Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 23 (August 8, 2021): California Artists

Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 23 (August 8, 2021): California Artists

This Week’s Theme: Artists from California

This week’s theme is a super theme because all of the songs have one thing in common. They are recorded by artists who were either born in or began their career in California. No matter the genre, CA can claim ownership of many of the most important artists throughout the last 100 years of music. With such a spoil of riches, it was easy to find music to use. The hard part was whittling it down to just these songs.

WARNING: This week’s show is not a list of the best CA artists, most important CA artists, most influential CA artists, or best songs about CA. There are no songs by The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, Metallica, Motley Crue, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, or Snoop Dogg. I know that “LA Woman” by The Doors and “Hotel California” by The Eagles are obvious choices, but you won’t find them here, any time of year.

Welcome to Radio Faux Show number twenty-three.

First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.


Amazon Music

This week’s show is dedicated to long time listener, first time caller Faux Friend West.

This Week’s Artists and Hometowns

  • Herb Alpert Los Angeles
  • Bad Religion Los Angeles
  • Beck Los Angeles
  • Blackalicious Sacramento
  • Dave Brubeck Concord
  • The Carpenters Downey
  • Don Cherry Los Angeles
  • Ornette Coleman Los Angeles
  • Cypress Hill South Gate
  • Descendents Manhattan Beach
  • Fishbone Los Angeles
  • Fitz and the Tantrums Los Angeles
  • Grandaddy Modesto
  • Sammy Hagar Salinas
  • Merle Haggard and the Strangers Oildale/Bakersfield
  • Chico Hamilton Los Angeles
  • Journey San Francisco
  • Jimmy Liggins San Diego
  • Charles Lloyd Los Angeles
  • Julie London Santa Rosa
  • Los Lobos East Los Angeles
  • The Mamas and The Papas Los Angeles
  • Jimmy McCracklin Richmond
  • Minutemen San Pedro
  • Missing Persons Los Angeles
  • Roger Nixon Modesto
  • Johnny Otis Vallejo
  • Buck Owens and his Buckaroos Bakersfield
  • The Pharcyde South Central Los Angeles
  • Queens of the Stone Age Palm Desert
  • Sly and the Family Stone San Francisco
  • Sparks Pacific Palisades
  • Steel Breeze Sacramento
  • Tower of Power Oakland

Created in California: The Bakersfield Sound

There are too many subgenres of music created in California to list them all here. Just to name a few, there’s West Coast Jazz, Haight-Ashbury in the ’60s, Laurel Canyon in the early ’70s, West Coast Hardcore, Thrash Metal, Hair Metal, West Coast Rap, and on and on. So instead of going down that (white) rabbit hole, let’s focus on one in particular.

The Bakersfield Sound was created in Bakersfield, CA in the 1950s by musicians performing in local bars and television stations. It is a form of country music that incorporates rock and roll much more than other country music and was a direct reaction to the more slickly produced country music coming out of Nashville (The Nashville Sound). By far the most successful Bakersfield artists were Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Listening to it now, you may not think the music from Bakersfield sounds much different than any other classic country music, but in the 1960s this sound changed country music and controlled the Country Hit Singles charts for years.

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos

Buck Owens was born in Texas, but as a young truck driver he fell in love with Bakersfield and moved his family there in 1951. He quickly became a key member of the local music industry and by the ’60s he was one of the most popular artists in country music. With his band The Buckaroos, he shaped the Bakersfield Sound in his image and is the main reason that it ever progressed beyond its birthplace. Nowadays, if anyone remembers Buck Owens it is as the costar of Hee Haw (he’s the one who played the guitar and said “I’m a pickin”), but the music he made in the ’60s is his true legacy.

A complete episode of The Buck Owens Show
I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinnin’

Merle Haggard

Although he started later than Buck Owens, the most famous Bakersfield artist is Merle Haggard. He was born just a few miles outside of Bakersfield, and until he was in his early 20s his life was a string of family and personal troubles. But during his early years he heard enough of the music going on in the local scene to become one of its most successful creators. Along with his band The Strangers, Merle Haggard became one of the most popular country artists by the end of the ’60s. Similar to Buck Owens, he is now known for things he did after the ’60s, especially his membership in the Outlaw movement of country music in the ’70s. But the music he made in Bakersfield shaped the sound of the Outlaws and country music for years to come.

