand-new EP Subject: To Change reminds me no small amount of Hangovers, which in my book makes it an auspicious piece of work.

November Is For Friends comes at the same subject matter — youthful failure and stagnation, romantic, personal and otherwise — from a slightly different direction, as though they and the Tallboys had each been given twenty pieces of a hundred-piece puzzle and challenged to put everything together.

The music on Subject: To Change is mostly high-energy, but it’s varied enough in pace and rhythm that it doesn’t seem monotonous.

Ska-style horns, swooping synths, and even a well-camouflaged xylophone show up at various points, enriching the music without calling any special attention to themselves. (Kudos to any band that liberates itself from the bonds of barking power-chord punk guitar.)

The lyrics don’t grab me quite like the Tallboys’, but they operate from a similar place, where clouds of frustration meet sparks of lingering ambition and energy. From “Be A Man”:

My heroes aren’t doing much
And I’m afraid they might have it right
This ghost I call panic is
Haunting me tonight

Or the couplet that begins “I’ll Be Doing Something Soon”:

It’s been a bad weekend
And we’re waiting for the puck to drop
Like if the Flyers win tonight
We’ll all feel a little better
Wouldn’t that be nice?

Even “Fuck You,” as distinctly unpromising a song title as anyone ever came up with, redeems itself with creative touches (puckish trumpet solo, anyone?) and a hook so catchy you’ll murmur it to yourself in the supermarket without really thinking about the words:

I’m too tired to argue
Fuck you
Fu-uuuck you

Bands like November Is For Friends and The Tallboys walk a challenging tightrope as they move forward.

If they get their acts together and get good jobs and move to the suburbs and lose touch with the angst that drives them, they’ll be boring.

If they decide to be directionless, pot-smoking morons and give up on moving forward, they’ll be boring in a different way.

Thankfully, while they stand at their particular crossroads, they’re rolling tape. And my 2013, at least in modest ways, is the better for it.

November Is For Friends’ “Subject: To Change” is available as a name-your-price download here.

From the Valley: Back to the Action, “Get It.”

Another installment of the ongoing From the Valley series of local music reviews, featuring Lehigh Valley-based bands.

Here’s the good news about Get It, the new EP by Bethlehem quintet Back to the Action:

It’s professional-quality pop-punk, equal to anything you’d hear on the radio, or in movies aimed at 18-to-34-year-olds, or in the varied other pop-culture outlets where melodic-but-slamming music turns up these days.

And now the bad news (and yeah, you can guess where I’m going):

It’s professional-quality pop-punk, equal to anything you’d hear on the radio, or in movies aimed at 18-to-34-year-olds, or in the varied other pop-culture outlets where melodic-but-slamming music turns up these days.

Pop-punk, at least to my jaded old ears, is one-dimensional and predictable music, no matter who’s playing it, and no matter whether it’s being filtered through the Disney Channel or a college radio station at midnight.

Song after song, pop-punk rests on the same incessant, interchangeable, unsubtle bed of power-chord guitar — choked and stuttery in the verses, big and ripping on the choruses.

(Even the tone of the guitars barely seems to change from song to song, band to band. It’s as if every guitarist in the 18-to-34 demographic was issued the exact same gear.)

And then there’s the vocals. There’s a certain vocal timbre and range that represents the Perfect (dare I say Cliched?) Pop-Punk Lead Singer Voice.

Those gifted with a Perfect Pop-Punk Lead Singer Voice inevitably use it to double- and triple-track themselves singing about elation (“Hey you (hey you) / Get up, I wanna let you know that I love you tonight”) or alienation (“You had me tied into a knot inside my own mind.”) 

Back to the Action’s singer has one of Those Voices, in spades. You’ll know it the instant you hear it. And he does with it exactly what you’d anticipate he would do with it, if you’ve ever heard any pop-punk.

If you like this kind of music, you’ll probably dig it. If you don’t, you’ll probably wonder why you should give these guys any more of your attention than you’ve given any other band in their genre.

For myself, I don’t have much of an answer to that.

The guys in Back to the Action have pretty good chops. Check out all the tempo shifts in opener “Say Goodbye,” for instance.

If they figured out a way to put those skills into the service of a sound that was recognizably theirs, I’d rave about it.

And maybe they will yet.

