Sunday, June 15, 2008

STRINGER, KOMA, SPIDER & THE CRABS

Friday night on The Santa Fe Opry I played a song called "Chevy Headed West" by Jim Stringer & The AM Band, off their new album Triskaidekaphilia . It's a moving, bittersweet song about a couple of young guys on a road trip to California in 1968, worrying about Vietnam and learning about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy on their car radio.

In an early verse, Stringer sings the praises of KOMA, that renown 50,000-watt AM radio station in my hometown of Oklahoma City that blasted across the Great Plains every night (from Texas to Chicago, Stringer sings, but it also was heard out here in New Mexico.)

As I kid I mainly used to listen to WKY in OKC. But I'd frequently switch over to KOMA. They played the same basic music as WKY, but they'd always be advertising teen dance parties at VFW halls all over the Midwest -- Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota. There were several bands these ads would talk about, but the one name I remembered was Spider & The Crabs. What a bitchen band name! How could a Spider gig be anything less than totally cool? As a grade school kid I'd fantasize about going to these places. To hell with California dreaming. I wanted to go see Spider & The Crabs in Pierre, S.D.!

Stringer and I were e-mailing Saturday and I mentioned my KOMA memories. He told me that all those bands that advertised on KOMA were managed by a company called Mid-Continent Entertainment. Jim was in a couple of those bands, The Upside Dawne and Tide.

Furthermore there's a Web site that has MP3s of more than 20 of those groups including both of Stringer's early groups, The Red Dogs, the Bluethings ... and Spider & The Crabs!

It's a real treasure trove. CLICK HERE and enjoy!

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