Radio Radio #2

Here’s a few suggestions for your listening pleasure for the wee ending Friday January 17th 2014.

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

You could easily have listened to the first episode of this epic 52-part series from 1994 and decide it’s too messy and unfocussed.

It’s a sprawling work for sure, some editions hit home while some leave you scratching your head – (did they REALLY shoehorn “Long Live Rock” by The Who into a show about the rock’n’roll star system in Part 4?)

But then .. ah, but then there’s the times they get it right.

Chief among these this week was Episode 2 “It Came From Africa”, an excellent, all-points-covered sixty minute trip through the black roots of white pop music, necessarily only scratching the surface, but the names are all there if you want to dig further.

And of course these days we CAN dig further thanks to the Interweb, further and in as many different directions as you like, so if you want to find,say, Nigerian music of the late fifties, it’s all there for you.

“The Story Of Pop” at its best provides an excellent starting point. Each episode is themed rather than being done year-on-year, so you can dip in and out – it’s not an encyclopaedia in partwork form to be read from start to finish, unless you’re doing a school or college project on pop music history – and if you are, then more power to your elbow. I can think of few things more worth doing!

For the rest of you, I’d recommend the following episodes meself. Still available on the BBC iPlayer but be quick are …

Episode 2 –  It Began In Africa
Episode 3 – Blacks, Whites And Blues – Blacks, Whites And Blues
Episode 6 – Goin’ Up Country Goin’ Up Country

And to come this week …
Sunday – Episode 9 Big Surf – the Californian surf sound
Tuesday – Episode 11 – When We Was Fab – The Beatles & The “British Invasion”
Wednesday – Episode 12 – England Swings – The myths and legends of Swinging London
Thursday – Episode 13 – Hitsville UK – The first ten years of the Motown label

Dave Rowntree of Blur (XFM,Thursday s)

Blur’s Dave Rowntree continues his regular weekly show at 9pm.

Dave’s an engaging bloke and – yeah I know this is an unusual criticism of a music dj but first impressions are that I’d like to hear him talk a bit more.

Oh, and ditch the sidekick, Researcher George. He seems a nice enough chap but when you have The Drummer From Blur, one of THE marquee XFM bands on the payroll, what we the listeners want is to hear his stories about his time at the epicentre of the Britpop scene in the mid-nineties,as we’ve been promised in the advance publicity.

Hopefully that will come in time. I’ll definitely be listening to the next edition.

Last week’s music choice included The Magnetic North, Alt-J. Beck. John and Paul separately. Kaiser Chiefs. Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio. Polyphonic Spree and Wall Of Voodoo from 1982, who really should have been more popular.

Prezedent on Colourful Radio

It can be difficult to find he black music/chat digital station Colourful Radio outside of the London area, but you can pick it up online at and it’s an absolute goldmine for black music.

As far as I’m aware you can’t pick it up on the Sky dish, which I think’s a bit of an oversight on the part of all concerned.

This is a station that provides news and discussion of things that affect Britain’s black communities, AND whether you reckon this directly affects you or not, the music is effing awesome.
Prezident’s reggae show is particularly fine. Going out at 10pm on a Friday evening, he features reggae ” starting from the dancehall then working our way all the way back to the beginning”. A lot less frenetic than the night dance music featured on pretty much ALL stations at that time on a Friday. Like this one from Don Campbell.

Along with the rest of Colourful’s output, the show is also available to “listen again” from Colourful’s site here.


Check it out.

As the man himself says, it’s all about da goodah Reggae Music mate!!!

Hawkwind Live In London 1972 (6 Music Saturday 02:00)

There are some superb live concerts in the BBC vaults and this is no exception. The psychedelic space cadets at their trippiest, noisiest, wall of soundiest peak featuring songs like this, their big hit.

Whatever happend to the long-haired chap with the tash doing the singing?

Hope you enjoy at least a couple of these shows. There’s never been more choice and variety on the radio if you know where to look, and this just scratches the surface.

More next week , and every Friday, and don’t forget to check out This Week’s Gig Guide

And every week you can download a new music  featuring an hour plus of great sounds from all types of music. Latest one here.

Beat City Podcast #11

Beat City Pinterest





Radio Radio #1

w/c Saturday 5th January 2013

First in a regular weekly blog in which I’ll be recommending some music radio highlights for the forthcoming week.

Saturday – The Story Of Pop (04:00 6 Music, continues daily)

Alan Freeman’s epic, FIFTY-TWO PART look at the history of pop music was first broadcast in 1994, so you could argue that there’s ample room for a sequel or an updated version.

I’ve never heard this but I’m a sucker for epic aural journeys so I’m going to tune in. It’s on every day, at 04:00 at weekends and 01:00 on weekdays, but you can listen again through the iPlayer.

One criticism is that without some means of recording these, it’s going to be difficult to keep up with absolutely every episode. Gonna see how it goes and report back next Friday.

Saturday – Hawkwind Live In London 1972 (02:00 6 Music)

The psychedelic space cadets at their trippiest, noisiest, wall of soundiest peak featuring songs like this, their
big hit. Not being familiar with the band, we all thought Lemmy was their lead singer, on account of he was apparently the only member of the band with the precise vocal range to sing the song. This happy accident did the old bugger no harm at all career-wise.

Sunday – Mary Anne Hobbs (07:00 6 Music, also Saturday)

Mary Anne seems pretty happy about returning to the BBC, and her Saturday and Sunday morning shows are an excellent, ecletic mix if you love music. The presence of Anna Calvi and Eddie Argos of Art Brut who will be sharing tips on singing, elevates Sunday’s show to “unmissable”.

Sunday – John Cooper Clarke (16:00 6 Music)

The Bard Of Salford ™ has been a highlight every time he’s done a stint as a DJ and I’m really looking forward to these shows, running for a few weeks on Sunday afternoons. He probably won’t get to play this though.

Monday – Thursday – John Kennedy’s XPosure (XFM) (10:00 – 01:00)

The Observer described John Kennedy as “the doyen of underground alternative music” which proves they sometimes DO get it right. He’s been around seemingly forever, a reliable source of sounds that make you go “WOW! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!” on a regular basis. The line-ups for the XPosure gigs are always well chosen, too.

XFM’s output can get a little bit “landfill indie” at times, but not on JK’s shift. He remains the only DJ I have ever heard giving airtime to one of the great unsung bands of the Noughties, They Came From The Stars I Saw Them :

Thursday – Dancehall with Robbo Ranx (1Xtra) (22:00 – 02:00)

Four – count ’em, four! – hours of the finest modern dancehall reggae sounds. Deffo a bit of an eye-opener for those who tend to stick to reggae records made before 1980 … have to admit to a bit of the old school prejudice myself but this makes a refreshing change

There’s plenty more good listening out there, obviously, and I’ll be pointing you in the direction of a lot of it every Friday. Enjoy!

Gig Guide – w/e Sun 25th August

This week is far more promising than last week for LDN gigs. Must be coming up to summer’s end or something, which is sad as we’ve had the best summer for years. OTOH, it does mean the autumn giggage season will soon be upon us, woo hoo!

Spector – Madame Jojos, Soho, Tuesday

One of the most exciting mainstream indie prospects in years. Watch this half-hour set from Reading last year. Then imagine how great they’d be in a sleazy club environment.

Then get a ticket for their White Heat gig at Madame Jojo’s in Soho.

Arbouretum – Borderline, Tuesday

Nobody sounds quite like these guys, who have something of The Band about their ragged, doomy classic folk-rock sound. Touring their fifth album “Coming Out Of The Fog”

Lloyd Bradley talk – Rough Trade West, Thursday (6pm)

I first encountered Lloyd Bradley as the black music guy at the NME, and while I am eternally grateful to him for showing me there was more to music than Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, his body of work is far more impressive than simply contributing to the inky music papers.

This is the launch of his new book on the hidden history of Britain’s black music, tracing the journey from Lord Kitchener’s calypso to Dizzee Rascal’s Glastonbury triumphs with a panel of special guests the steel pan maestro and music historian Dr Lionel McCalman and Norman Jay MBE.

The Evening will be soundtracked by an exclusive mix inspired by the book by DJ Zed Bias.

Black music has been part of London’s landscape since the First World War, when the Southern Syncopated Orchestra brought jazz to the capital. Following the wave of Commonwealth immigration, its sounds and styles took up residence to become the foundation of the city’s youth culture.

Sounds like London tells the story of the music and the larger-than-life characters making it, journeying from Soho jazz clubs to Brixton blues parties to King’s Cross warehouse raves to the streets of Notting Hill – and onto soundsystems everywhere.

As well as a journey through the musical history of London, Sounds Like London is about the shaping of a city, and in turn the whole country, through different waves of immigration, which shows how the soul of the capital and the soul of its music cannot be separated.

Essential for anyone with an interest in the history of black music.

Deaf School – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, Friday

Liverpool’s Deaf School were one of the great unsung bands of the late seventies, perhaps the only thing stopping them being huge was simply that they weren’t punk. They still kick arse live to this day in their all-too infrequent live shows.

Sun Ra Arkestra – Cafe Oto (5 days from Friday)

Sun Ra was one of the most controversial and innovative figures in jazz music. In 2011 the legendary jazz big band played a sellout three night residency at Cafe Oto. Fronted by sax man Marshall Allen since Sun Ra’s untimely demise in 1993, they’re returning to play five nights straight at the same venue. This is a full hour’s worth of concert footage from 2009 to give you some idea of what to expect.

Arrows Of Love – Buffalo Bar, Friday

I first saw Arrows Of Love about five years ago supporting somebody at the 100 Club, and loved them. They went quiet for a while but reappeared about a year ago with some excellent new material. Definitely worth catching live.

Hawkwind – Shepherds Bush Empire, Saturday

The lords of Space Rock perform their classic 1975 album “Warrior On The Edge Of Time” in its entirety, and pretty damned good it is too if this clip from a gig at the Komedia in Bath earlier this year is anything to go by.

The Rutles / John Otway – “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” – Borderline, Sunday (afternoon)

Just like the real Beatles, there are only two members of the Rutles left, but since one of them is Neil Innes, this promises to be an excellent run through the Prefab Four’s finest hits.

Support from the legendary John Otway

which makes this the gig of the week, no question. See you down the front!