FESTIVE FIFTY OF 1965 Further Listening – NUMBERS 40 – 31

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The second of five blog pieces taking you a little bit deeper into the Festive Fifty of 1965.

Click here if you missed Blog Part One – Numbers 50-41

Download the two parts of the actual podcast here:

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 50-26 here

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 25-1 here

This of blog posts gives a bit more background to each track, plus links to other related tracks worth hearing.


40. THE CONTOURS “First I Look At The Purse”

Three years – an eternity in terms of the pop charts, both in the sixties and now – had passed since The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” went global, and while only lead vocalist Billy Gordon remained from the line-up that cut that record, and even though the group were strictly second division in the Motown pecking order, the band’s sound and output was still carefully controlled to ensure a direct line, sonologically speaking, between The Big Hit and all subsequent releases.

This song was written by Miracles Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rodgers and managed a reasonably creditable #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The J Geils Band did a superb garagey version of this song in 1970, by the way – worthy of The Band themselves and a million miles from their early 80s hits.

39. PRINCE BUSTER “Wash Wash”

Featuring Georgie Fame on organ and the Les Dawson Combo (the Jamaican ska group not the dour Yorkshire comedian although I reckon he could have probably handled the organ part on this)

The song is “based” on an old Frankie Laine number “That Lucky Old Sun” from 1949, but you do have to do whatever the aural equivalent is of “squint” in order to hear it.

38. AFRICA FIESTA “Minge Rhumba Fiesta”

L’Orchestra African Fiesta, often known simply as African Fiesta, was a Congolese soukous band started by Tabu Ley Rochereau and Dr. Nico Kasanda in 1963.

Tabu Ley and Dr. Nico were originally members of the seminal band Grand Kalle et l’African Jazz. They left African Jazz and started their own group, African Fiesta, with which they helped elevate the genre of African rumba into the genre now known as Soukous.

This track and many others equally as great can be found on the compilation “Rochereau et l’African Fiesta National 1964/1965/1966” under Tabu Ley Rochereau’s name (there were ructions between the two founder members which led to Nico Kasanda leaving the group and setting up African Fiesta Sukisa)

The track “Jaloux Jaloux” is just beautiful – listen to the singing on this.

37. SMALL FACES “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?”

The debut single and the debut hit from the peerless Small Faces – although the band weren’t that enamoured of the song and preferred the B-side “Whats A Matter Baby?”

36. DONOVAN “Universal Soldier”

In an era of many protest songs (notably Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction”) Buffy Saint-Marie’s gentler-sounding song stood out, as rather than an angry rant at generals and war in general it pointed the finger at the men who actually went off to war, and questioned their choices directly. A masterpiece of a song given a good treatment by Donovan

Here’s the original, with an introduction by Buffy Sainte-Marie describing the inspiration behind the song:

35. BRENDA HOLLOWAY “You Can Cry On My Shoulder”

Nothing I can say about this song, or indeed about Motown’s finest singer Brenda Holloway, that can’t be said better by Motown Junkies on Brenda Holloway

and then check out this dark, dark tale of a bad relationship:

34. THE WHO “My Generation”

According to Pete Townshend in a later interview “My Generation” started out as a talking blues folk song record, Townshend being hugely affected by Bob Dylan at the time.

You can just about discern this when you listen to it, in amongst the thunderous Keith Moon drums, the bass solo(!) from John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey’s stuttering pillhead vocal delivery.

Time has rendered this safe by repeated plays and listening – there’s probably an oldies channel near you playing it right now – but have a listen to it in context of some of the songs around it at the time (it was kept off no 1 by the Seekers’ “The Carnival Is Over”, while Ken Dodd’s “Tears” was still in the Top Ten) and you can get a hint of just how explosive that final descent into feedback would have sounded at the time.

The B-Side, a cover of James Brown’s “Shout And Shimmy” was none too shabby either.

33. THE YARDBIRDS “For Your Love”

Written by future 10CC founder member Graham Gouldman, “For Your Love” marked a bit of a change of direction for The Yardbirds away from straight blues / R and B numbers. Guitarist Eric Clapton hated the song and barely plays on it – he would leave the band soon after, paving the way for the more open-minded Jeff Beck.

“For Your Love” had an unusual chord structure and instrumentation – it features bongos and harpsichord, the latter played by Brian Auger as it was the only keyboard available in the studio. Auger’s parting comment was “who in their right mind would buy a single with a harpsichord on it?”

