Talk about the passion: Mine for R.E.M. started in Tuscaloosa

Timing is everything. R.E.M.’s first album and I hit Tuscaloosa in 1983.

When I got there, I knew nothing about college or alternative rock. But I was ready for something beyond the Top 40 and found it on the University of Alabama campus radio station, WVUA.

VUA played “Radio Free Europe” from “Murmur” in as steady a rotation as a campus station is likely to do. I took notice. I remember the song seemed to just jump out of my car speakers one day as I crept over the train tracks on Hackberry Lane, past the Flowers bakery, making my way to campus. I thought, “Man, I really love this song.”

“Murmur” is usually called R.E.M.’s first album, and being new to college radio station I was unaware of the earlier “Chronic Town” EP, which I didn’t hear until a lot later — and by a lot I mean just the other day.

So I wasn’t on the R.E.M. ground floor, but thanks to WVUA I was a pretty early adopter. I bought “Murmur” around that time, probably at the grungy Vinyl Solution record store on the Strip. I was hooked and had no idea my love for R.E.M. was going to last well past college.

See the first post in this series here.

Next: 40 years later, still second guessing



David Price says voting rights changes won’t matter in the long run

New York Times story on voting rights and the changing South

David_PriceSummed up nicely by my U.S congressman, Rep. David Price, (D) North Carolina:

“All the voter suppression measures in the world aren’t going to be enough to eventually stem this rising tide.”

Southern accents do exist in Chapel Hill after all; Gaoo Heels!


Surrounded by Southern accents at the NCAA Super Regionals in Chapel Hill. By the way, UNC beat South Carolina 5-4 to advance to Omaha for the College World Series.

I mentioned in an earlier post, I feel like an island in a sea of non-Southerners here in Chapel Hill. Today, though, I discovered a sanctuary of Southern accents in the otherwise drawl desert that is Chapel Hill.

It was at today’s NCAA baseball Super Regional between UNC and South Carolina. The guy behind me, who was both loudly cheering and lovingly teaching the basics of baseball to a girl I assume was his daughter, at one point yelled, “Get anothern! Get anothern!” at a player who had earlier had a hit. It was nice to be among my people.

Unlike that guy, a lot of  what I heard was the slightly different (to my ear) North Carolina accent that says “go” like gaoo, “throw” like thraoo, “like” something like lahk and Carolina as CalAHNa.  But hey, what’s a little pronunciation among friends.

It was twangy music to my ears. Clearly, I need to spend more time at UNC sporting events.