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Articles: The Story of Bob Abrahamian and his radio show Sitting In The Park


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Over the years whilst looking over Soul Source you may have noticed long time member boba regularly posting up the latest details of his weekly radio shows titled "Sitting In The Park"...

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Bob amassed an incredible music collection, and learned an incredible amount about Chicago Soul and US general Soul music in a very short time (as opposed to us normal "lifetime collectors".  And he w

News/Article/Feature Highlight: Over the years whilst looking over Soul Source you may have noticed long time member boba regularly posting up the latest details of his weekly radio shows title

I had forgotten all about this article.  R.I.P. Bob, you will be missed by many.

Posted

Great article.

I didn't realise Bob was tied up with Rick from Dusty Groove so that was interesting (I met Rick when he came to London sometime in the late 90's).

It's interesting how different people get into it isn't it? In the North of the UK in the late 60's and early 70's obscure Soul music was relatively easily available in most places. Even the youth clubs were playing decent Motown and Soul, so from a relatively young age we were exposed to it and had plenty of opportunites to dig deeper if we wanted to. Record supplies were abundant and cheap with Bostocks, Global, Soul Bowl, Robinsons etc mass importing U.S. 45 cut-outs which cost the equivalent of 5p-25p each. So really we were spoilt with choice. I did a Saturday job in Bradford in 1971 and brought 40 U.S. records back home every week for £2.00 (my Saturday wage was £2.50 at the time). That was a brilliant way to discover music for me. And cheap.

However, in the U.S. I've found many collectors who were self-generating, i.e. not necessarily influenced by a 'scene' but rather by their own curiosity and passion. So they'd tend to have wider collections which took in a lot more influences and their collections would often be better to look through because they'd have all sorts of oddball records. The best stuff I found in L.A. in 1976 came from a 'Garage' (60's local L.A. recordings) collector who looked like Charles Manson and had a similar taste in music. But the stuff he had was incredible.

It's good to see that the U.S. has people who care enough about the local scenes. If there was a Bob in every U.S. state, then loads of stuff would be unearthed.

Nice one!

Ian D :D

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Posted

Great article.

I didn't realise Bob was tied up with Rick from Dusty Groove so that was interesting (I met Rick when he came to London sometime in the late 90's).

It's interesting how different people get into it isn't it? In the North of the UK in the late 60's and early 70's obscure Soul music was relatively easily available in most places. Even the youth clubs were playing decent Motown and Soul, so from a relatively young age we were exposed to it and had plenty of opportunites to dig deeper if we wanted to. Record supplies were abundant and cheap with Bostocks, Global, Soul Bowl, Robinsons etc mass importing U.S. 45 cut-outs which cost the equivalent of 5p-25p each. So really we were spoilt with choice. I did a Saturday job in Bradford in 1971 and brought 40 U.S. records back home every week for £2.00 (my Saturday wage was £2.50 at the time). That was a brilliant way to discover music for me. And cheap.

However, in the U.S. I've found many collectors who were self-generating, i.e. not necessarily influenced by a 'scene' but rather by their own curiosity and passion. So they'd tend to have wider collections which took in a lot more influences and their collections would often be better to look through because they'd have all sorts of oddball records. The best stuff I found in L.A. in 1976 came from a 'Garage' (60's local L.A. recordings) collector who looked like Charles Manson and had a similar taste in music. But the stuff he had was incredible.

It's good to see that the U.S. has people who care enough about the local scenes. If there was a Bob in every U.S. state, then loads of stuff would be unearthed.

Nice one!

Ian D :D

Nice post Ian.

Jordi

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killer story! much respect to you Bob..

Totally agree, and Bob, you add a wealth of knowledge and sanity to this forum. Respect indeed.

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Thanks everyone. It is interesting to hear how younger people get into soul music. As in the story, much of my generation got into it through hip hop and sampling. I know there is a whole new wave of young California collectors getting into the music through the sweet soul collector scene over there. And there are more soul nights in other cities in the US than ever before, but I'm not sure why -- maybe because it's such a "hip" and different sound from anything else. I think that these soul nights probably inspire even more people to collect the music.

A few years ago I was saying that the music would die as the collectors got older (which is sort of what happened to the doowop scene) but it's great that new blood is coming into collecting to keep it alive.

