Les Paul & Mary Ford

(4.8 stars; 3 reviews)

In 1950 Paul began hosting a 15-minute radio program, titled The Les Paul Show, for NBC Radio. The program featured his trio, which included Ford and rhythm player Eddie Stapleton. Playful interaction between Paul and Ford was interspersed in the performances, which included such tunes as "In the Mood" and "Tiger Rag". The show was later adapted for NBC TV as Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home, airing in 5-minute intervals as a fill-in segment between regular programming.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



Thanks! —An Audience for Les Paul

(5 stars)

Les and Mary, Mary and Les. OH YES! Thank you. A couple of these tapes are of better quality than what I had. I was a neighbour and friend of Les'. I remember when he had his last stroke (the 80s). As soon as Les was back at home, he was already working on...EVERYTHING. Les' brain moved faster than his hands. Les' goal was to get his CHOPS back & PERFORM. Les NEVER failed. We are NOT talking about "Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra"! This is LES PAUL, —not Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts! The man of a million ideas—TWO million inventions—THREE million hit records! Les decided that he needed to play to a live audience. A test audience; not so easy to set up. Les did NOT want an audience of adoring fans. Les needed a special audience to get back in shape. The pressure of having to do full sets or play duets with every famous player in the world was too much at that point. So, Les arranged to play incognito at a Ramada Inn (Holiday Inn? —can't remember) on Rt 17, just north of Saddle River. The dates would be chosen a couple of hours in advance. There would be NO schedule. Les would play at least once a week, —or not. The gigs would have no specific length, start time or number of sets. Of course, someone had to be in charge of getting us audience members together. I still don't know who was in charge of this top secret plan. My name was added to a list of 20 - 25 people. I was told to come ALONE & tell NO ONE. I'd get my call around 7:00 PM. No cell phones back then. If I was not at home, too bad. I was told to tell NO other person. Until this writing (20 Apr 2023), I have kept the secret, —over 35 years later. The idea was to make sure Les had an audience of friendlies who would NOT patronise or smother him. Those evenings were pure magic. First date, I initially expected that Les would play a short set and leave. Nope. We ended up closing the joint. A couple of us were Jazz players, so Les had people to provide rhythm playing for him. The trick to playing with Les Paul was to NOT think that you were playing with Les Paul. Les was a true musician. He'd give you a few choruses to solo. Soloing with Les Paul playing rhythm is scary. Les sounded good. His magic sound had not changed, even though much of his physical technique changed. If you closed your eyes, he sounded the same as always. I have a E.E. and a HAM (amateur radio) background. Like Les, I am a techie. One night, between sets, Les and I got to chatting. I got to quiz him on every aspect of how he made his Capitol sides. Capitol did not have the gear to lathe his masters. Hence, Capitol gave Les Carte Blanche. Les even lathed the lacquers for those Capitol hit records. Capitol pressed Les' lacquers without altering them. He made his lathe with a 50 lb Cadillac clutch flywheel. —Dynamically balanced and well machined. It worked so well, he used Cadillac clutches for turntables as well. (Check out the photos of his studio) I'm sure you can do the same thing today. SUVs, Pickups, vans, etc. They are probably even better balanced. Instead of paying a zillion dollars, $200 at any auto parts store probably works. Forget eBay, —build that perfect turntable yourself & save $$. This gig was the best kept secret in Bergen Co., NJ. After a some months of this, Les played at Fat Tuesdays (on 21st St?) and then Iridium. And he signed all of my Capitol 78s —that he lathed himself. NEVER has any artist had more control over the entire recording process than Les Paul.