I suspect the best thing that could happen to these guys (and yes, I am passing an unsolicited generational judgment … but why stop now?) would be for all five of them to fall in love with some rough-hewn, idiosyncratic album — Tonight’s the Night, or The Basement Tapes, or some more recent equivalent — and soak themselves in it for a couple of months, and emerge from the brine making music that doesn’t sound like everybody else.

Until then, we’ve got the good news/bad news story of a band that — in terms of musical development, if not sales — has climbed about as far as it can go on its particular woodpile.

Back to the Action’s “Get It” is available for download on Bandcamp, for $5 or more. The band is also playing Dec. 7 at Planet Trog in Whitehall.

From the Valley: Flashback, Part 2.

A couple days ago, I wrote about the playlist for WAEB-AM, formerly the Lehigh Valley’s favorite Top 40 station, this week in 1968.

The ARSA database also happens to have WAEB’s playlist of top records for this week in 1970. It seemed like an interesting comparison to see how a region’s tastes, and the offerings of its hit-radio stations, could change in two short years.

Let’s have a look, then:

– Bubblegum and light pop still makes up the bulk of WAEB’s playlist, but it’s a heavier station that it had been in 1968. Note Free, the Who, Joe Cocker and Canned Heat on the Top 20, with Chicago, Eric Clapton and Steppenwolf bubbling under.

– As in 1968, there’s a clutch of soul records on the bottom half of the surveywhich represents an improvement, I suppose, since there are only 20 songs on the list this time around instead of 40. I would have liked to hear “I Think I Love You” and “Super Bad (Parts 1 & 2)” back to back.

– The album chart also shows a move toward heaviness, or at least seriousness: The Band, Led Zeppelin, Santana and Joe Cocker are all scoring big in the Valley.

– But the No. 1 album (assuming that the first album listed is also the most popular) is a weird one: The Artie Kornfeld Tree‘s A Time To Remember!

Kornfeld is probably best remembered as one of the guiding lights behind the Woodstock festival. He was also a musician, though the interwebs suggest that this was his only album.

A Time To Remember! shows up on only two local airplay charts in the ARSA database, with the other mention coming roughly a month earlier at a station in Denver.

I can only wonder what accounted for his brief burst of local popularity. Perhaps he played a concert here?

– Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 countdowns had been airing for four months in November 1970. Thanks to this excellent site, we can compare the hottest records in the Lehigh Valley to the hottest records nationwide.

I notice that several of the songs just arriving as “New Power Sounds” on WAEB’s airwaves (Clapton, Chicago, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder) are already on the national 40. That suggests that WAEB took a little longer to get on them than other stations.

On the other hand, the Carpenters’ saccharine “We’ve Only Just Begun” was No. 2 nationwide but only No. 9 in the Lehigh Valley. (It was down from No. 8 the week before, suggesting it might already have peaked as a hit in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.)

For the most part, the charts are pretty similar once you get up into the Top 10.

Both charts share the same Number One, the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You,” and the same Number Three, the Jax 5ive’s “I’ll Be There.” And most of the other records don’t differ all that much in chart positions.

In this particular week, anyway, the tastes of the Lehigh Valley were pretty similar to those of the nation as a whole.

– For what it’s worth, I have at least a passing familiarity with every performer on the 1970 WAEB countdown … whereas the 1968 countdown boasts a number of acts I couldn’t tell you Fact One about. (To name a few: Unifics, Singing Ork. Circus, Pop Corn Generation, Rene & Rene, Autry Inman, Magic Lantern, Billy Harner and the Ethics.)

At first I thought that might be a sign of the growing heterogeneousness of Top 40 radio — i.e., that it was harder for a local or regional band to get airplay in 1970 than it had been two years before.

But I think the relative unfamiliarity of the acts of 1968 can be explained by two other reasons:

1) There were something like 50 acts on the ’68 survey, and only 30 two years later, so there was more room in 1968 for regional heroes and one-shot wonders.

2) I’m simply less familiar with ’60s pop than I am with ’70s and ’80s. Maybe there’s no trend at all between the acts on the two surveys; it’s just my ignorance that accounts for the difference.

From the Valley: Flashback, Part I.

Not our usual From the Valley content. But, it’s local and it’s about music, so I’m calling it what I want. The local music reviews will be back soon enough.