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I didn't realise Bob was tied up with Rick from Dusty Groove so that was interesting (I met Rick when he came to London sometime in the late 90's).

another totally random connection I have with a person is that Eli "paperboy" Reed went to the University of Chicago for a year and started doing a southern soul show after me. I took him around the city to different record shows, thrift stores, etc. He then dropped out of school to focus on his music. Sort of random that I knew him before his recording career.

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I too find it pretty interesting how younger dudes get into it, so many are, as you say through the Hip Hop scene but for me whenever I talk to these guys I feel like a throwback because I came the other way going from the blues forward to soul. As a musician this made the most sense to me but nearly everyone else my age came back from Hip Hop/samples. I was lucky to fall in with a pretty deep blues collector back when I was starting out. I didn't really know much about Northern Soul or anything back then just liked the records & ended up collecting in a bit of a vacuum really for a long time as New Zealand isn't really what you'd call a hive of soul music afficionados.

Interesting reading.

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very interesting story bob. you're definitely a wealth of knowledge when it comes to records, especially that you share the same passion of music as i do and several other chicano's do in california. and it's a great pleasure knowing you and please continue doin what you know how to do best.

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Posted (edited)

Over the years whilst looking over Soul Source you may have noticed long time member boba regularly posting up the latest details of his weekly radio shows titled "Sitting In The Park". As the list of interviews with soul artists seems to be ever increasing we thought it may be a interesting thing if we ask Bob A for some background on both himself and the shows. Chalky got pm-ing Bob and they put together the below...

The story of Bob Abrahamian and his radio show Sitting In The Park.

"Sitting in the Park" is a weekly soul show that broadcas...

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here here Chalky

Great listening...Bob has a.great knowledge and taste in all good music for the soul....listening to his interviews and his compiled playlist is so refreshing and an inspiration!!!!

Love the "Sitting in the Park" radio show,

essential Chicago entertainment.....

keep on keeping on Bob

tfk :hatsoff2: .

Edited by tfk
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What a journey - been listening to the show for a couple of years or more Clicked through many a show to find the tune I was needing to hear before buying from ebay or wherever. Also bought from Dusty Groove. Not sure if this phrase is a nationwide one but up in the North East of England we say 'talk to someone long enough and you'll find you are related' !!! Love the story and connections and one thing is true - £5 or £500 - If it floats your boat then it doesn't matter.

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Guest sigher the gutter snype
Posted

great read bob, i can so relate to the hip hop side of stuff, if it wasnt for electro hip hop back in 1983 etc...i may have taken a different path, used to spend hours finding breaks and samples, through producing hip hop for my group has made me unearth so many lovely soul records.......keep up the good work and radio show.....

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Bob/Chalky

What a great story. Like you Bob I'm a lways interested in how people 'found' Soul music. I love your philosphy and attitude to buying records, there are so many wonderful tunes out there to be had without breaking the bank. I;m sure I read you say I'll only spend $10 on a record when I've bought all the $5 ones I want, this is also my mantra.

Love the show.

Great story.

gary

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crikey bob, i didnt realise that was you, i've been sending you 45s via my ebay site for a while now (vinsoul65) great story my friend and keep at it!

Nice to see you apppreciate a record on its true merit and not it's value, you have my thumbs up mate.

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crikey bob, i didnt realise that was you, i've been sending you 45s via my ebay site for a while now (vinsoul65) great story my friend and keep at it!

Nice to see you apppreciate a record on its true merit and not it's value, you have my thumbs up mate.

Ha ha, I think I've also bought from you. Nice to put a SS name to the ebay name!

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That was a pretty good read. Thanks Chalky and Bob.

I thought it was funny that you said Impressions and Manhattans, as I've always thought they were like 'brother groups' in terms of style and quality.

Also, it's cool to see how people from different countries end up collecting soul 45s. Most of us down here arrived through the skinhead reggae/ska and mod scene.

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Posted

That was a pretty good read. Thanks Chalky and Bob.

I thought it was funny that you said Impressions and Manhattans, as I've always thought they were like 'brother groups' in terms of style and quality.

