Sunday Brunch With The Temptations

The TemptationsBy Bob Berry

“…I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes…”.

Nobody sang a “pain” song than David Ruffin.

“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, “Since I Lost My Baby”, “I Know I’m Losing You”, David’s last song with the Tempts, “It’s You That I Need”, and more.

But above all, stands “I Wish It Would Rain“.

From Earl Van Dyke’s opening notes on the Motown Steinway, to the very tasty and restrained track by The Funk Brothers , and the incredible blend of the background vocals , “Rain” is a great track. And then..

Sunshine, blue skies, please go away, My girl has found another, and gone away..”.

Nobody sang a “pain” song like David Ruffin.

Sunday Brunch celebrates The Motown Sound with the original “Fab Five”.

Oct 4th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song Doin’ The Philly And Boogaloo Too!

NobodyBy Bob Berry

One of the great things about writing the Keener blog is the chance to share with you my passions, be it cars, music, movies, or a good friend’s birthday.

That said, today’s Keener Friday Song goes out with a dedication to my pal Cactus Jack, the forever young leader of  Florida’s best party band, Cactus Jack And The Cadillacs.

The boys and I go back some 15 years, and from time to time I ended up playing tambourine (fairly well) and singing backups (terribly) on their version of “Nobody But Me”, the Human Beinz song from 1968.

Fun? Ridiculous fun. And I just knew all those years of playing “Nobody” and beating up a dashboard, or a control room counter top would payoff someday!

B2 Band 1

My bud Cactus had a small health issue recently, as have a couple of the other guys in the band. Suffice to say all is well, and the band will be rockin’ this weekend. So on the off-chance you’re in Eustis, Florida and a crazy guy in a zebra stripe jacket ( or a red vest) asks you to sit in with the band, here’s your chance to practice.

Enjoy the Friday Song, a monster one-hit wonder with The Human Beinz on Keener!


Oct 2nd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

TBT The Keener Connection to American Pie

DonMcLeanBy Bob Berry

It’s truly one of the most remarkable songs in rock and roll history.

8 and a half minutes long, with a ton of complicated lyrics (but a nice chorus); and if it was on “Rate A Record“, it only got a 79, because you can’t dance to it.

“American Pie”, written by Don McLean, released in late November of 1971, by early 1972 it was Number One (as was his album of the same name) with a bullet. And stayed there for 4 weeks!

And all the while we wondered: who was the King, who was the jester? A song referring to the Book of Marx and a fall-out shelter? What?

Enter Bob Dearborn of WCFL/Chicago. As the story goes, Bob’s listeners had been asking for his insight, or analysis of the lyrics. And simple as that, with a lot of listening, and 5 typewritten pages, his amazing interpretation of “American Pie” was born. And distributed to over 100,000 listeners!

As for the Keener connection? We knew Bob as Mark Allen, who came to Keener  in 1968, replacing Sean Conrad on the 7-10pm shift. Bob/Mark later moved to mornings (with distinguished success) thru early 1970, when he migrated to the Windy City.

It’s Don McLean’s birthday tomorrow (10/2). We at Keener thank him for ensuring the memory of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

Oct 1st, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

A Little Ditty In The Nick Of Time

MellencampBy Bob Berry

I guess the music business can be like going to a casino. If you’re gonna hit, you may as well hit big.

At least that’s the way it worked for John (Cougar) Mellencamp, 24 years ago this week.

Mellencamp, who was in need of a hit, and a big one at that, got just that when his little ditty about “Jack and Diane” and the album American Fool both hit Number One; saving his record deal, and launching a career that placed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

John Mellencamp, who along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, was one of the founders of Farm Aid. The 30th Anniversary concert was held two weeks ago, highlighted by a a great set by Mr. Mellencamp. We at Keener 13 applaud his efforts, and thought you would enjoy his performance.



Sep 30th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

A Double Hall Of Fame Inductee

Blues ImageBy Bob Berry

Air Guitar Hall Of Fame?  Check.

One-Hit Wonder Hall of Fame?  Check and Double-Check.

Top 5 in the spring and early summer of 1970.? Triple check.