Turns out the answer was “quite a lot of people” as it reached #2 in the UK and #6 in the US and remains the band’s biggest hit.

The B-side was a more standard blues instrumental called “Got To Hurry” – sounds like Clapton’s enjoying himself a bit more here. (as an aside, check out the Youtube comments below it – the eternal “Who’s the greatest guitarist” arguments rage on and on and on …)

32. THE ROLLING STONES “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

The release of this record with its instantly recognisable introductory riff (which incidentally came to Keith Richards in a motel in Clearwater, Florida – they’ve probably got a plaque up or something). Keith didn’t see the possibilities of the riff even after Mick Jagger had gone away and written the lyrics and the band had recorded it.

Up until “Satisfaction” the Stones’ sound was recognisably white boys playing black music. From this point on, they played the Stones’ music.

The follow up was “Get Off My Cloud”, and you can almost taste the confidence with which they play it, knowing they’ve just blown the competition out of the water with “Satisfaction”. This is the point where the Stones really started to strut.

31. THE POETS “That’s The Way Its Got To Be”

Managed by Andrew Loog Oldham (who also handled the Rolling Stones), with a nice line in self-penned songs and a sound that just took the British Beat Group sound that little bit further into what would soon be called psychedelic rock, the Poets seemed to have everything going for them in 1965 releasing singles like “Thats The Way Its Got To Be” and “I Am So Blue” (below) but they never had a single reach higher than their 1964 debut “Now We’re Thru” (stalling at #31) and indeed never got to make an album. They were huge in Scotland though

Festive Fifty of 1965 Numbers 50-41

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FESTIVE FIFTY OF 1965 Further Listening – Numbers 50 – 41

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Every year here in Beat City we produce an imagined chart based on the answer to the question “What would John Peel’s Festive Fifty have looked and sounded like if he’d done one fifty years ago?”

This year (just gone) being 2015, we’re looking back to 1965, one hell of a year for music in so many ways.

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 50-26 here

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 25-1 here

This series of blog posts gives a bit more background to each track, plus links to other related tracks worth hearing. Enjoy!

50. THE PRETTY THINGS “Honey I Need”

The co-founder (with Phil May) of the Pretty Things Dick Taylor was a college contemporary of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, even playing bass (very) briefly in the early incarnation of the Rolling Stones.

Taylor met singer Phil May at art college and formed the Pretty Things.

After two covers (“Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”) “Honey I Need” was the Pretty Things’ first self-penned hit. They never really cracked America owing mainly to a lot of very bad behaviour on the part of the members of the band.

One of only a very few acts from the 1965 Festive Fifty that are still going in 2015, and not just on the oldies circuit – they released an album in 2015 wryly titled “The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now Of Course)” and while nobody is claiming its better than their crazed, noisy early albums or their 1967 rock opera “SF Sorrow” (yeah, Who and Kinks fans, they were there first with that particular bloated form) its a decent album.

Album review The Sweet Pretty Things Are In Bed Now Of Course album review

Here’s a track from the new album called “Hell, Here And Nowhere”


Known for her mixing jazz with Japanese influences, pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi (using her married name on this recording) was the first Japanese student to enrol at the prestigious Berklee School Of Music in Boston.

Still with us at 86, Akiyoshi has recorded well over fifty albums. This is probably the best solo jazz piano clip performed by a woman in her late 70s that you’ll see today.

48. ALTON ELLIS “Dance Crasher”

Alone among Jamaican singers of the era, Alton Ellis consistently released records critical of the violent lawlessness epitomised by the burgeoning Rude Boy culture (sanitised into pork pie hats and shiny suits by later generations of British teenagers).

“Dance Crasher” is the most famous of this run of songs although “Blessings Of Love” and in particular “Cry Tough” are also well worth a listen

47. BERT JANSCH “Needle Of Death”

“Needle Of Death”, a response to the recent death of a friend from a heroin overdose, is from his self-titled debut album, generally regarded as the first British singer-songwriter album.
Its an astonishing debut, recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorded at the Camden Town flat of engineer Bill Leader – check out the way he attacks the guitar on “Strolling Down The Highway”

46. TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS “Pain In My Belly”

Credited to “Prince Buster And The Maytals” since the band had recently signed to Buster’s label and the logic of the record industry dictated that it was good for sales to use the more famous name to sell the record.