Also, it's cool to see how people from different countries end up collecting soul 45s. Most of us down here arrived through the skinhead reggae/ska and mod scene.

thanks. what is a "brother group"?

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thanks. what is a "brother group"?

I don't know, I meant they were very similar in lots of ways.

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Posted

I often meet people whose favourite hobbies seem to revolve around opening beer cans and watching television preferably both at the same time.

By reading your history it's clear to see how your hobby developed bit by bit into what's looking like is gonna be a life long obsession.

Who couldn't be more impressed by your dedication and determination to interview scores of ageing Chicago singers from years gone by and documenting their story before time forgets. Nice one Bob.

My respect is obvious and unashamed.

Derek

If I had a crystal ball I'd like to think it would predict you in the future as compiling albums of under valued Chicago music for an old College buddy of yours....

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thanks a lot. I watch trashy TV but I don't drink. I already help out the numero group on a lot of stuff. Thanks.

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Guest Polyvelts
Posted

It's great that you get to talk to the people that made these records and let their stories be told. Well done bob !

I listen to your show at work and the girls I work with always laugh when you say 'ok....' , so as you can imagine there's a lot of laughing going on ! Seriously though it is such a great and varied show and we all love it !!!

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  • 1 month later...
Guest bgnrsoul45clctr
Posted

nice story your radio show is kick ass so much good music im always being introduced to songs ive never heard before on your show so thanks and keep on doing your thing

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Posted

nice story your radio show is kick ass so much good music im always being introduced to songs ive never heard before on your show so thanks and keep on doing your thing

thank you I appreciate it

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Posted

my favorite set from the show..

4/26/2009

Sitting in the park 7th anniversary show

Montclairs - Unwanted love - Paula

Mixed Sugar - It's a bad thing - FGS

Minits - Still a part of me - Sounds of Memphis

Intensions - She needs somebody - USA

Volumes - Ain't gonna give you up - Karen

Ed Nelson - I'll give you a ring - Saggitarius

Double Trouble - To live is to love - Pilot Master

Stride - Come inside - no label

Vi Richardson - I can't believe - RSG

Mayer Hawthorne and the County - Just ain't gonna work out - Stones Throw

Brothers Unique - Heavy days, beautiful world - Spectrum sound

Decisions - Do I love her - York

Condors - Meet me halfway - Sheldon

Tracy La'vett - In my great big lonely room - Achillean

Fred Moss - I'll always love you - Vanessa

Brotherhood - Expressing my love - Tesseract

Past, Present and Future - If I could live for eternity - Rouser

Uptowners - From lovers to friends - Captown

El Pooks - Trisha - Orivious

Precisions - Take a good look - Hen-mar

Aftermath - Gretchen - The phoenix

Roman and Weston Expo - We'd better quit - Double Scorpion

Starborn - What does it take? - New Bag

Kansas City Express - This is the place - American Artists

Fillmotions - Young girl - Young girl

Color Us People Band - A day without your love - Lightning

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wow, what a great story! bob i really like your work and it's a pleasure for every collector & soul music lover to hear your show...much people collect the last years because it's "hip" to listen soul music but they not with heart & soul on it ,i think you know what i mean. I'm 24 and listen sweet soul since is was 13 and i never change that , sweet soul sound is a part of me and i'm happy to see people like you that spin that rare and unknown records with heart and soul. Much Respect from germany

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wow, what a great story! bob i really like your work and it's a pleasure for every collector & soul music lover to hear your show...much people collect the last years because it's "hip" to listen soul music but they not with heart & soul on it ,i think you know what i mean. I'm 24 and listen sweet soul since is was 13 and i never change that , sweet soul sound is a part of me and i'm happy to see people like you that spin that rare and unknown records with heart and soul. Much Respect from germany

Thanks. it's amazing how many people in different places are now getting into the music via sweet soul. How did you get into sweet soul in Germany when you were 13? Is there a sweet soul "scene" there like there is in california?

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Thanks. it's amazing how many people in different places are now getting into the music via sweet soul. How did you get into sweet soul in Germany when you were 13? Is there a sweet soul "scene" there like there is in california?

