BEST BLUES RADIO PROGRAM (1999)
Pete Lee's Bop Street (4:00-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays) may take its name from the sound of Parker and Gillespie that removed jazz from the mainstream dance world, but the records he plays are geared toward as wide an audience as possible. Bop Street features the R&B shouters and honkers of the late '40s and the smooth doo-wop crooners of the '50s, as well as pre-rock rave-ups and selections of more traditional jazz and blues. While the show is a music historian's dream, all records are played in the service of a universal good time. By mixing his collector's passion for rare records with a penchant for hilarious novelties, Lee satisfies both the novice and the seasoned aficionado. A show of a few weeks back saw him dig into his personal vaults to find a list of joke records on which obscure late-'40s/early-'50s R&B groups faked Asian accents and appropriated mambo rhythms in the hopes of scoring novelty hits. Lee announced each new record with a tell-it-like-it-was historical realism that was both informative and refreshing. Short of sifting through the record racks for the rest of your life, there isn't a better local source than this show to get you in touch with that weird era before Elvis, when the boundaries between jazz, blues, proto-rock, and R&B were always under negotiation.