Program Notes 39
One year ago WSHE radio was considered an enemy of local rock. Ernesto Gladden replaced Bill Pugh as program director, the station dropped Glenn Richards's local-music show, and, people on the Miami rock scene claimed, SHE was doing everything it could to avoid -- avoid -- playing any music made by an artist who lived and worked in South Florida. Gladden has been gone for months, Pugh returned as PD, and now everybody who dissed WSHE should stand and applaud the station. The masses don't rally behind homegrown music the way they do the big established acts, so SHE can't be blamed for turning a deaf ear to the criticism. WSHE has no mandated obligation to anyone but its advertisers and the FCC. But WSHE is now playing songs by local artists because -- drum roll, please -- Pugh has determined that these songs are worthy of airplay. Period.
First, Pugh added to the station's rotation songs by area hard rockers Vandal and Farrcry, as well as Mary Karlzen's one-off "Run Run Rudolph" promo-only single. And now Karlzen's "I'd Be Lyin'" (from her out-soon Atlantic debut CD) is airing. That's nice, but no scoop for SHE. The song was the number two most added cut in the adult-alternative format around the nation this past week. Plenty of evidence suggests it's well on its way to becoming a monster hit (as predicted by a certain local music columnist months ago). And now SHE has added another song that locals have considered hit material for some time -- the Goods's "I'm Not Average," from the band's new CD Mint. That gives SHE both an image boost in this community and a chance to beat stations in other parts of the country to the punch. "I'd been waiting for both Mary and the Goods's stuff," Pugh says. "I've been a Goods fan anyway. Just because it's local doesn't mean it's good. But I listen to them all, and these are very good. I'm happy to see them get to that level."
To honor Martin Luther King, Jr., the Coral Gables Congregational Church presents Melton Mustafa and orchestra performing arrangements (commissioned by the church's Rev. Gary Miller) of some of King's favorite hymns. The righteousness begins at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, which is King's birthday.
In its year-end roundups, the New York Times had four of its critics list their ten top albums of 1994. Two of the selections trace to South Florida: the Mavericks's What a Crying Shame and Cachao's Master Sessions, Vol. 1.
Leaning toward the overwrought, twenty-year-old Keren DeBerg is hindered by her lyrical approach -- sort of a multioctave therapist to the immature and dewy-eyed. Toss out the counseling, ignore the words, and you're left with a powerful singer offering diverse arrangements of easy-to-digest pop tunes. DeBerg is from Miami, beginning what has become her career at age six by singing on an album put together by her elementary school. She hit the South Beach scene as a teen, attended New World School of the Arts, taught music to "mentally challenged" children, and bolted to New York City the day after high school graduation. The songs might not have much to say, but the girl sure can sing. She comes home for a show tomorrow (Friday) at Rose's.
Much like the Grateful Dead in its formative days, the Elysian is a groovin' rock band that has its biggest following among partiers. For some time the Elysian has been traveling to Gainesville to play keg parties and what have you, and there they met up with a band called Loose Fragments. Tonight (Thursday) at Reunion Room the two bands share a local stage. Call it a keg party tradeoff.
Butthorn of the week: A reader named Rick says I should wear the 'thorny crown this week, thanks to my negative comments about Maria McKee's cut on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack in a recent music story. "Yo Tone Deaf," writes Rick. "Don't dis my favorite all-around artist/fantasy lover! Yes, the second Lone Justice album sucked, but check out 'This Property Is Condemned' and 'Breathe' [he included McKee's eponymous solo cassette, cued to those two songs] and then tell me what cool is. Then tell me that Whitney Houston writes like that ('But officer, he mentioned Maria McKee and Whitney Houston in the same paragraph, I had to use him for chum.')."
I listened to McKee's solo album when it came out, and I listened again at Rick's request. Sorry, but I'll keep that first Lone Justice LP -- a legitimate classic -- and pass on the rest. However, I do agree with Rick's postscript: "This album is where my hatred of Tipper Gore's censorship movement comes from most. Substitute 'fucking week' for 'buck and wing' in 'Panic Beach' and see if it makes a difference. Better yet, for the printed lyrics they changed the line '...a little girl can get a bed alright' to 'bed and bite' in 'This Property Is Condemned.' Of course, David Geffen [whose label McKee's album was released on] can use words like fuck and shit at the drop of a hat in Rolling Stone interviews. Only in Amerika.