2016 Toyota RAV4 Video Road Test!

Our Video Road Test of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE has just been posted on Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  Just click on the link above to take a spin with us.

2016 Toyota RAV4

2016 Toyota RAV4

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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Go See Paul Thorn!!

Ok, that post title probably sounds like a blatant plug, but we don’t apologize.  Really, go see Paul Thorn!

We’ve been Paul Thorn fans for years and, several years ago, were lucky enough to have him stop in to the WGN studios and hang out with us.

Johnnie & Steve with Paul Thorn at WGN radio

Johnnie & Steve with Paul Thorn at WGN radio

Over the years, Paul’s recording of “Lovers Vacation” seemed to always find its way into our CD player as we made the drive from Chicago to Panama City Beach.  In fact, we were headed to Panama City Beach when we found out about Paul’s June 11th appearance in the Chicago area at one of our favorite venues, SPACE, in Evanston.   Since, other than his in-studio performance with us, we’d never had the chance to see Paul and his band perform live, we decided to rectify that and reservations were quickly made.

It wouldn’t be overstating the fact to say that seeing Paul Thorn and his band live is a “religious” experience.  Paul approaches his sets with the zeal of a preacher and has the showmanship and timing to quickly make all of his “converts” members of the choir.  The intimacy of a club like SPACE only added to the church like atmosphere (That is, assuming you’re used to having alcohol served to the faithful!:-)  Very quickly into his set, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand and singing along.  His crack band’s ability to turn on a dime and Paul’s ability to use his in-between song stories weave a humorous, but often meaningful narrative into the “service” easily stoked the smiles and applause meters.

Paul Thorn performing at SPACE

Paul Thorn performing at SPACE

For those of you who have never been to SPACE, the point should be made that, unlike too many venues today where you can hardly hear the performer over the crowd noise, SPACE is a listening room.  That’s one of the many reasons it’s a favorite of ours.  Also, the sound is not turned up to Madison Square Garden levels.  It’s loud enough for the performer to fill the room, but the people living a few blocks away are not going to be privy to the good time you’re having.

The crowd this evening at SPACE came to listen, sing along and, for those like the couple we were sitting with who had never heard Paul Thorn, be converted.  And convert them he did.  By the evening’s last number, Paul was in the crowd bestowing his blessings and good vibes on anyone who wanted to sing and dance with him.

Paul Thorn in the crowd for a "healin'" encore

Paul Thorn in the crowd for a “healin'” encore

By the show’s end the house lights were up and we could see smiles all around.  After the show we got the chance to say hello to Paul, get a copy of his latest album and, thanks to our new friend, Susan, get a new picture taken with him.

Johnnie & Steve with Paul Thorn at SPACE

Johnnie & Steve with Paul Thorn at SPACE

At the end of the evening, along with feeling energized from the show, we both felt that, while we will, hopefully, see more great shows, we know we will not see a better show than the one Paul Thorn put on at SPACE.

So, we end this post with the way we started out, if he’s ever in your area … Go See Paul Thorn!

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Happy Birthday, Les Paul!

June 9th, 2016, would have been Les Paul’s 101st birthday!

Click this link if you’d like to hear audio of some of our conversations with Les over the years.

Steve & Johnnie onstage with Les Paul sharing a joke.

Steve & Johnnie onstage with Les Paul sharing a joke.

We’ll remember Les and take the celebration to the WGN Radio Showcase Studio, Thursday afternoon at 5:35, when our “A Little More Les” book tour pulls in to spend a little time with Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes.

If you’re not in the Chicago area, you can listen in and watch WGN Radio’s live stream on your computer just by clicking on this link.

We hope you’ll join us.

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R.I.P. “The Greatest”

As I write this, it’s only moments after hearing the news that Muhammad Ali passed away.  Numerous stories will be written and told of his achievements and career and why, over the years, his name became synonymous with the phrase “The Greatest.”  I’d like to share with you an event I witnessed that immediately jumped to the forefront of my thoughts when I heard of his passing and was one of the main reasons I always liked him and thought he really was deserving of the term “The Greatest.”