Just pick up that sweet “Strat” you have by the desk, and loosen up on the solo bridge at about 1:50.

And then join Birthday Boy Mike Pinera, lead singer of Tampa, Florida’s Blues Image and co-writer of “Ride Captain Ride”, on one of the great air guitar moments of all-time at about 3:14.

Love those power chords, even if you’re ripping off Pete Townsend’s windmill move!



Sep 29th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Sunday Brunch On The Poor Side Of Town

Johnny RiversBy Bob Berry

A dear friend of mine is celebrating a birthday this weekend, and this happens to be one of her favorite songs.

Mine, too. Pretty much since the first time I heard it.

Johnny Rivers wrote it, and cut it live with the Wrecking Crew trio of Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborne on bass and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. Then, the real genius moment happened, and The Blossoms overdubbed an unmistakable-and unforgettable, backup vocals:

“Do-doo-doo-wah shoo-be-doo-be…”

Jenni, the spotlight is on you and Jim. Enjoy Slow Dance Number One for Sunday Brunch on Keener.

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Sep 27th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song From Freda Payne

FredaPayneBy Bob Berry

When I was researching Motown’s #1’s of September, 1970, I neglected to mention another Detroit gem that was Number One for six weeks. In the United Kingdom!

It was “Band Of Gold“, and it was about a “Detroit” as a record could be.

Sung by The D’s Freda Payne with backup vocals by Joyce Wilson and Thelma Hopkins (who soon became Dawn, with Tony Orlando). Written (under the pseudonym Edythe Wayne) by Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland, with members of the Funk Brothers including Dennis Coffey, Bob Babbitt, and Uriel Jones on the track. Recorded in Detroit and released on HDH’s new Invictus label.

If it was anymore Detroit, each 45 would have come with a coupon for a Lafayette or American Coney Island!

Released in the summer of 1970, here’s “Band of Gold”, the Friday Song on Keener!

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Sep 25th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

TBT On Keener All You Gotta Do Is Whistle

dontworryflipsBy Bob Berry

I bet if Bobby McFerrin had one do-over it would be this:

Hold on to the marketing rights! Hey, it worked for George Lucas.

But, when you take a simple little idea, create a virtuoso acappella recording that becomes the first of it’s genre to hit Number One, and win Record and Song of the Year at the 1989 Grammys…well, what you gonna do?

That’s right, “don’t worry, be happy“.

Throwback Thursday on Keener is a “whistle-along”. Join in, and ignore the funny looks from the stiffs!


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Sep 24th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Box Tops are #1 in 1967

The BoxTopsBy Bob Berry

It was only 1:57 seconds long, but it’s two of the greatest minutes in the history of 60’s pop.

It’s “The Letter“, by Memphis, Tennessee’s The Box Tops, and it began FOUR weeks at Number One on September 23rd, 1967. And perhaps most remarkable,”the Letter” was the first song the group ever released!

The Box Tops had a string of hits thru 1969, including “Cry Like A Baby”, “Soul Deep”, all recorded with the legendary studio musicians, the  “Memphis Boys“. And lead singer Alex Chilton later became a seminal figure in alternative and indie music, fronting the group Big Star.

But they never equaled the success of “The Letter”.

Click here to read more about the song and it’s writer Wayne Carson, in a blog I wrote when he passed away in July. And here is a video of a live performance of “The Letter” by The Box Tops, recorded at the legendary New York City music showcase, The Bitter End.

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Sep 23rd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

At The Movies: Robert De Niro

Diniro2By Bob Berry

I have a question.

How did Robert De Niro go from the guy who won Oscars for Godfather II and Raging Bull,  was Martin Scorsese’s go-to guy, recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and a place on the short list of greatest American actors; to the guy who seemingly mails it in, in B-comedies?

Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Little Fockers? Really?

On the other hand, Robert De Niro-yeah, I’m talking to you, was brilliant in Analyze This and Analyze That. And even though every instinct tells me all the gags are in the trailer, the film as bloodlines.

The Intern, co-starring Anne Hathaway, opens this Friday (9/25).

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Sep 22nd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener