The other California Stars

I’m not much of a radio listener. Not because I don’t appreciate music, but because I don’t appreciate DJs. You could say I dislike them, even. You could say they inspire murderous rage in me, but that might be taking it a bit far.

But when I lived in Calgary, there was one station I not only listened to, I volunteered with. It was a public radio station, CKUA (which I can still listen to online), with a small but devoted listenership. So small that my chances of getting free tickets to various events they sponsored were pretty high.

Once, I got tickets to a Billy Bragg concert. It was around the release of Mermaid Avenue, the album he collaborated on with Wilco. They took lyrics by Woody Guthrie and put them to music, with Jeff Tweedy and Bragg sharing vocals. At the time of the concert, I hadn’t yet heard the album, just a song or two played on the station.

I hadn’t heard California Stars yet, so Bragg’s performance there was my first taste of it, and the one that lingered long after the concert. I was disappointed when I got the album and it was the perfectly fine downtempo Tweedy version instead of the funkier Bragg version. That loss festered for years, until … well, OK, I suddenly thought of it again after several years, and checked the Internet to see if it might be somewhere out there.

Now, I’ve finally got that live Billy Bragg version – free and legal, even – thanks to the Internet archive. It’s perhaps not the holy grail of music, but it’s almost as fun as I remembered.

This Internet thing is pretty cool.

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7 Responses to The other California Stars

  1. Good Dog says:

    Hey Diane, did you put in the good word that got Hugh Laurie an OBE in the New Year Honours list?

  2. DMc says:

    Oh my god. Billy Bragg? Billy Bragg too?

    Stop. Just stop.

  3. Diane Kristine says:

    I put in a good word with the Queen, Good Dog. Glad to see it paid off. I’m expecting his call of thanks any day now.

    DMc … but … you can’t be jealous that I saw BB, like, seven years ago. If so, you’ll die when you hear I saw Nana Mouskouri about 15 years ago (hey, I bought the tickets for my mom).

  4. DMc says:

    No. Not jealous. I’ve seen Billy Bragg. Lots. LIke, five times lots.

    It’s just… Canadian TV cheerleader, and Billy Bragg fan? Just stop it now. Stop. It’s…

    My leg is starting to hurt like House’s.

  5. wcdixon says:

    Get a room…

  6. Diane Kristine says:

    Hey, no need for Vicodin. I think you’re pretty swell, too. Go away, Will.

  7. wcdixon says:

    Can’t I watch?

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