Etta James

In the Basement

“That’s where it’s at,” Etta James once sang in a tune extolling the virtues of taking the party downstairs. There’s no cover, no one checks your ID and you can dance however you want since there’s “no one under you.”

At WXXI, the “it” factor is different than what Etta had in mind. The basement here is full of metal shelves and dusty cardboard boxes of audio tape. There are rows and rows of reel-to-reels: a whole section of City Sounds, another for old RPO broadcasts, dozens of Fascinatin’ Rhythm programs and who knows what else.

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