Corrections or additions?

Prepared for the September 13, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

All rights reserved.

You CAN Hear It on the Radio

Music You Can’t Hear On The Radio," New Jersey’s

oldest folk music radio program, begins its 27th year on the air this

month. Hosted by John Weingart, the show with the contradictory title

is broadcast live on WPRB every Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. WPRB can

be heard at 103.3 FM throughout central New Jersey and throughout

the world at WPRB.com.

Generally, a free-form mixture of musical styles and topical themes,

Weingart keeps folk music lovers apprised of area concerts, often

featuring visiting artists’ recordings or inviting them into the

studio

to play and talk about their music. He has also tailored two shows

especially for the season.

"Songs of New Jersey," on Sunday, September 17, features three

hours of songs about our much-maligned Garden State. Leading

Weingart’s

play list for the show will be Dave Van Ronk’s "Jersey State

Stomp,"

which he describes as a miracle of research and memory. Van Ronk plays

guitar and "sings or grunts" the names of about 100 New Jersey

towns.

"There is a periodic interest in New Jersey and in having a state

song, but it always leads to discussion about why New Jersey doesn’t

have one," says Weingart, who deems Mike Sinatra’s folk-country

"Jersey Bound," "as good as any song that’s been written

about a state."

The state’s latest contest took place in 1996, but there’s still no

state song. "There’s a self-consciousness about living in New

Jersey because people outside the state make fun of it," says

Weingart.

"So the expectation is that the song’s going to be funny —

whereas when you write a song about any other state, there is no such

expectation.."

John Gorka’s "I’m From New Jersey" is now one of the

better-known

songs, says Weingart. It suits, he says, because "it’s funny and

self-deprecating with a hint of pride in there." He’s also partial

to "The Long Branch Branch of The Red Bank Bank" by Dick

Levine,

a dentist in Middletown, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen’s "Atlantic

City," which he describes as "a wonderful portrait of a place

and time."

"In doing this show I stretch a little bit by including Paul

Simon’s

`America’ which has a line about looking out on the New Jersey

Turnpike.

I’ll play the version he performed live in Central Park when the line

evokes a roar of applause from the crowd."

Although the state contest helped bring Weingart’s attention to some

little known songs, he’s skeptical that the state will ever settle

on one. "Red Mascara (still arguing his case at

www.newjerseystatesong.com) has been lobbying to have his song made

the state song since the 1960s,"

Weingart says. "The bill passed both houses and was vetoed by

Governor Cahill."

Weingart’s election weekend show, Sunday, November 5, will devoted

to "Songs of Politics and Politicians." It will feature folk

songs, show tunes, and comedy routines written from "Washington

at Valley Forge" to "Hail, Hail, the Country’s Rising for

Henry Clay and Frelinghuysen" and "Al Gore Rhythm 2000."

There will also be music from a few musically-minded politicians,

including Senator Robert Byrd playing the fiddle and Congressman David

Obey on harmonica.

Born and raised in New York, Weingart has lived in New Jersey since

1973. Formerly assistant commissioner in the Department of

Environmental

Protection, he became associate director of the Eagleton Institute

in February. He is completing a book about his experiences with

government

in trying to find a place for radioactive waste in New Jersey.

Over the years, Weingart has cultivated a loyal following. The

Morristown

Daily Record judges it "the best folk music show on the radio"

and the East Coast Rocker writes that it is "special and

unique."

Weingart "makes sets of songs that are somehow related to one

another, drawing connections where none existed before," writes

the Princeton Alumni Weekly. And the undergraduate Nassau Weekly calls

the show "as much a weekend institution as the Sunday Times."

At U.S. 1 newspaper, the Sunday-night production crew counts on

Weingart’s

presence as it shoe-horns stories into the last nooks and crannies.

And it’s true, you don’t get music like this on the radio very often.

Only "very seldom, very seldom," as the bluegrass song in

Weingart’s weekly opening proclaims and as his E-mail address

confirms:

Veryseldom@aol.com.


Previous Story Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments