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Newly-discovered 1970s Jean Shepherd promo

Jean Shepherd Princeton

Former WPRB DJ Douglas Quine ’73 recently submitted a small pile of early 70s WPRB aircheck cassettes for our review. We’re now in the midst of digitizing them, and the audio goodies are practically throwing themselves at us already. Witness: this great promo for the annual WPRB-sponsored Jean Shepherd gig in Princeton.


For the sake of convenience, we’re pairing it with the above image of a Shep gig poster from around the same time, which someone anonymously donated (OK, “abandoned” is actually a better word for it) during the station’s 75th Anniversary banquet last year. Stay tuned for more audio from the WPRB/Quine archives in the coming days!

LISTEN: WPRB Aircheck from 1982

With huge thanks to Listener Larry in Somerville, here’s a WPRB aircheck from 1982, featuring DJ Bill Candee spinning hits of the day by Roxy Music, The Jam, the Waitresses, Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and more.

[Download]

Unfortunately, due to Draconian copyright rules, we had to cut all of the music out of the recording presented here, but you still get Bill’s sparking DJ personality, as well as a barrage of great WPRB-produced spots for long-gone (but never forgotten) Princeton businesses like The Music Cellar, Titles Unlimited, and Lavake Jewelers.

Interview: Vernon Reid from Living Colour (1988)

“As an environment, New York is like an ugly, horrible, beautiful painting.” -Vernon Reid

Here’s a lengthy interview with Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, discussing the band’s then-new debut LP “Vivid”, just as it was on the cusp of blowing the doors off of college radio and exploding into the mainstream. WPRB’s A. Josh Henig quizzes Reid on the band‘s history, the Black Rock Coalition, their early gigs at CBGBs, comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, and upcoming shows at City Gardens and the Knitting Factory.

[Right-click to download MP3]

(With apologies to Cornell University for re-using their tape.)

Digitized by Joan Hsaio on 9/30/2016.

 

The [Proto] Punk Production Tapes (NSFW)

One of the more perplexing pieces of archival audio we’ve discovered while combing through WPRB’s deep freeze storage facility is one from February of 1992 which I’ve taken to calling The Proto Punk Production Tapes. For some reason that is long lost to the ages, DJ Arthur Fenno spent the evening of February 11th barricaded in WPRB’s production studio with the goal of merging song snippets from the MC5, Iggy & the Stooges, The X-Ray Spex, and the Avengers into…well… something.

The recording embedded below features repeated takes of the MC5‘s legendary “Kick Out the Jams” intro, and then quickly segues into the brutal riff from “TV Eye” by the Stooges. That is followed immediately by Poly Styrene’s opening screeches of “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” by her band X-Ray Spex, and then finally, the closing refrain of “The American in Me” by the Avengers.

In the days before digital audio software, editing tight transitions like these required a razor blade, splice tape, and an ungodly amount of patience. Arthur’s challenges were exacerbated by the fact that the MC5 segment is very much not-ok-for-the-radio, and since no apparent final version of the recording was contained on this reel, I can only assume that Arthur threw down his razor blade, kicked over a few chairs in the production studio, and stormed angrily into the Princeton night.

We may never know. Nevertheless, I find that the five+ minutes of WPRB’s Proto Punk Production Tapes offer unique insight into the studio challenges of 20+ years ago. It’s also a weirdly inventive listening experience that quickly divorces itself from its individual parts, and becomes something all its own.

 

 

More 80s/90s Thursday Night Hip-Hop Audio

Pictured: WPRB’s trophy wax Naughty by Nature 12″s

With thanks to WPRB History’s newest digital archivist Joan Hsiao, we present two recently digitized drop-ins from the station’s storied era of Thursday night hip-hop shows (The Raw Deal, Vibes & Vapors, Club Krush, etc.)

First up, this drop from Jeru the Damaja from the Vibes & Vapors era.

 

And then from the Raw Deal, we present Treach from Naughty by Nature.

 

And finally, just because it’s an easy excuse to post a great song, here’s the late, great Tony D, who was a contributor to all of the above mentioned shows, as well as a WPRB DJ in his own right. “Check the Elevation” is a critical slice of local hip-hop history.

 

James Brown Interview — 1996

Photo: The Daily Princetonian

Things have been pretty quiet here at WPRB History Central for a long time, but with several new volunteer archivists itching to cozy up with our trusty Otari MX5050 reel-to-reel player, we’re aiming to get back to regular posting. And what better way to re-launch the ship than with this brief James Brown phone interview from 1996, performed by the great Lily Prillinger!

At the time, the Godfather of Soul was busy promoting the “Live at the Apollo 1995” album, and Lily managed to contact his management and secure access to The Man Himself for this brief phone interview. Lily is obviously nervous, but hell, what 20-year-old who’s about to speak to JAMES EFFING BROWN wouldn’t be?! For his part, Brown delivers on every level you could hope for—fielding Lily’s anxious questions with a mix of sincerity and almost mechanically-deployed James Brown-isms. (Put another way, it’s either like James Brown doing an impression of himself, or Eddie Murphy’s legendary “Celebrity Hot Tub Party” parody.)

The lead up to Brown taking WPRB’s call is also kind of fascinating, as Lily is given stern instructions by (presumably) Brown’s agent, as to what she may (and may not) ask about. Listen or download below.

[Download]

James Brown performed in Princeton’s Dillon Gymnasium in February of that year (to mixed reviews.)

1968 Princeton – NYU Basketball Excerpt

Text: Edward Labowitz ’70

[Download Princeton / NYU Basketball Excerpt, 1968] (19.5mb MP3 File)

Gregg [Lange] and I broadcast the (Men’s, as there were no Women’s) Basketball games on WPRB during our years, 1966-1970. During freshman year, ’66-’67, the team was ranked third in the nation and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. However, as fledgling freshmen, we did not broadcast many of the games, but watched and listened to our mentors, John Barnard ’69 and Hal Pote ’68.

We were the regular broadcasters in ’67-’68, ‘68-‘69, and much of ‘69-‘70, until senior theses began to occupy our time and our successors took the mic.

I recently found a ¼ tape of the last 18 minutes of game time of the NYU-Princeton game, in early December 1968. I transferred the tape to digital, and it is a good thing I did, because it was beginning to deteriorate. The first 1:15 is a bit garbled, but the rest is fine. I am doing the play-by-play, Gregg does a bit of color toward the end of the game, and John Barnard does the post-game wrap-up. Our engineer was either John Bongiovani ’70 or Tom Kendrick ’72. This was the sixth game of the season, which Princeton won, making it 3-3 at that point. The Tigers went on to a 19-7 season, which was Pete Carril’s second year at Princeton. NYU, of course, eliminated its intercollegiate basketball program many years ago. This may be the last extant recording of any NYU basketball game. (more…)

LISTEN: Fugazi Interview from April of 1989

Here’s a very early Fugazi interview which was recorded at WPRB on April 6th of 1989. This recording was made in advance of their gig at the Terrace Club in Princeton, which took place later that same evening.

LISTEN: Fugazi interviewed by WPRB’s Ethan Stein, 4/6/89.

[Right-click to Download]

This interview was recorded squarely between the release of the band’s debut and “Margin Walker” EPs on Dischord Records. (WPRB’s copy of the first is seen above.) All four members of the band join the discussion, and hold forth on matters including their rigorous touring schedule, the genesis of their legendary $5 door price policy, the metamorphosis of the DC music scene, and how they were verbally harassed by some local idiots on their way down to WPRB’s studios.

The Terrace Club gig which took place later that evening is available for download as part of Fugazi’s Live Music Series.