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Instrumental Invasion, 5/26/21 May 27, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Country, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Video, Video Games.
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The May 26 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first hour was completed on April 20 with a pickup on the 21st, while the second hour and additional pickups were done on the 22nd.

The playlist was created on April 18 with annotations and the script draft on the 19th.

It was a Brown namesake extravaganza with songs by Norman (guitar/vocals), Alison (banjo), Paul (guitar/vocals), and Dean (guitar), plus songs by Lisa Addeo – making her Instrumental Invasion debut – and Julian Vaughn that featured Mel Brown on bass. I’d love to see the five of them perform together someday.

For the first time in six shows, I had to replace a song because time was running short in a segment; in this case, the first segment of hour 2. “Through the Years” by Brian Culbertson was replaced with “Northern Lights.”

As I type this sentence, I have not played any version of Space Harrier, but through watching videos on YouTube, I’ve developed an appreciation for it. Thus, “Get Ready” by Jazmin Ghent (making her debut on the show) makes me think of the opening line in the game: “Welcome to the fantasy zone. Get ready!”

This video dares to compare every version of Space Harrier:

I also made reference to The Golden Girls. “Picture it!,” I exclaimed as Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) while acknowledging Nick Petrillo on keyboards.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Audiobooking 6 April 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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It’s been just over a year since the previous post. Instrumental Invasion has taken up most of my time, providing a necessary escape from the tumultuous reality.

I continue to listen to audiobooks on days where I workout and run, or even while editing photos. My source remains Audible, now as a paid member. When I’m billed at the end of each month, I use my credit on the next audiobook to listen to. As I type, I have three-book backlog.

Here’s what I’ve been listened to since Andrea Barber’s memoir:

  • All in All: An Actor’s Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (foreword by Alec Baldwin, read by voice actress whose name, again, I missed) – Only political in the ’60s and early ’70s – blessed relief after enduring Mike Reiss
  • Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (chapter titles read by British voice actress) – Jerry’s jokes by decade, prefaced by synopses of his life in each decade
  • Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir by Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) – Nearly the opposite of Ken Levine and Mike Reiss politically – pleasant to my center-right ears – nice to learn about his full career besides “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – Except for acknowledging 2020 events at the end, enjoyable to listen to – “NOTE TO SELF! …”
  • Under the Black Hat: My Life in the WWE and Beyond by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by JR) – Focuses on JR’s WWF/WWE career, beginning at Wrestlemania XV in 1999 (six years after his initial debut) – for a wider life story, I’ll need to check out Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling

There, all caught up.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion, 3/10/21 March 11, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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The March 10, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days: one on February 3, three on the 4th, and two on the 5th, which is when I added the first segment pickup “ready, and appear!” Like last week, the first segment of hour 2 was remixed on the 16th after Patrick Bradley e-mailed his liner.

It was my mother Lisa’s 65th birthday, but I superstitiously didn’t acknowledge that. To celebrate, she, my father Bill, sister Lauren, and I went out to dinner at Vittorio’s in Amityville. It was my first time at a restaurant since Mom’s 64th birthday. (The next day, the country began to shut down.) I was only required to wear my mask when not seated at the table, so I adapted quickly.

The playlist for this show was created and annotated on February 1 as a snowstorm raged outside. I added annotations for “Snapshot” by Richard Elliot on the 2nd after my copy of Authentic Life arrived in the mail. The script was drafted on the 3rd.

I was inspired to play “Nautilus” by Bob James after watching this video the night before creating the playlist:

I had wanted to play a John Philip Sousa march for a while, and chose this show to incorporate my appreciation for his marches and for Monty Python by playing “The Liberty Bell,” which was the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the talk-up, referencing the show’s intro, I quoted John Cleese‘s BBC continuity announcer character and imitated Michael Palin‘s “It’s” Man.

I paid homage to another favorite series of mine, Rocky & Bullwinkle, while talking up “Why Not” by Fowler and Branca. One episode of the Banana Formula story arc found Boris and Natasha stealing the tape recorder they used to capture Bullwinkle hiccuping said formula back from Fearless Leader after he was knocked out by a spring in the machine:

NATASHA: Now what, Boris?
BORIS: What else? We run like rabbits.
NATASHA: Good idea!
BORIS: On second thought, we take secret formula (on the recorder) with us.
NATASHA: You mean steal it?
BORIS: Why not?
(pause)
NATASHA: Funny, I can’t think of a reason.

The aforementioned snowstorm inspired me to play Nelson Rangell‘s cover of “Sweetest Somebody I Know” by Stevie Wonder. One of the first times I listened to it was on the back end of a 2015 winter storm, also in early February. That storm began as snow, changed to sleet and freezing rain, then changed to rain, after which I shoveled, and changed back to snow, which led to more shoveling because it was accumulating.

