Word Podcast 265 David “Ram Jam” Rodigan on ranking for fun and profit

There’s a rich British tradition of well brought up young men from the leafier suburbs developing a fixation on music from a very different culture and somehow getting themselves a job playing said music on the radio. Nobody has done it more successfully and more unexpectedly than David Rodigan. For a part of the career he’s run it alongside his work as an actor. No wonder there’s so much interest in turning his book “My Life In Reggae” into a film. It’s a story rich in humour and packed with incident, some of which he recounted to Mark Ellen and David Hepworth.

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Word Podcast 264 – Tessa Niles and Gina Foster talking BVs

We were delighted to be joined by two of the UK’s most respected providers of backing vocals and harmonies, who between them have sung with everybody from David Bowie at Live Aid on down. They showed us aspects of their vocal techniques, instructed us in the diplomatic arts required to rub along on tour when the members of the band aren’t speaking to each other and explain why the wordless refrain has gone the way of the whalebone corset. You can find the full story in Tessa’s book “Backtrack”.

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Word Podcast 263 – Jon Savage

In this shortcast Jon Savage talks to David Hepworth about his new compilation album, “1967 – The Year Pop Divided”. Forty-eight tracks of psych-flavoured pop, rock and soul from the last year before music went off into its own ghettoes, from the Byrds to Captain Beefheart, from Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers to the Shag, from the Thirteenth Floor Elevators to Gladys Knight and the Pips, from the Monkees to The Mickey Finn. “Do the lyrics have anything in common? Yes. Drugs.”

Word Podcast 262 – Tony Fletcher

In Which Tony Fletcher tells us about Wilson Pickett, who was impossible as a child, inimitable as a singer and incorrigible as a success, and how he came to write “In The Midnight Hour”.

The perfect “In The Midnight Hour”.

He couldn’t improve on it. Not even with Bruce Springsteen…

Here he is with Duane Allman on “Hey Jude”.

Word Podcast 261 – Barney Hoskyns

Barney Hoskyns

In which Barney Hoskyns talks to us about Woodstock and the part it played in the lives of Dylan, the Band, Albert Grossman and Van Morrison, as related in his book “Small Town Talk”.

Here’s the Bobby Charles record that gave the book its name.

Here’s the Band rehearsing in Woodstock back in the day

Word Podcast 260 – with Jeff Evans

Jeff Evans
Photo: Dave Lloyd Jones

In which Jeff Evans returns from researching the full history of “Rock and Pop On British TV” for his new book and talks to Mark Ellen and David Hepworth about not just “Six Five Special” but also “Cool For Cats”, not just Legs and Co but also Ruby Flipper, not just “The Tube” but also “The White Room”, and wonders whether, now that we have YouTube, we have finally come to the end of music television as a genre.

Word Podcast 259 – Paul Gambaccini

Photo: Dave Lloyd Jones

In which Paul Gambaccini, that son of New York who became an institution of British broadcasting, talks to Mark Ellen and David Hepworth about how the Beatles changed his life, how he got into broadcasting, what brought him to Britain, his experience of Radio One in the 70s, his recent ordeal at the hands of the Metropolitan police – fully documented in an amazing book Love, Paul Gambaccini – and how this experience has changed his view of the BBC and the Labour Party but not the British people. It’s an extraordinary listen, one that goes the full distance from hilarity to horror.

Word Podcast 258 – Mick Houghton and Adam White

In which Mick Houghton, the author of a book about the legendary folk-rock label Elektra, and Adam White, the man behind a huge tome about the history of Motown, talk to David Hepworth about the unique challenges faced by independent labels, the charismatic men who founded them, the occasionally difficult stars they had to deal with and what keeps both Jac Holzman and Berry Gordy going at an age when most people are happy just to look at their great-grandchildren.