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Sunday
Mar292015

Carol Kaye

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in March 2009

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

About ten years ago, when Bob was still the host of Morning Edition on NPR, he interviewed a musician that most, or maybe all of us, had never heard of before. It was session bass player Carol Kaye (click here to read her wikipedia bio) — and Bob was still talking about the experience when we started at XM in 2004. Kaye is closing in on her 75th birthday and she’s been playing for most of her life. It all adds up to more than 10,000 recording sessions and dozens of hits for just about any artist you can name. We tried to get Bob back in a studio with Carol Kaye for more than two years. I first emailed her directly on February 23, 2007 asking if she’d be interested in another interview. She replied — a scant 34 minutes later — with an enthusiastic yes. It turns out that she shared Bob’s fond memories of the interview. Kaye was living in Palm Springs, California at the time — a location not ideal for getting both of them together. I wanted them in the same studio to talk about music and I wanted Kaye to have her bass and guitar to play and demonstrate songs and techniques. There was a flurry of emails back and forth for a few months, then I moved on to more pressing productions. Last I heard, Kaye was planning to move back closer to Los Angeles, so when Bob scheduled a trip there for union business and was looking for interviews to conduct while he was out west, I reminded him of Carol Kaye. Luckily, she was available at just the right time and the interview went off without TOO many hitches. The interview took place at the studios of NPR West in Culver City, California and I hope you enjoy the finished product.

Click here to see a video of Carol Kaye being interviewed and playing bass.

Click here for Carol Kaye’s “official” biography.

Click here to purchase books, CDs and DVDs from her website.

Click here to access Bob’s decade old NPR interview with Carol Kaye.

 

Friday
Mar272015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (March 30-April 3, 2015)

 

Monday, March 30, 2015: Thirty four years ago today, John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside of a Washington hotel wounding Ronald Reagan and three others. The president lost half of his blood and came closer to dying than most realize. In Rawhide Down, Del Quentin Wilber lays out the minute-by-minute account of the assassination attempt. “Rawhide” was Reagan’s Secret Service code name.  Then, if you listened to music in the 1960s and 1970s … you heard the Wrecking Crew.  That was one nickname for the uncredited studio musicians who performed on one hit record after another, for everyone from the Beach Boys to the Byrds to Simon & Garfunkel to the Mamas & the Papas.  Kent Hartman tells the story of these largely unnamed session musicians in his book The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015:  In 2011, author and SiriusXM Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith traveled through Europe to piece together the tragic tale of his grandfather and uncle, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt.  Passengers on the doomed MS St. Louis, the father and son made it back to France only to be shipped to Auschwitz.  Goldsmith weaves their path into his contemporary journey in his book Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance.  It comes out in paperback today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015: Gil Scott-Heron’s memoir The Last Holiday is a testament to the extraordinary life of the activist, musician and poet. Scott-Heron is commonly known for his 1970’s hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” His publisher, editor, and long-time friend, Jamie Byng tells Bob about the book and shares the legacy of Gil Scott-Heron. Today would have been his 66th birthday but Scott-Heron died in 2011.

Thursday, April 2, 2015: Carl Kasell delivered NPR newscasts for more than 30 years. For nearly 25 of those years, Bob and Carl worked together on NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll hear them swap stories and revisit highlights from Carl’s long radio career – which included 16 years as the official judge and scorekeeper for the NPR quiz program Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.  Today is Carl’s 81st birthday and he still has an office at NPR, where his title is “public radio ambassador.”

Friday, April 3, 2015: 47 years ago this weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis, Tennessee helping to bring national attention to the struggles of a group of sanitation workers on strike for better wages and working conditions. He led marches and gave speeches – and was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. To mark the anniversary, Bob talks with three people who worked with King in Memphis.  Maxine Smith led the city’s chapter of the NAACP from 1962 until 1996. Frank McRae was a local white minister who supported the sanitation workers marching for their rights and dignity. Benjamin Hooks was a friend of King’s and went on to serve as executive director of the NAACP.

