WCBN's Radio Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa offers up Sproton Layer and Ramones rarities

MUSIC BOOTLEG WASHTENAW

Sproton Layer

Left: Sproton Layer guitarist-singer Ben Miller cuts vocals for a Sproton Layer song in the basement of his Ann Arbor family's home, 1969. Right: Trumpeter Harold Kirchen, drummer Laurence Miller, and bassist Roger Miller rock the Little Theatre at Pioneer High School in May 1970. Photos courtesy of Sproton Layer.

Frank Uhle's Radio Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa on WCBN 88.3-FM always features a treasure trove of vintage rock 'n' roll and punk, and he's one of the great historians of 1960s and 1970s underground Michigan music. Uhle also re-released the ultra-obscure and totally rippin' lone 7-inch by Ann Arbor 1960s garage rockers The Beau Biens, which we talked about in-depth here.

Because the pandemic has kept DJs from going into the WCBN studio, the station is rebroadcasting a lot of shows, though some hosts are broadcasting live from their homes while others are preparing their programs there and uploading them.

For Radio Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa, which airs 10 pm Mondays, Uhle has been digging into his vast archive of shows, as well as his personal collection of rare recordings (plus photos and other memorabilia), to produce programs that offer a little bit new, a little bit vintage, and a whole lot of fun.

For his October 26 show, Uhle put together a collection of Ramones recordings from December 4, 1979, that includes a WCBN interview as well as a portion of their show that night at Second Change (now known as Necto). Uhle wrote the following on his Facebook page:

Bootleg Washtenaw: Vulfpeck live at The Blind Pig, April 24, 2015 (plus a new LP)

MUSIC BOOTLEG WASHTENAW

Vulfpeck at The Blind Pig, 2015

An occasional series highlighting live recordings made in Washtenaw County.

Vulfpeck began in 2011 as students in U-M's school of music. Last year the band sold out Madison Square Garden, which you can watch here.

Between those extremes, the jammy funk band regularly played The Blind Pig, and the enthusiastic live-music guy known as DSA was there to document it with five cameras and a multitrack recording direct from the soundboard. The gig sounds and looks great, and Vulfpeck, as ever, has a lot of fun.

Now based in Los Angeles and sundry other locales, Vulfpeck also released a new album, The Joy of Music, the Job of Real Estate, on October 2020.

Check out The Blind Pig concert and stream The Joy of Music, the Job of Real Estate below:

Bootleg Washtenaw: Wipers, July 7, 1987, at The Blind Pig

MUSIC BOOTLEG WASHTENAW

Wipers

An occasional series highlighting live recordings made in Washtenaw County.

You may not know the music of cult group Wipers, but you've definitely heard songs by one of the group's biggest fans: Kurt Cobain.

In fact, you may even know two Wipers tunes through Nirvana covers: The 1992 tribute comp Eight Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers (later expanded to Fourteen Songs ...) featured Cobain & Co. covering "Return of the Rat," while the Nirvana tour EP Hormoaning from the same year featured "D-7." Both songs come from Wipers' 1980 debut, Is This Real, which Sub Pop reissued in 1993.

The Wipers' tour that brought the trio to The Blind Pig on July 7, 1987, was for their fifth album, Follow Blind. The group would record one more record, 1988's The Circle, before calling it quits for six years. With the buzz created by Nirvana, Greg Sage reconvened the band for three more albums in the 1990s before stopping again—still a cult band.

Like Cobain, Sage was a left-handed guitarist who mixed distorted chords and dexterous lead lines. But where Cobain dealt with huge dynamics, Sage tended toward a nervy slow burn, with his hazy guitar sound—achieved through tube amps he built himself—providing a noise bed to support his wailing but distant vocals.

Wipers started in Portland, Oregon, but Sage has lived in Arizona for some time now, where he runs a recording studio and the Zeno Records label, which sells all the Wipers' albums plus two Sage solo LPs.

The Blind Pig recording sounds like an audience tape rather than from the soundboard, but it's pretty good quality.

Setlist and audio:

Bootleg Washtenaw: Nirvana, April 10, 1990, at The Blind Pig

MUSIC BOOTLEG WASHTENAW

Someone recently uploaded Nirvana's April 10, 1990, show at The Blind Pig to YouTube for the umpteenth time with the bad audio and wonky video.

Why bother when there's the version above, which has been online since 2012 and it sounds pretty good? It also boasts the following: "New Custom 2-Camera Mix/Deshaked with synced Audio (Aud1 JWB remaster)."

"Deshaked" is a shaky but accurate technical term, and for that alone, I'm entering this version of the video onto the record as the definitive edition of this bootleg.

Tracklist: