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


Top Twenty Olympics Songs #20 – #16

Why are people proud of something that is an accident of birth? I’ve never really “got” patriotism. Sure, I get as worked up about the England football team as the next overgrown schoolboy, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Britain, and London in particular, and there are a lot of great things about the country.

But it’s only twice in my life that I have I felt truly proud to be British, and both times involved “Chariots Of Fire”. The music is just so damn evocative … (written by Vangelis, a Greek!)

The first time was when I saw the film at the old Elephant And Castle Odeon in 1981 (on a double bill with “Gregory’s Girl”).

The second time was during last night’s incredible Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Fourteen hours after it finished and I’m still a little too overwhelmed to properly digest it all, so I will leave that to a future blog. But I will say that Danny Boyle included all the things that make me .. gulp .. proud to be British!

For now, with the Lympics in full flow on Day 1, here is the first part of my Olympic Top Twenty countdown.

Now I could have gone all obvious but I chose not to. At least, not here.

Check out Tony’s Really Obvious Jam For Olympics Week if its obvious you want!

No, I’ve gone for one song relating to each of the participating sports.

Now there are technically more than twenty sports in the Olympics. But I’ve limited it on the following grounds.

1. Nobody has ever written a song about handball, neither are they likely to.

2. Including Judo would involve excrutiating puns that are below even me, such as Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got A Hold On Me”, and I’m after something different.

3. Beach volleyball is not a sport and you should all be ashamed of yourselves for watching it. If its scantily clad people with beautiful bodies you want, then try the Athletics, the Swimming or indeed, the Rest Of The Internet.

And so to part one, numbers 20 to 16.

20 – Equestrianism

Specifically Dressage, which has fascinated me today (albeit only for a few minutes).

It basically is exactly what the song says. Horses. Dancing. How cool is that?

Not a huge fan of the Bunnymen tbh although I did see them supporting the Teardrop Explodes at Sheffield University around 1979 or so.

Unfortunately I was too drunk to fully appreciated two of the most influential bands of the next few years. Just say no, kids.

19 – Taekwondo

I know nothing about Taekwondo other than there is quite a lot of kick-boxing in it.

I also know nothing about this band, but this song is a brilliant piece of nu-prog.

18 – Fencing

Derived from the highly dangerous activity of French noblemen settling disagreements by duelling. Pistols or swords? Well, if my opponent chose swords, I’d definitely go for pistols.

One of my least favourite of all the Olympic sports, but this gets in because this song by Tenpole Tudor is fantastic – years before singer Ed Tudor-Pole achieved greater fame as Richard O’Brien’s successor on “The Crystal Maze”.

17 – Archery

I was at Sheffield University around the time ABC first charted, and Martin Fry was a regular figure around the campus. He once tried to push in front of me in a newsagent’s, but I stood my ground.

True story.

This is from “The Lexicon Of Love”, what a great first album that was.

I’m loving Jonathan Agnew’s commentary on the Archery from Lord’s. The man can make anything sound momentous and interesting, in a very silly British way. Only thing missing is summaries from Vaughnie and Tuffers.

16. Wrestling

This is a song called “Let’s Wrestle” by a band called Let’s Wrestle. It concerns wrestling.

Superb, funny, ballsy band with great tunes and the odd excellent turn of phrase. Their first album was called “In The Court Of The Wrestle Let’s”, to which all old King Crimson fans will nod knowingly.

One of the top wrestling nations is Kazakhstan. When you’re watching the wrestling, something to think about is that all the competitors in the ancient Greek Olympics were naked. Go on, imagine that.

Next up, the countdown from 15 down to 11. Some absolute classics in there. See you then. Comments welcome, it’d make a change from the spammers.