Let's start this story with "The End" -- as in The Beatles song the Bellport High School Jazz-Rock Ensemble recorded in 1971. That cover and another off a vanity-pressed LP at the time -- a version of "Reach Out I'll Be There" -- recently got airplay on offbeat New Jersey radio station WFMU / 91.1 FM (90.1 FM in the Hudson Valley), which also streams online.
"It's a tour de force," says Monica Lynch, the DJ who found the band's vinyl at the station's record fair in Manhattan, says in an interview after sharing a listen to the Four Tops tune. "Obviously we're talking about a budget recording, so everything sounds a bit condensed. But there's a lot of heart in it, and they're experimenting, and it sounds really great."
Thanks to the blog Our Lady of Perpetual Obsolescence Vinyl Rescue Mission and Orphanage (vinylorphanage.com), all three albums recorded by the high school's extracurricular club -- now known as the jazz ensemble -- can be downloaded online (cover art included).
"To think a radio station would be playing music a high school group did 40 years after the fact is great," says Mark Sands, 59, who played drums and sang on the first album. Now a music teacher and musician living in Norwich, N.Y., he adds, "but it's also kind of outrageous."