“Mama Tried” live
Merle Haggard the impressionist

Artist of the Week: Johnny Otis

Johnny Otis is called The Godfather of Rhythm and Blues. His influence on the early days of R&B was vast and the artists he discovered is a who’s who list of seminal rock and roll musicians. He was a drummer and bandleader in the ’40s and was a main contributor to the early R&B sound that morphed into rock and roll in the ’50s. He hosted a local LA television show and was a popular deejay in the ’50s, both of which further contributed to the evolution of R&B into the rock and roll sound that ruled the airwaves after Elvis Presley. He was also the father of soul artist Shuggie Otis, who wrote the classic ’70s song “Strawberry Letter 23.”

A list of artists Otis either discovered or added to his band includes Wynonie Harris, Charles Brown, Illinois Jacquet, Little Esther, The Robins (who became The Coasters), Big Jay McNeely, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Ace, Little Willie John, Jackie Wilson, and Hank Ballard. Wow!

A complete episode of The Johnny Otis Show.
Otis plays drums with Lionel Hampton!
Otis performs his hit “Willie and the Hand Jive.”
His Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll

Jimmy McCracklin “The Walk”: Jimmy McCracklin was one of the first jump blues artists in the late ’40s and early ’50s. He is best known for this song, a Top 10 hit on both the R&B and Pop charts.

Johnny Otis “Little Red Hen”: Otis is the Artist of the Week. This song features Red Lyte on vocals and Big Jay McNeely on sax.

Jimmy Liggins and His Drops of Joy “Cadillac Boogie”: Jimmy Liggins was a lesser know R&B artist in the late ’40s and early ’50s. He is the brother of one of the original rock and roll innovators, Joe Liggins, who had success with his band The Honeydrippers in the ’40s and ’50s. This song is a precursor to Jackie Brenston’s early rock and roll classic Rocket 88.

3 Chunks of Funk

Fishbone “Everyday Sunshine”: Fishbone is a household favorite and this is one of Ms. Faux’s favorite songs by the band. It is from the 1991 album The Reality of My Surroundings. If you missed Fishbone in their prime, now is as good a time as any to discover their amazing combo of funk, soul, rock, and ska. Everybody start bouncing!

Classic video from 1988.
Fishbone are still going strong. Here’s another classic track, “Housework,” live in 2018. This is Ms. Faux’s actual fave Fishbone song.

Sly and the Family Stone “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”: One of the greatest funk bass lines ever recorded. Thank you Larry Graham!

Tower of Power “I Got the Chop”: This is THE house funk band at the Faux home. This track is from their 1974 album Back to Oakland. This song is a deep cut album filler near the end of side 2, but it is still a great funk track. David Garabaldi, as usual, lays down a deep drum groove and the horns are all over it.

The classic funk track “What Is Hip” live in 1973.

The Get Down

Blackalicious “Alphabet Aerobics”: Blackalicious were a rap duo known for rapper Gift of Gab’s linguistic dexterity. I’ve always liked their minimal style and sense of humor. This is from their 1999 album Nia. RIP Tim Parker (Gift of Gab) who died in 2020.

This rap by Harry Potter with The Roots brought Blackalicious back into the popular consciousness and led to them producing a fourth album ten years after their third was released.
Here’s the other classic song from The Pharcyde.

The Pharcyde “Passin’ Me By”: This is the classic hip hop track from The Pharcyde’s 1993 debut Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. It is a great example of the new school of rap in the early ’90s.

Cypress Hill “I Wanna Get High”: At the time of its release, Cypress Hill’s second album, Black Sunday, was one of the best selling rap albums of all time. Nowadays, rap is a household genre and arguably the most popular form of music in the world. But in 1993, Cypress Hill’s first two albums were an explosion of the genre into mainstream popular music. These albums were released around the same time that Soundscan became the method for determining chart success, and these albums are the blueprint for how that changed the way we look at popular music today. This band’s success didn’t last as long as many who came after them, but for a brief period Cypress Hill changed the world.

Insane in the membrane.

Happy Birthday (August 1)

Roger Nixon “California Jubilee”: Roger Nixon composed pieces for orchestra, band, choir, and opera. Many of his more than 60 compositions focused on the West Coast.

