Earlham College Radio Blues 1986

Rob Jones ca. 1986 Richmond, IN

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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.

6 thoughts on “Earlham College Radio Blues 1986

  1. Hey. I was a friend of Robert (Bob, Binny, R. Robert R. etc.). I met him in high school… hanging out in a tree in Brightwood Park, Westfield, NJ. We spent a lot of time sitting on dirt and smoking sub par weed, occasinally some good weed, drinking sub par beer and pilferred booze… escaping the authorities… roaming the mean suburban streets in my 1972 VW bug… our dialogue was always saturated with possibilities… absurdities… vagaries… we swam the streams, lakes and ocean… often our shoes would remind us later of their wetness. I once built a farewell shrine to Robert made entirely of things we had smashed the night before… “No sentimental good byes” he shouted. I helped spread his ashes and played the harmonica he inspired… Sitting on Top of the World… I played sentimenatlly… Today, I brew beer for a living because he told me I could…

    Thanks for posting the show… you describe the guy I knew. Post more if you get a chance… Kandy Korn was genius. I never got to thank Robert Binny Bob Jones for everything he gave me. That’s a shame.

  2. super star twinkel big star how i wish for only the best for you for ever and always love love you, aunt e..

  3. Thanks for the work, Pacey. Good to hear his voice, and to feel the love for him. Still with us.

  4. Awesome, I went to Earlham and totally cool to see WECI reppin on your blog! Make sure to send it to the WECI people I am sure they would love to add the digital tape to their archives.

  5. I’m the station manager at WECI this summer. This is some wicked tasty blues from my parents’ days here (Laura Putney and Andy Wright)


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