Music, Staff

Meet the UNC Librarian with an R&B Past


UNC Music Librarian Jill Shires was profiled in The Chapel Hill News for a note from her musical past.

UNC music cataloger Jill Shires spends her days bringing order to the Library’s immense collections of music scores and recordings.

But Ph.D. student Chris Reali recently uncovered a bit of R&B fame in Jill’s past. As a teenage flutist, Jill played backup on the The Tams’ 1964 hit “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?”

The Chapel Hill News profiles Shires in the March 25 article “UNC music librarian made R&B history’s liner notes.”

Shires was recommended for the gig by her high school band director. She wound up making history, the paper notes, for her “brief but emblematic role as a white musician backing up black performers in a fully integrated recording studio in 1963 Alabama.”

You can hear Jill with the Tams on YouTube.

“The first thing I did was the opening,” she told The Chapel Hill News. “I improvised – which I do now – but back then I just didn’t. I guess I was just in the spirit of it and just having a good time. I don’t remember a lot of takes.”

Congratulations, Jill!

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