That is definitely Toots Hibbert’s voice though – as is also the case on “Jamaica Ska”, made around the same time and similarly credited.

45. THE CASTAWAYS “Liar Liar”

The Castaways hailed from the twin cities of Minneapolis / St Paul in the garage band hotbed that was Minnesota in the sixties.

“Liar Liar” was their debut single and their only hit.

The follow-up “Goodbye Babe” is pretty much a rehash with a different vocal trick to it but still, you’d have thought it would have made SOME headway if only for the genuinely scary half-spoken intro …


Haitian sax player and bandleader Nemours Jean-Baptiste released the album “Les Trois Dangers” in 1965 and the track “Fanatiques Compas” is the standput track.
From the record company, IBO records in the late sixties:

“Nemours Jean-Baptiste and his renowned Ensemble, is truly an asset to the musical art of Haiti. It is a symbol, a landmark, in a new concept of interpreting music of Haitian origin. In a word, it is the result of the will of the Haitians to enrich their native musical repertoire.

There is no doubt that Nemours Jean-Baptiste is a musician well qualified to be able to conceive and improve upon a new swing. An unusually fine agile musical ability is one of the main ingredients in Nemours’ formula for success. His care in adapting his original ideas to the tastes of the public is acknowledged by their pleased attitude toward his inspirations.

Four years ago, to give new impetus to Haitian music, he created the rhythm known as “Konpa Direk”. This renovation was enthusiastically welcomed, and it brought immediate fame to Nemours Jean-Baptiste.

From its inception, this new rhythm was approved of by everyone. Both young and old could dance to it with ease. Its authentic styling and personality coupled with new melodies and fine arrangements bring this rhythm each day closer and closer to the forefront of popular dance music, a position, it so justly deserves.”

Another track from the album – “Immortel Compas”

43. BILLY STEWART “I Do Love You”

Billy Stewart died in a motorbike crash in January 1970 at the age of 32, a tragically early loss of a great talent who would undoubtedly have flourished with the smoother Philadelphia-style soul of the early to mid seventies – “I Do Love You” reached #26 in the US Hot 100 while the follow-up “Sitting In The Park” went two places higher

42. OS KRIPTONS “Billy Boom”

Angolan garage band Os Kriptons consisted of Gil Azevedo Lima on rhythm guitar ) ,António Veloso on drums, Carlos Alberto Sanchez on bass and José Antonio Diamantino on viola, of all things. Playing their first gig in N’Gola cinema in Luanda, they achieved a fair amount of local success with their first EP, form which “Billy Boom” is taken. This is “Manga Madura” from the same EP.

41. THE ANIMALS “Bring It On Home To Me”

Alan Price’s final single with The Animals was a cover of the Sam Cooke classic (below) – he was replaced briefly by Mickey Gallacher who went on to become a central part of Ian Dury And The Blockheads.

Look out for the next instalment of this blog in a couple of days’ time.

Stay groovy, won’t you?

Festive Fifty of 1965 Numbers 40-31

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10 Albums To Die Before You Hear

The NME treated us last week to “101 Albums To Hear Before You Die”. All well and good, obviously subjective but a useful list for those of us wanting to hear more music – and that’s all of us, right?

Well, this piece addresses the problem from the other angle. Read this and you will save a lot of time, which you can use to spend more time with your loved ones, watching box sets on Netflix or maybe even just checking out the NME’s list.

You’re welcome.

10 LOU REED – “Metal Machine Music”

Irritated by RCA Records and wanting out of his contract with them, Lou Reed realised that there was a clause in his contract that clearly stated that while the record company had the right to demand an album from him, they also had the obligation to release the album he provided them, whatever it sounded like.

“Metal Machine Music” was released – or more accurately escaped – in 1975. Widely regarded as a joke by fans and journalists alike, it consists entirely of guitar feedback played at various speeds.

Rolling Stone magazine described it as sounding like “the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator” (which Yes considered as a working title for “Tormato” see below)

As an exercise in hype it remains one of the most successful ever, selling over 100,000 copies in the USA. It was a waste of Lou Reed’s time making it and it’s a waste of your time listening to it.

9. HAPPY MONDAYS – “Yes Please!”

The album that pretty much bankrupted Factory Records.

The horribly appropriately-titled “Yes Please” is where it all unravelled for Happy Mondays, a band touched by genius but whose, shall we say, appetites for altered mental states brought on by Certain Substances meant they were always living on borrowed time once they’d started making enough money to buy the really good drugs.

