At Earlham College in the 1980s, Rob Jones (R.I.P.) did an incredible series of radio shows on our college station, WECI FM. These included a blues show called Shades of Blue, and two audio collage shows (Root Of An Out of Focus and Kandy Korn). While I seem to have lost my only tape of Kandy Korn (rumor has it that others exist), here is an early Shades of Blue show from November 1986.
It’s great to hear Rob’s voice and selections after all these years. If you listen to the whole show, as I did while digitizing it, I think you will agree that he covers a deep, wide, and tasteful range of well notated selections. He was one of those people who explored the edges of human experience and always came back to tell you the fascinating tale. Until one time he didn’t. Like many of these explorers, he was always creating soundtracks for his travels and (tall)tales. However, unlike most, he always found the deepest shit to do it with.
His musical tastes ran from Sonic Youth to Sonny Terry to Sweet Tee and back by way of Glen Branca and NY post-punk outfits like James White/Black or The Offs. However, I always thought he seemed most at home in the blues. At 22, Rob knew more about living and playing the blues than anyone I have met before or since. The Shades of Blues show was where he let that love shine.
I had many incredible adventures (musical and otherwise) with my brother Rob over the years. Even back then, some of my favorite times were spent with him virtually, listening to (and occasionally taping) his radio shows on WECI. This tape of Shades of Blue provided the soundtrack to many long car and bus trips between Boston and Richmond between 1986 and 1990. In the early 1990s, it remained on heavy rotation until I finally gave up on tapes when CDs took over in the mid 1990s and mp3s replaced them in the oughts. It has been in a box of “my most precious tapes” ever since. Until today.
I love that the internets lets me share it with you. Rob would be so psyched to know that we are listening to Shades of Blue here in the future. Just squeezing donuts.
R.I.P. Rob and love to my Earlham family.