Thursday, September 14, 2006

Piano Red and WAOK

Do Not Forsake Me Ole My Darling…


is it “Get Along Little Doggie….”?

It is both of them! Both of those tunes are playing in my head. It is like my own personal in-house Battle of the Bands.

I heard on the news this morning that Governor Sonny Perdue made a blunder on a radio station that was having callers asked him questions. I won’t repeat it because I might misquote it and that wouldn’t be fair and I’m sure too lazy to research to the exact words.

The radio station was WAOK. WAOK was, and I suppose still is, a mostly black radio station. When I was a teenager it was owned and operated by blacks and all the announcers were black.

(harp music) I remember as a teenager when you wanted to hear some good rhythm and blues, WAOK was the station to listen to. Their DJs had more freedom than their white counterparts.

Parents disapproved of this station and would have to use a politically incorrect word to tell what they called it.

One DJ on WAOK I remember is Piano Red. He did most his announcing from a piano stool. He would play a real record and then play with his piano and maybe carry on a romance with an imaginary friend, singing a lullaby to her and getting too darn mushy about what they did last night… then, he would let out a yep, “All right!!!” and go into a commercial and then play a record, then continue his romance with whomever as he played the piano.

It was kind of like “The Country Gentleman” on TV in the 50s who had a love affair with a TV camera – only different.

Years later when Underground Atlanta opened we saw Piano Red in person playing in a bar. He was short, stocky, redheaded, and covered with freckles. I can see why he had an imaginary lover.

But he was a good blues singer. A couple years ago, while looking for something else on Amazon.Com I stumbled across Piano Reds CDs. I ordered one… it is one of the best blues CDs I have. All right now!

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Blogger kenju said...

We went to Underground Altanta back in the first year or two after it opened. Mr. kenju had to be down there on business and took me with him. I remember going to a place that had an old antique bar, with lots of carved mahogany, marble and old mirror along the back wall. It was really spectacular.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Button Gwinnett said...

I was gonna say, "poor Piano Red." But I guess maybe that's not appropriate. He was blessed, just in a different way.

6:04 AM  
Blogger ET said...

The place you described could be the place Piano Red played.
For the first couple of years we went there frequently... I was still attached to my Navy friends and when they came to town we took there there.

Yes, Piano Red had a gift for sure. And he shared that gift.

The CD case tells me his real name was Willie Perryman and he died in 1985 of cancer.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I'll have to check that CD out. So far, your recommendations in music have all been very enjoyable to me.

7:30 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Thank you.
I forgot to mention that his songs sounds like he is singing what comes to his mind at the moment - I don't know if they are planned out or not, but they don't come off that way.
I pulled the CD out and listened to a couple of songs on my post office trip and his first song on it is talking about he needed a drink so bad but his friend Curtis borrowed his last five dollar bill and now Curtis won't pay him back and now he is getting the shakes.
The next song, he has his imaginary lover and he is telling her in different says to "talk to me""

7:37 AM  

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