Dustin Hoffman: Dustin Hoffman is obviously not a music artist but today is his birthday, he was born in Los Angeles, and one of the films most associated with him has one of the most identifiable soundtracks in Hollywood history. The Graduate was set in Pasadena, CA and features a soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel. This version of “Mrs. Robinson” is an incidental version from the movie’s score.

Larry Wilcox: Larry Wilcox is also not a music artist but today is his birthday, he was born in San Diego, and he was the co-star of one of the TV shows most identified with CA, CHiPs. This version of the “CHiPs Theme” is not the original, but Peter Seymour does a nice job.

Faux Junior Recommends

Here are three artists from California who are currently in heavy rotation in Faux Junior’s bedroom, selected specially by Faux Junior for this week’s show.

Sparks Beat the Clock”: The new Sparks Brothers documentary is out so what better time to add some Sparks to your life? This is one of Faux Junior’s favorite Sparks songs.

Trailer for the new Edgar Wright documentary
My favorite Sparks song

Grandaddy “Summer Here Kids”: Grandaddy are an oft-overlooked indie band who have been around since the early ’90s. Although they never made it quite as big as The Flaming Lips (the band I think they most resemble) every album in their brief discography is worth a listen.

“Now It’s On” from their third album

Ornette Coleman (featuring Don Cherry on trumpet) “Eventuallly”: Ornette Coleman is known as the founder of free jazz, a term that makes people think of squonks, bleeps, plinks, and crashes. Hopefully you will listen to this and see that free jazz is not as difficult as you think. This is from the classic album The Shape of Jazz to Come, featuring Charlie Haden on bass, Billy Higgins on drums, and Don Cherry on trumpet.

Rare live footage of Coleman’s 1978 group featuring James Blood Ulmer on guitar. You might find this one a bit more difficult to listen to.

A Little Jazz

Ornette Coleman “Eventually”: From his third album, The Shape of Jazz to Come

Chico Hamilton (featuring Charles Lloyd) Love Song to a Baby”: This is from Chico Hamilton’s album Man From Two Worlds. It features Charles Lloyd, Hamilton’s musical director at the time, on sax and flute and Gabor Szabo on guitar.

Dave Brubeck Quartet “Far More Blue”: Jazz doesn’t get any cooler than Dave Brubeck. This is about as California as jazz can be.

“Take Five” (composed by Paul Desmond) live in 1964


Too many to list here, but I’ll mention two that don’t get a mention anywhere else.

The Mamas and The Papas “California Dreamin'”: We’ll let this song stand in for the hundreds of great CA artists and songs from the ’60s who didn’t make this week’s show.

Julie London “Cry Me a River”: One of the most famous torch songs ever recorded.


Los Lobos “Los Chucos Suaves” and “Jamaica Say You Will”: This is brand new music from one of Ms. Faux’s favorites. Los Lobos just released an album of covers – all songs by California artists. “Los Chucos Suaves” is a song by the father of chicano music, Lalo Guerrero. “Jamaica Say You Will” is from Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut.

2 for “Two”day

Los Lobos: Two songs from their new album.

Journey: They are my favorite CA rock band, I will not lie. I’ve included “Only the Young”, a single from 1985, and “Lights”, the first song that Neal Schon and Steve Perry wrote together. I’m not from San Francisco, but I would imagine that “Lights” is considered by many locals to be their theme song.

Records from the Stacks

I dug into my old stacks and pulled out two classics from CA artists. They also go well together, as Herb Alpert is the “A” in “A&M” Records, and they are the label that took a chance and signed The Carpenters. I think it paid off.

The Carpenters “Superstar”: One of several big hits from The Carpenter’s self-titled third album. This record and Carole King’s Tapestry set the stage for the soft rock of the early ’70s to take over the airwaves.

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass “Brasilia”: One of Herb Alpert’s many albums from his Tijuana Brass releases in the ’60s. Nothing special about this song, but it is a good example of what made him famous.

21st Century Masters

Beck Lost Cause”: This is one of many great songs from Beck’s beautiful 2002 album Sea Change

Fitz and the Tantrums Moneygrabber”: This is from Fitz and the Tantrums’ debut Pickin’ Up The Pieces. A great retro soul song from one of the best albums of 2010.

Queens of the Stone Age “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire”: Dave Grohl joined the fun on drums to help make this third album by the Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf.

