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Stuart Bailie

Playlist 11.04.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 14 Apr 08, 12:23 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgLike many old guys of my vintage, I'm rather thrilled to hear that The Specials are working together again. I saw them at the Speakeasy at Queens in 1979 and they were purely rampant.

specials.jpgThey were great on anti-racism, they had a phenomental groove and the bleating vocals of Terri Hall were most singular. There was an Ulster Hall show later that was marred by sectarian boneheads in the crowd, but even then they were masterful

I'm looking forward to getting more intimate with the Bon Iver album, while I've only just got hold of the Ethiopiques compilation that has delighted Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and more. It's the sound of Addis Ababa, getting loose and adventurous from 1968-76 or thereabouts. Skanky as anything

I'm taking a breather from my blogging practice for a time, as I need to attend to other affairs. But hang in there good friends, as I'll resume shortly. The radio show continues each Friday.


BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

The Specials – Enjoy Yourself (EMI)
Arthur Kay And The Original – Play My Record (Record Cherry Red)
Delays - Hooray (Fiction)
Eric Bibb – Spirit I Am (Telarc)
Chris Bathgate – Serpentine (Tangled Up)
Willie Williams – The New Buryin’ Ground (Rounder)
Bombadil – Julian Of Norwich (Ramseur)
ethiopiques.jpgMulatu Astatqe – Yekermo Sew (Union Square)
Nick Cave – Jesus Of The Moon (Mute)
John & Jehn – 20L07 (Faculty)
Nick Lowe – Not Too Long Ago (Proper)
Bon Iver – Skinny Love (4ad)
Delaney And Bonnie – Poor Elijah (Atlantic)
Thao – Swimming Pools (Kill Rock Stars)
John Matthias – Blind (Counter)

Bob Dylan – I Wanna Be Your Lover (CBS)
Brian Ferry – Positively Fourth Street (Virgin)
Bombadil – Smile When You Kiss (Ramseur)
The Loose Salute – Turn The Radio Up (Heavenly)
Carter Family – My Home’s Across The Blue Ridge Mountains (Proper)
Jordan Zevon – Home (New West)
Jens Lekman – Sipping on the Sweet Nectar (Secretly Canadian)
Three Tales- Variations (Furious Tradesmen)
Millie Jackson – It Hurts So Good (Ace)
Tewelde Redda – Milenu (Union Square)
The Charlatans – The Misbegotten (CV)
Dawn Landes – Tired Of This Life (Fargo)
John Hiatt – Old Days (New West)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Only The Homely

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 11 Apr 08, 05:01 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIt’s high noon at the Equality Commission in Belfast and a new project goes live. It’s an internet radio project called Homely Planet and the idea is to put a positive front on the blossoming multi-cultural potential of Northern Ireland. And it that sounds like too many fancy words in one sentence, then have a listen to the music that’s being created before your eyes. Players from Zimbabwe, Poland and Ardglass, and thumping away in a sweet accord.

wilson.jpgSome of the faces in this room are familiar. There’s Paul McMordie, an excellent guitarist and a feature in projects such as the Motion Project and Beyond Skin. He’s joined by his cohort, Darren Ferguson and together they are explaining the new ethos.

homely2.jpgThey’re working with untrained radio heads, putting an emphasis on enthusiasm and application and not sweating the technical stuff. They’re not podcasting and neither can you listen again. It’s pure live, seat-of-the-pants and you suppose that playlists will not bother the schedules. All totally bonkers, of course, but out of such adventures may come an entirely new tone.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

The Kinks Of Leon

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 9 Apr 08, 06:30 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgWhen Marvin Gaye went walking down the road, you could guarantee a car crash. The guy was so handsome, he had such poise and his music generated such fever in people that they would gawp at the man behind their steering wheel and then cheerfully smash into the bumper of the next motor.

Marvin is so long gone now that he’s entered into the twilight reserved for legends and people with barely believable lives. So when you get the chance to meet an old associate of the singer, you’re immediately enthused, eager to hear some fresh reverie. Enter Leon Ware, another Detroit player, who wrote and produced ‘I Want You’ for Gaye in 1976. He literally saw those car crashes.

leonware200.jpgLeon is 68 now, a hipster, a trove of stories and a self-confessed sensualist. Sometimes he wonders what his grand-daughter might make of the latter category. He hopes she won’t think he’s a pervert, or something. But then again, Leon muses, even perverts may have their place in the world.

He was in Belfast to talk through some of the major artistic moments of his career. This after all, is a cohort of George Clinton and the Isleys, who has written for Michael Jackson and has held his own with Quincy Jones. He’s also the author of an amazing track recorded by Minnie Ripperton called ‘Inside My Love’ which is filthy and sublime at the same moment and which Leon regards with pride.

He’s also here to promote the Red Bull Music Academy, a school for DJs that’s landing in Barcelona later this year. Local DJs and composers are urged to try for the chance of a place in the international school, where other heavyweights like Leon will be telling their stories.

That’s me with the fella in Belfast, posing by the company Dodge, a vehicle that actually saw action on D Day and is currently loaded with DJ kit and gunning for youth culture.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 04.04.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 7 Apr 08, 09:53 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThe original version of the Foy Vance song 'Be With Me' was a bit urgent, passionate even. But the track has been completely re-invented by David Holmes. Now it is compulsive, overwhelming and surprisingly lustful.

foyvance181.jpgThe two artists cut themselves a decent deal. Foy would sing backing vocals on the upcoming David Holmes album, and in return he'd get 'Be With Me', on steroids. And essentially it's been very good value for both parties. Given that David is a longstanding fan of Serge Gainsbourg, it was a given that the track would also feature some female vocals and so Joanne Vance was encouraged to make a few sound effects. Her husband was quite surprised afterwards. "She doesn't make those noises for me," he mused...

PLAYLIST 04.04.08

STUART BAILIE
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

David Bowie – Golden Years (EMI)
The Charlatans – Oh Vanity (Cooking Vinyl)
Phil Campbell – Maps (Safehouse)
James – Whiteboy (Mercury)
Bobby Womack – If You Think You’re Lonely Now (Sequel)
Jason Ringenberg – Bible And a Gun (Liberty)
Foy Vance – Be With Me (Free Association Mix) (Wurdamouth)
Marvin Gaye – I Want You (Motown)
Lowgold – Burning Embers (Cooking Vinyl)
REM – Until The Day Is Done (Warner)
Gnarls Barkley – Run (Warner)
Mott The Hoople – Roll Away The Stone (CBS)
Billy Bragg – The Beach Is Free (Cooking Vinyl)
Gary Usher – God Only Knows (Poptones)

