Carl William Thiel and Gary Gorski: Words & Music
Listening to music and talking about it
A show essentially about the history of rock and roll, the influential songs and artists that have become legendary. An exploration of the music we listen to and discovering its roots.
5/24/11 2120 South Michigan Avenue: Chess Records of Chicago
This episode looks at the essential role played by the Blues, especially that recorded by the Chess Record label of Chicago in the first years of rock 'n' roll. Featured artists include Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. Suggested reading: THE STORY OF CHESS RECORDS by John Collis (Bloomsbury, 1998). Suggested listening: BEST OF CHESS: ORIGINAL VERSIONS OF SONGS IN CADILLAC RECORDS (Chess Records, 2008).
to listen (60:00) or click here, for direct download click here
1/24/11 "It doesn’t matter where I hear the song, it just takes me there."
Nanker Phelge, doing the Hump, playing the Pit, strip joints, hearses, and “96 Tears”
An Interview with Don Vincent (Part One)

A two-part conversation with musician and record collector, Don Vincent. Don talks about the significant songs in his life and relates his diverse experiences with garage bands in the sixties. Among his audio selections are songs by Peter, Paul and Mary, the Everly Brothers, Phil Upchurch, the Dovells, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, ? & the Mysterians, Buffalo’s own The Cavemen.
to listen (55:02) or click here, for direct download click here

An Interview with Don Vincent (Part Two)
The conversation continues with Don’s recollections of songs by Rochester’s The Invictas, Three Dog Night, and the Pine Dogs.
to listen (27:04) or click here, for direct download click here
12/15/10 "The Words & Music 2010 Christmas Show" (Part One)
Our yuletide stroll takes us from Gene Autry to Charlie Brown and the Grinch to Lambert, Hendrix and Ross as we attempt to describe how the holidays bring out both the cynical and the sentimental. Check out the crazy lyrics of “Deck Us All with Boston Charlie.”
to listen (48:14) or click here, for direct download click here

12/15/10 "The Words & Music 2010 Christmas Show" (Part Two)
The holiday sojourn continues as we look at the cynical, the commercial and the true meaning of Christmas with the aid of Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and Linus Van Pelt.
Selected listening: “Christmas with the Beach Boys” and “Maybe This Christmas.”

