When Ron Jacobs created the original CRUISIN' series of albums and tapes in 1971, there were seven, spanning 1956-1962.
Shortly after the success of the original seven, Jacobs produced six additional CRUISIN' albums, featuring 1955, and 1963 through 1967.
But before the second six, he recorded narration for a radio show, and released a promotional LP for radio stations featuring the opening segments of the original CRUISIN' Seven.
This special REELRADIO exhibit combines the original Ron Jacobs radio program narration with the original CRUISIN' Series Demo LP.
|Archived from Jacobs' private collection, the narration presented in this exhibit has not been broadcast or distributed in any form since 1971. The text that follows was included on a paper insert with the CRUISIN' SERIES LP demo.|
The word cruisin' doesn't appear in the dictionary, but it's a familiar word to millions of people who did it. The new seven-record series on Increase Records, CRUISIN' THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES, is a year-by-year recreation of pop music radio during the years 1956 through 1962.
Each album is not just a collection of the top pop music of a particular year but a total recreation by a top disc jockey (of that year) doing his original program over a major pop music station. That means actual commercials, promotional jingles, sound effects, newscast simulations and even record hop announcements in addition to the original records themselves.
The series was produced with unprecedented attention to detail. One disc jockey, Dick Biondi of Chicago, called his old home town, Buffalo, New York, just to get an accurate ten-year-old weather report. Another, "Arnie Woo Woo Ginsburg" of Boston, showed up in the studio carrying a suitcase full of chrome kazoos, cowbells, oogah horns and other noisemakers he'd used on the air in 1961. Then, after laying them out on a towel by the mike, much like a brain surgeon preparing to operate, "Woo Woo" wailed.
CRUISIN' producer Ron Jacobs monitored thousands of feet of tape, travelled over 10,000 miles and rooted through forgotten files and cluttered basements for old commercials, station promos and jingles. He also managed to get clearances for 84 different records, of which 42 are certified million-sellers, and all are from the Top 30 of their respective years.
The disc jockeys who appear on the series were picked after a month of carefully researching a decade's issues of BILLBOARD, including tabulating all disc jockey mentions. The names were then cross checked with audience rating services and longtime radio expert Bill Gavin all this just to determine which jocks on which stations represented each year most accurately.
Once all the material had been collected, weeks were spent in the studio carefully integrating almost 1,000 separate cues, and timing each year's "radio program" so it could be mastered for tape in four exactly equal parts. This was done to eliminate any dead space on CRUISIN' cassettes and cartridges, making each "rebroadcast" as realistic as possible and similar to the "tracking" effect of records.
CRUISIN' was, in fact, originally conceived as a tape project: the first major
one in the industry. After all, cruisin' meant cars, and listening to rock stations
on the car radio; not until the enormous growth of in-car tape equipment was anyone able to recreate not only
Says Jacobs: "The full impact of such originally American social, technological, artistic and economic influences as rock and roll and Top 40 radio may not be fully realized in this century. But regardless of what time will ultimately be required to allow full historic perspective, there is the obligation to preserve the material so the media itself, not just written renews and descriptions, will exist for future analysis.
This isn't just nostalgia. It's history!"
Increase Records' CRUISIN' series is available on records and tape cassettes and cartridges, and is distributed by Chess Records (disc) and by the GRT Corporation (tape).
7 of The All-Time Top 20 Rock Jox
The seven disc jockeys in the CRUISIN' series were selected as the best living representatives of Fifties and Sixties radio from seven top American radio cities.
The Man and The Company
The man, Ron Jacobs, and Increase Records' parent company, Watermark, are uniquely suited for the recorded pop music radio series called CRUISIN'.
Jacobs recently concluded a four-year career as program director of KHJ in Los Angeles, a station he brought from its near-the-basement position to the top in just five months, where it remained so long as he was in charge. It was while in this position he produced the 48-hour long "rockumentary," a program which has been syndicated over much of the world and has been included in many museums and libraries, including the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Juilliard School of Muslc.
Jacobs was a 12-year veteran of radio when he came to KHJ in 1965. In Hawaii he had been the island's top disc jockey and later was a programming and production executive responsible for launching a number of top-rated stations in Hawaii and on "the mainland."
Then, believing there should be a healthly environment for people who'd been successful on traditional terms, an organization where such people could create freely, Jacobs left radio in 1969 to help found one Watermark. Today this company has interests in concert and festival promotion (Arena Associates), radio programming (AMERICAN TOP 40), records (Increase), tape production (THE CASSETTE GAZETTE), audio commercials (such as EASY RIDER) and program consultation (National General).
Peg & Eddie
To have a cover concept as unique as the content of the CRUISIN' series, it was decided to take a young couple and age them (in comic strip frames) through each year, noting carefully the changes in dress and hair styles, as well as social attitudes.
Peg and Eddie and their world our world were created by Jere Alan Brian, Increase Records vice president, and Paul Gruwell, Increase art director.
"Peg and Eddie became real characters to us," says Gruwell. "We know even more about them than the artwork indicates."
Gruwell was an animation layout man at Hanna-Barbera working on the HUCK FINN, SCOOBY DOO, THE THREE MUSKETEERS and FANTASTIC FOUR TV shows before joining Increase. Mike Royer, who did the cover art, is one of the men behind the TARZAN comic strip.
From RJ to Wacko, 2008, 2009. "Almonds Move Backwards In Time"
TOP STREAM 64Kbps, 14KHz
. . . and if cruisin' the fifties and sixties has brought you a bit of those precious moments, of which meaningful memories are made, then this radio special has fulfilled its purpose, too . . .
Copyright 1971, 2008, 2009 Ronald H. Jacobs