Rolling Stones – She Was Hot (Rolling Stones)
Kathleen Edwards – The Cheapest Key (Rounder)
Noonday Underground - I’ll Walk Right On (Setanta)
Champions Of The World – The Truest Kind (Loose)
Graham Parker – I Want You Back (Vertigo)
Mercury Rev – Chamber Music 23 (Fire)
A Hawk And A Hacksaw – Serbian Cocek (Leaf)
REM – Living Well Is The Best Revenge (Warner)
Johnny Dowd – Johnny’s Got The Mic (Munich)
The Charlatans – Bad Days (Cooking Vinyl)
The Waifs – How Many Miles (Jarrah)
Mexican Institute Of Sound – Escribeme Pronto (CV)
Marcia Griffiths – Feel Like Jumping Dub (Soul Jazz)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Gotta Hear This, #7

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 3 Apr 08, 09:21 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIt is 1973 and I’m getting too old for Slade and T. Rex. Hey, I’m nearly a teenager, and I need something a bit more substantial. I’m dabbling in Bowie and flirting with The Faces, but ultimately it’s Mott The Hoople that does it for me. They aren’t too well known, which pleases the latent musical snob in me. But they still have enough of the glam value and the unfeasibly tall shoes. And that singer fella with the bug-eyed glasses and the wayward hair, he’s something, alright.

mott2.jpgOnly the year before, their faltering career had been saved by a David Bowie song, ‘All The Young Dudes’. Now they are in their brief pop phase, with the roaring guitars, the sax solos and Ian Hunter’s shameless Dylanisms. There are several contenders for the best Mott single, but I’m still sentimentally attached to ‘Roll Away The Stone’ because it was the first one I bought.

I’ve just watched a Top Of The Pops recording here, and it’s stands up pretty well. I think the backing singers were called Thunderthighs and I recall being fascinated by the mention of a “rockabilly party” in the lyric. What manner of lurid promise was this?

mott4.jpgA little later, I read Ian Hunter’s ‘Diary Of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and loved it. He had a Ford Anglia, sprayed gold, because he was that kind of a guy. And he spent his American tour hanging with Bowie, Keith Moon, Frank Zappa and Roxy Music.

Mott expired soon after, but influenced The Clash, Oasis and many other posing loons. They recently turned up on the Juno soundtrack, so hopefully that will infect another generation with their flawless belief in the rock and roll fable.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Mobsters Inc.

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 1 Apr 08, 09:35 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIt looks like a still from The Sopranos, and in a way, it is. It’s a snapshot of the Ulster punk mafia, mooching around Gordon Street, Belfast after the press launch for the upcoming Undertones/Good Vibrations gig.

hooleygang420.jpg

They are: Terri Hooley and his gracious partner Claire plus Mickey, Billy and John from The Undertones, Panama Kings Niall and Stuart, Gary Lightbody, author Glenn Patterson, film-maker John T Davis, Stu Bailie, Outcast Greg Cowan and gig promoter Arthur Magee.

The Mandela Hall, April 25. It’s an offer you can’t refuse.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 28.03.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 30 Mar 08, 07:38 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI'm a major fan of the Soul Jazz label, who are still bashing out tasty compilations of Seventies reggae, New York post punk, Philadelphia soul and the soundtrack to a Brazilian cultural revolution.

neworleans.jpgTheir latest is a second volume of New Orleans Funk which was a perfect additive to my Friday night show.

The new REM album sounds good but rarely classic, but I'm liking the Scorsese soundtrack to the Rolling Stones film, 'Shine A Light' To hear Jagger and Jack White tackle 'Loving Cup' together is a rare pleasure. Also, I'll happily endorse Alexander Tucker, who is wondrously out of sych with everything.

PLAYLIST 28.03.08
STUART BAILIE
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

Bonnie and Sheila – You Keep Me Hanging On (Soul Jazz)
REM – I’m Gonna DJ (Warner)
Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell - Come On Over (V2)
stones.jpgRolling Stones – Shine A Light (Rolling Stones)
Young Knives - Turn Tail (Warner)
The Charlatans – The Misbegotten (Cooking Vinyl)
The Coal Porters – Adam And Evil (Prima)
Tift Merritt – Tell Me Something True (Fantasy)
Lee Dorsey – Four Corners (Soul Jazz)
Martina Topley Bird - Poison (Independiente)
Oppenheimer – Look Up (Fantastic Plastic)
Nick Cave – Moonland (Mute)
REM – Mr Richards (Warner)
Hot Chip – The Pure Thought (EMI)

Dandy Livingstone – Message To You Rudy (Trojan)
Cyril Neville – Gossip (Soul Jazz)
The Shortwave Set – Yesterdays To Come (Wall Of Sound)
REM – Man Sized Wreath (Warner)
Vincent Vincent And The Villains – Killing Time (EMI)
John Hiatt – Have A Little Faith In Me (Capitol)
Ben Glover – Strong Enough For This (Mr Jones)
Carl Perkins – Matchbox (Sun)
Alexander Tucker – Phanton Rings (ATP)
Rolling Stones – Loving Cup (Rolling Stones)
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name (Columbia)
Tift Merritt – I Know What I’m Looking For Now (Fantasy)
Tom Waits – That Feel (Island)
The Clash – Bankrobber (CBS)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Taking The Michael

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 28 Mar 08, 06:19 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIt’s the last of the four programmes in the Radio Ulster series, So Hard To Beat. Tonight at 7pm it’s Michael Bradley, bass player with The Undertones. I hope I’ve done justice to the guy and his excellent stories, but the intensity of the last few weeks have drained the system of adrenalin and the deadline is precariously close as I write.

mickey240.jpgThere are anecdotes all the way, including the tale of how an assassination threat kept the Clash away from Derry and how the Undertones didn’t really rate the singing of Feargal Sharkey until the world told them otherwise. Mickey is also very good on the long evenings in the O’Neill house, where the trainee ’Tones would sit and talk music for hours, fuelled by tea and the indulgence of the parents.

Anyone know the difference between highboys and French flares? We got lost in the vagaries of ’70s working class couture, but agreed on the might of Iggy and the New York Dolls, and how John O’ Neill can still write an amazing song. You can hear the show again on Saturday, 11am.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

All That You Can't Leave Alone

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 25 Mar 08, 10:09 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgTo the average passer-by, it’s just another fat dad with a digital camera, taking a photo of his kids at the O2 Arena in London. The Tutankhamen exhibition bag is possibly a giveaway, and the shot has probably been taken a thousand times.

london250.jpgThe only difference is that this dad has pretentions of being a classy photographer, and in his head, he is actually Anton Corbijn, taking a cover session for the U2 album, ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’. Hey it’s not Hall 2F of Charles de Gaulle International, and the equipment is a little cheaper than Anton’s kit, but c'mon, a fella can dream, can’t he?


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 21.03.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 23 Mar 08, 01:46 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI have loads of admiration for the new Elbow album, 'The Seldom Seen Kid'.

elbow.jpgThe music is so bold and twisted and uncommon. Guy Garvey sings like he's an accomplice to murder and the duet with Richard Hawley, 'The Fix' is two deadpan talents giving it their all. Elbow play the Mandela Hall, Belfast, April 22.

