More albums that mattered to me– #2

I’m staying well back in the archives for a second installment of this series. Ironically, this album isn’t really an album, but a series in itself.

I’ve heard speculation that everyone should grow up to be the one thing they initially want to be. I can see the appeal. Children are rarely considering things like work stress, college debt, or finances. Instead, they focus on what seems meritorious for them. For me there was no question. I wanted to be a disc jockey. The “Cruisin'” series were pretty instrumental in bring that about.

The series was marketed as being radio broadcasts from various cities, one from each year 1955-1970, inclusive. Those are Peg and Eddie, our cartoon character heroes who are bizarrely on every cover with a timely comment. 1959, the one pictured, was dedicated to DJ Hunter Hancock, who was on some station in Los Angeles. I can recall (and bear in mind, it’s been 20 years since I heard or even saw this album) that Hunter’s broadcast included “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles and “There is Something on Your Mind” by Big Jay McNeely. I remember this, and 1959 wasn’t even one of my favorites.

Anyway, the albums were good old radio recreations, down to cheezy DJ bits and localized advertisements. I remember that B. Mitchell Reed, the New York DJ (1963, I think) talked about a mile a second. Art Carney, from St. Louis (1957) sounded kind of like somebody’s kindly uncle. These guys played great records and at least pretended to have a great time doing so. This whole concept blew my mind. You could talk and play records and people loved you, tuned it to your show, came out to meet you at promotional appearances, and generally felt like you were one of them.

I didn’t play a lot of kid games. I didn’t have many close neighbors, and was an only child until I was a month shy of 9. But when I was four and five, I carted a tape recorder next to a turntable, hit record, and ran the Joey Cox show until the tape ran out. At which point, you flip the tape and continue. Even to the point of recording over the tape you just finished. I wore out tape recorders like some kids wore out sneakers.

I don’t know that the DJ dream really died, as much as faded away. I still intended to major in broadcasting in college, but by then spinning records had given way to calling sports. Maybe it was the incredibly scripted schedule I’d have to pursue in college. Maybe it was the knowledge that there’d be years upon years of paying your dues before you could specialize. Maybe it was about money.

But some days, I do admit to thinking that little Joey Cox would wonder what the Hell this imposter was doing behind a desk. I know he’d much rather be in some slightly oversized closet, spinning songs and dispensing his (however limited) hipster knowledge. I guess I hope he would understand. Bills to pay, $4 a gallon gas to buy, it’s not so easy out here in the real world. I suspect he would understand, or at least try. And he’d play another record. A good one, nice and loud.



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2 Responses to “More albums that mattered to me– #2”

  1. Ricky Says:

    Please tell me at least one of the Joey Cox Show tapes survived the years! And, if so, I demand a blog entry recap of said playlist/DJ comments.

  2. eljoe1235 Says:

    I believe one or two may still exist. Of course, I don’t have them. My Mom would be the person to talk to. But I seem to recall her having found one a few years back and I listened to a few moments of it. Will investigate.

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