MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Our next stop on today's Shaw tour brings us to a legendary live music venue, the 9:30 Club. If you've ever been to this spot on V Street Northwest, you may have noticed something kind of unusual, an antenna sticking out of the very top. See back in the day, the building was home to WUST, a daytime-only radio station, transmitting at 250 watts on AM 1120. It was a low-power station, to be sure, but that didn't stop it from making its mark. In the 1950s it was one of the first stations in Washington to play R&B.
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
And no WUST staffer was more famous than DJ Lord Fauntleroy Bandy. His real name was John Bandy and he'd speak with a British accent as he played tunes behind a window looking out at the sidewalk. So kids from all over would swarm outside and watch. Producer Hans Anderson searched far and wide for audio of Bandy, and while he wasn't able to find any of that old tape, he did find some major Lord Fauntleroy fans, who shared their memories of the legendary DJ.
MR. HAROLD BELL
He brings back the great music, man, like The Flamingos, like The Spaniels, The Oreos.
MR. HAROLD BELL
He broadcast right out of this window right here and people would ride up and down the streets and he would holler at them all, this is Lord Fauntleroy Bandy, hello out there in that red Cadillac convertible.
MS. SANDRA BUTLER TRUESDALE
We would stand out here and we would dance and he encouraged it. And so I don't think that many of us knew name was John. We just knew Lord Fauntleroy Bandy.
And it was very, very amusing, man, because, like I said, when I first saw him he wore an ascot. You know he was a sharp dresser, man, really a sharp dresser. And he was very striking, a ladies' man.
If you can just imagine this whole sidewalk being covered with girls, swooning, maybe he was 15 years older than we are, but we would be like, oh, goodness.
MR. PATRICK ELLIS
I used to hear him in the afternoons, so apparently he did afternoon drive. And of course there was the British accent that kind of fingerprinted him.
But I know he was a student at Howard University. And we was in the actors' studio. And I know they had traveled to Europe during his tenure there and he came back with this great accent, the British accent. In fact, a lot of us thought that he was white. We didn't realize that he was a brother. And we found that out because, like I said, he broadcast right out of this window right here.
I think it was a learned accent. I don't know whether he had traveled, you know. I never thought about that really, but I mean -- and as far as we were concerned, it was perfect, you know. It was a perfect accent, we thought.
Seems I remember one tagline of his where he used to say -- I may have this wrong -- but he used to say, I think, he used to say something about I'm going downtown to see Mr. Brown and spin the round table. Maybe he was talking about James Brown. I don't know.
Of course, at that time, he was playing Rhythm and Blues. Rhythm and Blues was much different than it is now. Rhythm and Blues was actually love music.
All those great groups, man, back there then. It was about love, you know. And he would sit in that window and play that music, man, and we were a part of that, man. And one of my favorite songs was The Spaniels, "You Gave Me Peace Of Mind."
And I always connect that with Lord Fauntleroy Bandy because he would always play that. I think that was one of his favorites, too.
And so we would get down here about 3:15 and kids came from everywhere. They didn't just come from Cardozo, Garnet-Patterson, which was a junior high school was right down the street. And kids would come from there and then it got bigger and bigger because he was on the air. And kids would come from Spingarn, all the way over in Northeast, just to stand in front of this window and watch him play because he was a handsome dude, too. He was real nice looking.
That was Harold Bell, Sandra Butler Truesdale and Patrick Ellis, sharing their memories of DJ Lord Fauntleroy Bandy with producer Hans Anderson. And we don't know about you, but we are dying to hear Fauntleroy Bandy and that famous British accent. So if you happen to have any recordings of him, maybe tucked away in a desk drawer or somewhere in your attic, we would sure love to hear them. Send us an email, our address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and in case you're wondering whatever happened to Bandy, he left D.C. in the late 1950s and went to Philly, where he worked as the assistant general manager of WDAS, but clearly, his memory lives on in the town he originally called home.
Time now for a break, but when we get back, remembering the riots.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1
Between 7th and 9th Street everything was just being demolished.
That and more is just ahead on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.
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