Like many people, I was drawn into reggae music by The Clash, and Mikey Dread was a feature on the 'Bankrobber' single and over the 'Sandinista' album. News of his premature death was a chance to listen to one of his old albums. There's a heart-felt obit by Don Letts here.

Also recommended is the new album by Eileen Rose, an Irish-Italian from Boston who always delivers with gusto.

PLAYLIST 21.03.08

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

Graham Parker – Hold Back The Night (Vertigo)
Jens Lekman – The Opposite Of Hallelujah (Secretly Canadian)
Billy Bragg – I Keep Faith (Cooking Vinyl)
Chatham County Line – Thanks (Yep Roc)
Elbow – The Fix (Polydor)
eileen220.jpgEileen Rose - $20 Shoes (Evangeline)
The Boothill Foot Tappers- Jealousy (Mercury)
The Jane Bradfords – Little Miss Sunshine (Simple Tapestry)
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Who Built The Road (V2)
Mikey Dread – Jah Jah Love In The Morning (Dread At The Controls)
Lowgold – Burning Embers (Cooking Vinyl)
Sia – the Girl You Lost (Sia)
Willie Nelson – Gotta Serve Somebody (Lost Highway)

Little Richard – Great Gosh A’mighty (WEA)
DeVotchKa – Head Honcho (Anti)
Elbow – One Day Like This (Polydor)
Candi Statton – When Will I (Rhino)
Tom McShane – Promise Me (Hearts Of Age)
Eileen Rose – Doesn’t Mean A Thing (Evangeline)
Elvis Costello and the RPO – I’m Your Toy (Demon)
Dawn Landes – Tired Of This Life (Rough Trade)
The Undertones – Precious Little Wonder (Cooking Vinyl)
Elbow – Starlings (Polydor)

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

The Flaming Horslips

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 21 Mar 08, 04:27 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgOnwards, then to Part Three of the music series, So Hard to Beat. Tonight I’m in conversation with Barry Devlin from Horslips. The guy is a deeply funny man. He’s a natural born raconteur and he does a fine line in self-depreciation. This is perhaps necessary as the band are probably still wanted by the fashion police on several continents. Meantime their back catalogue contains so many instances of prog rock crimes. But we should still love the Horslips.

horslips.jpgBarry talks about his upbringing in Ardboe, Co Tyrone and his teenage days at a seminary in Navan. Thereafter we’re into the ferment of Seventies Dublin, where Barry chanced it with style and became a big-haired role model for rural fantasists. Also, they recorded ‘The Tain’ and ‘The Book Of Invasions’, so all was ultimately worthwhile.

There are few second acts in Irish rock, but Barry rode shotgun with U2 through their most exciting days, filming and documenting. He then wrote a bunch of screenplays and watched in amazement as Horslips reformed, almost by accident. My ears are still ringing with his laughter. Listen in at 7.30pm and again at 11am, Saturday.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

I Second That Promotion

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 18 Mar 08, 11:47 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI’m just back from London where I was combining business with a little recreation. As ever, I was constantly looking up the A-Z directory to get my bearings on the place. Not your average A-Z, mind. I was using my Fleetwood Mac, ‘Everywhere’ guide.

fleetwood250.jpgThis is not an item that you’ll find in any shop. It was issued by Warners as a promotional item in 1988 to alert the privileged media people that an important single was on the schedules. And so a few hundred of these pieces were mailed out to radio producers, journalists and TV executives. And since I was in the record company press office at the time, I was allowed one for myself.

It’s one of the few bits of promo that I’ve kept from that era. I’ve somehow lost the Ah-Ha ‘Stay On These Roads’ car maintenance set. And I fear that the Debbie Gibson ‘Shake Your Love’ cocktail shaker has also gone missing. Mind you, a metal container with the singer’s name on it looks more like a funeral urn than anything else. Debbie Gibson came into the office with her mother a few times. A peculiar double act, let me say. Frankly I was much more excited about Prince protégée Taja Sevelle. She was big in Warner world back then with ‘Love Is Contagious’ and actually, I was severely smitten. Perhaps I should have suggested a promotional surgical mask...

lizzy220.jpgAnyway, it was the age of the record company freebie. In my journalistic capacity I was wooed by countless T-shirts, jackets and even Filofaxes. I had monogrammed pyjamas, fluffy toys and leather bags. I wouldn’t like to think that any of this had influenced my reviews in the slightest. Although I still have my Thin Lizzy, ‘Whisky In The Jar’ bottle of the actual hard stuff. A shame they couldn’t actually spell the single title correctly, but who needs accuracy when the marketing department is cranking out the hits?


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 14.03.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 15 Mar 08, 07:10 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgA simple plan last night. The first hour was a recording of the 'Astral Weeks Revisited' gig from January 5. I'm still amazed by Duke Special, the Inishowen Gospel Choir and 'Ballerina'. Listen online for the next week and you will be also.

Second hour was a bunch of Van covers. Nice to hear Elvis Costello and the Voice Squad again. And of course, Jeff Buckley at Sin E, getting beautifully abstract with 'The Way Young Lovers Do'. Ten minutes of rampant precocity.

PLAYLIST 14.03.08

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

First hour – Astral Weeks Revisited (live recording)


astralweeks.jpgBrian Houston – Astral Weeks
Cara Robinson – Beside You
The Four of Us – Sweet Thing
Matt McGinn – Cyprus Avenue
The Winding Stair – The Way Young Lovers Do
Ursula Burns - Madame George
Duke Special, Innishowen Gospel Choir – Ballerina
Tom McShane – Slim Slow Slider

Second hour

jeff2.jpgDexy’s Midnight Runners – Jackie Wilson Said (Mercury)
Dusty Springfield – Tupelo Honey (Mercury)
Bettye Lavette – Real Real Gone (Evidence)
Martha Reeves – Wild Night (MCA)
Elvis Costello – Full Force Gale (Polydor)
Art Garfunkle – I Shall Sing (Connoisseur)
The Waterboys – Sweet Thing (Ensign)
Maria McKee – My Lonely Sad Eyes (Connoisseur)
Marianne Faithful – Madame George (Polydor)
The Tender Trap – Irish Ivan’s Spirit Song (Musidisc)
Jeff Buckley – The Way Young Lovers Do (Big Cat)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Moya's Game

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 14 Mar 08, 10:56 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThe second part of So Hard To Beat went out this evening on Radio Ulster. It repeats tomorrow morning at 11am and I believe it will be online for a week after. This week’s subject was Moya Brennan, voice of Clannad, Irish icon and exceptionally kind human being.

moya.jpgWe met a few weeks ago at her home, overlooking Dublin Bay. She’s got a Grammy on top of the piano, and she let me hold it. I felt like making a speech. Instead, she talked me through her eventful career, from publican’s daughter to amateur folk singer (with a penchant for Joni Mitchell songs in Gaelic) to a vocalist of international standing and 20 million record sales.

