ANOTHER ARCHIVAL HILLBILLY AT HARVARD
It was November 8th, 1986, back in the WHRB studios under Sanders Theater in Memorial Hall, and I was having trouble with Left Turntable during The Down Home Show. One channel was not broadcasting. This was before the Compact Disk, so we played records, only records. Unable to solve the problem, I attempted to play only monaural records on Left Turntable, not actually hard to do, as we had plenty of them.
The problem persisted into Hillbilly at Harvard at 10 AM, and I mentioned it over ‘Foggy Mountain Special’, our opening theme. I didn’t mention that we had live music that day, with Dave Haney‘s band, Bay State Bluegrass. I always introduced them as “Dave and Rose Haney and Bay State Bluegrass” back then, as they were married and were the core of the band. The band I think went silent when Dave joined Joe Val‘s New England Bluegrass Boys for a year or two, and then reformed after Joe’s death in 1985. Bay State Bluegrass had no gigs scheduled that day, but I guess they figured to drum up some business by playing live on Hillbilly at Harvard. Sinc certainly thought so, and assiduously got Dave to plug his phone number.
The Chief Engineer at the time, whose name I don’t recall, got up and came down to fix Left Turntable, by 11 AM or so, when the bulk of today’s Archive gets going. HAH was three hours long then (following two hours of The Down Home Show), but I’m allowed only two hours these days, so you get only a hint of the first hour. I started off HAH with Randy Travis’s ‘1982’. I still remember hearing that on the radio as I was driving in, not long before, and thinking, “Wow! A real country record!” We were just at the beginning of a neo-traditional country revival, following depressing years of bad pop-country with talents like Juice Newton and Charly McClain. Randy Travis was the proverbial breath of fresh air.
Bay State Bluegrass made one album, featuring Jimmy Martin’s ‘Home Run Man’ as the title song; then I remember Dave and Rose heading off to the mid-west for day jobs. Dave Haney is now President of Hiram College in Ohio, and still playing music, with current wife Lisa Baldwin. Banjo player Jim Rollins, whose innovative licks are evident in the WHRB sessions in this Archive, was sadly killed in an auto crash with a drunken driver in South Carolina in 2017. I haven’t found any more about Rose Haney or Steve Abby, who played mandolin in the band.
I hope you enjoy going back some 35 years in HAH time. Seems like only yesterday! I know a lot of you enjoy hearing Old Sinc’s radio voice. Old friend Ed the Detective turns up in this Archive. Ed Muller has taken his country oldies show from one station to another over the years; he was on WDLW at the time. The last I heard from him (in 2017), he had been off the air since 2012.
We also hear from Stan Zdonik, long-time President of the Boston Bluegrass Union, promoting a show celebrating 10 years of the BBU (with The Dry Branch Fire Squad), at (all together now) “The Big Brown Church with the Rooster on Top.” Stan is now (2021) about to be honored at the IBMA World of Bluegrass with a Distinguished Achievement Award for his service to the music./CL