The 50’s and 60’s music info
From time to time I will post info I find interesting concerning the Greats of the real Rock and Rollers
Happy Birthday Cusin’ Brucie
Cusin’ Brucie’s birthday is this month. He was 74 on Oct 13. I listened to his Saturday “Night Party” Request Show last night on Sirius-XM Channel 6. He is as good as ever and that smooth voice is as unique as ever as well. For those of you who have never heard of him I am re-posting the article I wrote when I interviewed him from Seattle back in 2006.
Published – Brownsville Herald 7/16/2006
I want to say a thank you to my “Cousin Brucie” that I should have said four decades ago.
We have just passed Memorial Day and Independence Day is just coming up. My thoughts went back to my friends that I served with in the Vietnam War and to the many that are still there. They also went to a few great people who, without a lot of hype did great things to be of service.
A little over forty years ago I was assigned to a Recon group and sailed aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk CVA 63 in the Tonkin Gulf. President Eisenhower and President Kennedy had felt the threat sufficient to send advisors and then troops. President Kennedy had been recently assassinated just prior to my first tour n Vietnam.
Our days were busy and hazardous and we were defending our homeland from the Communist threat. Most of the nation at the time believed that what we were doing was necessary.
In basic training the most popular songs were Detroit City the key lyrics being “I want to go home”, Blue Navy, Blue and My Boyfriend’s Back.
On the ship the worst thing was not the long hours, the risks in doing what you had to do; but waiting for your comrades to come back after an action, not knowing what happened.
During this time, minds wandered back home to our sweethearts and families, Was the sweetheart being true; was my sister hurt badly in the fender bender, or just a scratch like we were told?
Back home the radio shows, the music and the disk jockey doing request shows were important ways of communicating for us in our teens and early twenties.
I missed that a lot when I went off to war.
There was at one time a “radio station” on the Kitty Hawk but had not been used in quite some time. I found a few volunteers and then secured permission from the ship’s Captain to operate it again. We adopted the format of the day playing the current songs the day (that were begged or borrowed) interspersed with “advertising” of services or products available on the ship, at the bases or ports that we frequented.
This worked alright but something was missing –the Friday night dedication shows that we all listened to while watching the Submarine Races.
With a lot of hope and many prayers I wrote a letter to our “Cousin” in New York.
Bruce Morrow was known to all his millions of fans as “Cousin Brucie” and his unique smooth voice, was a big part of our lives, from his court at WABC am.
One letter from a few boys out in the Pacific was heard and in just a few weeks “Cousin Brucie” was doing a request show for the 4000 plus sailors and connecting us with home. It was a relatively unheralded act but it meant so much to all of us.
I decided that 40 years was long enough and decided to try to extend my thanks to this “really good guy.”
I finally tracked him down, a few days ago, in his office in New York, very much still with us and still very active.
From our conversation, I found him to be the warm caring and charming person that he seemed to be on his radio programs.
As we talked, this impression developed further into a patriotic and thoughtful person with deep passions for the music he was identified with and his “Cousins” around the world.
He mentioned that he welcomed the opportunity to bring a little of home to the troops fighting overseas and to extend the communication in the way only he could, with his recorded dedication shows that became his trademark. Our “Cousin Brucie” explained that from letters and calls he received early on that the service folks overseas were very lonely and hungry and he sought out ways to share his special talents in sending a little bit of home to the battlefield. His trademark request radio shows were exactly the right thing at the right time.
Not only did he do these shows for the 4000 plus folks on the Kitty Hawk he also sent recordings to individuals and smaller groups throughout the area.
When we approached discussing his feelings at the time, I could still sense some of the emotion there just under the surface. He explained that though he personally finds it difficult to support war, he felt that he needed to trust in the nation’s leaders, that the actions were required to protect the security of the Nation in the circumstances, as they existed then.
In another moment “Cousin Brucie” described an especially proud moment that took place some twenty five years after Vietnam, when he was appearing on the Broadway stage in the Musical Grease.
One of the audience got up and apologized for waiting 25 years to thank him for the gifts from home while he was serving in Vietnam, went up on stage and embraced Bruce in thanks. This brought the house down and I suspect, brought a little mist to some of even the most hardened hearts.
When we talked about the way the boys were treated when they returned, speaking through what I perceived as a quick flush of emotion, Mr. Morrow expressed his disappointment, embarrassment and anger at the utter lack of regard and respect for our brave men and women returning from doing their duty as they saw it. Especially, as many who even though they did not believe in the validity of the war, still did their very best and many gave everything they had to give.
Our “Cousin Brucie” is still with us on the Sirius Satellite Channel 6 “Wednesday with the Cuz” every Wednesday 5pm – 9m Eastern and the “Saturday night Party” 8pm – 12m Eastern. He also mentioned that he expects a new Rock and Roll Concert on PBS in the next few weeks. “Cousin Brucie” was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988 and a slew of other halls of fame as well over the years.
I again want to thank my “Cousin Brucie” for being there with a little warmth from home when I really needed it.