The Lehigh Valley is heavily influenced by larger, more culturally active cities nearby. The people who live here watch the network TV stations from Philadelphia, and go to New York City for museums, art and other High Culture.

By and large, we listen to radio stations from around here — though, in an age of corporate ownership, that doesn’t mean as much as it used to. For instance, WAEB-FM, the Valley’s Top 40 station, and WAEB-AM, a mostly conservative talk-radio station, are both Clear Channel stations now.

Back in the day, WAEB-AM was the Valley’s hit-radio station, one of a small chain of stations owned by Lehigh University graduate Bill Rust.

Like similar stations in countless other cities, its playlists would have reflected listener preferences and decisions made locally or, at very least, regionally. What was being played in Hartford or Denver or Tallahassee wouldn’t have figured into the mix.

The invaluable ARSA database preserves a number of WAEB’s weekly most-played music lists — including two from this very week, one in 1968 and the other in 1970.

We’ll take 1968 first, and get back to 1970 soon.

What, then, was the Lehigh Valley listening to 45 years ago this week? If you’d gone into the halls of Dieruff or Becahi or Nazareth Area High School, what would the kids have been buzzing about?

Here’s the full survey; I’ll pick out some of the highlights:

– Apple Records — at that moment, the most buzzed-about new label in the business — holds the 1 and 2 spots with its first two single releases, Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days” and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

– There’s a lot of fairly lightweight pop on the countdown, whether it be straight-up teenybopper bubblegum (note “Bang-Shang-a-Lang” and “Chewy, Chewy” back-to-back, as well as the Cowsills coming up as the next Sure Shot) or marginally more grown-up productions (Johnny Nash, the Turtles, the Union Gap).

– Cream’s “White Room” at No. 20 is kinda funny. Because of the band’s reputation as Heavy Musicians, and because the song was a classic-rock radio staple when I was a kid, I never thought of it as a pop song.

But, seen through the lens of this countdown, I could imagine “White Room” appealing to the same kids who bought, say, “Green Tambourine” or “Pictures of Matchstick Men.” It’s oblique, it’s psychedelic, it’s catchy … sure, why not?

(It is harder-edged than most of the songs I just mentioned. Especially at the end, after they play the bolero rhythm for the last time, and hold that one chord a little longer than usual, and Eric Clapton lets just a touch of feedback creep through. Feedback is electronic devilsong. It works well here.)

– Big Brother’s “Piece of My Heart” and Sinatra’s “Cycles” at Nos. 28 and 29 is priceless. Talk about two diametrically opposed but beloved American voices. Wonder if WAEB ever actually played them back to back?

– Bobby Womack cut “Fly Me To The Moon”? I didn’t know that. Hey, it works OK.

– Another tune I was unfamiliar with and had to look up: Petula Clark’s “American Boys,” at No. 33.

Even after groups like the Supremes had embraced topicality (viz. “Love Child,” No. 6 on the WAEB Fabulous Forty), Ms. Clark was still cutting bouncy advice-to-the-single-girl records like it was 1964 all over again.

It is either charming or sort of sad to think that — in a world where the White Album and Beggars Banquet and Music from Big Pink and God knows what else existed — somebody was still dishing out this kind of froth.

– A nice cold shot of soul at Nos. 36-38 with Eddie Floyd’s “Bring It On Home,” Johnnie Taylor’s decidedly adult “Who’s Making Love” (bet that sounded good next to “Chewy, Chewy”) and Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life.”

Of course, it was followed by the Chipmunks and Engelbert Humperdinck … so it’s safe to say that WAEB was not the standard-bearer of soul in the Lehigh Valley. (Or, perhaps, that the Lehigh Valley was not the standard-bearer of soul in the U.S. Maybe that was something else you looked to Philly or New York for.)

– The New Music Power Sounds list, again, is mostly forgettable pop (Nancy Sinatra? The Osmond Brothers? The Pop Corn Generation, whatever that was?) with a weird interloper in the form of Jefferson Airplane’s “Lather,” the bitter-edged, willfully bizarre story of a man-child who refuses to grow up.

So there you have it. It’s not my favorite 50 or so songs. But it was the Lehigh Valley’s favorite 50 or so songs — not Hartford’s or Denver’s or Tallahassee’s. And in that, it is noteworthy.