I have some tremendous memories of Moya and her family. She’s married to Tim Jarvis, a music photographer, and together we’ve travelled through some excellent adventures. I also spent some quality time in Leo’s Bar, near Gweedore, where the dad plays accordion and the walls are festooned with Enya and Clannad gold discs. I’ve even sang on that stage, but embarrassment prevents me from telling more about that.

Hey, Moya sang at our wedding. It all seems so weird now, but herself and Tim drove up to Manchester. It was raining badly and many guests were late, so we reckoned they had missed the gig. But she literally walked into the church and sang ‘Close To You’. The tears were splashing everywhere, as Moya changed the tone of the ceremony with that voice. Amazing.

She’s released some fine solo albums and her biography is shockingly honest. Now she’s received another Clannad call-up and old hits like ‘Harry’s Game’ are being lifted into the ether again. Everyone should experience that, at least once.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Shake, Rattle And Roll

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 11 Mar 08, 11:55 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI occasionally ask myself that if Bono hadn’t encouraged Trimble and Hume to shake hands ten years ago, would we currently have peace in Northern Ireland? This might seem like a facetious idea, but really, if the ‘Yes’ referendum had died back then, the centre ground might also have perished. We could still be living in a mean, fractious place. We might not have witnessed the housing boom, the construction fever and the arrival of Wagamama.

trimblehume.jpgThe feature on this week’s ATL TV was a perfect time to consider all this. Rigsy, myself and Rick McMurray from Ash spent some time at the Waterfront, musing over that intense run of events on May 19, 1998. The ‘Yes’ concert had followed on from a series of bad news days, featuring Michael Stone and the Balcombe Street Bombers. The posters on the wall had been urging us to ‘Build The Peace’ but the wreckers were everywhere. And the poll predictions were looking nasty.

marley200.jpgSo U2 and Ash played to 2 000 Sixth Formers at the Waterfront, and Bono copied an old trick that he’d learned from Bob Marley at the One Love concert in Kingston, 1978. The reggae boss had pulled the political leaders Manley and Seaga together onstage, to send out a positive signal to the riotous city. And so Belfast got its first public handshake from Trimble and Hume, while the U2 singer held their arms up like prize fighters.

John Hume was in tears afterwards. He was all used up, emotionally busted. We watched the News At Ten and the story had made the third bong. Larry Mullen grinned the biggest grin and Edge did the inscrutable zen twinkle. Rock and roll had turned impending disaster into a publicity coup. It saved Northern Ireland from an uncertain nightmare. That’s not me being absurdly dramatic. That’s simply what happened.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 07.03.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 9 Mar 08, 10:34 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgBack in 1997 I wrote an enthusiastic review of the Whiskeytown album, 'Strangers Almanac'. It was doused in cool Americana, and seasoned with a little danger.

Soon after, I was on the phone to the singer of the act, Ryan Adams, who was still drunk after a huge party, and who rambled with panache. Not long after, Whiskeytown was over and Ryan was rambling on his own. Anyway, 'Stranger's Almanac' will be reissued on March 31 with a bonus disc and the chance to hear Adams tackling the songbooks of Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and more. There are also acoustic versions of signature tunes such as 'Dancing With The Women At The Bar'. Perfect for the radio show.

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

Ernie K Doe – Hurry Up And Know It (Charly)
Whiskeytown – Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight (Mercury)
whiskeytown2.jpgSam Isaac – Fire Fire (AM AK)
Watermelon Slim – Hard Times (Northern Blues)
The Temptations – Law Of The Land (Motown)
Jay May – Blue Skies (Heavenly)
Barry Adamson – Spend A Little Time (Central Control)
Leonard Cohen – Democracy (Columbia)
The Long Blondes – Guilt (Rough Trade)
Jack Rose – Miss May’s Place (Black Cat)
Southern Tenant Folk Union (Ugly Nephew)
The Small Faces – Autumn Stone (Castle)
Goldfrapp – Little Bird (Mute)

Joey Ramone, Holly Beth – I Got You Babe (Virgin)
Whiskeytown – Luxury Liner (Mercury)
The Mountain Goats – San Bernadino (4ad)
Jens Lekman – I Met Her In The Anti War Demonstration (Secrtly Canadian)
The Marvelettes – Because I Love Him (Spectrum)
Beth Rowley – Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Universal)
Keith Richards – You Win Again (Lost Highway)
Willie Nelson – Gravedigger (Lost Highway)
Goldfrapp – Cologne Cerrone Houdini (Mute)
Jimmy Scott – Someone To Watch Over Me (WSM)
Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw (Beggars Banquet)
REM – Supernatural Superserious (Warner)
Sonny J – Enfant Terrible (Stateside)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

The Hooley Show

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 7 Mar 08, 12:15 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgLast year I presented a TV show about Ulster music called ‘So Hard To Beat’. While people seemed to like the result, it was frustrating to chop out so many amazing stories from the edit. So this year, I’m back with a radio version of the story, allowing extra space for the anecdotes.

terrihooley.jpgSo the plan is to have a weekly chat with one of the fascinating characters from the plot. Tonight, I’m starting with Terri Hooley, a friend, a folk devil and the guy who released ‘Teenage Kicks’ on his record label, ‘Good Vibrations’. He’s a lovely man but he tends to ramble, so the edit has been demanding. But it’s a tremendous journey, from Hank Williams to punk rock in bombed-out Belfast. The stories are funny, tragic and era-defining along the way.

So Hard To Beat goes out on Radio Ulster tonight at 7.30pm and is repeated on Saturday at 11am. Other names in the series include Moya Brennan from Clannad, Barry Devlin from Horslips and Mickey Bradley from The Undertones.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Reeling In The Ears

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 5 Mar 08, 04:00 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgBad hearing tends to go with the rock and roll territory. In the old days, it was almost a badge of honour, a sign that you’d been through the wars, battling with feedback, crash cymbals and house-shaking PA speakers.

A friend of mine was in a Camden basement bar when her eardrum spontaneously ruptured, spraying the place with blood. Steve Lamacq called his autobiography ‘Going Deaf For A Living’ while Pete Townsend, who once wrote about a deaf, dumb and blind kid, is severely challenged in the hearing department. Are you surprised?

plug.jpgThis morning, I was talking on Good Morning Ulster, explaining that a quarter century of music journalism has left me with permanent ringing in my ears. Tinnitus isn’t a great laugh, especially at night when you’d rather have a gentle sleep, or when tiredness and stress turn the tones into a howl-around chorus.

There’s a new campaign called Don’t Lose The Music, telling people about how to avoid such conditions. They’re aiming to find cool designers who can make ear plugs look more attractive, and delivering easy hints about prevention. Tinnitus, you see, has no cure.