The band and their families were packed off by Factory Records to Barbados to record the album at Eddy Grant’s studio, the theory being that while in Barbados, cut off from their Manchester dealers, Shaun and Paul Ryder would not be able to take heroin.

So they simply moved on to crack cocaine instead.

After running out of money, they sold some of the studio furniture for drugs money. Bez ended up breaking his arm after overturning a hire car.

Sounds like a lost episode of “Peep Show”, correct? I swear I am not making any of this up.

Musically the band were not gelling with producers Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz from Talking Heads. The sound they produced robbed the Mondays’ music of the ballsy, insistent riffs and “now” sound, replacing it with plinky-plonky winky-wanky synths.


8. BONEY M – “Nightflight To Venus”

Now I have nothing against the M. Nothing at all. “Brown Girl In The Ring” – great pop record. “Rivers Of Babylon” – great pop-reggae record. And especially the song whose bassline New Order ripped off for “Blue Monday”, namely “Ra-Ra-Rasputin”. Don’t believe me? Check these out.

The trouble with this album is that while the songs you know are fine if you like that sort of thing, it’s the filler that kills ya.

Are you sitting down? Not holding any hot liquids? Good.

Okay, try the M’s take on Roger Miller’s fine, wistful country classic King Of The Road. In a staggeringly kitchen-sink production, pay particular attention to the cack-handed horn riff that comes in at 1:28.

And if you’re shrugging your shoulders and thinking “So what? That wasn’t so bad” then bear in mind the other cover on the album is Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold”.

Still want to hear it? Good luck finding it. It isn’t on Youtube. It was taken down after thousands of complaints, not least from Neil Young. Possibly.

7. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART – “Trout Mask Replica”

Most people hate this album.

Most people who really love music hate this album.

Most people who really love music and take lots of drugs hate this album.

Most people who really love music and take lots of drugs and like Captain Beefheart hate this album.

I love this album but the statistics show that you probably won’t. Move on, people. Nothing to hear here.

Just so you know, that was the most tuneful and accessible track on the whole album.

6. OASIS – “Be Here Now”

Where to begin with how disappointing this album was when it came out in 1997?

Oasis ruled the musical world like nobody since the Beatles.

Not the unified United Kingdom Of Sound that the Fab Four ruled with a mostly benign hand for most of that long, blissful, peaceful century called the Sixties that we look back on with such fondness.

No, the Gallacher brothers and their ever-changing band of Oasisblokes were kings in a smaller, rockier, whiter realm, but kings nevertheless.

Their first two albums “Definitely Maybe” and “Whats The Story Morning Glory” were masterpieces. Okay, revisionist rock history will have you believe otherwise but revisionist rock history is wrong – give it ten years and everyone will be in awe of the ‘Sis once again.

The warning bells were there when the lead single from the new album came out in Feb 1997. “D’Yer Know What I Mean” was long. Very long. And it was kind of Oasis By Numbers. Still, maybe it’s a blip we thought as we all dutifully bought it anyway and sent it to Number One, although I’ve long maintained this was due to the presence of the brilliant “Stay Young” and a passable cover of Bowie’s “Heroes” among the extra tracks (bear in mind youngsters that this was pre-downloading so you couldn’t just download the one track. I know! Crazy, huh?)

The hype continued until the release of “Be Here Now”. It was going to be Oasis’ “Sgt Pepper”. It was going to revolutionise the Britpop sound and take it to the next level. It was going to cure AIDS. And cancer.

The reality was eleven tracks clocking in at five minutes plus each, plus a reprise. It’s impossible to play all the way through and maintain any sort of attention to it. The songs aren’t BAD as such, its just that they all outstay their welcome by three, four,five or six minutes. And that’s what’s really frustrating.

What this album needs is a remix where each song is cut down by 50% of its running length. If this is ever done – and there IS a precedent in the Beatles canon with “Let It Be Naked” which was a major improvement over the overproduced original version of the album – then the result will be an album as good as the first two if not better.

Go on Noel, you know you want to. If it was good enough for the Beatles, it’s good enough for you.

5. DAVID BOWIE – Forthcoming 2015 album (as yet untitled)

I respect Bowie. His seventies output is second to none in its innovation, ingenuity and variety.

I admire a man who can reinvent himself so many times over.

