24 November 2011

Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie

Not from the original album, but a very good version by Arlo from one of his anniversary concerts with an audience who know the words. Click to play, right-click to download. And Happy Thanksgiving!

[Alice's Restaurant]

19 November 2011

Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein

I played this for Michael for his birthday tonight--the old rocker, he'd never heard it before, and it brought tears to his eyes. A modern standard of the orchestral repertoire (Michael Tilson Thomas loved to conduct this), a feast for the ears, the bane and joy of every high school symphony musician in America. Press right-click to download.

[Candide Overture]

11 November 2011

Blind Detective Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah

Here's a real treat--the first four stories in the Max Carrados series by mystery and science fiction novelist Ernest Bramah, a contemporary of Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells who deserves to be better known today. Click to play, right-click to download.
Courtesy of Librivox

02 November 2011

David Tennant and Catherine Tate on Comic Relief

One of the funniest comediennes in England was also the best companion of Doctor Who, and here they both are in a classic (in more ways than one) "Lauren Cooper" sketch. Click to play, right-click to download.

[Lauren Cooper and the New English Teacher]

31 October 2011

Orson the Alien on Seeing Ear Theater

Seventy-three years ago Orson Welles shocked the world with his faux news broadcast of an alien invasion from Mars. Thousands of people believed the reports and streamed into the streets, panicked and screaming for their lives. Now Seeing Ear Theatre asks the question, “What if two real aliens were listening to Welles’ historic broadcast? And what if they, too, believed the reports to be authentic and felt obliged to travel to Earth to help save us from the dreaded Martians? What then, Orson?

Walter Koenig (Star Trek’s Chekhov, Babylon 5′s Bester) stars as one such alien, a commander on a seemingly routine peace-keeping tour of deep space, routine that is until his young cadet (Paul Singleton) surfs the space dial and finds “news” of Grovers Mill, New Jersey, and heat rays and charred bodies. Seeing Ear Theater regulars Jef Betz, Rebecca Nice, and George Zarr star as Bud, Rosie, and Lester, three out of luck Brooklynites with nothing much to lose, including their hapless lives. Dick Rodstein makes his Seeing Ear Theatre debut as the boy wonder himself, Orson Welles. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[Orson the Alien on Seeing Ear Theater]

17 October 2011

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Oscar-nominated actor Tom Wilkinson
In this version is my second-favorite Sam Spade (the first being Howard Duff). It's our choice for today, the 22nd anniversary of the 7.1 earthquake that rocked us in San Francisco. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[The Maltese Falcon]

15 October 2011

Shatner Calls Nimoy

From a recent Comedy Central roast. They really love each other, you know.

[Shatner Calls Nimoy]

09 October 2011

The Johnny Cash Show, Memphis 1954

This is a genuine piece of music history. Here's the premiere of a radio show featuring a talented 21 year-old from Arkansas, Johnny Cash, before the exhausting tours, before the jail time, before the drugs, before June Carter, before his ascent to fame and becoming the philosopher-prince of American country music. And listen to the whole broadcast (it's only fifteen minutes)--after the show there's a promo for a concert in Overton Park with a lineup that includes a new boy from Tupelo, Mississippi. Click to play, right-click to download.

[The Johnny Cash Show, Memphis 1954]

05 October 2011

Happy Birthday, Steve Miller

The pompatus of love is 68 today. Right click to download.

[The Joker]

01 October 2011

The Best of Sherwood Schwartz: The Alan Young Show

Sherwood Schwartz, who died a couple of months ago, wrote a lot for radio with his brother Al as well as solo, all gems of comedy craftsmanship. We know him best for TV's Gilligan's Island, but if you want to hear an early incarnation of Jim Backus's Thurston Howell III, here's a really, really funny ep of The Alan Young Show circa 1945. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

["The Burlesque Dancer" on The Alan Young Show]

28 September 2011

Deadline at Dawn by Cornell Woolrich on Suspense

From First You Dream, Then You Die, Francis M. Nevins's biography of master suspense author Cornell Woolrich: "When it comes to putting us in the skin of a frightened little guy in a miserable little apartment with a hungry wife and children and no money and no job and fear of tomorrow eating him like a cancer, Woolrich has no peers." Just perfect for these times. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[Deadline at Dawn on Suspense]

09 September 2011

"For Dis Mel Brooks Von an Oscar?"

