Workin’ It With Labor Day Friday Songs

DET JazzFestBy Bob Berry

Labor Day Weekend is here, the official end of Michigan’s all-too-short summer.

Labor Day also coincides with the opening of college football season, and the buzz over the re-build in Ann Arbor, and the re-load in East Lansing. Plus, the kids will (finally?) head back to school-and won’t Tuesday morning be fun!

Of course, Labor Day celebrates The American Worker. So for this week’s Friday Songs, here’s a Keener Countdown of the Top 5 songs about work. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

#5. Jersey Boys checking in, this Four Seasons song from 1966, was later a hit for The Spinners in ’79.

#4. The great Sam Cooke, with a song he wrote that went all the way to #2, in time for Labor Day, 1960.

#3. Tommy James was just “makin a livin’..”, he wrote it, produced it, and you made it Top 5 on Keener in 1971.

#2. The Beatles, who could have been a Top 5 on the own! We picked a favorite, the title song to their first movie!

#1. Lee Dorsey, top 10 in the summer of ’66. Because somewhere along the line, over Labor Day weekend, you’ll be kickin’ back, lovin’ life and need a groove. And there a few grooves better than a New Orleans groove!


Sep 4th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

TBT Happy Birthday Grand Funk’s Don Brewer

Terry Knight PackBy Bob Berry

He’s Flint’s own, he’s our own, and for most of the last 50 years, he’s been the back beat for the very best of Michigan rock and roll.

Happy Birthday to Don Brewer, drummer for the legendary Grand Funk (Railroad), and for the past few decades, the touring drummer for Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.

And for Throw Back Thursday, here’s the back story to that back beat.

In about 1965, former DJ and budding recording star Terry Knight  convinced Don and his pals in Flint’s Jazz Masters, to change their name and let him become the lead singer of what became known as Terry Knight and the Pack.  Their success was middling, in spite of a couple of pretty decent singles, “I Who Have Nothing” and this song, originally recorded by The Yardbirds.

In less than two years, Terry Knight left the group, while Don Brewer, plus Mark Farner (also of TK&TP) and Mel Schacher from ? and The Mysterians carried on as The Pack and The Fabulous Pack. Then 1969 happened; Terry Knight reunited with the band as their producer/manager, Capitol Records signed them, and for the first few years of the 1970’s, they were the biggest band in the world!

Happy Birthday, Don Brewer-thanks for the ride!


Sep 3rd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Caught On Tape: Ford Fusion vs. Birthday Cake

635757807415755375-Fusion2By Bob Berry

Keener Contact News has a shout out to the Detroit Free Press for this story.

It appears the guys and gals in the Glass House are preparing to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Ford Fusion.

Nobody is admitting much, but among the interesting ideas for the party is examining what would happen if you drove a Fusion through a birthday cake!

We’re guessing some digital FX are still to come, but shouldn’t the cake be shaped and frosted to resemble a Blue Oval?  Just sayin’. :-)


Sep 2nd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Happy Birthday To Archie Bell From…..

Archie BellBy Bob Berry

Happy Birthday to the co-writer of another of my “desert island” records,  “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell and The Drells.

Or, as the song said, “Archie Bell of The Drells, from Houston Texas…”!

And in the spring of 1968, that (like the song said) “new dance called the Tighten Up” was good enough for Houston, Detroit, and everywhere else in the country; hitting Number One on both the Pop and R&B charts. Good enough for Rolling Stone Magazine to name #270 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time.

In case you’ve forgotten, Archie and The Drells, (like the song said) could “dance just as good as we walk”.

Archie and the band recorded “Tighten Up” before he was drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he was wounded in action. Archie was recovering in an Army hospital when the song went to Number One-and he spent most of his convalescence trying to convince anyone who would listen that that was him singing on the record!

Archie, by the way, came from a talented family. Brother Jerry was the lead singer of The Dazz Band. And brother Ricky, was an All-American running back at USC who lead his team to a Rose Bowl win over U of M in 1977; and later tormented Lions fans, wearing the creamsicle colors of the “Bucco Bruce-era” Tampa Bay Buccaneers.





Sep 1st, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Sunday Brunch With Van Morrison

Van MorrisonBy Bob Berry

Sunday morning coming down on Keener 13. Perfect for sharing music news for Van Morrison fans, and one of his classic tracks. from 1979’s album “Into The Music”.

Legacy Recordings has acquired the rights to Van Morrison’s entire catalog, some 50 years of music, going back to the days when Van fronted the group Them. Plans call for the release of selected LP’s, expected to include alternate and bonus tracks, to the eventual digital re-release of the entire catalog.

And what a catalog it is! From hit singles like “Gloria”, “Here Comes The Night”, “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “Wild Night”, to the classic albums “Astral Weeks” and “Moondance” and sonic adventures like the personal favorite, “Poetic Champions Compose”; Van Morrison has demanded your attention, and rewarded you with great music.

The first release from Legacy, “The Essential Van Morrison” with 37 tracks was released digitally and as a 2-CD set this past Friday, along with 33 albums available on all streaming services.

Here’s another personal favorite, Cut 1, Side 2 of the new CD, “Bright Side Of The Road”. Enjoy!

Aug 30th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Take A Ride With Darlene Love’s New Music Video

Bob Berry, Darlene Love And 101.1 CBS-FM's Dan Taylor, May 2012

Bob Berry, Darlene Love And 101.1 CBS-FM’s Dan Taylor. New York City, May 2012

By Bob Berry

Darlene Love, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Legend.