Alternately, you can put your head in the bass bins and hot-wire your MP3 player to hit 11 on the volume scale. The royal prerogative of youth is to ignore the future, to damn the reasonable advice, to crash the car. But consider the fact that your precious music needs a couple of sensitive instruments to channel the tunes. If you abuse ’em, you lose ’em. Really.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 29.02.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 3 Mar 08, 03:55 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIf you like old Billy Bragg, then the 2008 version will surely delight you. As far back as 'Levi Stubbs' Tears' you appreciated that he was into his soul music. His voice has become looser and deeper over time, resulting in a voice that can cajole and testify, big style. And on the Hammond organ he's got Ian McLagan, sometime member of the Small Faces and then the Faces. Together they are beautiful on 'Mr Love & Justice'.

So there was plenty of Bragg on the Friday show. plus a chance to hear myself in conversation with Ben Glover, author of the excellent 'The Week The Clocks Changed' album. Note to self: must listen more to that bijou Miracle Fortress record.

STUART BAILIE
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight


Manic Street Preachers- Motocycle Emptiness (Epic)
Vincent Vincent and The Villains – Blue Boy (EMI)
Billy Bragg – Sing Their Songs Back Home (Cooking Vinyl)
benglover2.jpgFrank Turner – Photosynthesis (Xtra Mile)
Duffy – Serious (A&M)
Kathleen Edwards – I Make the Dough, You Get The Glory (Rounder)
Miracle Fortress – Maybe Lately (Rough Trade)
Billy Bragg – I Keep Faith (Cooking Vinyl)
Ben Glover – No Direction Home (Mr Jones)
Ben Glover – Mercury Is Falling (Mr Jones)
Sambassadeur – Subtle Changes (Creeping Bent)
Willie Nelson – Louisiana (Lost Highway)

Billy Bragg – I Almost Killed You (Cooking Vinyl)
Kathleen Edwards – The Cheapest Key (Rounder)
Josh Ritter –Empty Hearts (V2)
Devotchka – The Clockwise Witness (Anti)
Duffy – Syrup And Honey (A&M)
Emily Loizeau – Autre Bout Du Monde (Fargo)
The Four Seasons – Rag Doll (Rhino)
Gary Louris – She Only Calls Me On Sundays (Ryko)
The Cave Singers –Elephant Clouds (Matador)
Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City (CBS)
Two Gallants – Miss Men (Saddle Creek)
The Cinematic Orchestra – All That You Give (Ninja Tune)

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Inside The Blogosphere

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 2 Mar 08, 07:37 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgSaturday night finds us at the Alexander Hotel in Dublin to witness the Irish Blog Awards. For this, their third year, it’s a family reunion and the chance to share a real-time experience with Twenty Major, Grannymar, Ice Cream Ireland, Little Bird Eats and Gingerpixel.

blog250.jpgWhile there are several nordies in the room (goodonpaper, Phil O’ Kane, ulstermusic.com), the trophies are staying down south. It’s nice that I’ve been nominated in the Best Music Blog category, but as predicted, the honour goes to nialler9. Here’s a photo of the guy with Aoife from indiehour and myself, swapping thoughts.

While the tone isn’t anti-corporate, much of the energy is coming from individuals outside the traditional media. In time, the best of the talent will be absorbed by the mainstream, just as David Fanning went from pirate broadcasting to establishment. But for now, it’s enough to witness the adventure, the camaraderie and the barmpot humour. It doesn’t always amount to great writing, some of it is merely daft, but it’s a talent funnel, a deal of self-expression and it keeps some rather deviant souls off the streets.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

A Bomb Deal

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 28 Feb 08, 03:17 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThe run-up to the release of the second Oppenheimer album is very exciting. And while they’re a modest operation, they know that they’ve done something special, that the new music will deliver extra thrills to the people. I’ve heard snippets and they rock, in a uniquely melodic way.

Last year I took a few casual snaps of Rocky and Shaun, and they liked the results. I’ve got a clunky rangefinder camera from the early ’70s, which has an old-school analogue charm. It cost £30 on ebay, which is a bonus.

oppenheimer2_410.jpgTherefore I did another session with the pair, and happily, they came out fine. This is a shot of them in the studio, giving it loads into the lens of the lucky Canonet.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Give Pierce A Chance

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 26 Feb 08, 07:11 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgMust say, I’m looking forward to seeing Jason Pierce and Spiritualized at the Mandela Hall, Belfast, May 29. He’s like a vintage breed in that he understands the old rock and roll stance; grace under pressure, emotions revealed without unnecessary drama, the music pared and precise.

spiritualized.jpgHe was awesome at the Lisburn Island Arts Centre a few years ago. More so because he was in a smart little venue that responds to the sense of occasion. When someone mentioned this cool setting to the man, shortly before showtime, he winced, ever so slightly. And then he explained, that when he had been presented by his manager with a list of potential tour dates, he chose this one because… he thought it said Lisbon. Oh well...


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 22.02.07

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 24 Feb 08, 09:46 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgWhile I was gallivanting at the Waterfront last Friday, my radio show was pre-recorded: a return of the whistling in rock special, followed by a delightful combo, “Listen With Mozzer”, filled with various songs written and covered by Morrissey.

It was also a good reason to feature the MJ Hibbert track, ‘Lesson Of The Smiths’. The music is a homage to ‘This Charming Man’, while the lyric is a pertinent message about snobbery in popular culture. MJ Hibbert remembers with some shame that he didn’t like Morrissey’s music because he thought Smiths fans were saddo losers. And of course, you should pay attention to the tunes and not the constituency. Good call, MJ.


The Smiths, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (Rough Trade)
The Pretenders, Everyday is Like Sunday (Rhino)
smithscover.jpgSandie Shaw, Jeanne (Rough Trade)
Morrissey, Now My Heart Is Full (EMI)
MJ Hibbett & The Validators, The Lesson Of The Smiths (AAS)
The Smiths, This Charming Man (Rough Trade)
David Bowie, I Know It's Gonna Happen (EMI)
Morrissey, Redondo Beach (Attack)
The High Llamas, Frankly, Mr Shankly (Les Inrockuptibles)
Morrissey, Cosmic Dancer (EMI)
Schneider TM, The Light 3000 (City Slang)
Morrissey, Moon River (EMI)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Pieces Of Fate

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 23 Feb 08, 07:30 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgSo Terri Hooley got his dues at the Fate Awards last night. There was always a chance that he would turn his acceptance speech into some kind of tirade, but he kept his cool, was gracious about his Legend Award and saved his contempt for the arsonists who burnt him out of the North Street Arcade. Then Panama Kings came on and played a belter version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ on the Waterfront Stage.

fate250.jpgIt was an interesting night, a meeting of gastro-pubs and moshpits, BT9 and Route 66. Ruby Wax insulted most of the local celebrities and had trouble with the place names. James Nesbitt was amusing, Ronan Keating paid tribute to the late Jim Aiken and when the aftershows were finished, we headed back to Oh Yeah for the after-aftershow.