His comeback album of last year “The Next Day” was excellent – way better than it had any right to be

But if he was to come in here brandishing a horrible pretentious cod-jazz single with dubstep overtones I’d have to say “Oi! Bowie! NAAAAAAAAH!”

Sue me.

4. THE STYLE COUNCIL – “The Cost Of Loving”

Sticking with musicians fond of reinventing themselves, Paul Weller’s second band were never that convincing despite some loverly singles (”Long Hot Summer”, “A Solid Bond In Your Heart”, “The Paris Match”). The first album was an eclectic mish-mash of styles lovingly ripped off / sourced from 60s jazz and soul mostly. At least it made a change from the Jam’s monochrome sound.

And the second album “Our Favourite Shop” contained the mighty fist-in-the-air leftover Jam jam “Walls Come Tumbling Down” amongst some dubious musical decisions (like having Mick Talbot sing lead vocals on the album’s opening track – as a singer, Mick makes a great keyboard player) – and it also contained “The Stand-Up Comic’s Instructions”, which featured a working men’s club MC (Lenny Henry of all people) encouraging a young comic to tell racist and sexist jokes “cos the crowd’ll be with you”. It wasn’t a bad album by any means.

Then there was the difficult third album.

Released in 1987 “The Cost Of Loving” abandoned all the old referene points in favour of a smooth, contemporary American-style R&B.

Some have called this album a brave move in the same way David Bowie’s “Young Americans” was deemed groundbreaking a decade earlier. In fact both albums ere motivated by that most well-worn of mid-career British band cliches, the desire to crack America. One succeeded, one failed.

(although to be fair Bowie’s attempts at being funky on “Young Americans” are considerably worse than Weller’s here)

The playing is good (you’d expect nothing less from Steve White, Mick Talbot and Weller himself) and the vocals are OK. There are even some decent songs here, notably the title track. The problem is twofold – the production which tries too hard to sound black, cool and relevent and ends up sounding muddy and forced, and unfortunately the songs aren’t really up to it.

United States label Geffen Records heard the tracks and promptly dropped The Style Council from their roster. Sensible decision.

If you must listen to the Style Council (and believe me, you really mustn’t, by and large) then stick to the aforementioned singles and studiously avoid anything post 1985. Trust me on this.


If you’ve got it, flaunt It. I see what they did there.

In the spirit of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s laziness masquerading as creativity, I did consider simply cutting and pasting this entire article from Wikipedia.

This, after all, is a band who put adverts on their debut album between the tracks.

(Sidebar – I wonder idly, from time to time, if The Who got kickbacks from doing something similar on 1967’s “The Who Sell Out”, although I’m pretty sure those products were fictitious)

Even in the wasteland that was the late eighties, they stood out as being particularly half-baked, and half-assed, though some folk thought their stance was fresh, brilliant and an excellent satire on Eighties excess.

After leaving Generation X, Tony James, formerly sought to form a “fantasy band”. If only it had remained just that, but no, they played gigs and made records too.
The band’s sound was, according to James, arrived at by accident, when he inadvertently mixed elements of film soundtracks with their demo track “Love Missile F1-11” while putting together a video compilation from his favourite films.

This album is annoying, not because of the adverts or the silly clothes or the band’s empty arrogant interviews. It’s annoying because Sigue Sigue Sputnik actually had a plan and some decent ideas involving sound collages. They were only really missing one thing.

The songs. Ultimately, they just didn’t have the songs. Which is what it’s really all about, when you get right down to it.

If you ain’t got it, and you flaunt it anyway, you just look embarrassing.

2. YES – “Tormato”

Let’s get this clear right now. I like a bit of prog, okay? I like a lot of Yes records. Especially Tales From Topographic Oceans, which is the Yes album people slag off most, mostly when they’ve never heard it. Check out “Nous Sommes Du Soleil”. Go on. Its twenty minutes well spent, and if you’ve read this far into the piece you’ll be in credit by over six hours by now so treat yourself. I’ll still be here when you get back.

There. Wasn’t that loverly? Yes from 1973, possibly at their peak, that was.

Five years on, things have changed more than somewhat. The advent of punk in 1977, far from driving these proggy dinosaurs into their shells, actually galvanised Yes into make “Going For The One”, a fantastic record which even yielded their first hit single “Wonderous Stories”. I always liked to think the mis-spelling was a nod to punk, who knows?

