Mt. Vernon Register-News


February 19, 2011

Musically Speaking: Clearing the desktop of a few notes

MT. VERNON — Although I didn’t stay all afternoon, I saw part of the jam at Genkota last Sunday.

The Saturday death of my friend Steve Harrison was very much on my mind, since I knew that I would be writing a column about him for Monday’s edition of the Register-News.

Once again, thank you for the nice e-mails about that piece. Steve was a good man. He deserved every word.

But with it being such a nice day, I decided to go and hear the players. I needed cheering up.

Steve Mandrell, Jeff Bradley, Shane Emrich, Terry Owens, Larry Barringer, John Metcalf, Dave Simmons, Freezeman (Scotty Qualk), Boo Fleener, Shawn Fleener and Brent Hahn joined Del (Hack Harbor) Herbert in his weekly musical getaway.

Have you ever heard a five-guitar army before? How about with a banjo? And a conga?

I was so glad to see John Howard come out to the winery on such a nice day. John was a friend of my family even before my time. Many of you will recall that John spent many years at Security Bank & Trust in beautiful downtown Mt. Vernon.

I was brought up to know that Security Bank meant J. Marvin Powers and John Howard. End of story.

Boo Fleener told me that the Pumphouse Monster will have two shows tonight at the Granada Theater in downtown Mt. Vernon. He said that each show will be different, as the band as been working on a lot of new material.

So has Moonbeam Lane, who performed at the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsman’s Club last Saturday evening. John Metcalf told me that the band introduced 14 new additions to their already formidable song-list.

On this Sunday’s radio program, you the valued listener will be transported back in time 25-30 years on a slightly different Musically Speaking show.

I will be talking with Gerald Mayo and Jim “Bootie” Dodson of Mt. Vernon and Rick Wallace of St. Louis. I worked with Gerald and Rick at WMIX here in Mt. Vernon in the early to mid 1980s. Bootie was there to give the perspective of a listener back in the day.

We really had a good time recording that show last Saturday at Gerald’s dining room table.

I think that what struck me most was the simple fact that the interaction between us was just as it was when we were all much younger. We hadn’t missed a beat.

We recalled some of our favorite stories from that period of time. We reminded each other of our individual inadequecies in our own humorous ways. And we recalled others we worked with.

Like Tom Sheldon. Tom passed away in 2008 after 30 years in the broadcasting biz, with almost all of that time spent right here in the King City.

We managed to come up with some air-check recordings from the period, such as Rick with Brad McClay, calling a Mt. Vernon Rams game in the Class AA tournament. Or how about Gerald and Tom with Dan Michael at a remote broadcast.

And then there was the Washington County Report from Oct. 18, 1984. The interaction between Tom and Brad Meyer still makes for compelling radio over 26 years later.

That same piece of audio is also a prime example of the shenanigans that some of us may (or may not) have participated in at the time.

Bootie also talks about sharing a birthday with Tom and the ensuing on-air hi-jinks that developed from that.

I feel so fortunate to have had those experiences that we talked about on the show. And I feel even more strongly about having had them here in the King City.


But, I still hate automation! It killed live radio.

Don’t forget to check out:

Enjoy this weeks radio show and please be careful out there.

Don’t drink and drive or text and drive.

The Illinois State Police are counting on it.

  • Jack Clark is the host of Musically Speaking, a local radio program heard Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. on 102.1 WIBV.

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