TV & Radio Times w/e Jan 13th – Everly Bros, Vangelis, Father Ted

A personal and in no way comprehensive or objective list of some good music-related stuff on the idiot box and the wireless this week.

Huey Morgan – Radio Two, Friday

What a superb show this is. Loads of great old stuff and a smattering of cool new stuff – an hour-long segment taken at random from a recent show went – Tinariwen, Chuck Berry, Derek & The Dominoes, Koukie, Kate Bush, The Chi-Lites, Gabor Szabo, The Who and Smashing Pumpkins.

The moral is, in the post-God’s Jukebox era, the best music shows on Radio Two are to be found at midnight at the weekends.

Sound Of Cinema – BBC4, Friday

In a series celebrating the art of the cinema soundtrack, the heart of a BBC-wide season playing on radio as well as TV, Neil Brand explores the work of the great movie composers, and demonstrates their techniques.

Neil begins by looking at how the classic orchestral film score emerged and why it’s still going strong today, then traces how in the 1930s, European-born composers such as Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold brought their Viennese training to play in stirring, romantic scores for Hollywood masterpieces like King Kong and The Adventures of Robin Hood. But it took a home-grown American talent, Bernard Herrmann, to bring a darker, more modern sound to some of cinema’s finest films, with his scores for Citizen Kane, Psycho and Taxi Driver.

Among those interviewed are Martin Scorsese and Hans Zimmer, composer of blockbusters like Gladiator and Inception.

This is Vangelis’s beautiful, haunting theme to “Chariots Of Fire”, the only film ever where I’ve come out of the cinema feeling proud to be British. And that includes Zulu and Escape To Victory btw.

See also Saturday Night At The Movies on Classic FM (below)

The Everly Brothers: Songs Of Innocence & Experience – BBC4, Friday

The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert – BBC4, Friday

Its one of THOSE nights on BBC4. Neil Brand’s superb three-part series on music in cinema followed by the Everly Brothers reunion documentary and concert, both an elegy for a bygone rock’n’roll era as the brothers made up their differences and got back together for a couple of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Saturday Night At The Movies – Classic FM, Saturday

Odd title for a show that goes out at 5pm but when you look at Classic FM’s demographic – my 87-yo Mum is a devoted listener – I suppose by the time this programme ends at 7pm, much of the audience will in fact be ready for bed. This week’s show carries the geektastic theme of Space, including Star Trek, Armageddon and 2001:A Space Odyssey. The theme to the latter has been described on Youtube as “A less moody version of the Red Dwarf theme tune”. I love Youtube, me.

Jackie Brown – Channel 4, Saturday

Appropriate late-Saturday-night slot for Tarantino’s blaxpoitation homage / ripoff film, which may have dated more than somewhat, but the 70s funk soundtrack never gets old, right from Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” which plays over the credits.

Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour – 6 Music, Sunday

I’m not the world’s greatest Elbow fan but frontman Guy Garvey’s 6 music show is always a joy, last week featuring Laura Veirs, dEUS and Broken Social Scene, among others.

Tell you what, I’d like Elbow a lot more if their music showed a few of those influences.

Guy’s delivery is perfect for late night on a Sunday, though, so I’m still scratching my head as to why the show was moved to Sunday afternoons.

Father Ted – More 4, Sunday

The one where Ted and Dougal enter the Eurovision Song Contest with “My Lovely Horse”.

Play the f***ing note, Dougal !

Sounds Of The 80s, Radio 2 – Friday

Sara Cox has always been one of my fave radio presenters right back from her days on Radio One in the 90s where she added a welcome left-field and slightly disturbing tone to the prevailing lad(ette)-ish radio culture.

On the face of it, a DJ with a track record of playing dance music with the occasional indie track is an odd choice to introduce an 80s show but until such a time as Radio Two reaches “Sounds Of The 90s” (which in any case you can hear most days throughout 6 music’s programming) it’s good to have her in a regular radio slot again.

This week’s guest is the superb and underrated Marc Almond of Soft Cell and subsequent lesser solo hits, who at least hails from the Good Eighties (pre-84).

Love ya Sara, and I can hear the desolation in your voice when you have to say “Starting off the show there with Journey”.

To be fair, the show mixes and matches and provides as acceptable a mix as you can manage from the decade that music forgot.

One day soon, Sara, the 90s will be retro and you can play stuff you like again. As the hair-metal stadium rockers so rightly put it, Don’t Stop Believin’.

Danny Baker’s Rocking Decades, BBC4, Monday

Danny Baker takes an hour-long look at the Seventies in music, which some would say was about nineteen hours too short a time to do justice to the decade in which we moved from bubblegum to electro and New Romanticism via acid folk, punk, funk, prog, reggae, 2 Tone and stadium rock.

The suspicion that this show may be weighted towards the latter part of the decade is strengthened by the panel of Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, Slits guitarist Viv Albertine and Loyd “I was in a punk band you know” Grossman, the latter a top bloke but a very odd choice indeed.

Still, it’s Danny’s show and the man is always worth watching – and since he spent the 70s first as a a teenager, then a record shop assistant and finally the funniest and best journo ever to write for the NME, his is a voice worth listening to.

