A Recent Article By my Dad, Bob Woodward


RADIO NIGHTS: A MUSIC EDUCATION VIA THE AIRWAVES


When I was young, my family lived on the flanks of Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. My father would scan the horizon to the east and say, “on a clear day y

When I was young, my family lived on the flanks of Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. My father would scan the horizon to the east and say, “on a clear day you can see Kansas from here.”

When he wasn’t making pronouncements like that he was playing music. Not of his own making but recorded music. After work and all day, every day on weekends, he had music playing on the phonograph.

By the time I got smart enough to know more about music, I started to kid my father that if a composer or bandleaders name had a “B” in it, their music was to his liking.

I learned first about the three big “B’s”- Bach, Beethoven and Brahms although I was way more interested in my father’s other B’s: Bix (as in Beiderbeck), Benny (as in Goodman) and Basie (as in Count).

I also found his third B group — Broadway musicals — interesting. And there was always a 33 rpm recording of the latest hot musical show that got played to death when my father came home from a business trip to New York City.

The musicals started with “Oklahoma” then came “South Pacific” and “Kismet” and so on for years.

But while my father was playing lots of good music, I was getting turned on to a lot of things musically I’d never heard before via my small console radio. The same radio I put under my covers at night, so only I could hear it and was certain it was well hidden when my parents came to check to make sure I was in bed.

It was there that I first discovered the joys of living at over 6,000 feet on a mountainside with a somewhat interrupted air space between our house and the mysterious Midwest and South,

So at age 10, I started twisting the dial to listen to all this nighttime radio on stations that seemed to come in as clearly as if they were located in downtown Colorado Springs.

My first big finds were those just-over-the-border megawatt stations in Mexico that played a lot of C and W and offered things like: ” 100 Baby chickens for $19.95″.

Tired of them I was running down the AM band one Sunday night when I came on a voice saying: “this is WWL New Orleans. Now let’s join Tony Almarico and his band down at the Steel Pier.”

Suddenly there was Dixieland jazz coming out of the radio followed by inane patter like, “Well Tony how are the boys in the band doing tonight?”

“Great, we’re just happy to get some toe tapping music out over the air.”

OK, it was cornball but I loved the fact that I was listening to a station from New Orleans. I mean New Orleans was way over there on the map on my bedroom wall.

So I kept my dial set on WWL only to tune in on Monday to find Tony Almarico and his band gone replaced by a show called “Moonglow With Martin.”

Martin, I can’t recall his first name, was the epitome of what I would come to know as cool. He played jazz records and introduced them in this mellow baritone voice that never betrayed any excitement about anything including some burning hot recording.

“Here’s one by Stan Getz I think you’ll enjoy. With Stan are Lou Levey on drums,etc”

I figured why not give the show a listen. I did and from that first listen well my teens I was a regular listener to “Moonglow With Martin”.

In the process I learned about music my old man had yet to put on and play at full volume around the house.

Through “Moonglow”, I became acquainted with Duke Ellington, with BeBop, and the post Bird/Diz/Monk/Trane bop “Cool School” of Getz and assorted West Coasters like Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan.

In short, “Moonglow With Martin” became my music education.

And when I got to college and had my own radio show, I modeled it after “Moonglow” right down to having some background music playing softly behind me when I talked.

Later when one of my professors asked me what had sparked my interest in music, I had to confess what my father started a guy named Martin finished over the airwaves under the covers of my bed in Colorado.

Moonglow with Martin made barracks life in the ’50s enjoyable–listened every chance. WWL must have been doing some pretty fancy signal beaming cuz you could get their station almost nationwide. Another treat was KMPC’s Lucky Lager Dance time.



