Thursday, September 4, 2014

WDBS (Duke University) Radio Show - May 10th, 1966

Some years ago I acquired a handful of pre-recorded 1/4" reels of tape from my buddy Jared which I finally sifted through three months ago after a two track reel-to-reel machine came into my possession.  Among them was this recorded radio show of two DJs at the Duke college station (WDBS).  I was pretty hammered when I found this tape and it tickled me to no end.  It's a literal piece of history consisting of the immensely charming and loose-natured college radio programming that could only occur in an era like the mid-60's.  The first DJ is Steve Denenberg (my friend Jared's uncle) who was also in the completely underrated 1960's garage rock band, The Horde.  Having knowledge of The Horde prior to hearing this and connecting the dots with this reel of tape in my drunken state of mind was kind of thrilling, actually.  Steve later plays as part of an acoustic duo called "The Fly and the Faggot" on the second show DJ'd by "Stormin' Norman."  All of the songs that aired on the show are cut out of the tape recording (I imagine it was recorded more for the DJs and less so for the music being played.)

A disheveled Denenberg sort of misanthropically shuffles through his DJ set while reading the required sponsor ads in an almost sarcastic tone, so of course I was way into this.  There is nothing but shenanigans and hilarity during Norman's set as Denenberg distracts Norman at every turn and it sounds like there may have been consumption of multiple substances happening in the studio, though that is pure speculation on my part.  "The Fly and the Faggot" play some really honest covers of classic songs like 'Sloop John B,' 'Route 66,' and 'On The Road Again.'  What grabbed me prior to these covers was actually an original song by the duo (5:14 on the second track) about yearning for a lost lover to come back and give it another chance.  The honesty and simplicity of the song must have hit me at just the right moment because I played it back 2 or 3 times before listening on.

I was inspired to digitize this tape when North Carolinian friend and guitar legend, Daniel Bachman, came and visited me for a night.  I knew he would appreciate this bit of Duke history and boy did he ever.  He asked me to digitize this for some of his friends in Durham who are heavily involved in the college radio scene.  So here, partake in this tiny slice of nearly 50 year old college radio nostalgia.

I emailed this to Jared after I digitized it to send to Steve and I got this response back from Steve himself:

I'm amazed that you unearthed the recordings and appreciative of the time and trouble you took to digitize them.
My dad had so many tapes. There was no way to hang onto all and before giving them away I tried to save anything of worth.
I guess this one-and it's questionable worth-was overlooked. I sure had forgotten that such a recording existed
It is me, a young goofy me. Something of an air check from May 10, 1966.
I worked at WDBS during first two years at Duke. What I remember most was I was finally "fired" due to my lack of on air seriousness.
This probably was my last show.
In those days WDBS did not actually broadcast over the air but was transmitted through the campus power lines.
Due to that and it's listening format at the time-easy listening pop-it wasn't much listened to and at the time I 
thought I gave it such seriousness as the circumstances 
(And those live performances. I'm still working my way through that part. I don't remember that at all!)
All the best.

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