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


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 Р 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 www.colourfulradio.com. 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

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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!