Lead singer on “He’s A Rebel” the song that defines Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”. Lead singer on the greatest Christmas record of all-time, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”; whose show-stopping annual appearances on Letterman every year, proved it still is.   As a member of The Blossoms, sang back-up for everyone from Sam Cooke, Shelly Fabares and Johnny Rivers to Frank Sinatra and The Righteous Brothers.

Turns out Darlene Love was an idol of a “Miami” Steve Van Zandt, who about 30 years ago promised Darlene they would make an album together. And then stuff happened.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band on tour. Playing Silvio Dante in The Sopranos. “Lilyhammer”. Radio Shows. Reuniting The Rascals and producing their Broadway show “Once Upon A Dream“.

Well, “stuff’ finally got cleared out. Friends like Bruce, Jimmy Webb and Linda Perry wrote songs, musicians came together, and Darlene’s new album, “Introducing Darlene Love” goes on sale September 18. And with the help of friends like Bill Murray, Paul Schaffer, Joan Jett, Bruce, Steve and a cast of thousands, the first video,  “Forbidden Nights”, was released this week.

“Love” It.


Aug 29th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Marvelettes Deliver The Friday Song

MarvelettesBy Bob Berry

August 28th, 1961. Motown Records released “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes on the Tamla label.

It was the group’s first release, and history was about to be made.

The girls from Inkster High School, Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman and Wanda Young; were about to have a million-selling hit, and become the first Motown group to hit Number One on both the pop and r&b charts.

And perhaps most surprisingly, given Berry Gordy’s “Ford-inspired “assembly line approach” to hit-making; they did it with a song Gladys Horton found, and co-wrote!

While The Marvelettes never again hit Number One, they had a string of hits, notably “Beechwood 4-5789”, “Playboy”, “Too Many Fish In The Sea”, “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” and the million-selling “Don’t Mess With Bill”. And “Please Mr. Postman”, recorded by The Beatles for their second album, went to Number One again in 1975, with The Carpenter’s very pop version. And, it sold a million copies the second time around!

We hope you enjoyed our Keener Friday song, with Motown’s first great girl group, The Marvelettes.





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Aug 28th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

#TBT Keener Congrats To Boss Angeles’ Shotgun Tom Kelly


Shotgun Tom Kelly and Bob Berry Detroit Radio Reunion, 2005

By Bob Berry

Detroit has had a Hall of Fame’s worth of great disc jockeys.

Not just our beloved Keener jocks, but  JP McCarthy, Fred Wolfe, Lee Alan, Big Jim Edwards, Tom Shannon, “Frantic” Ernie Durham and Martha Jean “The Queen”.

And, of course, Jim Harper and the late Alan Almond, who took the Keener DNA embedded in the walls of 15001 Michigan Avenue,  and helped make what was WKNR-FM into the powerhouse WNIC.

Today, on “Throwback Thursday”, Keener honors a friend who would have fit right in with those Motor City legends, Shotgun Tom Kelly from K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles. After some 20 years in afternoon drive on K-Earth, Shotgun Tom is hangin’ up the headphones, moving into a new role as an ambassador for the station.  Riding the 405 won’t be the same without him. And “you better believe it, baby!”.

One other note. K-Earth was originally KHJ-FM, and simulcast 93/KHJ, the sister station to Motown’s CKLW.  So yeah, those jingles you hear in the video are familiar! It’s the Johnny Mann Singers, seen below singing a new “jock shout” for Shotgun.  The Johnny Mann Singers cut all the jingles for The Big 8,  and if you close your eyes, I bet you can hear them singing “CKLW Motown Sound!”, “Million Dollar Weekend!”, or “The Motor City”.



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Aug 27th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Born To Run 40 Years On

Bruce Born to Run AdBy Bob Berry

“We were considered not a success at that particular moment, and so ‘Born to Run’ was pretty critical…”. Bruce Springsteen.

An awful lot of what we do at Keener is about the station and the music we loved, and the times we lived. So this blog might seem out of the norm.

But as I thought about the 40th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run album, I realized it absolutely is part of what is the Keener legacy.

Young guy trying to break out, follow his dream, make it to the top?  Of course the Keener would have supported Bruce and The E Street Band, just like The Shy Guys, SRC, The Rationals, Bob Seger and the rest. Hey! Scotty and Uncle Russ would have lead the charge!

So with that in mind, take a moment to read this never-published interview by Rolling Stone Magazine from 2005. Bruce talks about the need to have a hit, the tensions it created, and above all, the songs that ended up on one of the great albums of all time. Not just the title song, but live performance staples like “Badlands”, “Thunder Road” and “10th Avenue Freeze-out”.

August 25, 1975. 8 songs, 35 minutes of music. 40 years later, it’s still amazing rock and roll.

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Aug 26th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Straight Outta Flat Rock: Shelby Mustang GT350/GT350R

635756845483135858-082015-tm-Mustang228By Bob Berry

One thing for sure. If you read the Keener blogs regularly, you know I have a major fascination for cars, hot cars.

From hotties by Chevy and Dodge, to Dream Cruise faves and even Roger Penske’s Indy Pace Cars; if there’s a sweet ride out there, it’s bound to catch my eye, and become part of the Keener blog.

And today’s entry should give us all an extra sense of Pride in “The D”. This past Thursday, Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, the home of the Mustang, rolled the first 2015 Shelby GT350 and GT350R’s off the line. Looks cool, sounds cool, is cool. And only 2015 100 GT350s and 37 GT350Rs will be built, so if you’re looking for a Mustang with a V-8, 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, you better hurry!

And I better hurry and win the lottery. A big rollover lottery!


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Aug 25th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener