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Locals weigh in on the Greatest Year in Music

Greatest Year

The theme for WXPN’s annual countdown this year is The Greatest Year In Music, and WXPN invites you to vote on what you think was the greatest year (or years) were in music.

Polls for XPN’s Greatest Year in Music close tomorrow – Monday, October 26th – and if you’re still on the fence about what to vote for, read through some cases we gathered from local musicians and writers. Below, check out snippets from Ben Vaughn (1964), Tara Murtha (1989), Aaron Parnell Brown (1971) and more. Then vote for your favorite year in music here and listen back to winners during the Greatest Year In Music countdown starting Monday, November 2nd.

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Ben Vaughn, Bardo Pond and more will play Philadelphia Record Exchange’s 30th Anniversary Block Party

Bardo Pond | Photo by Katie Tapman
Bardo Pond | Photo by Katie Tapman

With the recent de-commissioning of Old City’s revered AKA Music, it’s more important than ever to celebrate and appreciate our bricks and mortar record retailers while they’re here. So in that spirit, mark off your calendar and make plans to head out to Frankford and Oxford on Saturday, September 19th, for the 30th anniversary of the Philadelphia Record Exchange. For one thing, it’s a legendary music institution. For another, there’s some great live music to go with it – Philly psychedelic luminaries Bardo Pond, rock and roller and XPN host Ben Vaughn, indie stalwarts Strapping Fieldhands and more TBA. More information can be found at the block party’s Facebook event page. Continue reading →

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Ben Vaughn will perform in New Hope and New Jersey next month

Ben Vaughn
Ben Vaughn | photo by Greg Gutbezahl

Collingswood, NJ native Ben Vaughn will come back to our neck of the woods for a pair of shows up river around Christmas. The leader of the Ben Vaughn Combo has been writing new material that he’ll hopefully share with fans at John and Peter’s in New Hope on December 26th before traveling thirty minutes down the Delaware River to The Record Collector in Bordentown, NJ on December 27th.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Vaughn Quintet at The Tin Angel, Angel Olsen at Studio 34, The Astronauts at PhilaMOCA, Mirah at Johnny Brenda’s, The Tragically Hip at The TLA

South Jersey-bred rocker, producer and XPN host Ben Vaughn takes to the stage of The Tin Angel tonight. The venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and XPN Welcomes Ben and his quintet to rattle the walls a bit with some timeless garage rock tunes. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the Ben Vaughn Quintet playing “My First Band” at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last year.

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The inside story behind a picture of two of our favorite DJ’s

Check out the photo below of two of our favorite DJ’s: Jerry Blavat, The Geator With The Heator, and Ben Vaughn. Ben tells us the photo was taken in 1996 at KCRW’s studios in Los Angeles when Ben was doing the video shoot for his album Rambler ’65, in which The Geator makes a guest voiceover cameo appearance. WXPN has The Geator and Ben on the radio weekly; iisten to The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn Saturdays at 5PM followed by The Geator’s Rock N Roll Rhythm and Blues Express at 6PM. WXPN Welcomes the Ben Vaughn Quintet to the Tin Angel on Tuesday, November 13th. Go here to buy tickets and for more information about the show. Below the photo be sure to watch the video for the song. Photo below compliments of Ben Vaughn

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More photos from the Ben Vaughn archives

After we posted this photo of Ben Vaughn, we asked Ben to send us some more photos from his archives. Below, check out a photo of Ben and R&B singer Arthur Alexander, and below that Ben with the legendary Johnny Otis.

Ben Vaughn with Arthur Alexander
With Johnny Otis at Capitol studios, 1989
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Photo of the moment: the Ben Vaughn Combo circa 1986

Our friend Ben Vaughn must have an incredible collection of old photos, assuming he can find them amongst his tens of thousands of records. From his days with the Ben Vaughn Combo to his various record producing gigs over the years, Ben occasionally posts them to his Facebook. Ben describes the photo above: “The Combo in Philly. JFK Plaza lunchtime concert, 1986. Gus says he might still own those pants.” Don’t miss The Many Moods Of Ben Vaughn radio show Saturdays at 5pm on XPN. He can play anything he wants and make it sound great.

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Listen to a new song from Aaron Freeman (Gene of Ween), “As I Love My Own”

photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media

To many music fans, Gene Ween is known as the lead singer of Ween; since the mid ’80s, he and childhood friend Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) have been performing under that name. These days, Gene (real name Aaron Freeman) is getting ready to release his debut solo album as Aaron Freeman, called Marvelous Clouds. It is being released by Partisan Records on May 8th and was produced by Ben Vaughn—producer and host of The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn (Saturdays at 5 pm on WXPN). Vaughn last worked with Freeman when Vaughn produced Ween’s 1996 release 12 Golden Country Greats. Marvelous Clouds contains all covers of songs by the poet, musician, and author Rod McKuen. Below, listen to “As I Love My Own.”

Aaron Freeman – As I Love My Own by Shore Fire Media