You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio

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If you are in any way interested in old school radio goodness; in strange extended stories told in deadpan, mesmerizing voice; in melding of sound design and story that leads you into a trance of mystery...then you must listen to some Joe Frank shows. I caught these amazing shows first, probably in the mid-eighties on public radio, and followed them for many years through many incarnations. This guy is a master storyteller, by equal turns bizarre, extremely emotional, hilarious, and outright weirdly delightful. Many of the shows have backdrops of sound that might be recognizable to fans of ambient and other outland musics. Indeed, I think this show is what broke me into the idea of drone and ambient music, before I even could conceive of what it truly was. Go to the website and sign up for the free samples, they are delightful...then plunge in deeper if you like what you hear and need to hear more:

There is nothing else like it on the air. An audio holiday for heart and soul.

Anybody out there checked out the Joe Frank?

I just found another resource for free online streaming of the show, or I guess if you live near University of Massachusetts Amherst you could listen to it on the radio, 'Strange Bedfellows' with Jeff Wagenheim: An hour of Joe Frank's surreal radio collage, followed by a real eye-opener; dharma and diatribe, poetry, and comedy, music from way out there and deep inside. Appears to be running Tuesday nights 10pm-12am (I believe that would be Eastern time):

Brian Bieniowski:
Joe's had a show on WFMU (the NJ freeform radio station) for years, and I think his stuff is incredible.  I don't know where he gets those musical backgrounds, but the mixture between those and his voice is totally out of this world.  Back in the old days it was all only available on cassette.  Got to check out his site to see if those ever made it to CD, because I'd buy the whole collection.

One time I heard him do a voiceover on a VH-1 documentary and it was weird to hear the "professional" Joe over the metaphysical priest of the airwaves side.

It's great to see another fan here! A very useful resource for finding those favorite old shows is the Joe Frank Wiki:

It lists a detailed description and also the source of the musical accompaniment. It was very intersting to see this aspect, as I remember very vividly the weird and wonderful drones and sounds. I was happy to see a lot of Eno (which I got into years after listening to Joe in the mid-eighties, and wondered why those magical drones clicked with me so much and sounded so nostalgically familiar) and even Jon Hassell (the show Cocktails Before Dinner features the album Power Spot). I agree that these drones mixed with his voice is otherworldy, trance-inducing...and of course hearing them again brings me back to the days of being 14, sitting in the kitchen late into the night, just being blown away by this weird stream of profundiy and absurdity coming out of the radio.

Looks like some new freebies have been posted at the Joe Frank website. If you are in the mood for some glorious psychedelic absurdity, check out the 'Ascent to K2'...


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