KCCK Big Mo Blues Show Brings Back Memories

Last night on the KCCK Big Mo Blues Show I listened to something I haven’t heard since the mid-1970s. It was a radio commercial for the Green Beetle and Frank’s Liquor Store. It ran right after the song, “Memphis Women and Fried Chicken.”

I think I first heard this radio ad while I was a student at Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in Austin, Texas in the mid-1970s.

I heard it early on in the evening in my sweltering college dorm room. Later on, I heard a stirring rendition of the opening song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” for another radio program, the name of which I can’t recall. I don’t know who sang it, but her voice was breathtaking. I have not heard a better version of it since.

The contrast between the “Old Crow Boogie” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was striking. No matter what race, culture, gender we are, we struggle to reconcile these opposites.

Jazzed Up Mr. Grinch for the Big Arctic Blast

I heard this last Friday KCCK on ‘da Friday Blues with John Heim aka Big Mo, believe it or not. So it’s a little late, but I had trouble finding it. Stay warm!

Big Mo Blues Show KCCK Iowa City

This song is by Iowa’s own Kevin Burt. I heard it on the KCCK Big Mo Blues Show. I don’t know anything about music, but “Smack Dab in the Middle strikes me as being about dichotomies, which can be reduced to the old saying, being between a rock and a hard place or being neither fish nor fowl.

But it can be about not wanting to make a choice, or feeling like both sides of a person or issue are important.

I think the lyric “went down to the crossroads” in the lyrics might be an allusion to Robert Johnson, who went to the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar playing gift.

Big Mo Blues Show KCCK Iowa City

Two songs I heard tonight on the Big Mo Blues Show on KCCK 88.3 radio out of Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, and I can’t pick the best one. One is new, by John Primer, “Hard Times,” out in 2022 and speaks to how hard times are right now.

The other is old, by B.B. King, from 1971 and speaks to how hard times could be back then.

The Friday Night Big Mo Blues Show

I heard this on ‘da Friday Night Blues on KCCK 88.3 earlier. I took guitar lessons when I was a kid. I was real good at buzzing the strings. Not everybody can make the audience clap their hands to their ears and howl in pain. It’s a rare talent-thank goodness. You’re welcome.

I heard Iowa Blues legend Kevin B.F. Burt tonight. I’ll never be able to prove it, but I think he was D.J. for KCCK Friday Blues Show for a short time in the distant past. I’m pretty sure I listened to him. I can’t find that in his interviews anywhere, not even in the biggest one I could find. Sena saw him and his wife at an optometrist clinic a few years ago. He was trying to pick up a pair of eyeglasses. He was in a big hurry and kept saying he had to get to his gig. Sena even spoke to him, asking him if he was Kevin Burt. He very kindly confirmed it-but he was still in a hurry.

KCCK Hand-Battered Catfish Lore

I listen to the KCCK radio station (88.3) Big Mo Blues Show on most Friday nights and the host is John Heim, aka Big Mo. He always mentions a sponsor he calls May Reese hand-battered catfish. There are a couple of slogans which make it sound real.

“It’s better because it’s battered!”

“It’s packed with nitrates!”

“Coming soon to a river near you!”

Nobody but Big Mo ever advertises it and I’m not even sure I’m spelling “May Reese” correctly. In fact, I doubt there is such a person. But it’s fun to listen to Big Mo talk about May Reese’s hand-battered catfish.

Sena bought some breaded catfish nuggets from Hy-Vee, which is about as close to May Reese as we’re likely to get. They’re IQF, which means Individually Quick Frozen. Sena’s just slightly dubious about trying them. But she’s going to cook them, just because Big Mo talks about hand-battered catfish (better because it’s battered!”) and it’s mainly because I get a kick out of the legendary May Reese.

We can’t remember ever eating catfish.  When I was a kid, I used to fish for bullhead, which are in the same family as catfish. In fact, they are sometimes called bullhead catfish, which I didn’t even know until today when I looked it up on the web.

I fished for them in a creek in East Park in Mason City where I grew up. I would catch them and throw them back. They were almost always small and sometimes one would manage to squirm enough to sting me with the very sharp spine on its fins.

I never brought bullhead home because Mom made it abundantly clear she would never clean them.

I doubt Sena would ever cook hand-battered bullhead, even if you could find them IQF in the grocery store.

I’m not sure if bullhead would be “packed with nitrates” and I don’t think May Reese would hand batter them—unless she used a baseball bat.

Big Mo Blues Show on KCCK

I heard Riveria Paradise by Stevie Ray Vaughn a few minutes ago on the Big Mo Blues Show on KCCK 88.3 radio. I think I may have this CD somewhere in the house. Big Mo really appreciates virtuoso guitar players like SRV. That’s because Big Mo is a guitar player himself.

Another thing Big Mo mentions every Friday night are the show’s sponsors. One is a place I never heard of. He says the name and it sounds like “May Rees (Reese?) hand battered catfish; it’s better because it’s battered.”

I can’t find it anywhere. I’m beginning to think it’s a Big Mo joke. It’s similar to another thing he says every Friday night: “It’s Big Mo with your blue prophylactic, protecting you from the demon seeds of life.”

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