When i was 12 i started listening to rap music and my big brother took me to the record shop to buy rap records. I found a 45' by the Fuzz and listen to it at the record shop and i was fascinated from the sound, the track was "I Love You For All Seasons"...so i started to buy 45's by the delfonics, bloodstone, emotions etc. i was spent hours of hours at the record shop...with 16 i had started to buy records on eBay but some records cost over 100$ and so i notice the names and saved money to buy them. Now i think i got a nice collection with rare and unknown 45's :-).....in germany is not a scene for sweet soul, the people don't like this kind of music, some few people listen to northern soul but sweet soul is not popular.

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Hi Guys

Mr Abrahamian is up this sunday on 'Soul People Show' 11-02-12. Bob will bring his exstensive knowledge to this weeks edition of the show and hopeful introduce you to some tunes new, but what ever he plays it will be good.

Solar Radio can be found on http://www.solarradio.com/ or 0129 on Sky

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i've had the pleasure of playing records out with bob a couple times, such a wonderful man. He has such an amazing knowledge of music! and best of all he has turned me on to so many great records! There is such a snobbery between record collectors in Chicago, but not once did I feel it from him. In fact, he is one of few that finds it all childish. I guess what I am getting at is that he is a stand up guy with the best sounds in Chicago and everyone has a lot to learn from him! Keep up the good work bob!

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i've had the pleasure of playing records out with bob a couple times, such a wonderful man. He has such an amazing knowledge of music! and best of all he has turned me on to so many great records! There is such a snobbery between record collectors in Chicago, but not once did I feel it from him. In fact, he is one of few that finds it all childish. I guess what I am getting at is that he is a stand up guy with the best sounds in Chicago and everyone has a lot to learn from him! Keep up the good work bob!

wow thanks a lot gary. i also like how you are really opened minded about records and not just focused on a few expensive ones. peace...

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Guest sickdog
Posted

Hi Bob,

I am one of those young Cali collectors that you are talking about. Most of us grew up on the sweet soul sound as part of our culture (chicano) and are building off of that foundation. I know your show and collection have personally influenced many of us in expanding our knowledge of soul, so thank you.

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Posted

Hi Bob,

I am one of those young Cali collectors that you are talking about. Most of us grew up on the sweet soul sound as part of our culture (chicano) and are building off of that foundation. I know your show and collection have personally influenced many of us in expanding our knowledge of soul, so thank you.

Thanks so much. By the way, anyone who wants to be added to my radio show email announcement list, you can PM me your email. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

The best thing about the show is the people who call in know nothing of the culture of collecting soul music, they just want to hear good records from their youth.

Edited by Rob_Sevier
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What was crazy was that this nice lady who calls me up once in a while called me last week about the H Andrews record on Balance that I played, she was like "I only heard that once and haven't heard it since." She asked me to play it again. I asked if it was in Chicago and she said yes. How did this obscure san francisco record even get one play in Chicago (the payola capital)?

For the last couple months I have been getting calls from some guy who is clearly just lonely and wants to talk. He's like "do you like old movies? let me play you this clip I found on youtube." But I'm trying to cue records and go on the mic and other people are trying to call and I can't figure out a way to get him off the phone without being rude to him. I just sort of agree with him and don't say anything else. Last week he called up, he was like "I was watching the simpsons, but with the sound down, and listening to the doowop show. It went really good with the show and a lot of the music lined up with it. Does that ever happen to you? Your music is sort of different than doowop, it's like rockabilly versus rock. Does that make sense?" He went on for a while, it was frustrating.

I also get a call from this one dude who just associates my show with "oldies". So he'll request soul but then he also keeps asking for Benny Mardones "Into the night". I can't figure out how to explain to him that that doesn't fit into my show.

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you will m iss them when they are gone. the internet is full of takers, bless you for giving/sharing

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you will m iss them when they are gone. the internet is full of takers, bless you for giving/sharing

yeah in general i appreciate everyone who calls, they are so dedicated to the music

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Posted

Interesting article. Always been curious to learn a bit more about Bob since I am a devoted follower of the Sitting In The Park show, a show that I find incredibly educational and impressive in all possible respects.

ATB,

Mats AKA Melismo

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  • 2 years later...
Posted

Well done Chalky.

 

A fitting tribute to Bob and I'm sure something which answered lots of questions for many people - certainly me.

 

Top man.

 

Peter

 

 

:thumbsup:

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