Friday, March 04, 2022

A Stinch In Time Saves Music Minds

How the Stinch Stole Tuesdays on WKHS (90.5 FM)

WKHS volunteer DJ Charlie Stinchcomb

DJ Charlie Stinchcomb owns the airwaves on Tuesday nights when he spins records from 6-10 pm on WKHS (90.5 FM) at Kent County High School ("The Voice of the KCHS Trojans") in Worton, MD. That's when the volunteer jock hosts two must-listen shows dedicated to two very different music genres: Doo-Wop and psychedelic-tinged '60s Garage Rock.

  • "Voices In the Hallway" (Doo-Wop), 6-8 pm
  • "Psyched Out," (Psych-Garage), 8-10 pm




WKHS has been "serving the shore since '74" and Charlie has been spinning old R&B and "Doo-Wop" platters from his personal collection (over 6,000 LPs and 10,000 45s) there since 1992 on shows like "Voices from the Hallway" (originally co-hosted with Bucky Murphy) - not to mention his previous stints hosting "R&B Alley" on WYRE 810 AM and his long-running "oldies" show "The Time Machine" on WNAV 1430 AM in Annapolis. 


Charlie Stinchcomb tunes "The Time Machine" for WNAV 1430 AM


The retired Anne Arundel Health Department worker is one of the many talented volunteer jocks who take over the airwaves at the student-run station on nights and weekends because they not only know "Who put the Bomp in the Bomp" - they love the Bomp! (As well as the lama lama ding dong, the bop shoo bop & the dip da dip da dip!) Or, as Charlie says, "I love the music. You just have to have a passion for the music, and radio. I mean no one's getting rich doing this."

Charlie Stinchcomb in the WKHS studio

(The “music jones” must run in the Stinchcomb family bones, because Charlie’s vinyl junkie brother Bart operates Bart’s Records in Chestertown MD, as well!) 

Every Tuesday starting at 6 pm, Charlie Stinchcomb hosts “Voices in the Hallway," a two-hour block devoted to what is generally called "Doo-Wop" (though purists would probably prefer calling it "Group Vocal" or "Group R&B"), a fascinating genre that existed from the late 1940s up through the early 1960s and featured predominantly Black vocal harmony groups (typically two tenors, a baritone and a bass singer, often with alternating bass and falsetto tenor vocal solos) backed by minimal R&B instrumentation. (In fact, the term "doo-wop" wasn't ever used as a title during the genre's reign, making its first appearance in print in a 1961 review of The Marcels' "Blue Moon" - just as vocal harmony groups died out and groups with guitars took over the airwaves).

Whatever one calls it, the music from this period provided the roots of what would evolve into early Rock & Roll,  Jump Blues, Soul and the "Motown Sound." If you ever listened to Nay Nassar and Kenny Schreiber’s “Echoes of the Past” doo-wop show on WTMD back in the ‘90s (1990-2004), "Voices in the Hallway" is the heir apparent to that legendary show - and that's high praise indeed!

And now, Charlie is hosting the required-listening program "Psyched Out" on WKHS Tuesday nights 8-10 pm, when the "Voices In the Hallway" grab their guitars and head out to the garage. It's one one of the best psychedelic-garage rock shows out there, highlighting the rarest and choicest underground nuggets and psychedelic pebbles from the '60s and early '70s. If you read SHINDIG! or Mike Stax's UGLY THINGS, this is the auricular version of those mags, with vintage playlists Jon Savage and Little Steven would tip their hats (or bandana wraps) to. So chapeaus off to Charlie and his show that'll make ya flip your lid as you turn on and tune in!


Like Robbie White (left) and Weasel (right), Stinchcomb is a tenured professor at the Radio College of Knowledge


I get a musical education every time I tune in to Charlie's shows, for like WTMD 89.7 FM's Jonathan "Weasel" Gilbert (host of "Weasel's Wild Weekend" every Friday night 7-10 pm and Saturdays at 12-3 pm) and WOWD 94.3 FM's Robbie White (host of "Forbidden Alliance" every Sunday 9 am-12), his knowledge of his material is second to none. I admit I only have a superficial knowledge of psychedelic and garage rock gleaned from Lenny Kaye's Nuggets and similar compilation series, such as Pebbles and Back From the Grave. But Charlie digs deep into his massive collection, introducing listeners to lesser knowns purveyors of this genre, often creating mini-playlist sets for a featured artist. Case in point, he played five or six songs by The Blue Things on the very first show I heard. 


