Saturday, January 18, 2020

Listening to Radio Interviews at the Library for the Performing Arts at NYPL

Last September there was a Tribute and Retrospective of Pete Fornatale at the Library for Performing Arts of NYPL.  It was announced that the archives of Pete Fornatale's interviews were donated to NYPL and would be available for the public.  Apparently, the staff who run the events were not aware that the recordings needed to be processed before they could be made available for public listening.  I kept in touch with the curators of the archives for a few months who advised me of the progress of their availability.  Today a curator was very helpful in setting up a terminal so that I could hear some of the recordings.  Let me describe what I heard.

I was especially interested in hearing the Roger McGuinn updates that were broadcast on WNEW-FM and K-Rock.

  • I first heard a recording from April 22, 1989, on WNEW-FM when Pete and Roger talked about Earth Day.  Roger, Peter Yarrow, Richie Havens, and others performed later that day at Exxon Plaza to support environmental preservation.  He also said that he was not pleased with the quality of the Byrds CDs that Columbia Records released.  Keep in mind that at that time CDs were new and record companies were transferring the music from analog to digital.
  • The next Roger McGuinn update that I heard was in 1990 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Byrds.  He talked about a benefit concert for Roy Orbison when Bob Dylan joined him in singing Mr. Tambourine Man.  At that time he signed a solo recording contract with Arista Records.
  • On October 4, 1992, Roger appeared with Pete on the Sunday Show heard on K-Rock.  He discussed his forthcoming appearance (October 16) at the 30th Anniversary concert for Bob Dylan later called the Bob Fest.  He also talked about his Back From Rio album released at that time.
  • The earliest Roger McGuinn update that I heard was from March 6, 1982, on WNEW-FM.  He had toured with former Byrd Chris Hillman at that time but decided to end that effort.  He had no plans to record at that time.  However, he was still performing and was scheduled to appear at My Father's Place on Long Island.  He talked about the Byrds' recording of Mr. Tambourinine Man that became a number 1 hit.  He played it in the studio.  Roger played acoustic versions of several songs on the 4 recordings that I list here.
I heard a brief interview with Pete of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that was broadcast on WFUV in 1966.  At that time Paul said that The Dangling Conversation was his favorite song.  Please keep in mind that it was 54 years ago when he said that.

I heard a recording from the 1980s of Pete's interview Cynthia Lennon as she discussed how she found out about John's death,

Finally, I heard two interviews (August 3, 1982, and February 11, 1990) with Al Kooper.  He talked about his relationship with Bob Dylan.  He played in Dylan's backup band at Newport, Forest Hills and the Hollywood Bowl in 1965.  He played on the New Morning album in 1970 but didn't hear from Dylan for several years after that.  In my opinion, Al Kooper is a remarkable musician who should have received more recognition.

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