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John R. Black | Armed Forces Network

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Rock: 60's Rock Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Mood: Patriotic
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Armed Forces Network

by John R. Black

The actual Headquarters United States Army, Armed Forces Network (AFN) radio broadcast aired across Europe and the Iron Curtain on April 1, 1964 featuring the 24th Infantry Division Entertainment Group and its Officer in Charge, Lieutenant John R. Black.
Genre: Rock: 60's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Broadcast, Pt. 1
0:23 $0.99
2. Rio Town
2:53 $0.99
3. Broadcast, Pt. 2
1:03 $0.99
4. Sheila
1:59 $0.99
5. Broadcast, Pt. 3
1:39 $0.99
6. Henry's Body Is Buried
2:02 $0.99
7. Broadcast, Pt. 4
1:41 $0.99
8. The Alligator Man
2:36 $0.99
9. Broadcast, Pt. 5
0:43 $0.99
10. First Battalion
1:18 $0.99
11. Broadcast, Pt. 6
1:16 $0.99
12. Ed Sullivan
0:45 $0.99
13. Down the Devil's Road
3:01 $0.99
14. Broadcast, Pt. 7
0:17 $0.99
15. Rolling Home
2:17 $0.99
16. Broadcast, Pt. 8
0:25 $0.99
17. Don't You Grieve After Me
2:49 $0.99
18. Broadcast, Pt. 9
0:56 $0.99
19. There's Whiskey in the Jar
2:30 $0.99
20. Broadcast, Pt. 10
0:29 $0.99
21. When Johnny Comes Marching Home
1:19 $0.99
22. Broadcast, Pt. 11
0:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The songs on this album come from an Armed Forces Network radio broadcast aired April 1, 1964 from the Armed Forces Network Studios in Munich, Germany were we also recorded and performed.

During my initial assignment with the Army in Germany as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, the Commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division appointed me Director of the Special Services Entertainment Group in 1962. My assignment was to lead this special group of talented Army musicians and bring live music and entertainment to troops throughout Europe and Germany. We played for over 45,000 service members over a two year period. We also performed for German audiences. The Entertainment Group included folk singers which I reformed and joined called The Forgers. Rio Town was originally released with the John R. Trio, as part of our contract with Gemco Records, my folk trio at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. In 1964-65 during my service in Germany, I re-recorded Rio Town and other songs with The Forgers part of the Special Services Entertainment Group, in Munich, Germany at the Armed Forces Network Studios. These songs were then broadcast throughout Germany and into the Iron Curtain.

Read more about how I got there, below:

I grew up on a homestead near Valley, Washington, and by the eighth grade I had taken tap dancing, trumpet, guitar and piano lessons. I owe my songwriting art to my Dad, who was a great musician. He played trombone, violin and piano, and he started me early in music.

I graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington, in 1958 and Gonzaga University (GU) in 1963. I was writing songs all through high school and college. “Mary Jo,” my first real rock n’ roll song, deserves special mention. It was the summer of 1959. I had just graduated from Gonzaga Prep. That summer I met Mary Jo Jepsen, who was visiting from California and staying with my aunt and uncle in Valley. We went to a church social on a Saturday night. I fell in love. I went back to Spokane and wrote Mary Jo, pulled together a drummer and bass player, booked a session at Sound Recording Company in Spokane and cut my first vinyl recording, “Mary Jo,” on August 27, 1959. You can hear the updated version on my album Back In Time, released in 2016..

I kept writing, and at GU I formed the John R. Trio: Jerry Harr, banjo, George Votava, guitar, and me on keyboards. I had many previous rejection slips from record companies as I attempted to peddle my music (Am-Par Record Corp. in N.Y., Liberty Records in L.A., RCA and Mercury Records to name a few), but we signed a contract with B-G-L Recording Company on March 14, 1962. The contract called for us to record 12 songs. We added John Malone on bass and a drummer and went into the studio in Spokane, recording five originals that I had written and we were performing around Spokane: “Sheila,” “Henry’s Body Is Buried,” “The Alligator Man,” “Down the Devil’s Road” and “Rio Town.” “Sheila” and “Rio Town” were released on B-G-L’s Gemco label as a 45 single that got considerable airplay in the Pacific Northwest and down the West Coast. While at Gonzaga I worked as a copyboy for the Spokesman Review newspaper, and Ed Costello, the entertainment editor, wrote a great piece in the April 8, 1962, issue, “Record Is Cut by Gonzagans.” He said, “The trio was born at GU, where the inspiration of Bing Crosby and the Chad Mitchell Trio apparently is a match for the more bookish Jesuits.” Following the record release, the Review published another story titled, “John R. Trio Gets Contract; Groups First Record Due Soon.” Writer Mike Flynn said, “Black said he was thankful to Mike Pugh for helping him develop his style and giving him a few pointers. Pugh, at that time with the Chad Mitchell Trio, was another Gonzagan who made his splash on the entertainment scene.” We performed “Henry’s Body Is Buried” live on a KHQ TV Telethon hosted by Raymond Burr, the movie star, who introduced us.

“Rio Town” and “Sheila” were released per above and sung by the John R. Trio. “Don’t You Grieve After Me”, “There’s Whiskey In The Jar”, and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” are 4 track tapes recorded at Col Alkire’s Home. He was the Colonel in charge of the ROTC program at GU and a guitar player as well. The Forgers recorded those songs in Munich, Germany at the Armed Forces Network Studios and these programs of the 24th Infantry Victory Division were broadcast throughout Germany and into the Iron Curtain.



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