 

Friday
Mar272015

Bob Edwards Weekend (March 28-29, 2015)

 

HOUR ONE:

Bob spends some quality time with Carol Kaye and her bass guitar. Kaye was THE session bassist of the 1960s and 70s, playing on dozens and dozens of hits for the likes of The Beach Boys, Ritchie Valens, Simon & Garfunkel, The Supremes, Ray Charles and the Monkees. It’s estimated that Kaye has been involved with more than ten-thousand recording sessions in her career. Kaye and her bass are also responsible for the distinctive bass notes of the Mission Impossible theme and for many other film scores and TV themes.

 

HOUR TWO:

Two weeks after Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was brutally murdered in 1964, the New York Times published a detailed account of what happened: For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead. Five decades later, Kevin Cook takes a closer look at the details of the case in a book titled Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America. It’s just come out in paperback.

Then, Bob talks with director Alex Gibney about his documentary called The Human Behavior Experiments which explores persistent questions about why we commit deeply unethical acts under certain social conditions. Gibney features the Genovese murder in his documentary as well. 

Wednesday
Mar252015

The Camerman Behind Kuralt

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in October 2009

 

 By Andy Kubis, Producer

Charles Kuralt wrote in his autobiography that “working with a cameraman over a period of weeks or months is like having a love affair. You have to like him to begin with. And then you have to woo him to keep him from running off with some other reporter.” For more than 25 years, Kuralt successfully wooed Isadore (Izzy) Bleckman, about half of them while sharing a motor home, criss-crossing America documenting life on the back roads. The resulting vignettes became On the Road, a 20-year series now available on DVD for the first time.  And on today’s show, Bleckman shares his own behind-the-scenes stories from his life on the road. 

The stories Kuralt and Bleckman tell make you feel good. One of my favorites is about a son of a sharecropper in Arkansas who declared war on his own ignorance. He read 12 hours a day, mostly nonfiction. Descartes, Socrates and Shakespeare were his favorites. He told Kuralt that the more Agatha Burgess, friend to manhe learned, the more he realized how much he has left to learn. I feel like that every day.

Another of my favorites profiles an 80-year-old woman who had spent the last 15 years cooking meals for anyone who wanted to come by to eat them. She made some meals for shut-ins and the rest for anyone who showed up at her house. The cost was $2 and it was all on the honor system (she left a box on a table for people to make their own change). She tells Kuralt that the only thing she wanted in life was to “live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” And that seems to be the common thread in the stories. Kuralt often said that he and Bleckman and the rest of the On the Road crew had the very best job in journalism for a time. And Izzy Bleckman doesn’t disagree.

The On the Road series is available for purchase for the first time at www.acornonline.com. It’s also available at Amazon and other retailers.

(This week we’re revisiting some of our favorite interviews from 2009. Again, the listener comments from the original broadcast a couple of months ago are included below. Feel free to add to them, whether you heard this back in October or are meeting Izzy Bleckman for the first time today.) 

Tuesday
Mar242015

Rodney Crowell and Mary Karr are "Kin"

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in July 2012

Bob talks with Grammy-winning musician Rodney Crowell and best-selling author and poet Mary Karr about their new musical collaboration. The two artists grew up a few years and a few dozen miles apart in east Texas, but when Crowell and Karr finally met in person a decade ago, they learned that their childhoods were very similar. The two clicked instantly and formed a deep and lasting bond. They co-wrote the ten songs on their CD and say they have plenty more material in the vault. The album is called Kin which explains how they feel about each other and signals that these songs are about “their people.” The songs are performed by Crowell, who sings most of the male stories, with a little help from Vince Gill and Kris Kristofferson, while the female-centric songs are voiced by Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash (who is Rodney’s ex-wife). Bob also talks with Crowell about his memoir – Chinaberry Sidewalks – which is now available in paperback. Mary Karr is a professor at Syracuse University (in fact she is the Peck Professor of English Literature), a poet (she’s working on a new collection now) and a memoirist herself.  The Liar’s Club, Cherry and Lit all told about her experiences of growing up hard and growing up fast.

Click here to read more about Rodney Crowell.