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

It was a Sunday afternoon in the mid-70’s.  By this time, Ali had not only won a victory in the New York Supreme Court, which ruled that his boxing license had been unjustly suspended when he refused induction into the military on grounds that he was a conscientious objector, but had, once again, made worldwide headlines with “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Ali and George Foreman and regained the heavyweight crown.  At this point in the Ali timeline his was one of the most recognized names and faces in the world with fans regularly surrounding him everywhere he went.

So, I was more than a little surprised when I saw him sitting alone in one of my, then, favorite places for a Sunday brunch, the 50th On The Lake Motel Restaurant on Chicago’s South Shore Drive.

Yes, I know it’s Lake Shore Drive but, when you grew up on Chicago’s South Side as I did, we called it South Shore Drive.

Anyhow, there he was, “The Greatest,” sitting by himself having a Sunday brunch.  I didn’t want to bother him so, when he happened to look up as I was leaving, I just nodded and smiled and he did the same.  When I got to my car my companions and I were just sitting there talking about our “sighting” when we saw Muhammad Ali come out of the restaurant.  As he emerged a few neighborhood kids noticed him and ran up to him.  There were no reporters, cameras or any kind of media around to capture what would follow, just my friends and I watching at a distance from our car to see Muhammad Ali stop and take his time spending several minutes talking, laughing and signing autographs for some of his youngest fans.  He didn’t rush them or act like he had somewhere else to be.  On this sunny Sunday afternoon, these young fans had all of his attention for as long as they wanted.  My friends and I were glad he was preoccupied with his new young friends so he wouldn’t look around to see us taking it in.  On that lazy Sunday afternoon one of the world’s most well known celebrities paused, out of the spotlights glare, and gave those kids the gift of a memory I know they treasure to this day.

Years later, I had the good fortune to interview Muhammad Ali.  It was one of the few times I was a bit nervous because, after what I had witnessed that Sunday after noon on Chicago’s South Shore Drive, I knew I really was talking to … “The Greatest.”

Steve

 

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Memorial Day Show Podcast

It was fun to slide back into the comfy chairs in the WGN Radio Showcase Studio, Memorial Day morning, and hang out with Corky Siegel, Grammy winning sax legend, Ernie Watts and more.

Left to right it's Corky Siegel, Steve, Johnnie and Ernie Watts in the WGN Radio green room.

Left to right it’s Corky Siegel, Steve, Johnnie and Ernie Watts in the WGN Radio green room.

In case you were busy firing up the barbecue or getting out your summer whites and didn’t get to hear the show, you can check out the podcast just by clicking on this link.

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Hope You’ll Join Us Memorial Day Morning!

Just a quick reminder that we’ll be hanging out in the WGN radio Showcase Studio from 9-Noon on Memorial Day.

We’ve got a lot of surprises planned but, we can tell you that, among our guests will be, legendary, Grammy winning, sax man, Ernie Watts and, Chicago’s own, Corky Siegel.

Ernie Watts & Corky Siegel

Ernie Watts & Corky Siegel

Ernie and Corky will treat us to an in-studio performance and they just may be joined by any guitar player who happens to be in the studio.

Remember, if you’re not in the Chicago area, just click this link to listen and watch WGN’s live stream on your computer.

Hope you’ll join us!

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1966 Was The Year, So How About ….

Since it was May of 1966 when Steve made his broadcasting debut, our publisher came up with something special for us to share with you.  To celebrate Steve’s 50th year in broadcasting you can now purchase “A Little More Les” at a special celebratory price of just $19.66.

"A Little More Les" cover

“A Little More Les” cover

To take advantage of this special, just click on this link.

We don’t mean to sound like pitchmen but, we should tell you that, this really is a limited time offer.  So, if you’ve been thinking about getting a copy, you might want to do it now.

OK, we’ve hopped off the pitchman soap box.

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