Saturday, December 8, 2007

R.I.P. Tom Terrell, Onetime WHFS,WMUC, 930 Club dj, NPR critic, Steel Pulse & T. Mapfumo tour manager

Tom Terrel of WHFS fame passed away from cancer recently. Here's a couple of tapes of Tom doing his usual great show. Pretty sure I have more. Need to go through them all.

04-06-1989 WHFS TOM T. 30 Minutes
Gene Loves Jezebel, Cruel Story Of Youth, Sandmen, Billy Camp, Dream Syndicate, The Yardbirds

10-10-1988 WHFS Tom T Blue Monday, Radio Activity 46 Minutes
Phillip Walker, John Hiatt, Little Feat, The Cult, U2, The Smiths, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, Ghost Dance, killer version of "Radar Love", Sinead O'Conner

56MB, WMA 9.1 96kbps

Tom Terrell, 57; Journalist Was Music Industry Fixture, Scholar

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007; Page B07

Tom Terrell, a versatile music journalist, promoter and DJ, who was among the first industry insiders to focus attention on reggae and world music, died Nov. 29 of prostate cancer at the Community Hospice of Washington. He was 57 and lived in the District.
Mr. Terrell, who was ubiquitous in Washington music circles in the 1970s and 1980s, seemed to know everyone and to be ahead of every trend. After beginning his journalistic career at Howard University, he worked as a disc jockey at local stations and wrote about music for the Unicorn Times, the Washington City Paper and other publications.
Tom Terrell was ubiquitous in Washington music circles in the 1970s and '80s. His most recent gig was at XM Radio's international music division. (By Jeffrey John Fearing)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was the house DJ at d.c. space and the 9:30 Club, spinning an eclectic selection of records reflecting his interest in soul, jazz, New Wave, reggae and African music. After 16 years in New York, he returned to Washington in 2006 as an international music program director for XM Satellite Radio. He also wrote for Vibe, Essence, JazzTimes, the Village Voice and MTV magazine and, for the past three years, was a frequent commentator on music for National Public Radio.
During his years in Washington, Mr. Terrell produced the first U.S. concert of the British reggae group Steel Pulse in 1981 at the 9:30 Club.
"The band hired me to road manage their 'True Democracy' North American tour" in 1982, Mr. Terrell said in an NPR commentary in 2005. "I called it 'the heart attack tour.' It was total madness, Toronto to Tempe, 35 shows in 42 days. But every night on stage, the power, the joy, the sheer spirituality of those 'True Democracy' songs would just lift you up. With this band, political consciousness and musical ecstasy were one and the same."
When Mr. Terrell went with Steel Pulse to Nigeria, he and other members of the entourage were stranded for a month after their passports and some of their equipment were stolen.
Mr. Terrell, whose buoyant enthusiasm led to many friendships in the music business, had a gift for discovering artists and musical developments.
"He somehow managed to hear of people long before anyone else did," said Bill Warrell, who hired Mr. Terrell as the first DJ at d.c. space in 1977. "He did everything, he knew everybody. He introduced so many of us to each other. That was his magic."
Mr. Terrell's journalism was often a spirited blend of autobiography and musicology, leavened with slang, profanity and the knowledge of every trend in popular music for the past half-century. He wrote about virtually every form of music from Africa and the Americas, and in an NPR commentary last December he found himself praising an artist he never expected to like: Frank Sinatra.
"When I was younger, I couldn't understand why my father, the hippest black man I've ever known, dug him so much," he said. "Now, when I listen to Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra swinging to heaven with 'Fly Me to the Moon,' I know."
Thomas Gerald Terrell was born July 16, 1950, in Summit, N.J., and developed an early interest in music because of his father, an amateur singer. When Mr. Terrell was young, he and his sisters could sing the complex Lambert, Hendricks and Ross jazz standard "Twisted."
At Howard University, he was a photographer, writer and editor for the Hilltop, the campus newspaper, and for the Bison, the university yearbook. He was also renowned for his rent parties, at which he entertained hundreds of guests with selections from record albums that covered an entire wall.
From 1975 to 1990, Mr. Terrell had a series of programs on WPFW-FM, WHFS-FM and the University of Maryland's WMUC-FM. His "Sunday Reggae Splashdown" on WHFS was one of the Washington area's first radio shows devoted to reggae.
Between his DJ work and writing, he promoted concerts for artists as diverse as Cab Calloway, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Mali's Salif Keita. After moving to New York in 1990, he worked in marketing for Island Records, Gee Street Records and Verve, wrote for magazines and served as the DJ for jazz giant Ornette Coleman's 70th birthday party.
Back in Washington, one of his final projects was to write liner notes and record video interviews for a six-CD box set of Miles Davis's "On the Corner" recordings of the early 1970s, released in October.
Mr. Terrell maintained that music could be a beneficial force in the world, uniting people across racial, social and geographical boundaries.
"He loved bringing new music to people," said his sister Bevadine Z. Terrell of Washington. "He loved bringing people together, not just African Americans, but white people, Asian people, African people. He was open to all types of music."
In addition to his sister, survivors include his mother, Zoma Terrell of South Plainfield, N.J.; and two other sisters, Michelle S. Terrell-Long of Washington and Mona D. Terrell of Piscataway, N.J.


Mash Peel said...

Took me two years to learn this ...

I heard Tom on hfs going back to the 70s, and finally met him at a book signing about Joe Strummer of the Clash here in DC. He was a really nice human being - he is missed.

Camarillo Brillo said...

he was a good man!

What This Is All About

I've been collecting live music from various sources since the mid to late 70's. Radio shows, TV broadcasts, radio show pre-FM CD's and vinyl LP's and some trades. Most of the shows posted here, I recorded and ripped myself. I always had top of the line stereo equipment and cassette and open reel recorders for those on air broadcasts.

I've downloaded plenty of bootlegged concerts from various blogs. As a rule I will only post stuff from my collection and not what is already available out there.

I also post out of print CDs and LPs from my collection.
I will repost from my readers anything someone sends me as long as it is either out of print or something that's not from someone else's blog. If you want to share a link for a cool item on your blog, or someone else's, please feel free to post it in the comments........

Enjoy and please leave a comment and pass this blog along.

Can you believe that so many out there are starving for the old WHFS? Amazing!

If you leave a comment, how about using a nickname instead of Anonymous. At least make up something please. Thanks!

I have reconsidered my position...and will re-upload dead links, so long as you go to that particular post and make the request from the comments page...

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