Featured Photo: Downtown Jacksonville in the mid-1950’s.
Tribute to John. “R” Richbourg DJ over 1510 WLAC Nashville Tennessee. The Man and the Radio Station Who Turned Your Editor onto The Blues
by Dennis Crenshaw
Many of you will care less about this posting. But as someone once said, (don’t ask me who, but it sounds good) “If you own the vehicle, you do the driving.”
With that in mind I’m taking over the site to present to the few who might care an open window into my early life. So come with me back, way back to about 1958. This was a time of innocence. We had never heard of pot. Sex was taboo for most young people. And the Illuminati was a word I had never even heard of.
Image: 1950’s Rock and Rollers in their local hangout.
I was 15, a Rock and Roller in my last year of Jr. High and the music was my life. It was the time of waiting weekly for the latest hits of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and all the one time wonders of the times. I wore my hair in a D.A. (Ducks Ass) greased back with Royal Crown Hair Dressing, jeans folded up into cuffs at the bottom outside my Fred Myers engineer boots. and went to City sponsored dances at one of the City parks on Friday nights.
Summer days were spent at Jacksonville Beach or at one of the many theaters downtown where you could set in “Air Condition” for a few hours and watch Artie Murphy or Randolph Scott outdraw the bad guys. A quarter (plus 10 cents for popcorn and a nickle for a Coke) got you a double feature, a few cartoons, a News Reel and Coming attractions.
The television shows of the times were lousy and we only had AM Radio. The only Rock and Roll show on our local radio station “Scotty’s Music Box” with local DJ Scotty Furgenson only lasted for two hours on Saturday night. We learned of the new music from jukeboxes which were everywhere and by going around to the many record stores in Jacksonville.
In the summer of 1958 my best friend and next door neighbor Willard Roman bought a 1949 Nash Rambler. Probably one of the ugliest cars of the times. But don’t tell him that. This transport opened a whole new world for us. Mainly Drive-in Theaters, double-dating and weekends at the beach without our parents. What little money we could scrape up we saved for the weekend double dating at the drive-in or to go to the beach. After all gas was 29 cents a gallon.
So we would set in his Rambler in the driveway and dream of making that California Trip. We also discovered another thing. Late at night his powerful AM car radio would pick up 50,000 watt stations all over the eastern portion of the country, like WCKY Cincinnati Ohio.
One night as he was searching the dial why down in the high numbers, 1510 to be exact he picked up a different sounding voice from WLAC Nashville Tennessee. that voice was DJ John “R”.
We discovered the world of Blues – the roots of Rock and Roll. My life and love of music was never the same. I became an instant Blues-man and have remained one ever since and I never missed another night listening to John R. until I joined the Army January 4, 1961.
Image: WLAC – DJ John R. who developed a cult-like following across the Southern United States as a white man who sounded black and introduced black blues music to a whole generation of listeners both black and white.
So without further ado meet the one and only . . . John R., WLAC, Nashville Tennessee and the magic music we heard those late nights long ago setting in a driveway in Jacksonville Florida, coming from a place we had never seen many, many miles away. And while I’m at it I’ve put together a little blues show of my own. Excuse me while I indulge.
Legendary blues musician B.B. Kingdied on Thursday in Las Vegas, his attorney told The Associated Press. Cause of death was not released. He was 89.
Born Riley B. King in Berclair, Mississippi, and raised by his grandmother, the future “King of the Blues” purchased his first guitar for $15 when he was just 12 years old. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade, and spent much of his early years picking cotton and working as a tractor driver.
I know this is way off topic for any of the subjects in THEI’s archive line-up except for “Sorry to Hear That.”
However in this case it’s more than that to me. My music is the blues. Has been for over 50 years. I first hear the blues when I was about 14 over a car radio. The station was WLAC, Nashville Tenn. the DJ was John R., and the sound he was putting down was the devil’s music!
Today I am deeply saddened by the death of Robert Calvin, more famously known as Bobby “Blue” Bland. He kept at it hard for all of his life. A true Bluesman and I am truly “Sorry to Hear That.”, but your music will always be there Bobby, Further on up the Road . . . EDITOR
It is with great sadness that we report on the death of a true legend, Bobby “Blue” Bland. The great blues singer passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2012 at the age of 83 years, his death due to complications from an ongoing illness. Bland died in his Memphis, Tennessee home surrounded by family.
Bland’s smooth-as-silk vocal style successfully bridged the blues and R&B era of the 1950s and the soul era of the 1960s with a number of hit singles like “Turn On Your Love Light” and “Further On Up The Road.” Along the way, Bland would influence scores of imitators and followers, including great soul singers like Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, rockers like Van Morrison and Eric Clapton, and a generation of blues singers. . . . Read Complete Report
Dennis doesn't like to brag much, but his book, The Secrets of Dellschau, is outstanding! I can't recommend it enough to those interested in airships, code breaking, secret societies, or outside artists. Yes, all those topics are part of The Secrets of Dellschau