I said “album” a lot!, but I don’t care.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 2/10/21 February 11, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Country, Film, Jazz, Media, Military, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel.
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The February 10, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on January 14 (first hour, first talk break of hour 2) and 15 (the rest of the show).

The playlist was created on January 12 with annotations starting that day and completing on the 13th, after which the script was drafted.

In the early months of Instrumental Invasion, I avoided dated references, but now, I’m mindful of when shows air. Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, so I worked that in and played relevant songs. Drummer Eric Valentine’s presence in “Sunday Strut” by Blake Aaron was coincidental.

As long as I’ve had Boney James and Rick Braun‘s Shake It Up, I’ve thought of the main theme for The Magnificent Seven while listening to “Love’s Like That,” their collaboration with Fourplay. So, I had to mention that after I played it. Unfortunately, the explanation and side-by-side comparison led me to pick a shorter Lee Ritenour song from his Dreamcatcher album. “Starlight” was out, “Storyteller” was in. That also meant I needed to share more information about “Song for Barry” after the Airmen of Note‘s cover of the Brecker Brothers song on Return of the Brecker Brothers.

The recurring theme in this show was travel: by airplane, car, and train.

I finally got to use the Game Dave liner coming out of a David Benoit song, and from the same album, so I could say “that was Gamer David Benoit.”

Now, the bad news: I was unable to aircheck the show. It’s the third time that’s happened. On August 5, it was because my cable went out two hours before air (and stayed out until the 8th). On November 4, the FM stream was down for maintenance. I was asleep at the time, but I can only assume this third blunder was due to an automatic Windows update that made the computer restart. Microsoft Edge was still open on restart and Easy MP3 Recorder apparently still conducted its timed recording even though the stream wasn’t active. Ergo, two hours of silence.

So, click here to download the “aircheck” MP3, culled from the original segment files (plus the underwriting and Legal ID from last week’s aircheck), or listen below:

January 31-February 2 snowstorm February 3, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Film, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Weather.
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I said in the last winter storm post that “there will be storms this winter.” It took until the last hours of January for the next storm to come, lasting nearly two days and dropping 17 inches of snow.

The first snowflakes fell at around 8PM on Sunday, January 31. I took this photo at 8:05 before going to bed:

After a broken eight hours of sleep, I was up for the day, taking this photo at 6:28 AM on Monday, February 1:

8:25 AM:

Following my morning workout, and a botched attempt at treadmill running, I returned to my room, taking these photos at 9:13:

Snowflakes were thicker at 9:53:

In the next few hours, I began watching The Goonies on Blu-ray, along with special features, and worked on the March 10 Instrumental Invasion playlist. I took a break at 12:43 PM for the next photographic update:

Any photo of the backyard was risky, as the wind gusted out of the northeast (it was a nor’easter, after all):

The snow seemed to be tapering off by 1:53, so I attempted to shovel part of the driveway after taking another batch of photos:

Before photo:

I measured 15 inches of snow on the lawn with a wooden 18-inch ruler.

After photos, 58 minutes later (2:54 PM):

For the second storm in a row, I initially felt I had wasted my time shoveling. Snow re-intensified as I shoveled and it re-accumulated. My goal was to shovel a path from my dad Bill’s car on the side of the driveway to the front door. But when he came home around 4:00, he had to park in the road. The snow I had left for the snow blower to get was too high. I wasn’t sure if he’d use the blower right away, but work began at 4:25:

At one point, Dad let me try out the snow blower. I asked my mom Lisa to capture the moment:

Working around the visible license plate, here is my edit of Mom’s video:

Having gotten the hang of it, I let Dad finish up:

It took 30 minutes to clear all that snow. Now, Dad was able to move his car into the driveway:

I took photos these at 5:13, after ten minutes of touch-up shoveling:

Unfortunately, the snow was still not over. Another two inches would fall by the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 2. I took this last photo of the 1st at 6:46, shortly before an early bedtime:

I got a broken 8 1/2 hours of sleep this time and woke up at 4:59 AM. Two minutes later…:

After watching more of The Goonies, I decided it was time for one last touch-up at 6AM. I used a 12-inch ruler to measure the additional snowfall in the driveway: 2 inches, making for 17 in all. It must have taken half an hour to shovel the driveway and then another half-hour to shovel the sidewalk up to the property line.

Starting at 7:04, I captured the after photos:

Unfortunately, a plow came through within the hour, which undid my edge work.

I took indoor photos at 7:10:

My Tuesday proceeded from there. Wet snow showers came in the afternoon, but didn’t accumulate. I did a little more shoveling around 4:00, taking this indoor photo at 4:37:

Snow showers persisted after sunset when temperatures were back below freezing. That meant the snow stuck to the ground, as seen at 7:18:

I initially tried to shovel the new accumulation on the morning of Wednesday, February 3, but it was merely a coating, so I left it.