There’s Danny’s selection of archive clips at 10.30 too, in which the links will undoubtedly be even better than the music (which will be great, obviously). Continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Eighties and Nineties.

The Life Of Rock with Brian Pern, BBC4, Monday

Splitting the two sections of the Baker seventies retrospective, and redressing the balance a little in favour of the early seventies, prog legend Brian Pern – unfairly neglected by most scholars of music in this era – presents this alternative take on the history of rock.

Brian has done it all in a long career, and this documentary series looks unmissable.

Monday – Lauren Laverne, 6 Music

Temples have been getting a lot of positive attention in the run up to their debut album, which comes out this week. They play a live sesh with Lady La-La which despite being on at a time when wage slaves are all toiling away at t’mill, will be available on Listen Again.

I will take any excuse going to play Temples. This was their debut single.

Tuesday – I’ve Played In Every Toilet, Radio 4

The excellent John Harris mourns the decline of the UK’s toilet circuit – a network of crappy, cheap and cheerful venues where up and coming bands learn their trade and spread the word. Inluding, I’m pleased to note, the Forum in that legendary rock and roll hotbed of Tunbridge Wells, which is an actual converted toilet 8=)

From where I’m standing, I’d say venues are still surviving well if not actually thriving – a good example being Joiners in Southampton which has gigs on most nights. This is a nice clip of local boy Frank Turner returning to play one of the places that helped him on the way up.

Thursday – Johnnie Walker’s Long Players, Radio 2

David Hepworth and Johnnie Walker discuss a couple of classic albums. The format is a good ‘un, but it does pretty much live and die on whether you like the records they pick each week. This week’s is a cracker, featuring Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” and Elvis Costello’s first LP with the Attractions, “This Year’s Model”.

Should be something there for most tastes. Haven’t mentioned regulars like the Charlie Sloth show on 1Xtra and Marc Riley on 6 Music, both excellent all the time. This is a clip of Charlie’s visit to an old peoples’ home to perform a rap (as MC Gravedigga)

I Got 99 Problems But Me Gran Ain’t One

 

FESTIVE FIFTY YEARS AGO 1962 – Part Three

FESTIVE FIFTY YEARS AGO 1962 – PART THREE

December 29th 2012

Numbers 30-21 of the countdown, with some perhaps more familiar names as the chart gets closer to the top.

30) MARVIN GAYE – That Stubborn Kind Of Fella

Marvin Gaye’s first album consisted of jazz standards sung in a “black Sinatra” style which didn’t really pay off.

This single signalled a style change to a more soulful delivery, which paid off immediately after the mawkish “Soldier’s Plea”. It was Marvin’s first big hit, reaching No 8 in the US R&B chart and grazing the bottom end of the pop top 50.

29) MARY WELLS – I’m Gonna Stay

Mary Wells was the major female star at Motown during 1962, with the cruelly dubbed “No-hit Supremes” unable to produce a hit despite the label’s best attempts.

It’s a shame she’s only really remembered for “My Guy”, as she made so many other great records

This was the B-side to “The One Who Really Loves You” and is an equal, if not superior song. Peel would definitely have flipped the disc and played this more, as was his inclination.

28) HOWIE CASEY AND THE SENIORS – Twist At The Top

The first Mersey Beat band to make an album.

This would have been seized on by Peel’s Merseybeat-hip listeners.

(NB – the reason why very few Beatles songs are included here despite the Fabs doing three sessions in 1962 is because the tapes no longer exist. I could swing for the BBC sometimes, I really could.)

27) EVERLY BROTHERS – I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail

A surprising selection showing that the older listeners who had grown up the first wave of with rock’n’roll had (a) not abandoned the show and (b) developed more “mature” musical tastes.

The subject matter of the song would not really have reflected the lives of most of the Everly’s fans, but the delivery and passion are, as always, exemplary.

26) ELVIS PRESLEY – She’s Not You

Elvis achieves an operatic performance on this song, while maintaining genuine emotion.

I still maintain his baritone / basso profundo had the potential to wow ‘em at Bayreuth

Imagine him, dressed in robes, singing the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Go on, imagine it.

Ah yes. No, you’re right. He couldn’t have sung opera. But this is better than bloody opera, anyway.

25) BOB DYLAN – You’re No Good

Side One, Track One of Bob Dylan’s first album.

This cheeky, raw take on Jesse Fuller’s song of rejection only lasts one minute and forty seconds but manages to define Dylan’s template for the next couple of years, complete with falling over the words, giggling, and an audacious harmonica solo.

24) DUANE EDDY – Dance With The Guitar Man

Duana Eddy’s “Peter Gunn” was, famously, John Peel’s second favourite record (I forget the first placed record) and he would have featured Duane Eddy’s work heavily.

This record, if you think about it, features backing vocals but no lead vocal, only Eddy’s trademark twangin’ gitar.

23) DEL SHANNON – Cry Myself To Sleep

“Runaway” reached Number One in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
This scraped into the Top Thirty in the UK and only reached No. 99 in the US, which was actually a slightly better performance then his previous two singles.