3 Chunks of Punk

Bad Religion “You”: Bad Religion started out as one of a thousand teenage punk/hardcore bands in LA in the early ’80s. Like many hardcore bands of their time, a variety of problems led to a breakup of the band by the mid-80s. Unlike most of their contemporaries, they reformed as a more mature post-punk version of their teenage selves and in 1988 they began a string of new releases that have continued up through the current time. “You” is from their 1989 album No Control.

Minutemen History Lesson, Part 2″: This song is from one of the best albums ever recorded, Double Nickels on the Dime. The saddest day in the history of hardcore/indie music is the day that vocalist/guitarist D. Boon died tragically in a van accident (12/22/85).

A fantastic documentary about a fantastic band

Descendents “Hope”: The Descendents are one of the original CA punk bands. This song is from their debut album Milo Goes to College.

Special Mini-Theme Combo: I Want My MTV/Spending My Allowance

I Want My MTV

Sammy Hagar “I Can’t Drive 55”: Right before he joined Eddie Van Halen to form Van Hagar, Sammy Hagar had a memorable MTV hit with this song.

Missing Persons “Words”: One of the most memorable of the early ’80s new wave acts to get tons of air time on MTV. Unbelievably, Missing Persons never scored a Top 40 hit, but this song should have done so.

Journey Only the Young”: In between their massive hit album Frontiers and the long-awaited but disappointing Raised on Radio, Journey put out this single from the soundtrack to Vision Quest.

Journey “Only the Young”: I loved this at the time, just like I loved the Steve Perry solo album Street Talk. But in retrospect, we fans all knew that Journey’s run of great music was over by the time we listened to the second side of Frontiers.

Sammy Hagar “I Can’t Drive 55”: I think this song holds up against anything Van Hagar released.

Steel Breeze “You Don’t Want Me Anymore”: This song peaked at #16, but at the time it was #1 in my heart. I played the crap out of this one back in 1982.

Honorary Mention: Metal

I didn’t add a single metal song to this week’s show, but next to the Psychedelic Music movement in ’60s San Francisco and West Coast Rap, one could easily argue that the most influential bands to come out of CA are metal bands. Here is a collection of some of the most obvious.

Thanks for listening (and reading)!

Track List

Track ArtistSong Title
1Musashino Academia Musicae Wind EnsembleCalifornia Jubilee
2The Mamas and the PapasCalifornia Dreamin’
3Merle Haggard and the StrangersMama Tried
4Buck Owens and his BuckaroosTrouble and Me
5Jimmy McCracklinThe Walk
6Johnny OtisLittle Red Hen
7Jimmy Liggins and his Drops of JoyCadillac Boogie
8FishboneEveryday Sunshine
9Sly and the Family StoneThank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
10Tower of PowerI Got the Chop
11BlackaliciousAlphabet Aerobics
12The PharcydePassin’ Me By
13Cypress HillI Wanna Get High
14Peter SeymourCHiPs Theme
15SparksBeat the Clock
16GrandaddySummer Here Kids
17Ornette ColemanEventually
18Chico HamiltonLove Song to a Baby
19Dave Brubeck QuartetFar More Blue
20Julie LondonCry Me a River
21The CarpentersSuperstar
22Herb Alpert and the Tijuana BrassBrasilia
23Los LobosLos Chucos Suaves
24Los LobosJamaica Say You Will
25Simon and GarfunkelMrs. Robinson (version 1)
26BeckLost Cause
27Fitz and the TantrumsMoneygrabber
28Queens of the Stone AgeYou Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire
29Bad ReligionYou
30MinutemenHistory Lesson, Part 2
32Sammy HagarI Can’t Drive 55
33Missing PersonsWords
34Steel BreezeYou Don’t Want Me Anymore
35JourneyOnly the Young

3 thoughts on “Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 23 (August 8, 2021): California Artists

  1. Like, #23 is a most excellent show, DeeJay Faux! And I’m honored that you dedicated it to this listener. You’ve taken the long-distance dedications to a whole new level. Master Kasem (RIP) taught you well.

    So many highlights this week and surprises, too! Loved seeing under-appreciated acts like the Pharcyde, Missing Persons, and “Motown’s” own Grandaddy making the playlist. And the Steel Breeze anecdote is a classic in itself! Bonus points for throwing in the “CHiPs Theme”! Dang, the memories–and those synths!!!

    Looking forward to next week’s show. And, again, way to represent the Golden State. We salute you!


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