Back to 1986, with Bay State Bluegrass


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 Aby, 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

This entry was posted in Administrivia, Archival Productions, Bluegrass, Country History, Hillbilly Journal, Program Notes, Radio Talk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Back to 1986, with Bay State Bluegrass

  1. Cindy says:

    Cousin Lynn – I truly enjoyed hearing these old shows over again and enjoy your write-ups too. Thank you for keeping it country all these years. I look forward to your program every Saturday morning. Stay well my favorite dee jay! I remember Ed The Detective on WDLW too! Good times for sure!

  2. stclayre says:

    Dear Cousin Lynn,

    Make sure I’m included as a fan of Ol’ Sinc, please!

    All the best, Kitty

    On Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 11:43 PM Hillbilly at Harvard wrote:

    > cousinlynn953 posted: ” 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 befo” >

  3. Steve Aby says:

    Cousin Lynn,
    Nice, detailed write-up. I’m glad I stumbled upon this. I remember how fun it was playing in the studio that morning. Too bad I can’t hear it again. Any opportunity to hear a live recording of the late and great Jimmy Rollins would be a treat. I’m living in Ohio and playing with The House String Band (guitar, mandolin, bass), doing modest gigs whenever possible. Nice memories. Thanks.
    Steve Aby

    • Howdy Steve— Did you hear the Archive back in September? Thanks for the update. I just fixed the spelling of your name. /CL

      • Steve Aby says:

        Lynn: No, I didn’t hear the archive. I only just discovered this web site!! Is there still a chance to hear it? If so, is there a link? Thanks a lot.

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