COMMENTS:

Posted by Dick Holmes on 10/14/2012 at 4:10 AM

The theme was “Relaxin” by fellow New Orleanian Al Belletto. You can find it here http://www.amazon.com/Jazznocracy-Belletto-Big-Jazz-Band/dp/B000003A2E/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1348422888&sr=1-1&keywords=Jazznocracy+(Audio+CD)report


Posted by John Putney on 09/23/2012 at 8:59 AM

I listened for years in Albuquerque and in Montana to Moonglow Martin’s great shows on WWL. Someone composed a song that was to become Martin’s theme song. Does anyone remember the title? Errol Garner played the song wonderfly. I can play the song and know the chords but I cant remember the name of the song. Can someone help me. Max Sklower email: realtyperson@gmail.com


Posted by Max Sklower on 09/08/2012 at 9:52 AM

I learned to appreciate jazz on WWL. I picked it up on a Hallicrafters SW receiver at 11:00 in Pratt, Kansas. Martin’s “Moonglow with Martin” was a welcome to the usual C&W junk commonly heard. The junk Mexican stations boomed into our house but I tuned them out. The clear channel stations were a blessing in those days. On good nights, I could hear KSL and liked the Mormon Tabernacle Choir especially. marion moon


Posted by marion moon on 08/28/2012 at 1:11 PM

I’ll always remember listening to “Moonglow With Martin” while driving back from those Saturday night gigs in western Indiana in the middle and late 50s. The station would sound great for about 30 seconds then start to drift. It was a constant battle to find it again. We didn’t want to miss any of “Mr. Cool” and his music. Great memories…Thanks


Posted by Bo Ayars on 07/16/2012 at 5:20 AM

Thank you all for the thoughtful comments about my father, Dick Martin. He truly enjoyed his work, and he especially enjoyed his listeners. – Steve Martin (Baton Rouge, La.) p.s. Mr. Winstanley, a special thank you for your loyal friendship to my dad.


Posted by Steve Martin on 03/30/2012 at 3:05 AM

I attended Tulane in the early 60s and listened regularly to Dick Martin. I once went to the Roosevelt Hotel hoping to meet the master who deep baritone filled my brain with visual images of how he must appear. I was surprised to find the big booming, deep voice coming from someone a bit shorter than I who looked not the least bit like I imagined. Those who listened to others on radio who made the transition to television will understand the disappointment when our fantasy visions collided with reality. But he cemented my relationship to jazz–one that lasts through to today more than 50 years later!


Posted by Surfside on 08/26/2011 at 9:26 AM

I first heard “Moonglow with Martin” as a teenager in Detroit in the 1950’s on WWL 870. Many years later I hired Dick who was no longer with WWL and had moved to Kansas City. I had just put WQXY-FM on the air in Baton Rouge in 1965. A call to Martin in Kansas City was all it took to get “Moonglow with Martin” back to Louisiana. He was a life long friend and a true gentleman of the broadcasting business. We still miss him.


Posted by Charles Winstanley on 04/01/2011 at 5:33 AM

I listened to late evening (& early morning!) radio from WWL when I was in Junior High School in Macon, GA. I was a young ham radio operator & so had a good short and long wave receiver. I would start listening to the house bands from the Roosevelt Grill at 11:00 pm which moved at 11:30 to the music remote from the Blue Room of the Roosevelt featuring whatever traveling big band was playing there at the time. I finished the “evening” with Moonglow with Martin. I’ll never forget the melodeous voice of Dick Martin, and the wonderful music that he played. I taped some of the shows via an old Webcor recorder, but, unfortnately, all of those wonderful tapes have been lost over the years.


Posted by Homer Scarborough on 03/17/2011 at 1:07 AM

I turned on to Martin in Evansville Indiana from 1958-62. He came on sbout midnight and went off about 2:00 AM. I was young and in college, so staying up that late didn’t bother me. I learned a lot about various artists by listening to him. and when I got out of college and began to earn some money, I bought records by the artists he featured. I turned up in Kansas City after college and the army. So did Mr. Martin on KMBC. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, KMBC wasn’t a 50,000 watt clear channel station. He was only there briefly, then did a brief show in the afternoon called, “Mid-day with Martin.” on KUDL. And then he was gone and I never saw or heard him again. The KC bit was in 1963. I went down to the studios one night and sat and talked to him while he did his show. What a nice man. He told me of a couple of jazz clubs in town ( I was brand new to KC then). He was special and I bet a lot of folks wondered what happened to him when he left WWL. I’m in Denver now, and thank god we have an all jazz station.