Seemingly, boys singing about their emotions didn’t strike much of a chord with record buyers.

Fools.

22) BEACH BOYS – 409

Although for shorthand purposes the Beach Boys are generally called a “surf band” they did songs about cars too.

This paean to the early 60s boy racers’ dream car, the Chevrolet 409, was the flip to the massive hit “Surfin’ Safari” and, in the days when B-sides were counted separately to A-sides, actually made the Hot 100 in its own right.

Not as well-known as their later hot rod song “Little Deuce Coupe” but still a great tune.

21) BOBBY “BORIS” PICKETT AND THE CRYPT-KICKERS – Monster Mash

Peel loved the occasional novelty record. Never forget that it was he who was responsible for getting Laurel and Hardy into the charts in the Seventies.

This one would have delighted as many of his listeners as it infuriated, I think.

That’s all for now. Back for the countdown of numbers 20-11 at 8pm on Saturday on Twitter (hashtag #festive50yearsago).

Stay cool, hep cats.

FESTIVE FIFTY YEARS AGO 1962 – PART TWO

December 27th, 2012

Welcome to the second part of the rundown of the Festive Fifty from 1962, or more accurately, my version of what might have appeared in the Festive Fifty in that year if John Peel had been (a) in the country (b) working for the BBC and (c) compiling a Festive Fifty. Enjoy!

40. LORD BLAKIE – Maria.

Lord Blakie was one of the lesser-known calypsonians to come out of Trinidad in the late fifties. Always in the shadow of the global superstar Mighty Sparrow, this was his finest hour, winning the first official “road march” with this song. He is so damn cool in this clip, too.

39. JET HARRIS – The Man With The Golden Arm.

Debut solo hit from the former Shadows bass player.

An off-the-cuff remark by Shadows guitarist Bruce Welch about Harris’ wife’s ongoing affair with Cliff Richard(!) led to Harris quitting the band in April 1962.

A mere four months later he was in the chart with this brilliant, searing arrangement of the theme from the 1955 Frank Sinatra film.

The subject matter of the film – heroin addiction – could be seen as a statement from Harris about his own addiction problems, although these involved the bottle rather than the needle.

38. GINO PARKS – Fire.

A massive blast of angry noise which was very much out of sync with the vast majority of Motown’s early 60s output.

Gino Parks can be said to have been ahead of his time – this record certainly was, by two or three years.

Unfortunately Berry Gordy’s ideas about what the “Motown sound” should be meant no place for this kind of record , and Parks had few further opportunities at the label.

37. THE EVERLY BROTHERS – I’m Not Angry.

A B-side which would undoubtedly have received more airplay on Peel’s show than its more famous A-side “Crying In The Rain”.

In 1977 Elvis Costello included a track with the same title on his debut album, and the similarities go beyond the title to include the meaning and intent of the protagonist.

By the end of both songs, the listener is left in no doubt that the guy in the song is fooling nobody, let alone himself.

36. THE VENTURES – My Bonnie Lies
Never massive in their home country in the same way their UK rivals The Shadows were in theirs, nevertheless The Ventures laid the instrumental groundwork for the surf sound that formed the second (ahem) wave of American rock’n’roll music.

This record, a hepped-up reworking of an old weepie, was only a minor hit, but its inclusion here can be traced to another, vocal version of the song that was popular in this year (in the UK at least).

35. RAY CHARLES – Half As Much

In which Ray Charles really pulls out all the showstopping stops and creates a huge, fat middle of the road record that is a million miles away from “What I’d Say”. The piano playing and voice are more restrained but still classic.

34. GENE CHANDLER – Duke Of Earl

In a later era, the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey would make careers out of doing voice exercises to music, but this was probably the first worldwide hit record to be created out of a doo-wop band’s warm-up routine.

Neither a fast doo-wop number or a slow ballad, its intermediate pacing made it stand out and it went to No. 1 in the early weeks of 1962.

33. ELVIS PRESLEY – Return To Sender

Elvis’s career was at least as much about making films by 1962 as it was about making music, and this song was one of the highlights from the bikini classic “Girls Girls Girls”.

32. BOB DYLAN – Talkin’ New York

If you can argue – and you can – that the truest work of an artist is in his early, penniless, hungry years, then how much truer is that of folk music, where honesty is the most prized, maybe the only, virtue?

This is one of the two self-compositions on Dylan’s first album, and it’s a cracker, honest and true, detailing Dylan’s experiences on arriving in the Big Apple as a 20-year-old singer and trying to get noticed.

“New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years
I didn’t feel so cold then”

31. LITTLE OTIS HAYES – I Out-Duked The Duke

Answer Records were a great tradition of the fifties and sixties, briefly being revived as a record industry stunt with “F.U.R.B”, a record which didn’t really live up to it’s illustrious predecessors of two or three generations ago.

This one is a belter. Little Otis takes the basis of the tune of “Duke Of Earl” and gleefully rips out a derogatory lyric about how he “popped the Dook’s girl” while he was out of town. Magnificent.

So, tomorrow evening it’s numbers 30-21. See you then.