The 1920’s were a time marked by new and more affordable technology, massive economic growth, a renewed push for civil rights and relative peace, its daily life beating along to a new music genre called jazz. But one element of the roaring 20’s that is lost on most of us these days is how it contrasted with the decade previous. To help us compare the 1910s to the 1920s, is historian Dr. David F. Krugler who has written and taught extensively on those early 20 years of the 20th century.

 

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Spun Counterguy sets out to present the most thorough biography to date of jazz singer, songwriter and pianist Una Mae Carlisle, including her adventures in Europe just as the clouds of World War II were gathering, the world’s spotlight put on her thanks to Fats Waller, her recording careers with Leonard Feather and Joe Davis and her desperate attempt to record and perform as much as possible before her looming death.

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The singer and songwriter Una Mae Carlisle is a name tragically lost to modern memory. On this first of two episodes, Spun Counterguy talks about how he discovered the woman and her music and the places it’s taken him.

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Former Cuban political dissident Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now a writer and blogger advocating for his home country’s liberataion from the current oppressive regime. We’ll hear many of Orlando Luis’s views on the current state of the island naion in addition to some of his own personal life experiences.

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We’re going back to Europe, specifically France and Switzerland, and five hundred ago on top of that. Serving as our tour guide is once again Carlos Eire, who wrote the book Reformations and he’s going to introduce us to a few figures- notably John Calvin- and how he and others still affect us today, both in positive and negative ways.

 

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Seth and Nirva Ready not only have their own musical career as a duo and host a theological/cultural podcast called FreeMind but they have also sang for folks like Kirk Franklin, Toby Mack, CeCe Winans, Rachael Lampa, Chris Tomlin, Donnie McClurkin and many others. On this episode the couple pull their lawn chairs up to the Woodpile to talk about their own personal histories, music industry insights and adventures, struggles to navigate the conflicts of the day within and outside the church while maintaining grace for their fellow man and several other topics that meander in and out of our free-flowing conversation.

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America’s separation from Britain is often simplified by both those with enthusiastic and cynical motivations. But the years leading up to July 4th, 1776 were complicated, replete with hope, disgust and sacrifice. On this episode we talk about the Stamp Act and other actions on the part of Parliament that ultimately pushed the often fractious American colonists towards unity, rebellion and finally revolution.

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Part two of our talk with artist and preacher Howard Finster, this one got him talking about Hank Williams Sr., Elvis Presley, chewing tobacco and singing an original banjo tune talking about being a tack in the shingle of a roof! 

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Back in the late 1970s a new music genre exploded on the world stage: rap. This episode’s guest Bill Adler was right there near the beginning, first as a fan and music journalist, and then working for Def Jam Records and Rush Management. Adler recently donated his enormous treasure trove of hip-hop related artifacts to Cornell University, of which has become digitized and is available online for public use. We used some of the materials found there to talk about everything from the film Wild Style, rap pioneers like Busy Bee, Fab Five Freddy, the Funky 4+1, the massive career of LL Cool J to even the controversy over the presence of anti-semitism in the Public Enemy organization and how it touched Adler personally.

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Recently there’s been a lot of different tellings about how America’s founding was tied to slavery. American History professor Dr. Dennis Boman comes Back By the Woodpile to give the whole story, including the state of slavery on the rest of the planet, the Founder’s views and actions for and against slavery and strange phenomenon of some modern progressives basing their views of the American founding by adopting the views of pro-slavery forces of the past.

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Back in the late 1970’s, computers programs called “Text Adventures” would appear. These were interactive games where players had to read, problem solve and then type in commands to complete the puzzles and tasks. Their popularity dominated the home computer market for about a decade and though they would be later overshadowed newer game innovations, text adventures are still being produced and played. Author, blogger and game designer Aaron A. Reed comes Back By the Woodpile to give us some snapshots of the history of these games, the industry and individuals that produced them and then talk about his own adventures at creating games.

 

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Howard Finster was a folk artist preacher whose work reached out all over the globe. On this recording from the 1990s, Mr. Finster talks about other preacher's differing theology, sex vs. relationships, the history of Japan, fellow artist Keith Haring and the several literal angels he saw. 

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