That’s when the details become a little vague. But I do remember an all-star version of ‘Teenage Kicks’, some songs by Iain Archer and Ciaran Gribben, aka Joe Echo. Another turn, John D’Arcy had learnt off a bunch of Good Vibrations songs, including ‘Self Conscious Over You’, which was witnessed by the original Outcasts singer, Greg Cowan. The old fella was touched.

fate410.jpg

Later, we bellowed out a version of the Them classic, ‘Gloria’. Left to right in the photo is Terri Hooley, Niall Kennedy from the Panama Kings, soccer hero Gerry Armstrong, Gary Lightbody and myself. Hilarious. The head is still sore.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Vaux Pop

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 20 Feb 08, 09:16 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgHere’s my autographed cover of ‘Vauxhall And I’. While I don’t normally solicit signatures, in this instance there’s was a point to the request. It was 1994 and I had queued for a considerable time outside the HMV by Manchester’s Arndale Centre. I wanted to meet Morrissey, to converse with the singer and this was my only chance.

morrissey.jpgLet me explain. In August 1992, Morrissey played a show at Finsbury Park, supporting Madness. In front of an audience of seig-heiling skinheads, he paraded the Union Jack and sang a series of songs that were dangerously ambiguous. At this stage, the Moz songbook contained tracks such as ‘Asian Rut’, Bengali In Platforms’ and ‘We’ll Let You Know’. At an NME editorial the following Tuesday, we decided to start a public debate. It was the moment when the paper and the artist were officially divorced. Things haven’t been the same since.

There was no response from Morrissey, no attempt to clarify the debate, and so the story festered. But when ‘Vauxhall And I’ appeared, it seemed like a more contrite record. There was tenderness, an appeal for compassion, and a closing track called ‘Speedway’ that seemed to ask the judge and jury for some kind of a reprieve.

I wrote a constructive review and the word came back throught the Moz office that he was glad to have been given a fair hearing. So when we heard that the singer was doing HMV signings in London and Manchester, we decided to deliver a score of NME writers into the queue, each bearing a question. When the answers were collated, we would have a feature for the paper and perhaps some resolution to the debate.

moz3.jpgOf course it ended in chaos and comedy. The London signing was cut short, and so myself and John Harris took it to Manchester, talking to fans in the queue, building up a story. Finally I met the man, got my CD signed and we exchanged a few words. We had our cover story, albeit a slightly mad one.

The Morrissey controversy has resumed again, as reported here. The difference is that the artist was quick to react, issuing a denial and forging links with the Love Music Hate Racism organisation. All good.

So I’m inclined to believe that while he has a romantic and deluded view of little England in the old days, I don’t believe it’s a malicious one. I still play his music and the best of it moves me uniquely. Therefore in the second hour of this Friday’s show, I’ll dedicate an hour to ‘Listen With Mozzer’. Lots of Smiths tunes and tracks covered by Sandi Shaw, The Pretenders, Schneider TM, plus some charming surprises.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

You've Got Male

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 17 Feb 08, 08:00 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgOn Saturday night we shouted at the telly when Duke Special won his Meteor Award for Best Irish Male. The fella looked properly surprised and made a right haimes of his acceptance speech. But we don’t celebrate him for his public speaking skills, rather the soul, the fun and the musicality. I’ve heard a few snatches of his upcoming Kurt Weill / Huckleberry Finn EP and it’s another intrepid dimension. His award may also make up for the sad night two years ago when he didn’t win the Choice Music Prize and his van was burgled outside the venue, costing him a stack of CDs and merchandise.

The Meteor billing for Gary Lightbody and Lisa Hannigan suggested that they were singing ‘Some Surprise’ in public for the first time. Not true. They managed this on May 5, 2007 at the Oh Yeah Open Day in Belfast. I believe there may even be a bootleg film of it out there. Here’s a still of it anyway.
gary410.jpg

Like Duke, I’m not anticipating an acceptance speech at the Irish Blog Awards on March 1 in Dublin. But I’m touched to be on the shortlist for Best Music Blog. There’s a frenzy of ideas out there, and I’d say the smart money music be on nialler9, who is batting away impressively, shaming the older hacks with all that energy.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 15.02.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 16 Feb 08, 03:08 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgA decent part of last night's show was spent investigating the Belfast-Nashville Songwiriter's Festival, which is active next week. Favourites such as Nanci Griffith and Eilidh Patterson will be joined by more left-field names such as Iain Archer, Tobias Froberg and Kevin Gordon. I must declare an interest in that I'm chairing a Wednesday discussion panel about the value of song and then fronting the 'Nebraska Revisited' night. But hey, it's a sincere festival and Colin and Anne are doing a valuable job.

The playlist was my first chance to air the new REM single, and frankly I think it sounds too eager to rock and is slight on the kind of mystery that Michael Stipe used to employ so well. It would be cool to see them on the Oxygen stage this July but we remain uneasy about the new album. Still liking the Vampire Weekend record and smiling at the story of the elderly couple who bought tickets for Frank Black in Dublin, believing that it was the blessed Frances Black. Some difference.


PLAYLIST 15.02.08
STUART BAILIE
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

tobias.jpgJosh Ritter – Kathleen (Setanta)
REM – Supernatural Superserious (Warner)
Tobias Froberg – When The Night Turns Cold (Fire Egg)
John Power – Ain’t No Woman (Taniki Taniji)
Vampire Weekend – Campus (XL)
The Coal Porters – Mr Guthrie
Woody Guthrie – Pretty Boy Floyd (Special Delivery)
Devotchka – Along The Way (Anti)
Sound Dimension – Rockfort Rock (Soul Jazz)
American Music Club – The Victory Choir (cv)
Nina Simone – He’s Got The Whole World (Charly)
Radiohead – Nude (XL)
John McGurgan – Jenny And Her Vega Machine (white)
LCD Soundsystem – Time To Get Away (EMI)

John Power – Ain’t No Woman (Taniki Taniji)
Matthew Sweet, Susanna Hoffs – And Your Bird Can Sing (Evangeline)
Alelia Diane – The Rifle (Rough Trade)
Aretha Franklin - a House Is Not a Home (Sony/BMG)
Vampire Weekend – Walcott (XL)
Kate Walsh – Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (Bluebury)
Morrissey – I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday (EMI)
Nada Surf – See These Bones (City Slang)
Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else But You (XL)
David Johansen – James Alley Blues (Chesky)
Ben Glover – Things Haven’t Started Happening Yet (Mr Jones)
Tetine – I Go To The Doctor (Soul Jazz)
The Black Keys – Strange Times (V2)
The Pixies – Gigantic (4ad)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

The Card Of The County

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 14 Feb 08, 09:25 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI don’t have so many outstanding memories of Valentine’s Day. As a teenager, it was all peer pressure, disappointment and missives from the occasional stalker. That’s why I always shiver during the Janis Ian song, ‘At 17’. You know the lines: “To those of us who know the pain / of Valentines that never came”. On your side, Janis.