It was all going so well.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go according to plan. The band’s ninth studio album, ‘Tormato,’ emerged from those sessions on Sept. 20, 1978, and represented not only a reversal in commercial fortunes for Yes, but the start of a particularly turbulent period that would eventually lead to some key departures from the lineup.

Quarrels between Yes members were nothing new, and members came and went on a regular basis, but things seemed particularly stormy during this period – both Rick Wakeman and on Anderson left the band within a few weeks of completing the album.

Wakeman’s displeasure became particularly evident during an infamous incident when he hurled a tomato at the artwork for the record, which was then titled ‘Yes Tor,’ after a geological formation in southern England,

“We had paid a fortune for the artwork, which when we were shown it, we all agreed we had been ripped off. It was a pile of brown smelly stuff. I picked up a tomato and threw it at it…” Not wanting to spend any more money commissioning a replacement cover, the band simply changed the title to ‘Tormato.’”

Overplayed, under-produced, too many notes, not very satisfying to listen to.

These criticisms come from the band themselves, and they’re correct.

If you’ve never heard Yes, on no account listen to this album. Listen to “Fragile” instead.

The last word should go to John Peel, who in the punky late 70s never liked to admit to having given Yes their first radio play. I remember him playing the minor hit single from the album, the well-intentioned “Don’t Kill The Whale”

… and saying afterwards

“Well, that’s Yes with “Don’t Kill The Whale” and I’ve got nothing against whales but frankly the thought that they’ve made a record defending them just makes me want to head for the fjords or wherever it is they live and hunt them all down. Misty In Roots now.”

1. DEXYS – (as yet untitled follow-up to “One Day I’m Going To Soar”)

All the albums Dexys have ever put out are works of genius.

“Searching For The Young Soul Rebels”


“Don’t Stand Me Down”

“One Day I’m Going To Soar”

It’s not that Dexys’ next album is going to be anything less than brilliant.

Its just that given that there were 27 years between “Don’t Stand Me Down” and “One Day …”, and given that the age of yer average Dexys fan, old enough to have bought “Geno” and sniffed haughtily at the global success of “Come On Eileen, is probably around the 50-yo mark, we’re all probably going to die before the next one comes out whether we like it or not. And Kevin Rowland will be nearer 90 than 80 by that point so with the best will in the world … I dunno.

Hey, prove me wrong, Kev.

There you have it. You may well disagree with this list, which is fair enough. Life would be dull if we all agreed on everything.

I’d love to see your list, though.

1Xtra does Jamaica – Radio highlights

1xtra In Jamaica – Sunday, 1Xtra

This should be a bit special.

David Rodigan’s regular show is a great mix of reggae music down the ages, past and present.

His perspective on reggae’s legacy and knowledge of the current scene make him the John Peel of reggae radio.

This show sees Rodigan decamp to Jamaica along with Robbo Ranx and Toddla T, including session tracks from Chronixx, Busy Signal and Tarrus Riley!


The Story Of Pop (daily on 6 Music and also on the BBC iPlayer)

Couple of cracking episodes in particular this week as the 1994 Story Of Pop re-run covers the story of 60s folk music over the weekend

Saturday 04:00 – Episode 20 Hobos To Hippies – the folk protest movement from 1960 to 1965
Sunday 04:00 – Episode 21 Turning Rebellion Into Money (great title if era-inappropriate!) – covers the mid-60s
Monday 04:00 – Listen to Me Me ME – 1967 to 1972
Tuesday 01:00 – Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine – the 1960s underground scene

Not quite sure why the BBC are only leaving these on for a week but I expect there’s some legal reason for it. Grab ’em while you can.

John Kennedy’s Xposure – XFM (Monday to Thursday) 10pm – 1am

If John Kennedy worked for the BBC it’s fair to say a lot more people would have heard of him. As it is, if you’re interested in new music, he’s pretty much the nearest thing we’ve got to a modern John Peel . XPosure has always been and continues to be a minor miracle for a station that does sometimes lean towards landfill indie.

Monday evenings are a particularly good time to listen to John’s show as he tends to play quite a few new releases. The guests are always well-chosen and have something interesting to say, and are drawn out well by JK’s hype- and cynicism-free interview technique. Dude’s not concerned with trying to appear cool unlike certain DJs I could mention.

If you don’t have time for the whole show the podcasts give you a good flavour, each one focussing on a particular artist, which is a smart move. Yeah, I know it’s iTunes but after finally giving up and subscribing ‘cos it was the only way to watch those rediscovered Dr Who episodes immediately, what the hell?

