One Never Knows . . . . . . .


RADIO-TV BACKSTAGE AIan Freed Hosts Moondog Affair Tonight in Newark By Tom O’Connell

WJW's Alan Freed appears on the verge of adding another plume to the cap he wears as chief of the Moondoggers. That latest decoration could be forthcoming as early as this evening when he stages the Eastern Moondog Coronation Ball at Sussex Avenue Armory in Newark, N. J. Freed first made his presence felt in this community about two years ago, when, after only four months on the air, he attracted 25,OOO to the Cleveland Arena to attend the Western Coronation Ball. His stature in the field of rhythm and blues continued to grow until a couple of weeks ago Billboard magazine named him the top R&B disk jockey in the country. Although tapes of Freed’s WJW programs are carried over Newark’s WNJR, this will be his first personal appearance in the New York area. Success is assured by the fact that advance sale of tickets has already exceeded 6,000. The Sussex Armory will hold 13,000. Among the rhythm and blues artists slated to appear tonight are Buddy Johnson and his orchestra and Vocalist Ella Johnson; The Clovers, a vocal quartet; Roost Bonnemera and his Mambo Band; Nolan Lewis, Mercury recording star; Sam Butera, jazz saxophonist; Muddy Waters, blues guitar player; the Harptones and Charles Brown. A special train carrying Clevelanders to the event had to be canceled because-of all things -there were too many rather than not enough requests for accommodations. Disappointed local fans will find partial coverage of the affair available at a later date, however. R. C. A. Victor plans to record the entire show for a special Moondog LP Album.

The words above were written back in April of 1954 as Alan Freed was about to unleash the sound of the future in the East for the first time. The most interesting item of all to me, is the notation that RCA Victor (of all labels) was planning to record the entire show for a later release to the public. I would love to know what ever happened to those plans, and why a similar effort by RCA or anybody else was never forthcoming. This story and others documented about live radio broadcasts of R & B shows in the early fifties make me wonder if there is a treasure trove of sound documents from this most important and influential period in American music may be hidden somewhere in an attic, a basement, the corner of a warehouse, or a storage unit somewhere. Remember that they said there were no audio files of Elvis on Louisiana Hayride, or Charlie Parker at Birdland, or The Beatles in Hamburg. They uncovered the airchecks for Alan Freed's CBS live network radio show in 1956, so the possibility remains. I remember years ago when I was into collecting vintage radio shows, there were no records of any surviving programs of "Archie Andrews" ( a show I loved as a young kid). But behold, a retired radio engineer in Astoria, Oregon, had eight full programs on acetate in his possession which I quickly had him copy on tape for me. So - strange things do happen, and dreams do sometimes come true.

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