An altekacker comments on modern art. Click to play, right click to download.

[The Critic]

06 September 2011

Blind Guide Bracelets

I try not to add videos to this blog, but I can't seem to lift the audio from this clip. As with all my tool recommendations, if anyone has had experience with any of these gadgets, please let me know.


project bee concept demo from tao lin on Vimeo.

02 September 2011

Tobo and the Vaughan Brothers

Stephen still with good head of hair, right.
In commemoration of Stephen Tobolowsky's 50th podcast here are the Vaughan Brothers, Stevie Ray and Jimmie, in a cut from their duo album (Stevie Ray's last), Family Style. As usual, click right to download.

01 September 2011

Random Harvest on Lux Radio Theater

Why don't they make movies like this anymore? This is the silver screen's most preposterous love story and one of the most moving. James Hilton wrote the book--which was actually a parable about the between-wars "amnesia" of England--Mervyn LeRoy directed the 1942 film version, and two of the loveliest voices in film recreated their roles for Lux Radio Theater, in an aural adaptation that I think is just as good as the movie. (Click to play, right-click to download.)


[Random Harvest with Greer Garson and Ronald Colman]

30 August 2011

Mother and Son Sketch, Courtesy of Nichols and May

What can I say about Mike Nichols and Elaine May that hasn't been said before, except to pass on this anecdote: When Tommy Smothers paid an on-stage tribute to Elaine May, he asked her in his typical aw-shucks way:

Tommy: So did you guys have an affair back then, or what?

Elaine: Exactly.

Heres their perhaps most famous sketch, I think it was from the Jack Paar show. Heck, even I remember it. (As ever, click to play, right-click to download.)


[Son's Phone Call to Mom]



21 August 2011

A Little Patrick Stewart, A Lot Brent Spiner

This was recorded at a recent fan convention and is so delicious it's got to be shared even with non-Trekkies. (Click to listen, right-click to download.)

[Brent Spiner Imitates Patrick Stewart]

14 August 2011

Betty Nelson's Organic Farm, 1968

In keeping in the basic spirit of this blog, here's Jerry and the boys making a surprise appearance at the music festival in Sultan, Washington on 2 September 1968:

24 July 2011

A Bucket of Blood in DVS

From the pen of the incomparable Charles B. Griffith comes this Roger Corman classic, a contemplation on art, beatniks, and murder, which was made in 1959 for a staggering $50,000. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[A Bucket of Blood 1-2]
[A Bucket of Blood 2-2]

04 July 2011

The Andy Griffith Show in DVS

Courtesy of the fine folks at Movies for the Blind, here's one of my favorite episodes from The Andy Griffith Show, which introduces a soon-to-be-familiar character. (Click to play, right-click to download.)
[A Wife for Andy]
For a special treat, here's Andrew Samuel Griffith himself, singing the Earle Hagen theme song (right click to download):

[The Fishin' Hole]

30 June 2011

The Dick Van Dyke Show in DVS

The podcast Movies for the Blind has now widened its offerings to TV shows, starting with the Carl Reiner classic, The Dick Van Dyke Show. This is the episode about Buddy's brother, the pool shark. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[The Hustler]

And for you conoisseurs of TV music, here's the swingy Earle Hagen theme:

[The Dick Van Dyke Show Theme]

16 June 2011

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

James Joyce, that near-blind bard of the unconscious, in his later years dictated Finnegans Wake to his amanuensis, Samuel Beckett. In honor of Bloomsday and all things Joycean, here's Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers with their audience-rousing rendition of the drinking song that inspired James Joyce to write the most incomprehensible novel the world has ever known. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[Finnegan's Wake, sung by Flogging Molly]

05 June 2011

Sherlock Holmes on the BBC

Michael and I are both Sherlock Holmes geeks (or Sherlockians, as we prefer to be called.) Clive Merrison is the only actor who has ever played Holmes in every single one of the Arthur Donan Doyle stories and novels, and then some. This month BBC Radio is running all the stories, in canonical order, starring Merrison, in the most pristine and thrilling adaptations you will ever hear. (Right click to download.)

