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Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy and Ray Skjelbred
According to the first anniversary program guide (Dec 1963) "Last June, Mike Duffy and Ray Skjelbred trudged up to the station with 3000 78's, indelible optimism, and a theme: "Jug Music." It was fun and went late into the night....."
That same guide lists on Dec 7, "Classic Jazz: Program 16 in the continuing series with Mike Duffy and Ray Skjelbred"
For the next 20 years Mike and Ray, sometimes Mike alone, or Ray alone, continued on KRAB until Mike's last show, "Vintage Jazz", on Apr 15, 1984 (KRAB's last day). They played in a band, The Great Excelsior Jazz Band, and frequently performed at KRAB events such as "The Great Carpet Sweep" (Seattle's first light show held in Kirkland Nov 1966) and "The Richard AC Greene Warren G Harding Memorial Rally for Land Commissioner" (Nov 1968).
In Aug of 1968 it was announced that “Due to the passing of Ray Skjelbred into the Golden Gate of San Francisco, Mike Duffy goes it alone with his famous fractious fingerin'.” Eventually Ray returned to Seattle, and still performs regularly around town. To find out what he’s up to, check out the calendar on his web site.
Mike died in May 2015, and Ray wrote the following: "Mike Duffy was my friend for 55 years. He died Memorial Day weekend. He was a passionate musical listener and bass player and we stayed good friends all this time because he was also a deep person in many other ways. Mike and I shared an abiding involvement in literature, teaching, history, politics and, in general, a linking of cultural connections. Mike was my first friend in jazz, even before I began playing piano and I will miss him forever."
We miss him too, but hope he is out there playing that bass and thinking about doing another program.
Since writing the above, Ray Skjelbred has written Mike Duffy, A Reminiscence by Ray Skjelbred
Programs are listed below in chronological order.
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy: Alternate Takes - KRAB Jul 3, 1965
Mike Duffy compares alternate takes of recordings by Teagarden, Dodds,
Waller, Morton, etc
According to the tape box, this is program number 55.
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy: Alternate Takes - KRAB Jul 3, 1965 (62:09)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1118-1 and M1118-2
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy - Dedications and Requests - KRAB Oct 22, 1965
Program guide number 73 is still not to be found, so we do not know what was written in it, but after listening we have pieced together the following.
This show is a sort of collection of dedications and requests for listeners and KRAB types. At about 15:48, Mike plays a request from a "young fellow" named Bob West who, Mike tells us, really liked Kid Thomas Valentine and had adopted Thomas's nickname.
Ed note: This project is one rabbit hole after another, and the guy with the big ears keeps pointing to a pocket watch and mumbling about it getting late. I hadn't seen Clare Conrad since the mid-70's, but ran into her at Bob West's memorial in Nov 2016. Clare and Bob being close, I asked her about the Kid Thomas connection, and she wrote back:
Bob loved Kid Thomas and saw him a number of times in New Orleans. We went on a trip in late 77 and saw him play at Preservation Hall, where a small blackboard was posted:
Traditional Requests: $1.00
So someone requested Saints, and Kid Thomas refused to do it. KT was a wonderfully fiery and comic player.
Yes, Bob was listed as Kid West in the phone book into the 70's. This is vague, but his father may have had something to do with name and phonebook listing.
From the 1966 Seattle phone directory.
A little after this, Mike plays a favorite of Lorenzo's, McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters) with "Trouble in Mind".
Then James Brow gets his request, Baby Dodds Jazz Four with "Winin' Boy Blues".
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy - Dedications and Requests - KRAB Oct 22, 1965 (63:11)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1560
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy - Dead Cat on the Line - KRAB Nov 20, 1965
Music of Eddie Condon, Sidney Bichet, Washboard Sam, Dixieland Jazz Blowers and others.
Although "#1" is written on the tape label, this tape is most assuredly not the first Classic Jazz, and though the "first air date" on the tape label says Nov 19, 1965, Classic Jazz was scheduled for the 20th, not the 19th.
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy: Dead Cat on the Line - KRAB Nov 20, 1965 (62:09)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1101-1 and M1101-2
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy - KRAB Apr 16, 1966
Mike Duffy's Classic Jass Show.
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy - KRAB Apr 16, 1966 (62:09)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1111-1 and M1111-2
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy and Ray Skjelbred - KRAB Mar 18, 1967
[Guide number 109, in which are all the mysteries of Mar 11 to 24, 1967, is missing, so here is substituted the description from Feb 18, 1967.]
Classic Jazz - Mike Duffy and Ray Scabbread continue their investigation of 'joyhouse' musicians & their various social diseases.
In this episode, and we expect to find others, Mike is joined by Ray Skjelbred. Lorenzo insisted he couldn't puzzle out Ray's last name, so he freely improvised upon it when typing the guide.
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy and Ray Skjelbred - KRAB Mar 18, 1967 (79:03)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1122-1 and M1122-2
Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy and Bob West - KRAB Jun 11, 1970
Mike and Bob playing 78's in a stuffy little room. All we have is about 38 minutes of a program scheduled for an hour and a quarter.
Listen now - Classic Jazz with Mike Duffy and Bob West - KRAB Jun 11, 1970 (37:58)
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M1123-2
Vintage Jazz with Mike Duffy - Apr 15, 1984
Here, from KRAB’s last day, and what proved to be Mike's last radio show, is an excerpt of Mike Duffy’s “Vintage Jazz”.
Listen now - Vintage Jazz with Mike Duffy - Apr 15, 1984 (50:57)
Off-the-air recording courtesy Paul Dorpat
If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email email@example.com
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