Posted by Frank Haskett on 02/16/2011 at 4:30 PM

I picked up Martin on an AM radio on an Iowa farm in the wee hours of the morning. I augmented the antenna by stringing wires between my second story bedroom and a walnut tree about forty feet away. Later that antenna helped bring in the Wolfman from some over-the-border power station., I believe, and introduce me to a whole nother kind of music that one didn’t hear in the Mid-West.. Amazing how the signals would come in at night–fade and strengthen… The biggest challenge I had was to keep the radio volume low enough that my dad wouldn’t hear it and tell me to ‘shut that shit off!!’ Thanx for the memories…


Posted by Stephen Cramer on 05/24/2010 at 9:31 AM

I too owe jazz appreciation to WWL and Moonglow with Martin as listened late at nite in Rocky Ford Colorado, circa 1950, where on a clear day we could see Pike’s Peak.


Posted by richard doxtator on 05/17/2010 at 11:04 AM

"You can see Kansas from here.”

When he wasn’t making pronouncements like that he was playing music. Not of his own making but recorded music. After work and all day, every day on weekends, he had music playing on the phonograph.

By the time I got smart enough to know more about music, I started to kid my father that if a composer or bandleaders name had a “B” in it, their music was to his liking.

I learned first about the three big “B’s”- Bach, Beethoven and Brahms although I was way more interested in my father’s other B’s: Bix (as in Beiderbeck), Benny (as in Goodman) and Basie (as in Count).

I also found his third B group — Broadway musicals — interesting. And there was always a 33rpm recording of the latest hot musical show that got played to death when my father came home from a business trip to New York City.

The musicals started with “Oklahoma” then came “South Pacific” and “Kismet” and so on for years.

But while my father was playing lots of good music, I was getting turned on to a lot of things musically I’d never heard before via my small console radio. The same radio I put under my covers at night, so only I could hear it and was certain it was well hidden when my parents came to check to make sure I was in bed.

It was there that I first discovered the joys of living at over 6,000 feet on a mountainside with a somewhat interrupted air space between our house and the mysterious Midwest and South,

So at age 10, I started twisting the dial to listen to all this nighttime radio on stations that seemed to come in as clearly as if they were located in downtown Colorado Springs.

My first big finds were those just-over-the-border megawatt stations in Mexico that played a lot of C and W and offered things like: ” 100 Baby chickens for $19.95”.

Tired of them I was running down the AM band one Sunday night when I came on a voice saying: “this is WWL New Orleans. Now let’s join Tony Almarico and his band down at the Steel Pier.”

Suddenly there was Dixieland jazz coming out of the radio followed by inane patter like, ”Well Tony how are the boys in the band doing tonight?”

“Great, we’re just happy to get some toe tapping music out over the air.”

OK, it was cornball but I loved the fact that I was listening to a station from New Orleans. I mean New Orleans was way over there on the map on my bedroom wall.

So I kept my dial set on WWL only to tune in on Monday to find Tony Almarico and his band gone replaced by a show called “Moonglow With Martin.”

Martin, I can’t recall his first name, was the epitome of what I would come to know as cool. He played jazz records and introduced them in this mellow baritone voice that never betrayed any excitement about anything including some burning hot recording.

“Here’s one by Stan Getz I think you’ll enjoy. With Stan are Lou Levey on drums,etc”

I figured why not give the show a listen. I did and from that first listen well my teens I was a regular listener to “Moonglow With Martin”.

In the process I learned about music my old man had yet to put on and play at full volume around the house.

Through “Moonglow”, I became acquainted with Duke Ellington, with BeBop, and the post Bird/Diz/Monk/Trane bop “Cool School” of Getz and assorted West Coasters like Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan.

In short, “Moonglow With Martin” became my music education.

And when I got to college and had my own radio show, I modeled it after “Moonglow” right down to having some background music playing softly behind me when I talked.

Later when one of my professors asked me what had sparked my interest in music, I had to confess what my father started a guy named Martin finished over the airwaves under the covers of my bed in Colorado.

By Bob Woodward, raconteur, Bend, OR Posted on May 7, 2010

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