Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Here are the sixteen Top Ten hits of 1960 made famous and broken nationwide by station XBAK in sunny Lompoc, California, one-time home of H. R. Haldeman, and nearby to Surf Beach which was featured in the much lauded 1959 documentary film Surf Safari. XBAK’s original disc jockey Fats Terminal began at the station sometime in the 1950s but later gave up his spot to other record spinners such as Irving Snurd and Melvin “Kukai” Cowsnofski after he became station manager. Mr. Cowsnofski originally hailed from Smackover, Arkansas where he became enamored of the rockabilly stylings so prevalent at the time and which influenced his programming of some of the great hits purveyed by XBAK under his song selecting genius as evidenced by our new series of selections presented here on Blues All Kinds. We feel tremendously honored to be able to present this Wonderful top ten representing all modes and genres of American popular music from the very beginning of that eventful decade known in the present day as The Sixties. After listening to these dozen records you will easily understand how this period became better known as “the swinging sixties.” And it all started right here, or there, in Lompoc, California, in a little town in 1960. “Sixteen Reasons” indeed. 
—Irving Snurd, disc jockey emeritus, radio station XBAK, Lompoc, CA    

For our first selection we have chosen Ray Charles’ early ABC single of “Worried Life Blues.” Ray plays Big Maceo and his producer Sid Feller plays the fool; still and all, if you can get through the first minute with Uncle Sid, you’ll probably enjoy Ray’s faithful take on “Worried Life Blues” right down to his quoting Maceo’s aside, “Naw, boy, I ain’t gonna worry my life no more.” And then Fathead’s sax comes in. . . .

Ray Charles & His Orchestra • Worried Life Blues • 1960

Ray Charles, vocals/electric piano; David Newman, alto saxophone (solo); Edgar Willis, bass; Milton Turner, drums; 
Sid Feller, spoken vocal intro. New York City, 27 April 1960

Find “Worried Life Blues” on the Ray Charles collection Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles.

Photo: Nicky & The Khrushchevs play “Jimmy Crack Corn” at the Iowa State Fair in September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

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