Turn your radio on

Like the cliché I am, the only real radio I listen to these days is NPR or WTJU. Even so, there are inevitably days at 8am when I don’t really want to be listening to Steve Inskeep or various Bach cantatas; sometimes, I just want to get up and get dressed to Levon Helm or Antony and the Johnsons or Whitney Houston or Irving Berlin…or something like Levon Helm or Antony and the Johnsons or Whitney Houston or Irving Berlin. Enter Pandora and stand at center stage.

Pandora is an online radio station with no commercials and no chitchat. Go to the site, type in the kind of music you want to hear, and the site creates a radio station it deduces you will like based on the name of the artist or song you typed. The station gets saved, and you can listen to it whenever you want; moreover, you can create as many channels as you like based on as many different songs or artists as makes you happy.

Today, a channel entitled “Odetta Radio” makes me happy; as I write this, Odetta’s obituary is on The New York Times website. I remember the first time I heard her voice. It was when I was 5 or 6 and I had a tape of Woody Guthrie covers that I listened to on my Fisher Price tape recorder every night before I went to sleep. On it, there was a recording of Odetta singing “Pastures of Plenty,” and I recall asking my mother who the singer was. My mother said, “That’s Odetta, and she’s wonderful.” My mother was right: She was and is wonderful.