I’m an Apple Tart now. Apple Tarts are cool.

XPosure Podcasts To Download From iTunes


Gig guide – Thurs 12th – Wed 18th September 2013

Thursday – Strypes, Electric Ballroom

Strypes have been garnering a lot of critical mass lately. Ridiculously young Irish band playing R&B in the Dr Feelgood / early Stones sense.

They’re the real deal, no matter what a few jaded old wanker hipsters think.

The new album is out this week and I was lucky enough to catch them at Rough Trade’s instore gig on Wednesday – they played a blistering high-octane set comprising ten songs in half an hour – at least, I think it was ten, I may have lost count.

Here’s a clip of what they sound like live, hot off the press from last night (Wednesday 11th Sept)

Thursday – Summer Camp, McCluskys

The second, eponymous album from Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley has more of a coherent sound than 2011 debut “Welcome To Condale” which should hopefully endear them to a wider record-buying public.

They’re now playing R&B in the Beyonce sense, and foregrounding the hip-hop style sampling that was present sporadically on the first record, and for my money they’ve nailed it.

BRough TrwdddddddddBuy the Stephen Street-produced album from Banquet Records and you get a free ticket to the gig. Or buy a ticket to the gig and you get a free album. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a bargain at seven of yer English pounds.

Friday – Rachel Ann Weiss, Regal Rooms, Hammersmith

Rachel Ann Weiss is a New York singer-songwriter who released a rather loverly debut album “Dear Love” last year; She’s touring the UK for the first time this week with drummer and electric piano player in tow. The overall sound is reminiscent of 70s Americana, with the USP being Weiss’s powerful vocals.

This song is from her second ever gig in the UK last night (Wednesday Sept 11th), appropriately at the 12 Bar Club in Soho’s Tin Pan Alley, Denmark Street.

Saturday – I Was A Cub Scout – Borderline, Soho

If you’re a two-member band and you split up, it’s a bit difficult. More than that and you simply get a new singer, drummer, synth player or freaky dancer and carry on. But it never works with duos. Except with Chas And Dave, oddly. Dave decided he’d had enough of touring and retired, so Chas simply got another Dave in. Chas And A Dave. B

Five years ago this option was not available to I was A Cub Scout.

They looked to have potential with their laid-back take on anthemic indie dance tunes then split up acrimoniously in 2008 in the middle of a tour.

They didn’t speak for years and it’s taken them until now to reach a point where they can achieve closure and play a farewell gig.

Post break-up sex, if you like.

Sunday – King Lizard – Fiddler’s Elbow Camden

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Camden Amy Winehouse memorial gigs (two years – seriously?) where does the time go?) then Sunday night at the Fiddler’s Elbow could be for you.

King Lizard have been ploughing a well-trodden furrow through the metal hinterlands for a few years now, and you have to ultimately love a band who include in their ranks a singer called Flash Roxx and a drummer called Moyano El Buffalo.

Monday – Catfish & The Bottlemen – Sebright Arms

Latest Welsh indie hopefuls who’ve played over 100 shows in 18 months, building an audience the old-fashioned way and in the process honing their live craft. This could be the last chance to catch them at a venue this small

Monday – Boho Dancer – Phoenix Artist Club (18:45)

A venue that is possibly central London’s best kept secret, the Phoenix Artist Club. Early start for three acts headlined by the excellent Boho Dancer and also featuring Tom Baxter and Leslie Mendelson.
Free entry but let ‘em know you’re coming down first as it’s quite a small venue.

Tuesday – Cloud Control – Rough Trade Instore

Australia’s wonderful Cloud Control have a new album out this week hence the instore. They play a sun-drenched psychedelic take on indie, in the same area as bands like Yeasayer but, as always with Aussie bands, it’s the tunes that are important. Like this one from the new LP

Wednesday – Department M – Club Fandango, Tipsy Bar

Club Fandango are brilliant. I’ve been to countless of their promotions down the years, there’s generally three or four bands on and without exception I’ve come away with one or two New Favourite Bands.
Headlining are Department M, the band formed out of the ashes of the excellent and much-missed Grammatics. Really looking forward to seeing what Owen Brinley’s new band sound like live after a couple of excellent singles (below).

Support from the Savage Nomads and Young Romance.

That completes an an absolute killer seven nights of LDN giggage, if I can last the pace.
See you down the front. Bring caffeine.