[A Study in Scarlet 1-2]
[A Study in Scarlet 2-2]

15 May 2011

The Swimmer by John Cheever

Michael and I have been listening to The New Yorker podcasts of New Yorker authors reading aloud the stories of other New Yorker authors (pretty incestuous, isn't it?) and pretty much agree that for maximum enjoyment, go straight to the story and totally ignore the useless discussion at the end. I mean, is Cheever's classic "The Swimmer" a science-fiction story? Give me a break. (As ever, click to play, right-click to download.)

[The Swimmer by John Cheever]

28 April 2011

Blind Willie McTell, Blues Legend

He was blind from birth but, as innumerable witnesses testify, he made extraordinarily light of his handicap. As a child he could ride a bicycle and throw stones accurately. He could navigate city streets as if a map were imprinted in his mind and was said to be able to count his own money, even telling the difference between a dollar and $10 note by feel.

He attended the Georgia Academy for the Blind, where he received a broader education than other poor, sighted blacks could generally expect; he was always "clean and presentable", dressed in a jacket and tie, and a cloth cap with a short bill. And he was never without his guitar.

For more of the review of the bio Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes by Michael Gray, go here.

For now, here's the man himself singing his best-known song. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

[Statesboro Blues

25 April 2011

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Christopher Plummer in 1961 TV Production
LibriVox is the home on the web for volunteers who record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Their goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. This particular one, The Prisoner of Zenda, is a classic aventure tale and one of my favorites from childhood. By good fortune it's read by Andy Minter, a Hertfordshire man (UK) and one of the most popular readers of Librivox for his clear pleasant voice and pace.

(Files are in .mp3 @ 64kbps. Click to play, right click to download. iTunes will play these chapters consecutively without a break.)

23 April 2011

What It Means to Have All Music Instantly Available

by Bill Wyman

Lester Bangs, the late, great early-rock critic, once said he dreamed of having a basement with every album ever released in it. That's a fantasy shared by many music fans—and, mutatis mutandis, film buffs as well. We all know the Internet has made available a lot of things that were previously hard to get. Recently, though, there are indications of something even more enticing, almost paradisiacal, something that might have made Bangs put down the cough syrup and sit up straight: that almost everything is available.

Music and movie fans of a certain age and a certain bent have strong visceral responses to this issue of availability. We grew up in an age of excited, roiling change in the music and film worlds, but the vicissitudes of the technologies and industries involved made the logistics of merely keeping up—much less being an expert—a time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes impossible chore. I won't bore you with the details, but let me tell you—it was a drag.

20 April 2011

Convert YouTube Files to Audio Files

Looking through our archives I found two actually decent poems by Stephen that I published in Claptrap: Notes from Hollywood (Cantarabooks, 2006, now out of print) and ripped them from his YouTube videos to test one of the new online services, this one called YouTube to MP3.The benefits of being able to offer strictly audio portions of online clips to a sight-impaired audience are immeasurable. Also, I'm spared from having to look at his silly face. (Click to play, right-click to download.)

    15 April 2011

    BBC on the Internet—Home to Comedy and Drama

    For our first post, we'd like to point you to the best source for audio entertainment on the web, the BBC (their iPlayer enables listeners to enjoy streaming audio whenever they please, for up to 7 days per show):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio
      Our particular favorites for the month of April, 2011 are the series Daunt and DervishPoets' Tree; Lenin of the Rovers; The Penny Dreadfuls Present; The Secret Life of Rosewood Avenue; and last but not least Desmond Olivier Dingle's Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare.