"Excuse me, did you play those songs on the jukebox?" That was the voice of Carlos McCauley late one Friday night over the weekend din at the Doghouse Lounge in Palm Bay. I’m not sure how Carlos picked me out as a blues lover from a couple of songs from that jukebox. It had a few tolerable songs but I can guarantee there was nothing resembling Muddy Waters on the menu.
Carlos introduced himself and told me he was a volunteer DJ at WFIT and they were looking for a blues DJ. He gave me Rob Selkow’s number and told me to call him. It was nice to meet and talk to Carlos but all I did was play a couple songs on the jukebox. Being a DJ was just crazy talk, not to mention potentially a lot of extra work.
There were no blues shows on WFIT, or anywhere else, at the time and I got to thinking that without a blues show people may never hear or hear of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bobby Blue Bland, and all the other great ones. Maybe for that reason or who knows for what reason, I actually called Mr. Selkow. He assigned Stevie Lee to train me. I did a few jazz shows. I babysat ‘Blues Before Sunrise’ on Saturday nights for a while and it wasn’t too long before Rob changed the schedule to make room for a 5 hour blues show on Saturday afternoon. I walked in the first Saturday and there was Brother Frank with his leather sack of Nighthawks CDs and we’ve been doing it every Saturday since.
My first exposure to blues, or any music not on 98ROCK or available in a used 8-track, was public radio in Atlanta. I listened to WREK (Georgia Tech), WRFG (Radio Free Georgia) and WGSU (Georgia State) while I attended Georgia Tech. WREK played lots of Coltrane, some Grateful Dead and the blues every day at 4 PM on a good show called ‘The Talk of the Town.’ It must have made an impression because I still have some Eddie Cleanhead Vinson and Lowell Fulson vinyl from those days.
My personal history is typically insignificant. I’m a Fightin’ Chamberlain Chief from Tampa. In addition to being an accidental DJ, I work in Palm Bay at Intersil. I play some tennis, do some fishing, and follow the Braves and the Gators in a ridiculous way. I also teach an occasional class at Florida Tech and a volunteer some time for the city of Melbourne Beach. And, given the opportunity, I still play the jukebox late at night.
It’s a pleasure bringing you the blues. I’m learning so much and the healing is on-going.