Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Nothing Blue about Blues Therapy Show

Photo by Halley McCormick

Every Sunday night from 7 to 9 p.m., the dynamic duo Ray “Bigdaddy” Hansen and Armand “The Doctor” Parada waltzes into the KWCW radio room and puts on one helluva blues show for anyone willing to tune in.

Parada, an ex-hippie from Southern California, who played keyboards with Crosby, Stills and Nash as a young man, provides the experience, the sass and the older blues discography. A Walla Walla native and father of four, Hansen offers youth, contemporary blues taste and joviality to the mix. Together the two create a show that plays blues of all types, ranging from Robert Johnson to Stevie Ray Vaughn, then back to B.B. King and all the way down to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.

That’s right, Aerosmith. For Hansen and Parada, blues isn’t restricted to the slow, blue, stereotypical porch music of which you might think.
“For me blues is about being real … The lyrics really gotta touch you,” said Hansen.

Bands like Aerosmith count because, although they might be designated as classic rock, they’ve put out songs that, to Hansen, respect the message of blues without deviating too far musically. Heavy metal band Metallica, on the other hand, would never work.

“I have heartburn with some of these bands playing now,” said Parada.

Hard rock music like Metallica and other groups have clear blues influences but don’t express the feelings of a true blues jam. To Bigdaddy and The Doctor, a blues song is immediately recognizable by the feeling it conveys through its music and lyrics.
Luckily for them, it’s not hard to find a blues song these days. The genre has been around so long that when the pair decided to do a show featuring only foreign blues bands, it wasn’t hard finding quality songs to fill the time.

“We easily had enough for two hours. We could have done two shows,” said Hansen.

Despite its strong roots in American culture, many countries –– even historically “un-American” countries –– embrace the genre.

“The Russians were good,” said Parada.

While the show really is fun and games for Bigdaddy and The Doctor, it serves an important role in dissipating blues throughout the Northwest and Kansas City, where the show is re-broadcasted three days a week on KCOR. At the end of each day, Bigdaddy sits down to watch a game and listen to the CDs sent to him by blues labels across the world. On Sunday he showcases these bands and exposes listeners to music they likely wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

While the pair loves to come hang out and share their love for the blues, they operate a radio station because they want to expose people to the blues, and when they know they have done so, it makes their day.

“I love the fact that the college kids call in and want to know what they’ve heard,” said Parada. “That makes Ray and I feel good.”

With fan numbers constantly rising, the pair has one last goal in their blues quest: to win the Inland Empire Blues Society Award for best radio station. Even if they don’t win the award for the Spokane-based blues organization, Bigdaddy and The Doctor won’t be shutting down anytime soon. Enjoy some aural therapy on KWCW at www.facebook.com/Bluestherapyradio/info.


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