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March 7, 2008 / Brittany Hendrick

There is one advantage to living in South Carolina

No, I don’t really live in South Carolina.  But I’m pretty close to it.  In the time it takes me to drive to East Atlanta, I could be partying it up at the South Carolina border welcome center off I-85 just as easily.

Without getting into the WhydoyouliveinBufordandwhenareyoumovingtoAtlanta story, there is one– just one– good thing about practically living in the foothills of the Appalachians:

Two college radio stations at the same time.

Yup!  Out here, I get reception on GSU’s (WRAS) and UGA’s (WUOG) stations.  And the way WRAS has been going the past almost-ten years, WUOG is a lifesaver when I’m tooling around town on a Saturday.  As far as regular rotation playlist goes, WUOG is far superior to WRAS.  WUOG is doing what college radio stations should be doing– and they haven’t forgotten the staples and forefathers, too– while WRAS is too busy with their “If you’ve heard of half the stuff we play, we’re not trying hard enough” philosophy.  What kind of “direction” is that?!  I need that extra terrestrial choice in WUOG these days, since my truck’s CD player has been out of commission for almost a year.  Pair that malady with the three hours per day that I spend in traffic while driving to-and-from work and my potential insanity increases exponentially.

But aside from getting WUOG, I also get a couple other small radio stations that couldn’t care less about pleasing large market advertisers– I mean– audiences– I mean…God!  So the other night, as I neared Buford on my way home from work, in the usual furied midst of frustrated station flipping (in which I end up pounding random buttons together in anger, literally), I accidentally found something that made me exclaim, “Yyyyyyes!”  Because it’s a song I love and it’s not played on major radio stations anymore:

“In the Evening”, by Led Zeppelin, off the album In Through the Out Door.

As a whole album, it’s not their best (errr, “Hot Dog”?).  But the epic songs are REALLY good (“Carouselambra”!), though they ain’t no “Achilles’ Last Stand.”  And even though it’s not Led Zep’s best album, it has special significance to me; or, rather, the actual vinyl copy, does.  Because my mom bought it for me.


I remember when the first Led Zeppelin box set was released.  The band’s cover of Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” was the single.  I hated it.  I hated the song, hated the video: booor-ring.  What did I care about old hippie men and a defunct band.  That cut into time when MTV could be playing a relevant Guns n’ Roses video.  How dare they keep me from my Duff McKagan. (though the Use Your Illusion albums wouldn’t be released until a year later, so G n’ R videos probably weren’t being played at the time anyway.)

But within that same year, on a car trip from Ohio to Georgia with my grandmother, something happened.  It was a situation not unlike what I go through on a daily basis: we were in the middle of nowhere, Ohio, and I couldn’t find ANY music to my liking on my Walkman.  The station that played L.A. Guns’ “Ballad of Jayne” had faded into fuzz.  Dammit, I needed some rock music.  I resigned to the closest, most familiar, most rock-sounding thing I could finally find.  Oh, NO!  THIS?!  “Traveling Riverside Blues.”  I didn’t have a choice.  It was that, Top 40 or Country.  I was forced to listen to the Led Zep.  No!  No!  Noooo!  Must… resist… that riff!  That riff!  That riff is repetitive, and I like it!  I finally “got” it.  But I kept it to myself.  What sixth grader likes Led Zeppelin?

Eleven year olds may not admit to liking Led Zep, but fourteen year olds do– that’s how old I was when the fancy 10-CD studio album box set was released.  It was a big to-do.  To celebrate, Z-93, the classic rock station at the time, dubbed September “Zeptember” and broadcast the remasters box set (I think that’s what it was) in its entirety, which I dutifully taped and dutifully listened to “Achilles’ Last Stand” over and over again.  At the same time, I had Geometry class with a guy who was into Zeppelin.  He let me borrow his copy of Stephen Davis’s Hammer of the Gods. It was all I needed to solidify my love for this band.  Peter Grant, Richard Cole, red snapper, holy shit!

This was also around the same time I started getting into vinyl.  Every so often, my mom would take me to the record store so that I could spend a few hours looking over everything, finding so much yet ultimately buying so little (’cause 14/15 year olds can only hold babysitting jobs, you know).  Eat More Records had a copy of In Through the Out Door that I coveted, still in its brown paper bag cover, that exquisite packaging I’d read so much about: the various jacket covers, the watercolor sleeve.  Did I need it?  Yes!  But no… I didn’t have the money.  I picked it up, put it down, picked it up again, sighed, it’d be gone by the time I have the money (this was before I knew about Goldmine).  I forgot about it.

Soon after, I fell ill with the flu.  Just miserable, but not ever too bad because, hey, I got to stay home from school and watch MTV all day.  My mom came home from work with a surprise for me.  I remember, I was in her bed, miserable (but not too miserable, because I’d fit in a good eight hours of MTV), and she pulled out that vinyl copy of In Through the Out Door.  I couldn’t believe she went to Eat More Records– on her own– without my assistance– without my asking– and bought that for me.  Not many moms would have a clue on things like that.  I love that album.

The radio station that played “In the Evening” is 101.1 FM and is probably located in South Carolina.


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