In my 20s, it was Chet Baker and ‘My Funny Valentine’. Some pleasure, intimacy and good times. In later years a Steve Earle song has hovered into the equation. 'Valentine's Day' is about the stresses of adult life and the struggle to sustain special moments in the face of compromise, commerce and self interest. Steve sounds magnificently bedraggled. He’s forgotten the card and the shops are sold out of roses. And so he moans:


If I could I would deliver to you
Diamonds and gold; it's the least I can do
So if you'll take my IOU
I could make it up to you
Until then I hope my heart will do
For Valentine's Day

heart410.jpg

This year I made the missus a card. Concept by myself and photo by my eldest girl. Ain’t it fancy?


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

For Whom The Toal Tells

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 12 Feb 08, 10:16 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThe Saturday Magazine show on Radio Ulster feels more like a social club than a piece of programming. The guests are swapping music, eating well, launching tall stories and meeting people with odd pastimes. And when it finishes at 11am, the team tends to hang around to continue the discussions and to partake of Paula McIntyre’s tremendous cuisine.

johntoal2.jpgThe mainstay of course is John Toal, a clever and affable gent who can converse with Newry lap dancers, children with wayward rabbits and psychotic Westlife fans. He knows his literature and his high art, but he snorts with childish pleasure at the contents of the Russell Ash book, Potty, Fartwell and Knob: From Luke Warm to Minty Badger - Extraordinary But True Names of British People. And why shouldn’t he?

The John and Paula rapport is also something to watch, as the business of cooking on radio is punctuated with Toal’s smacking lips and evident, epicurean joy. We finish with a record review that also aims to be entertaining. Whenever Katy Melua or Il Divo are mentioned, it’s also the chance to be terribly catty.

paula.jpgOutside broadcasts provide the opportunity to take this cavalcade to our listeners. Last Saturday, we hauled up at the King’s Hall in Belfast to visit the Glow event. It was billed as the Beauty And Vitality Show, therefore John was pampered, Paula had her face done and I was subjected to an oriental head massage. My stress was located and eased. The ear lobes were wrung out like minature dish cloths and I did indeed feel highly revitalised. Where else would you get it?

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 08.02.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 10 Feb 08, 11:08 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgAnother sweet show on Friday night. I was joined for a couple of live tracks by Matt McGinn, who has a tune out at the moment called 'Double Bed' and who's finding his voice and his style with rewarding speed.

vampire.jpgThe Vampire Weekend album is a treasure of alternative fun with hints of world music, shown through a wonky prism. It was also great value to hear a Scottish act called The Galipaygos, who clearly admire Gram Parsons, the Band and Neil Young. That also applies to local artist Ben Glover, who releases his debut album in a weeks time, and you'll hear plenty of that next Friday.

PLAYLIST 08.02.08

STUART BAILIE
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Online: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster
Fridays, ten – midnight

Patti Smith – People Have The Power (Arista)
The Galipaygos – Happiness Starts Now (Unity)
Matt McGinn – Double Bed (live session)
Nick Lowe – I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass (Proper)
Matt McGinn – Lately (live session)
Vampire Weekend – M79(XL)
Rev Gary Davis – If I Had My Way (Smithsonian)
Guillemots – Get Over It (Polydor)
Jaymay – Ill Willed Person (Heavenly)
Marvin Gaye – I Met A Little Girl (Motown)
Adam Green – Morning After Midnight (Rough Trade)
The Stooges – No Fun (Elektra)

Morrissey – First Of The Gang To Die (Attack)
The Galipaygos – Pickin Fishes (Unity)
Devon Sproule – Let’s Go Out (Tin Angel)
Martin Simpson – Never any Good (Topic)
Ben Glover – Mercury Is Falling (Mr Jones)
Junior Brown – What’s Left Just Won’t Go Right (Demon)
Adam Green – Festival Song (Rough Trade)
Kd Lang - Jealous Dog (Nonesuch)
Rivers Cuomo – Buddy Holly (Geffen)
Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (XL)
The Teardrop Explodes – Reward (Mercury)
The Cave Singers – Dancing On Our Graves (Matador)
The Verve – A Northern Soul (Hut)
Feist – My Moon My Man (Polydor)

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Don't Believe The Tripe

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 6 Feb 08, 06:22 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgHere’s a picture of myself, Steve Lamacq and an unknown rude boy, up to no good in North London. I believe the venue was the Sir George Robey in Finsbury Park and the occasion was a Prince Buster gig, probably around 1990.

stuska2.jpgMyself and Lamacq had figured that another ska revival was on the cards, and so we went prowling around reggae shops in Berwick Street, mooching with Two Tone fans on the South Bank and searching for proper Jamaican legends on the Seven Sisters Road. God bless Prince Buster, who didn’t really know what we were talking about, but he humoured our daft questions and the story was duly filed.

Our NME editor was Alan Lewis, an avuncular fellow who had presided over Sounds during the previous ska revival of 1979. So he was ready for some sport, and the story was expanded to a rather embarrassing spread of pages.

The Ska Revival Revival threatened to materialize for a few agonising months, but finally petered out. We felt rather silly, and Melody Maker ribbed us endlessly in their funny pages. They said there was a commotion down at the local supermarket, as someone saw a poster from Prince Buster. But no, the sign actually said Price Busters. How we laughed…

Not long after, Melody Maker tried to sell us the tragic mod revival that was Menswear, followed by Romo, a kind of new-romantic-and-electro-combo. Then the blessed publication went bust.

Myself and Lamacq consoled ourselves over the fact that our journalistic talents had successfully presented the world with happening new genres such as raggle-taggle, Camden Lurch and fraggle rock. I hope you are all truly grateful.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Let's Get Lost (Slight Return)

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 5 Feb 08, 09:48 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThere’s was a kind of arrogance about the start of Lost, Series Four. It was assumed that you knew the characters, that you remembered the serpentine plot of 2007 and that you were still suspending your belief in this strained idea. They were asking a lot.

Meantime, there’s Hurley, gunning his vintage Camaro, chased by the cops and spooked by the ghost of his island buddy. He’s in some future time, back home and coming to terms with his celebrity status as a member of the Oceanic Six. Hey? Before we have time to analyse much, the storyline yanks like a bungee rope and we’re back on the beach, warring over the nature of the apparent rescuers, out there on the sea.

ben3.jpgLocke has gone royally mad, Jack is pulling that constipated look that passes for heroism and Ben is steadily mutating into Thom Yorke from Radiohead, scorned and tortured. How will they be reconciled, and why do the future survivors want to go back to the island?

Like many viewers, I’m no longer involved. The tension of those early episodes has given way to a resigned feeling that the Lost producers can be freely whimsical, indulgent and silly. Industrial action by the Writers Guild Of America has already curtailed the new series to eight episodes. Actually, it might do no harm to lose some of that excess.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist 01.02.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 4 Feb 08, 09:05 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgHere's the playlist from last Friday's show. I got excellent value from the Juno soundtrack and while my pal Joe Lindsay informs me that the movie isn't so great, the music is ideal. I could have chosen some Belle And Sebastian from the CD, but opted instead for a couple of Kimya Dawsons and a Mott The Hoople for old time's sake. I'm a dude, man.

