In this week’s pod we explore whether Apple’s new spatial audio is actually worth it, ponder urgent listener questions such as “is pop music all about cymbals?” and “should we be paying attention to Van Morrison right now?” and chat to old pal Paul Burke about advertising in music and why the art of discotheque DJing is a little bit like foreplay.
This week’s burning hot topics include …. the 50th birthday of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’. Songs about the joy of spending “a bankroll big enough to choke a donkey”. When Whistle Test went all Tomorrow’s World. Books or records: which could you survive without? Is there the Who without Pete Townshend? Films we’ve watched the most. Music that’s unfailingly cheerful. Is “Play Loud” the daftest thing ever put on an album cover? Was there ever a posher musician than James Lascelles of Global Village Trucking Company (in line of succesion to the British throne)? And the sweet story of Gravesend’s own rock gods Kinky Machine and their 50-year anniversary video.
In which we salute some much-loved writers (Clive James on Rod Stewart: “he was hopping about like a bifurcated marrow”), investigate the Friends Reunion, predict the next pop acts on postage stamps (a round of Stamp Waddy, anyone?) and tackle the burning issues of the day – aka What’s the longest you’ve ever waited for a band to appear? And who’s best: Britney Spears or Taylor Swift (and which would you want to organise your bungee jump)?
Bernie’s memoir – ‘Where’s My Guitar?’ – is just out in paperback and this highly entertaining encounter with the old rock and roll trouper features his early bands (Clockwork Mousetrap, Skinny Cat), Cream and Fleetwood Mac at Dunstable’s California Ballroom, auditioning for Renaissance and East Of Eden (then turning the job down), ‘secret police’ on the Wild Turkey tour, thumping Phil Mogg, Mickie Most’s butler and Rolls Royce car phone, sessions for Hot Chocolate, the Spinal Tap moment of Whitesnake’s Lovehunter sleeve, the extraordinary tale of his co-writing Here I Go Again and the perils of trying to prise Tony “Dear Boy” Ashton out of a pub.
In which three old lags who’ve been following Dylan most of their lives – David Hepworth, Sid Griffin and Mark Ellen – offload a passionate personal theory and fly the flag for a favourite track. As Sid points, “How many times do you find yourself saying, ‘Who does that? Only Bob Dylan!'” Includes ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ as a quiz and the three albums sleeves where he wears the same jacket. Also …. the John Lydon/Pistols/Danny Boyle legal stand-off and memories of the much-loved Fred Dellar, the Rock Wikipedia of his day.
In which the beloved entertainer talks about his memoir ‘Beeswing: Fairport, Folk and Finding My Voice 1967-1975’, a rich and circuitous ramble that features Jimmy Shand, Louis Armstrong, a school band with Hugh Cornwell, sitar lessons with Andy Summers, the word game that invented ‘Unhalfbricking’, the genius of Sandy Denny, the ‘backstabbing’ folk community, the perils of the British stiff upper lip, a cardboard cut-out of Nick Drake, the Henry the Human Fly photoshoot, disinfecting sheep, the writing of Meet on the Ledge and the enduring mystery of the best song lyrics.
In which we look at the light-fingered early lives of Camden’s Magnificent Seven and the soundtrack of the Pursuit of Love, note the collapse of the BRITs and the Oscars and tell the extraordinary tale of the writer who thinks Bob Dylan’s his dad. Plus … Never Mind The Quality, Feel the Length (long things that only work because they’re long – eg the Irishman, the Dead’s Dark Star, Lawrence Of Arabia). And… what items of girls’ clothing is Alex wearing this week?
The great Joel Selvin has just published ‘Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars and the Myth of the California Paradise’, a thumping account of the West Coast pop revolution between 1958-1968 beginning with the rise of Jan & Dean and ending with “the greatest record ever made”, Good Vibrations. He beams in from San Francisco, a substantial cigar on the go, to talk about the shamefully uncelebrated Nancy Sinatra’s pioneering records (and ’57 pink Thunderbird), the Beach Boy who invented the surf market, the “poisonous” Kim Fowley, the genius of Phil Spector and Lou Adler and the rise of Sunset Strip.
In which we remember the Wailers’ London shows and what made them unique, salute the fond but sceptical rock photographs of our old friend Ken Sharp, unravel the brilliant mechanics of Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’, discover why Steve Martin gave up comedy, tell an old Barry Cryer gag and play a bracing round of ‘Irritating Electoral Candidate or Fun-Loving Calypso Songbird?’ (Lord Buckethead? Attila the Hun? etc).
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Forty-two years after her meteoric ascent, Rickie Lee Jones has put out a memoir, ‘Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of a Troubadour’. And this we strongly recommend, a candid, salty, high-octane account of her breakthrough and early adventures criss-crossing America, many of which were turned into songs. Among her cast of fellow travellers are her Vaudevillian song-and-dance grandparents, Tom Waits, Dr John, Lowell George, Lenny Waronker and Chuck E Weiss, all of whom feature in this delightful pod. As do tales of her famous Saturday Night Live slot, West Side Story, her Beatles obsession (aged 8), the Damon Runyan world of late ’70s L.A., current life in New Orleans and the “firece fire of fans who’ve stayed with me”.