Tuesday was also Groundhog Day, and if you’re wondering, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter and more storms to photograph. The next one is expected on Super Bowl Sunday. Until then.

Instrumental Invasion, 1/20/21 January 21, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Film, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Weather.
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The January 20, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on December 19 and 20, 2020, with a pickup line recorded on the 21st.

The playlist was created on December 18 with annotations that day and the next day. The script was drafted immediately after that, followed by work on the blog recap of the winter storm that occurred on the 16th and 17th.

The 1984 and earlier segment returned to lead off the show.

I had to pad the last segments of each hour with extra liners because my talk breaks ran short.

I had fun with the “Oi Gata” etymology and British exclamation when back-selling Joe McBride‘s song.

Back on December 3, Audrey Varnas, WCWP’s FM music director, informed me of a music submission by the U.S. Air Force Band Airmen of Note. She asked if I wanted their 2020 Jazz Heritage Series album shipped to me, and I accepted. After listening, I told her the Airmen of Note are great, as they sound like all the other big bands I’ve heard. “Up and Running” won’t be the last you hear of them on Instrumental Invasion. Last Monday, I was informed that Audrey tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, her symptoms were mild, and she was resting and recovering at home. Thanks again for the recommendation, Audrey. I hope you’re feeling better.

As noted while back-selling Lee Ritenour‘s cover “Red Baron” by Vince Guaraldi, I spent six days watching various Peanuts specials – and The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show – on Blu-ray and DVD. I’ve been watching more specials since Sunday and should finish by Saturday. The inclusion of “Red Baron” allowed me to correct an error I made talking up the David Benoit version on June 3. I said it was “about a certain World War I Flying Ace” when it was really about that ace’s nemesis.

I also made reference to Galaxy Quest while talking up “Never Giving Up” by the David Wells and Chris Geith Project. I watched the film back in August, and it features the catchphrase, “never give up, never surrender!”

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 1/13/21 January 14, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Film, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology.
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The January 13, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on December 11 and 12, 2020.

The playlist was created and annotated on December 10 and was the first playlist with 18:40 segments in mind. Hours earlier, after only a few hours of sleep, I edited all but three segments for the previous four shows from 18:45 to 18:40. I hoped that would prevent automation from cutting off the end of the last segment, which happened the night before. And so far, it has. December 9 was the last show to date with that problem.

This was also the first show where I scripted out my talk breaks in Microsoft Word prior to recording, and therefore the first time I saved a script. I tweaked each portion as recording progressed.

For the second week in a row, I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for a third 2017 to present segment.

Recording the Lisa Hilton liner (after I annotated the playlist) required a Rube Goldberg machine. There was no way for her to record on her own in a home studio or on an iPhone app, so we had to do it over the phone. I connected a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to my iPhone 11, attached a male-to-male 3.5mm cable to the adapter, connected the cable to my TASCAM DR-03, plugged in headphones so I could hear Lisa, and hit record. Only Lisa’s side was audible, but that was all I needed. We spoke for nearly ten minutes with a minute or two dedicated to the liner. Afterward, I extracted the raw WAV file from the DR-03 and edited it in Adobe Audition. Once I compiled the best of each take, I hard limited, denoised, and normalized the audio.

With that long explanation out of the way, here’s the final cut:

Recording from my phone is presumably much easier on the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 mixer that I got for Christmas. I presume because I haven’t tried yet.

I like all the show’s running gags: musicians from Illinois, synth instruments on the same song as actual instruments, and the parent-child element. I’m sure Game Dave would appreciate the Ghostbusters reference in the last talk break.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 11/18/20 November 19, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video Games.
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The November 18, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on October 22 and 23 with a pickup recording on November 11.

The playlist was created and annotated on October 19 with additional annotations during the recording sessions.

This is the first show where I scripted out every talk break, though I give myself freedom to ad-lib. (The remark about “a lot of classic rock in this show” was an ad-lib, for example.)

The show was originally recorded with 19-minute segments, but they all had to be trimmed down to 18:45 through editing out portions of talk breaks, and even speed compression. I had to do the same to the November 25 and December 2 shows. This is another danger of recording shows well in advance.

My reading of “Lucky,” while talking up the Fourplay song, was an homage to Mario‘s exclamation in his eponymous Nintendo video games when he snags a 1-Up Mushroom.

I originally recited the joke that inspires Jeff Lorber‘s “He Had a Hat” while talking up the song, but it was ten seconds over. I’m proud of the talk-up that made the show as I still shouted the punchline. Here is the joke (which Jeff told differently in a promotional interview):

“The Jewish Grandmother”

A Jewish lady’s grandson is playing in the water, she is standing on the beach not wanting to get her feet wet, when all of a sudden, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly over the spot where the boy is wading. The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. He simply vanished.

