Thank you, Paul Ray, for making me want to be a deejay ["Playback – Austin Loses Its Voice: Paul Ray 1942–2016
," Music, Jan. 22]. Playing records for people has been a source of happiness for me for over 20 years. I often found myself listening to KUT from work in a grim office in the Nineties, and your jazz shows transported me with the sounds of Miles, Sonny, and Dex. On Saturday nights, it was time to pour some drinks and turn up the radio for Twine Time
. Your cool delivery, anecdotes (often personal), and some encouragement from Charisse convinced me I should try my hand at being a disc jockey.
The knowledge and love for music that you shared with Austin as a deejay and performer made the city a cooler place. Your jazz programs made me a Hammond B-3 fanatic for life. I'll never forget the night you convinced James Polk to bring his B-3 over to KUT and play live on the air. Electrifying! Listening to you and your North Texas compadre Mike Buck play 45s on the air sparked my obsession with those scratchy 7-inch obscurities. Hearing Huey "Piano" Smith on Twine Time
for the first time blew my mind.
As a "permanent fill-in" deejay on WWOZ here in New Orleans, your influence is always present. I must admit to stealing your line "That's what your voice sounds like when you smoke three packs a day," when I play a Johnny Hartman record. As a live deejay with Waxploitation!/Soul Happening, the influence of Twine Time
was always with me: Play to the crowd and don't forget it's a party. Well, Paul Ray, as we say here in NOLA, "Bon voyage and laissez les bon temps roulez." I know you and Dr. Hepcat are upstairs on the turntables with Freddie King and Stevie standing by digging the groove. Down here on Earth there's a legion of fans who will miss you and your sounds.