Radio City #1 – Huey Morgan

First in a weekly series looking at radio shows and DJs. This week focusses on Fun Loving Criminal and DJ Huey Morgan.


The Dutch phrase for “Good Morning” is “Goedemorgen” but in the South of the country – the bit where it runs imperceptibly into Belgium – this is pronounced with a throaty “g” almost an “h” – like the sound at the end of the word “Loch” only a little bit more “g”ish – and also with the “d” swallowed beyond recognition.

I have this vision of a future in which an ageing Huey Morgan ends his days hosting a breakfast show in the Brabant region of the Netherlands. It could be called “Goedemorgen with Huey Morgan” or just “The Goede Morgen show”

See, this is why I don’t work in radio.

First coming to public attention as the frontman with Fun Loving Criminals in the 90s (and indeed currently on tour with them), Huey’s BBC 6 music show is on Saturdays at 10am, which is good because you can switch over from Radio 2 as soon as Sounds Of The Sixties finishes (and you really should. Graham Norton is a genius chat show host but doesn’t really suit radio)

Nobody ever goes on about The Huey Show, but for me its one of the best shows on the radio. Saturday is the only day you can hear a reasonable smattering of black music – in fact, a lot of the white music played is quite black, if you know what I mean.

You’ll hear 70s punk, US art-rock, reggae, 90s grunge and indie next to old skool hip-hop and garage, as well as carefully-selected current records. John Grant, The Coral, This Is The Kit and Bloc Party all featuring ont he latest show, as did Clear Soul Forces and the New York Dolls:

His presenting style is laid-back New York cool. There are no long interviews with musicians, no quizzes or phone-ins, only the Crate Challenge (which is really a way to get some love for some classic old records!) and the Soul Train, “stopping off at a different year in Soul Music history”, and you’re ever more than a couple of minutes away from a record.

His other show on Radio Two (in what will forever be “The Mark Lamarr Memorial Slot” to me in memory of God’s Jukebox, the best show on the radio ever) is primarily an oldies show but with a particular slant towards funk, soul, doo-wop, R and B and pre-stadium American rock – plus regular forays into older jazz and blues.

Within the space of half an hour of his most recent show (which you can still listen to here for another few weeks at least) he played Art Garfunkel, the Detroit Spinners, Dave & Ansel Collins, Harry Nilsson, John Cougar Mellencamp and some 1970s Nigerian high life from James Etamobe And His All Weather Band (incidentally one of THE great band names ever)

I have no idea what Mark Lamarr thinks of the show but I like to think, wherever he is, he’d approve.

Latest Huey Show on 6 music

Latest Huey Morgan Radio Two show

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


Celebrating African Music and other radio highlights

I’ve always sensed there’s a massive difference between the BBC 6 Music audience in the week and at the weekends.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the station to bits but like all other stations, it has its playlist favourites and house style, focussing on a particular strand of cool white music, mainly from the 90s onwards but delving back from time to time as far as the Specials and occasionally the Doors.

There is room for a lot more experimentation and variety at the weekends, and this weekend sees their bravest move yet as they are devoting much of the weekend to African music.

Everywhere you look there are intriguing-sounding programmes, so here’s a few that sound unmissable, plus a couple of other radio highlights this week.

Chris Hawkins (Saturday 7.00 am)

Chris Hawkins has Rokia Traore as a special guest, and also features some great archive tracks and jams, including Tinariwen, who have a new single out :


Gideon Coe – Virtual road trip through Africa (Saturday 3:00 pm)

This is the sort of themed show Gideon Coe does really well, and I’m really looking forward to this one.

” From the Desert blues of the Sahara to the deep funk of Fela Kuti the music of Africa has long moulded our musical cannon. For this 3 hour special Gideon Coe restores African music’s place at the centre of the story, hitting the road with Rita Ray to unearth tracks from the townships of South Africa to the plains of Mali. We hear from Damon Albarn about the musicians who inspired him to work in Africa as well as Fela Kuti’s legendary drummer Tony Allen, Dave Okumu from the Invisible, Nigerian born African Boy as well as great Senegalese crooner Baaba Maal on their favourite tracks from the continent. With their help we trace a path from the biggest African artists to the western music they gave rise to, from funk to folk and back again.”

Gemma Cairney in Mali (Sunday 1.00 pm)

Presenter Gemma Cairney travels to Bamako in Mali to discover more about the music and artists there, and how it has been affected by the music ban which was in place due to the recent troubles in the north of country.

Mali, for so long a musical powerhouse with some of Africa’s finest performers has seen its music scene damaged by the coup, the collapse of the country and the Islamist takeover of the north. Incredibly, music was banned for several months in much of this nation that is so entwined with its musicians.

Gemma meets local musicians including Naba TT and Afel Bocoum who talk about their experiences of the ban and living through this very difficult time.

Sound Of Cinema “Filthy Lucre” – Radio 3 (Saturday 4.00 pm)

Matthew Sweet introduces film scores on the subject of money by Max Steiner, Ernest Gold and others, and profiles the music for the new cinema release from Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

“There’s nothing quite as wonderful as money on the this week’s Sound Of Cinema – except of course when it’s dirty, filthy, stolen and the root of all evil.”

The programme features music from – amongst others – “Rogue Trader”; “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”; “Indecent Proposal”; “Glengarry Glen Ross”; “Trading Places” and “Wall Street”

Matthew’s Classic Score of Week is Ennio Morricone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”.

Bet there’s nothing from “The Great Rock’N’Roll Swindle”. I’d die a happy man if I could hear the Sex Pistols on Radio Three.

The First Time with Marianne Faithfull (Thursday 2.00 am)

Series in which figures from the world of music discuss the important musical milestones in their lives. The format is as old as radio itself, but what saves it from being merely a hipper Desert Island Discs is the excellence of Matt Everitt’s interview technique. Engaging and knowledgable, Matt’s got a genuine fan’s love of his subject, but the questions are intelligent and far from fawning.

This episode is one of the best – Marianne Faithfull is a loverly interviewee.

Matt leads Marianne through a warm, engaging look at a career spanning over five decades. She has worked with many great musicians including David Bowie and Dr. John, and, more recently, Blur and PJ Harvey.

Marianne discusses the music she grew up with – including Chuck Berry and The Everly Brothers – and the way it influenced her solo work. She also covers her forays into country music, her love of jazz, and explains why she received a credit on The Rolling Stones’ song Sister Morphine. The singer also talks about her past drug problems and the way that she has now made peace with difficult periods in her life. This is one of her best.

Adrian Longhurst “Let The Good Times Roll” (Angel Radio, 6pm Friday)

Finally a recommendation for an excellent station I discovered completely by accident.

Angel Radio (“Pure Nostalgia”) can be found online and on DAB, and on 101.1 FM in certain areas (Hampshire and the Isle Of Wight among them).

The show I heard was really excellent – “Let The Good Times Roll” presented by Adrian Longhurst, which featured jazz and swing. Particularly nice to hear Louis Prima and Keely Smith on the radio in the Friday rush hour.

Call me idealistic but I swear you’d get rid of road rage overnight if you made this station compulsory. A real find.