She holds her hands to the sky, screams and cries, “Lord, how could you?

Have I not been a wonderful grandmother?

Have I not been a wonderful mother?

Have I not given to B’nai Brith?

Have I not given to Hadassah?

Have I not lit candles every Friday night at dusk?

Have I not tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?”

A loud voice booms from the sky, “Okay, okay!”

A few minutes later another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes on the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there, smiling, splashing around as if nothing had ever happened.

The loud voice booms again “I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?”

She responds, “He had a hat.”

Incidentally, I recorded the segment, and the entire second hour, on a Friday afternoon.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

As a bonus, I made a scope of the original 19-minute segment cut of the show. No broadcast compression filter was applied:

As still another bonus, here is how Jeff and Pat Kroll signed off my lead-in, a live edition of The Rock Show:

11/21 UPDATE: I forgot to note in this post that I swapped out an extra 2017-present segment for another 2007-2016. When I made the playlist, I didn’t have much material from the last four years to fill a second segment. Since then, I’ve received five more albums, which you’ll hear in the coming weeks, except for the last two weeks of December.

Instrumental Invasion, 11/11/20 November 12, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The November 11, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on October 15 and the second hour on the 16th.

The playlist was created on October 12. The first hour was annotated that same day and the second hour the next day.

For this show only, segments are 19 minutes long, expanding from 18 minutes in the first 31 shows. Next week and beyond, segments will be 18:45 a piece.

Most talk breaks were scripted as I had no faith in my ability to ad-lib.

Four songs were included to make up for unaired segments. “Off Broadway” (not to be confused with “On Broadway”) by George Benson and “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr. were part of two segments that didn’t air in the second show on April 8. “Mr. Rodriguez’s Opus” by David Benoit and “Something About You” by Jeff Kashiwa were part of the unaired July 8 segment.

My reading of “percussion…by Henry Gibson” while back-selling “Michelle” by Ramsey Lewis was an homage to the actor of the same name. Henry Gibson was a player on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a show that I watched from start to finish on Amazon Prime Video over 58 days in 2018. One of Henry’s characters was The Poet, a southern man who recited poetry while holding a giant flower. Here’s an example (along with a Dick Martin elevator sketch):

Sadly, both Henry Gibsons passed away in the 2000s.

I had to redo the line later because I forgot to write flugelhorn player Arthur Hoyle’s name while annotating. Art passed back in June.

I was glad to debut Nelson Rangell‘s new liner after playing “Nana’s Song,” and I’m equally proud of the grandma synonyms riff I went on afterward.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 10/7/20 October 8, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Country, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology, Video.
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The October 7, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first segment was recorded on September 3, the next three on the 4th, and the last two on the 5th. One talk break each in the first and last segments of the show were re-recorded on the 24th. The show intro was redone on the 26th. I originally said Herb Alpert was “the subject of a forthcoming documentary,” which was to premiere October 1, the day after the intended air date. Due to the September 23 programming error, the air date was moved back a week, so I redid the intro with the words “new documentary.” (And that documentary is fantastic!)

The playlist was created on September 3 and annotated on the 4th, hours before recording that first segment.

This show had the most scripted talk breaks to date.

The re-records were to acknowledge that I played songs by (or featuring) three different Browns, none of whom are related. There was Alison on banjo, Paul on acoustic and electric guitar, and Norman only on electric guitar.

I did mention in the initial recording sessions that The Champs’ song “Tequila” – covered by Larry Carlton – always makes me think of the Pee-wee Dance, which originated in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure:

I also mentioned that Anders Enger Jensen‘s cover of “Floaters” by Jimmy Fontanez and Media Right Productions was an homage to the Technology Connections YouTube channel, which he supports on Patreon. I, too, proudly support the channel, which puts out great content like this:

I like how, in the captions, creator Alec Watson identifies the song as a different adverb of “smooth jazz” in each episode. For the above episode, the caption read “glaringly smooth jazz.”

Thank you, Ryan Grabow, for getting me into the channel, which he recommended to me during his visit last October.

Click here to download this week’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

12:45 PM UPDATE: I don’t know how I missed it, but I misspelled “ones” while referring to Paul Brown’s Ones Upon a Time album. I erroneously spelled it O-E-N-S, not O-N-E-S. The later line about “French Cafe” by David Benoit and Marc Antoine acting as the “second serving” of David is technically correct if you go by lead musicians. I forgot while recording the last two segments that David was also on “Samba del Luna” by Craig Chaquico and Russ Freeman in the show’s first segment that I recorded two days earlier.