The Blue Things (RCA Victor, 1966)


The Blue Things, I learned, were a mid-'60s garage-rock band from Hays, Kansas. Originally called The Blue Boys, they changed their name to avoid legal issues with Jim Reeves' backing group of the same name and while Kansas may be flat, their psychedelic-tinged sound was anything but, mixing gritty garage-folk (Dylan's "Girl From the North Country") and freakbeat ("La Do Da Da" - not to be confused with Sting's "De Do Do Do, De Da da Da"!) with Dylan-inspired lyrics and Byrds-influenced guitars on tunes like "You Can Live In Our Tree" and "The Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind." The Blue Things blew my mind and, suffice to say, their lone '66 LP on RCA Victor is well worth seeking out!


Repeat As Necessary: Artist, Song, Label, Year


And, like a seasoned "Oldies" format jock, he always lists the artist, song, label and year released. (e.g., "That was the Pasternak Progress, 'Cotton Soul' on Original Sound, 1967"). I love this because it's short and sweet (a la Sgt. Joe "Just the Facts" Friday) and harkens back to the days when indie and regional labels ruled and singles platters mattered to fans, bands and collectors alike.


The Fallen Angels (Roulette, 1967)


Also, if you call in to the show or contact Charlie on his Facebook page, he will play your requests - though maybe not that minute (it's a lot of work to prepare for a request show, as he well knows from his days hosting the WNAV oldies show) - as I learned when he recently gave me a shout-out on-air and played a four-song set of tunes by The Fallen Angels,  a legendary Washington, D.C.-area band whose eponymous 1967 album can fetch anywhere from $50-$200 these days. I had previously contacted Charlie on Facebook after a patron at my workplace, the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, mentioned that her brother Rich "Spider" Kumer played drums in this band; the minute I mentioned them, he excitedly texted back "Yes, they had a minor hit with "Room At the Top"! I will try to incorporate them into a show." And true to his word, the very next week he not only played "Room At the Top" but also "Your Friends In Dunderville," "I Don't Want To Fall," and "No Way Out." (For more on the Fallen Angels, check out the fanzine Here 'Tis #9.)


Fallen Angels - "Room At the Top"


And the week before Charlie gave a shout-out to my friend Ariel, who had requested songs by Grapefruit, one of the first bands signed to the Beatles' Apple Records label in 1968 and a favorite of both Paul McCartney (who directed the promo film for  their song "Elevator") and John Lennon (who named the band after the art book by Yoko Ono). (Grapefruit's main songwriter was George Alexander - born Alexander Young - who was the brother of Easybeats rhythm guitarist George Young and AC/DC founders Angus Young and Malcolm Young.) Charlie responded with another mini-playlist set featuring not only their minor UK hit "Dear Delilah" (#21 UK charts) but also "Yes," "Elevator" and their Four Seasons' cover "C'mon Marianne." 


By request: A playlist slice of Grapefruit


Grapefruit's "Dear Delilah" single (RCA Victor, 1968)


There's not a whole lot of information about Stinchcomb on the internet, but according to a 2012 Capital Gazette feature about "Record Store Day," Charlie grew up in Annapolis and has been collecting records since he was a kid, buying 45s at the old Homewood Pharmacy (now Pinky's Liquors), the old Sears at Parole, and Cooks in Brooklyn Park. "If you wanted good soul or R&B, you got that stuff at Richman Drugs at the corner of West and West Washington streets," he told the Gazette. Better yet was the Jess Radio shop on Francis Street, where they had listening booths. "You could listen to both sides of the record to see if you liked it. And they were all under a buck."


Radio Free Worton: WKHS 90.5 FM


And what's better than a listening booth to check out music for free? Radio shows like "Voices From the Hallway" and "Psyched Out," every Tuesday night, from 6-10 pm! So tune in and let Charlie turn you on to some great sounds!

Stinchcomb Serendipity:

Charlie's first album purchase: The Buddy Holly Story (Coral, 1959)


Charlie’s all-time favorite vocal group: The Ravens (“They had a great falsetto and a phenomenal bass singer, so they covered both ends of the spectrum.”)


The Ravens: Featuring Jimmy Ricks (uptempo bass) & Maithe Marshall (soaring tenor)


Charlie’s vote for all-time most influential person in history of music: Ray Charles

The Music Man: Ray Charles

Partial "Psyched Out" Playlists:

Charlie doesn't post his playlists, so below are some music highlights (culled from the internet) of some bands played on recent programs.

"Psyched Out" Highlights (3-1-2022)

"Psyched Out" Highlights (2-22-22)

"Psyched Out" Highlights (2-8-22)

Related Links:

"The Faces of Annapolis Radio" (Capital Gazette, Jan. 2016)

A Few Minutes With Charlie Stinchcomb (WNAV News video, Dec. 2017)

"Record Store Day Trumpets Remaining Disc Shops" (Capital Gazette, April 2012)


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