In which we skip the light fandango through live recordings full of extraneous noise – hecklers on a Lou Reed track, barking dogs on a Joe Henry album, the audience chatter on Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard – remember why Gary Brooker’s voice was so affecting and applaud PJ O’Rourke’s wisdom about the art of childrearing. And turn cartwheels in the direction of a guesthouse run by a member of Horslips, an early sighting of “Little” Stevie Winwood, the Queen track not to play at funerals and a touching encounter with Dave Clark. Plus birthday patron guest Avi Chaudhuri gets to set the agenda.
Piping hot topics fondly booted round the park this week include … are any actors ever convincing when playing a famous rock star? Does it matter if movies “based on a true story” are largely fiction? Why David’s never got on with Love’s Forever Changes. Did Entertainment Weekly exist just to provide a pleasant lifestyle for the people who worked on it? Plus … the connection between Captain Beefheart and blue cheese, Eddie Izzard’s drilling cats, memorable art theft, tambourine players in rock and another great story about ‘Under My Thumb’ being played at a wedding reception. And birthday-partying patrons David Carroll and Adrian Ainsworth put their questions to the panel and flag up Japan and ‘Strange Kind of Love’ by Love And Money.
Among the items for your distraction and entertainment this week … Do people still form bands? The tangled story of the Aqualung artwork. The skull-cracking number of albums released every day. Instructions on record sleeves – “Horslips: “file under reasonably popular”. The Atom Heart Mother cow. The Wagatha Christie legal costs. Art critics’ lofty pronouncements about the fate of “the average band”. The link between the 12-inch sleeve and the shield of the native American warrior. And the thrilling and imminent arrival of David Hepworth’s 4-CD compilation ‘Deep 70s: Underrated Cuts From A Misunderstood Decade’ and the monstrous fun he had compiling it (paging Patto, Sharks, Bridget St John …). Plus birthday patreon guest Nick Foreman calls a meeting.
In the crosshairs this week … how Mike Campbell’s masterpiece was almost eaten by machinery, who made five great albums in five years?, “a mix is never finished it’s merely abandoned”, Robert Plant at Kidderminster Harriers, hand-written notes from Half Man Half Biscuit, god bless Alex Harvey, the expulsion of the vax-free Woody Woodmansey and birthday guest Keith Adsley explains the Temple of Seitan.
Who invented the rock spectacle? Has Adele got a touch of Imposter Syndrome? What was Barry Cryer’s gag about the Pretenders? Which bands devised their own mottos? Who’s Floating Points? How did they mic up the bagpipes on the Jeff Beck’s Truth? What the juggins is “paralinguistics”? Where did the Velvet Underground reunion go wrong? Plus a birthday visit from patreon supporter Kevin Rose, aka the manager of Athenlay Park U12.
A candlelit episode boldly addressing the burning issues du jour, among which you’ll find … Is old music killing new music?; actors that should play rock stars (Keeley Hawes IS Kirsty MacColl, Martin Freeman IS Noel Gallagher); legendary Procol Harum roadie and whistle-blower Kelloggs; a riot at a Dutch Stones gig in ’64; fast songs done as ballads; a roll-call of Smash Hits’ pop nicknames; Magic Alex in a strip club in High Wycombe (cue the old gag “my mother doesn’t know I’m in advertising, I told her I play piano in a brothel”); selling your children to see the Who; roadies who should be immortalised on film; and our advice to the BBC re the licence fee farrago.
What’s the difference between “chin music and beard music”? What’s the most you’d pay for a ticket? What happened when the Pope went record shopping? Will the Beatles’ Get Back be used in management instruction videos? What 45s sound good at 33? Who’s the classic Dad Rock band? … these and other burning issues are addressed in this episode along with Fleetwood Mac: The Rugby Shirt Years, Brian Epstein’s A Cellarful Of Noise and the powerful romantic fantasies of the Ronettes’ first album. Plus self-isolating birthday guest Paul Knox beams in from Hong Kong.
In which we choose a new National Anthem, tell the story of Hamish Grimes and the Clapton graffito, salute the best moments in Frasier and feel the powerful effect of the ‘You Can All Join In’ sampler on male fashion. Plus … swearing, albums to test your hi-fi and David Hepworth’s fantasy rock band in 1963.
In which we look at Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, the Staple Singers and Gladys Knight in the fabulous Harlem concert film from 1969. And think what possessions we might bother to keep in a house fire. And wonder if Stop Making Sense is the greatest live performance ever filmed. And talk to someone – birthday patron Andrew Slattery, no less! – who listened to 1,000 albums in 2021. Plus … Coldplay’s recording retirement and the short list of acts who still make good records after 25 years.
In which we salute the comic genius of Ronnie “Fletcher” Barker and Fulton “Mackay” Mackay, fantasise about autobiographies still to come (Neil Tennant, Pet Clark, John Paul Jones, Noel Gallagher), are mildly appalled by the new My Sweet Lord video and play two bracing rounds of Spot the Genuine Christmas single (Beck’s Little Drum-Machine Boy? Half Man Half Biscuit’s Deck The Halls With Buddy Holly?). Gary Chrimble to all, and a gear New Year!