John Kessler

All Blues Host

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KPLU since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KPLU “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.

His most memorable and satisfying KPLU radio moment was getting an email from Jimmy Lane, a bluesman and the son of blues legend Jimmy Rogers, who said something like “You’re playing the good stuff, keep it up!”

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu August 9, 2012

A Nice Hawaiian Punch of Songs

Watch the episode in glorious video here:

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Blues Time Machine
5:00 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Tracking the 'Big Road Blues' and a soul sold at the crossroads

The only known image of Tommy Johnson

Tommy Johnson’s songs may not be very well known, but he was a hugely influential blues player and also may be the source of one of the most enduring legends of the blues – the Devil and the Crossroads.

While this legend is sometimes associated with Robert Johnson (no relation), it was Tommy Johnson who first cultivated a story about himself that he met the devil at a crossroads, and sold his soul in exchange for his musical ability.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Dialing up our favorite telephone songs

 Somehow we got along fine before there were cell phones. You couldn’t call as your plane was taxiing to the gate, couldn’t call for help when the car broke down, and couldn’t call ahead when visiting friends. We were often late, had to ask strangers for help, and dropped in on folks without warning. It was kinda nice, actually.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu July 26, 2012

It’s all about me - songs that brag and boast

Hey kids! It’s the latest thing…radio with pictures! Now Record Bin Roulette has visuals to accompany the sound! Thanks to our intrepid intern Katy, who came up with this new way to enjoy the show. Check it out!

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Monkeying around with pop songs

We actually have a lot in common with Monkeys, Chimpanzees and Apes. Seems we share 96 percent of the same DNA. But it also turns out that we share 50% of the same DNA as a banana, which actually may explain why we all like them so much.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Tour de France Inspires Pop Music Gold

The Tour de France is the world’s epic bicycle race, a grueling 2,000 mile ride that takes 3 weeks.  It’s arguably the most demanding athletic event, said the New York Times, comparing it to running a marathon several days a week for three weeks. With the 99th Tour underway right now, we salute the humble velocipede and their sore-bottomed riders.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:03 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Pop songs brave the elements

The chemical elements are the building blocks of life, including many a pop tune. Since we skipped chemistry in high school, most of our science education came from this song which conveniently names all of the elements. This tongue-twisting footage is an amazing live performance by Tom Lehrer:

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Pumping Out Cold and Hot Blooded Hits

That red stuff pumping through our bodies has inspired more than a few hit songs.

Some border on the grisly—Nervous Norvous reached the charts in 1956 with the grisly “Transfusion”. With lyrics like “Slip the blood to me, Bud” and “Pump the juice to me, Bruce”, it was considered offensive to many, and banned from some radio stations. But it also gave famed radio DJ Dr. Demento his name. After Barrett Hansen played “Transfusion” on the radio, people said he had to be ‘demented.’ He was, and the name stuck.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu June 21, 2012

No more pencils, no more books

School's Out!
ChrisM70 Flickr

It all began in 1635 in Boston—the nation’s first public school, the Boston Latin School. There were only 9 students enrolled back then, but they had the distinction of enjoying the very first summer vacation. That got us thinking about school-day songs, and we found that there are more songs about the end of school than about school itself.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Singing about good dads and funky fathers

This week we honor our Dads with a kaleidoscope of music videos. Starting on the sentimental side, here’s former Mouseketeer Paul Peterson singing, without a trace of irony, scorn or contempt, a ballad called “My Dad”:

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Here comes the bride songs

The great scholar Dave Barry wrote, “Marriage is very much like a birthday candle, in that 'the flames of passion burn brightest when the wick of intimacy is first ignited by the disposable butane lighter of physical attraction, but sooner or later the heat of familiarity causes the wax of boredom to drip all over the vanilla frosting of novelty and the shredded coconut of romance.”

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Rocket science inspired by Rock Music

NASA

Space flight is finally becoming a reality for non-astronauts. Very, very rich non-astronauts. For a couple hundred grand, you can reserve a seat on Virgin Galactic, which is planning trips to space and beyond. Your fellow passengers might include Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie and Stephen Hawking, all of whom have already reserved window seats.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
1:15 pm
Sat May 26, 2012

Blues singer Janiva Magness takes the next step

Blues powerhouse, Janiva Magness, performing in the KPLU Seattle studios on May 15, 2012.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Blues singer Janiva Magness just released a new CD, Stronger For It, and was recently in town performing at Jazz Alley. She and her 4-piece band visited KPLU’s Seattle Studio and performed 4 songs from the new CD. It’s her 9th release, but the first to feature songs written by her.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Boogie Woogie and Battle Hymns for Memorial Day

Jason A. Samfield

Memorial Day originated after the Civil War, and commemorates soldiers fallen in battle. Record Bin Roulette salutes with song and video.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Musical feuds help album sales

uwdigitalcollections

Musicians generally get along with each other, but when their disagreements happen in public, things get interesting.

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