to listen (43:42) or click here, for direct download click here
11/3/10 Rock Around the Clock: Bill Haley and the Country Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll
White rock ‘n’ roll burst onto the national consciousness in 1955 when the song “Rock Around the Clock” was featured over the opening credits of the motion picture Blackboard Jungle. The upbeat song also demonstrated the transformation of a northern hillbilly band into the proto-rock combo, Bill Haley and His Comets. In this episode, we look at the role that country music played in the creation of rock ‘n’ roll. In addition to Haley’s Comets, featured artists include the Delmore Brothers, Arthur Smith, Hardrock Gunter, Dickie Thompson, Hal Singer with Sam Theard, Big Joe Turner, the Esquire Boys, and Sonny Dae & His Knights.
Suggested reading: ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK: THE RECORD THAT STARTED THE ROCK REVOLUTION by Jim Dawson (Backbeat Books, 2005).
Suggested listening: ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK, Bill Haley & His Comets (Geffen Records, 2004).
to listen (59:52) or click here, for direct download click here
10/15/10 "The Words & Music 2010 Halloween Show"
We yield to the impulse to add our voices to the plethora of yearly Halloween shows, with a batch of weird songs that served to both frighten and inspire us. Our musical gambol takes us from Universal Pictures to zombies to Godzilla and late night TV, cracking wise amid Cold War angst with Theremins, electric guitars, and French horns. You'll shriek at Carl's scariest movie!
Gasp as Gary reveals the songs that spooked him during his impressionable years!! Marvel at our choice for absolute scariest song!!!
Featured artists include: Nerf Herder, Louis Armstrong, Ted Cassidy, Golden Earring, the Zombeatles, Warren Zevon, Black Sabbath, the Skyhooks, Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult, the Edgar Winter Group, the Flaming Lips, the Buoys, Jack Kittel, and Mike Oldfield.
Suggested reading: We failed to mention it on the show, but an awesome amount of monster trivia can be gleaned from THE MONSTER SHOW: A Cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal (Faber & Faber, 2001).
to listen (59:47) or click here, for direct download click here
4/7/10 "Ain't That a Shame": Cover Records (Part Two)
We continue to delve into the industry practice of cover records that introduced rock 'n' roll to mainstream America in the mid-1950s. Featured artists include Otis Williams & the Charms, the Fontane Sisters, the Penguins, the Moonglows, the McGuire Sisters, LaVern Baker, Georgia Gibbs, Gene & Eunice, Perry Como, Fats Domino and Pat Boone. We also remark on the passing of author and radio host Charlie Gillett.
Suggested reading: THE SOUND OF THE CITY by Charlie Gillett (Da Capo Press 1996).
Suggested listening: THE ROCK 'N' ROLL ERA 1954-1955 (Time-Life 1988).
to listen (59:27) or click here
3/16/10 "Ain’t That a Shame": Cover Records (Part One)
We take a peek under the lid of the cover record phenomenon. In the early and mid-fifties, rhythm and blues compositions generally received first national exposure only after being translated into the earliest embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll: the cover record. Featured artists include Darrell Glenn, the Orioles, Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, Johnnie Ray, the Spiders, the Crows, Patti Page, the Chords, the Crew-cuts, and Stan Freberg (and the Toads).
Suggested reading: THE ROCKIN’ 50s by Arnold Shaw (Hawthorn Books, 1974).
Suggested listening: YOUR HIT PARADE for the years 1953 and 1954 (Time-Life) and BLOWIN’ THE FUSE, 29 R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox in 1954 (Bear Family Records).
to listen (60:00) or click here
12/29/09 "Mr. Pottymouth's House"
Carl and Gary indulge themselves with a case of aural atavism by reflecting on their nine-year-old attempt at producing a children's show named MR. POTTYMOUTH's HOUSE. The Cast of Characters include Mr. Postman, Juan Altovoce, Prudence Sweet (the girl next door), Gaseous Gerald and Bob (who we think was supposed to be a puppet). The program also featured segments on history and science, the poetry of Mr. Onion, and contained several original songs composed by Carl and co-creator Al 'Butch' Conrad III, who joins them in the Home of the Future to talk about the show. The project was never completed and has remained unheard until now. Featured songs include: "Mr. Pottymouth's Theme," "Pally," "Jole Frijole" (with rare falsetto vocals by Gary) "Lobotobop," "Bag Lady," "Moony Eyes," "Bob's Big Dance Number," and "Somebody Give Me the Words to This Song."
to listen (50:57) or click here
10/28/09 "Blues for the Moondog"
We review the significant role played by disk jockey Alan Freed in popularizing and naming rock 'n' roll. We also talk about syncopation, backbeat and boogie woogie, so important in the development of the music. Featured artists include Dinah Shore, Ella Mae Morse, Freddie Slack, Roy Milton, Fats Domino, Louis 'Moondog' Hardin, Todd Rhodes, Wild Bill Moore, Faye Adams, and the one and only Doc Sausage.
Suggested reading: BIG BEAT HEAT: ALAN FREED AND THE EARLY YEARS OF ROCK 'N' ROLL by John A. Jackson (Schirmer Books, 1991).
Suggested listening: Moondog - THE VIKING OF SIXTH AVENUE (Honest Jons Records, 2005).
to listen (59:46) or click here
8/9/09 "Night and Day" (The Hit Parade)
We take a brief survey of the popular music—the product of New York City’s Tin Pan Alley (circa 1930-1950)—that was largely supplanted by rock ‘n’ roll. Featured are songs by Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Tex Williams, Frankie Laine, Patti Page, Johnnie Ray, Rosemary Clooney, Les Paul & Mary Ford, and The Sons of the Pioneers singing about the atomic bomb. Suggested reading: THE RISE AND FALL OF POPULAR MUSIC by Donald Clarke (Viking, 1995). Suggested listening: COLUMBIA COUNTRY CLASSICS, Volumes 1 through 5 (Sony 1990).
to listen (59:45) or click here
7/14/09 "He's the guy that made me want to write stories."
A conversation with Herb Kauderer - poet, academic and fellow ThinkTwiceRadio host. Herb talks about the significant songs in his life and the role that music plays for all of us. Among his audio selections are songs by Johnny Cash, Billy Joel, Harry Chapin (who inspired the quote above), Joan Jett, Howlin' Wolf, Suzanne Vega, and Liz Phair.
to listen (59:53) or click here
6/12/09 "Work With Me, Annie" (Answer Songs)
We examine the practice of "answer" songs by concentrating on "Work With Me, Annie," a song, while banned from radio for its racy subject matter, nevertheless spawned numerous imitations and "answers" in the mid-1950s. Featured artists include Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, The Cadillacs, Etta James, Richard Berry, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard.
Here is a touching tribute about Hank Ballard and the Midnighters on the Houndblog.blogspot.
Suggested listening: SEXY WAYS: THE BEST OF HANK BALLARD & THE MIDNIGHTERS (Rhino Records, 1993)
to listen (57:36) or click here
5/12/09 "Crying in the Chapel" (Post-War Rhythm 'n' Blues Part 3)
Our survey of black rhythm 'n' blues now takes us into the early 1950s, where we discuss the rise of black vocal music and how a strong gospel background among the performers helped influence the development of rock 'n' roll and soul music. Featured artists include The Dominoes, The Clovers,The Drifters, The Five Royales, James Brown, The Spaniels, The Harptones and Ray Charles.
Suggested reading: AMERICAN SINGING GROUPS by Jay Warner (Hal Leonard, 2006).
Suggested listening: THE DOO WOP BOX and THE DOO WOP BOX, Volume 2 (Rhino Records).
to listen (59:58) or click here
4/10/09 "Have Mercy Baby" (Post-War Rhythm 'n' Blues Part 2)
We continue our survey of black rhythm 'n' blues that led to rock 'n' roll. This episode explores the development of black vocal music and its gospel influence in the late 1940s-early 1950s. Featured artists include Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Soul Stirrers, the Mills Brothers, the Ink Spots, the Ravens, the Orioles, and the Larks.
Suggested reading: PEOPLE GET READY! A New History of Black Gospel Music by Robert Darden (Continuum, 2005).
to listen (59:05) or click here
Hoy Hoy - Good Rockin' Tonight (Post-War Rhythm & Blues Part 1)
The formative years of rhythm & blues, from big band blues to jump blues to club blues. Boogie woogie piano, honking and squeaking saxophones, and wild performance typify the music of the period. Featured artists include Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner, Freddie Slack & Ella Mae Morse, Louis Jordan, Wild Bill Moore, Charles Brown, Cecil Gant, and Amos Milburn.
An excellent resource for older rhythm & blues, hillbilly, crooners, and jazz is the Proper Music site.
to listen (57:36) or click here
"Louie Louie": Let's give it to 'em, right now!
The most famous three-chord song that has come to define the simplicity of rock and roll, featuring variations by the Flamin' Groovies, Joan Jett, Richard Berry, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Wailers, the Fat Boys, Iggy Pop, and, of course, the Kingsmen. Here is a link to the lyrics of "Louie, Louie" (caution, the 'dirty' words are here)
to listen or click here