There is a radio station in my town called, KGUD. Or, as it is intoned, with dramatic pauses in between, Kay-Good. Good. Very good.
I don’t listen to the radio as much as in the past. I can control the soundtrack of my individual movie to a remarkable degree. I can program my devices and make my playlists. That’s all well and good but, through that little box, how many wonders have I stumbled into in the past and what might I encounter now and in the future? I just might be missing something.
Summer Samba Walter Wanderley
KGUD is a city-sponsored, listener supported, station broadcasting from a serious-looking building next to the library. From what I can gather, it’s all on tape with a single resonant voice breaking in every three or four songs, reminding us of our goodness, the goodness of the music, and the goodness to be depended on at this particular position on the dial.
Stranger on the Shore Acker Bilk
A curious mix comes out of the speaker with no obvious organizing principle. If I weren’t driving my car or sitting on the edge of my bed before sleep, I’d think I was somewhere, lost in time, escalating to the second floor of a department store or wandering the aisles of a badly lit grocery store, accompanied by Muzak of an insistently positive nature.
There is watered-down Ferrante and Teicher, even watered-down Floyd Cramer. Odd and insipid interpretations of Beatles favorites. There is How Deep Is Your Love on panpipes. The rhythms are off, the strings are less than crisp. The arrangements are suspect for many reasons. As a palette cleanser, every eighth or ninth song is redeemingly classical in nature, often legitimately performed, though, sometimes, mangled by the magnetic pull of a Muzak aesthetic.
Last Date Floyd Cramer
The thing is that there is something wonderfully endearing about the whole experience. The KGUD sincerity is not in question. Forgotten melodies are unearthed from both the Top 40 and middle-of-the-road graveyards. There’s no doubt that the whole effect is calming, not to say soporific. But, somehow, it’s uplifting, despite its inane endlessness. It calls on and creates a nostalgia I didn’t know I had.
English Suite 3 in g minor Bach
One of the things I appreciate is that it is in such contrast with the expressive nature of the pickup trucks which roar back and forth just outside the studio doors. Another thing is the contrast between its pleasant sounds and the dire nature of the news, which seems to increase daily and which it avoids. There’s also the pounding bass line of Main Street, a block away, that pushes every other element into the corner.
Barquinho Walter Wanderley
It’s hard to counteract those kinds of declarations. Fortunately, it’s there for you, for me, twenty-four hours a day. KGUD. Your gentle companion in the background. Always reassuring. Always with good music. KGUD — music for the good land.