Because of a technoligical mishap, I played the wrong REM track. Instead of 'Talk About The Passion', I got 'Gardening At Night', but since this followed on from 'Gardenia' by Stephen Malkmus, it seemed like a perfect connection. In this matter, I will defer to Brian Eno who tells us to honour mistakes as a secret intention.

I was slightly undewhelmed by the Hercules & Love Affair track. Media reports had suggesting something astounding from Antony Hegarty's vocal and a disco dimension. But to me, it was Bronski Beat, redux.

Playlist 01.02.08

juno2.JPGThe Ramones- Rock And Roll Radio (Sire)
Helen Love – Debbie Loves Joey (Elefant)
Sharon Jones And The Daptones – Something’s Changed (Daptone)
Stephen Malkmus – Gardenia (Domino)
REM – Gardening At Night (IRS)
Okkervil River - Unless It’s Kicks (Jagjaguar)
Linda Thompson – Do Your Best For Rock And Roll (Decca)
Maddox Brothers And Rose – Hangover Blues (Proper)
MGMT – Time To Pretend (Columbia)
Kimya Dawson – So Nice So Smart (Rhino)
Ernest Ranglin And Sound Dimension – Straight Flus (Soul Jazz)
Kate Rusby – The Village Green Preservation Society (Pure)
Elbow – Grounds For Divorce (Fiction)
Ben Glover – No Direction Home (Mr Jones)
Hercules – Blind (DFA)

Magnet – Lay Lady Lay (Ultimate Dilemma)
Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova – You Ain’t Goin Nowhere (Columbia)
Rod Stewart – Mama You Been On My Mind (Mercury)
Kimya Dawson – Tire Swing (Rhino)
British Sea Power – No Lucifer (Rough Trade)
Pegi Young – When The Wild Life Betrays Me (Warner)
Editors – Push Your Head Towards The Air (Kitchenware)
Stina Nordenstam – Little Star (EastWest)
Cat Power – Breathless (Matador)
Jerry Lee Lewis – She Was My Baby He Was My Friend (Mercury)
Los Campesinos – Death To Los Campesinos (Wichita)
The Hold Steady – Chips Ahoy! (Vagrant)
Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes (Rhino)

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Are You Gonna Go His Way?

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 2 Feb 08, 03:54 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgYou join us in 1989 as we barrel down the freeway from Los Angeles to Orange County in a shiny chrome bus. There’s myself, Lenny Kravitz and his wife Lisa Bonet. Baby Zoe is also on board, and she’s being tended to by Lisa’s mother Arlene. We’re on our way down to a Tom Petty concert, which Lenny will open, and the mood is upbeat.

lenny250.jpgIt’s not been long since Lenny released his first album, so he’s cool about the press and allows this writer several days of quality access. We’ve already worked on an NME photo shoot at the Griffith Observatory, where James Dean posed during Rebel Without A Cause. By the end of the week, we’ll have sat in during the video edit for ‘Mr Cab Driver’, a moment that is rudely upstaged by Slash from Guns N’ Roses. But that’s another story.

Back in Orange County and we’re having small talk with Lisa, who’s clearly not fazed by the media intrusion. She looks like any other considerate mother, although the tattoo on the back of her neck keeps making the connection back to ‘Angel Heart’. The baby girl will later inspire a song called ‘Little Girl's Eyes’, but for now, she’s a helpless bundle and the family bonds accordingly.

The concert is pretty good and I remember a rather fine version of the Hendrix tune, ‘If 6 Was 9’. Backstage, I have dinner with Roger McGuinn from The Byrds, without knowing it was he. Well, he doesn’t wear the hexagonal shades these days. And during the headline act, I’m so busy following Duff McKagan and Slash through the VIP area that I miss an onstage performance by Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. D’oh!

Zoekravitz.jpgI met Lenny again a couple of years later at a Danish festival and he had morphed into an egotistical loon, a Superfly caricature and a divorcee. I’d I’ve rarely thought of him since. But now it seems that Zoe Kravitz is being regarded as acting talent, with roles in the recent films The Brave One and No Reservations. Good luck to her, and may she avoid some of her father’s pitfalls.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Gotta Hear This, #6

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 30 Jan 08, 02:03 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIf you wanted to hear your reggae music in the ’70s, then it was John Peel or nothing. The guy seemed to pick up on the best of it, as we heard these wonderful tunes, anthems from the government yards in Trenchtown.

This was the prime time for the vocal groups, who had based their harmonies on soul acts like The Impressions, but who took it to another spiritual place. Many of the lyrics were informed by The Bible, particularly the Book of Exodus and the exile in Babylon. To the poor guys in the shanty towns of Jamaica, this was some kind of deliverance and it was woven into their Rastafarian creed.

And so the pained music of the sufferah made its way east. Early Bob Marley was full of it. Culture released the impeccable ‘Two Sevens Clash’, The Congos may have bested it with ‘The Heart And Soul Of The Congos’. And Burning Spear mused intensely like a flinty old prophet.

naturalites2.jpgThe era seemed to have passed by 1985, but somehow it took seed in Nottingham. And act called The Naturalites came up with an amazing song called ‘Picture On The Wall’, which Peel and his listeners adored. The production wasn’t as exotic as their West Indian peers, but the mood was reverential, the horns were wonderful and artless while the harmonies ruled. Ossie Samms, Percy 'JP' McLeod and Neil Foster were emphatically in the zone.

Essentially, it’s a song about having an image of of Haile Selassie , the late Ethiopian leader, above the mantlepiece. But in Rasta terms, Haile lives, the inspiration endures and the pure hope of The Naturalites is that you might ultimately get back to where you once belonged.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Playlist, 25.01.08

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 27 Jan 08, 09:16 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgA big old mix of tunes last Friday. I'm enjoying the Lightspeed Champion album and the new Cat Power covers album, 'Jukebox'. Some shows are painful and even tense, but last week was entirely pleasant. You can listen back via the Radio Ulster website until next Saturday.

Sam Cooke – Shake (RCA)
Clarence Frogman Henry – Standing In The Need Of Love (Chess)
lightspeed.jpgLightspeed Champion – Everyone I Know Is Listening To Crunk (Domino)
Adele – Best For Last (XL)
Vashti Bunyan – Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind (Fatcat)
Kate Bush – Why Should I Love you (EMI)
Foy Vance – Homebird (Wurdamouth)
Cat Power – Silver Stallion (Matador)
Kris Kristofferson – The Junkie and the Juicehead (Columbia)
Jaymay – Gray Or Blue (Heavenly)
Gary Lightbody, Lisa Hannigan – Some Surprise (Oxfam)
Amiina – Rugla (Ever)
Adele – Make You Feel My Love (XL)
The Infomatics – Wake Up (QNISS)

Simon And Garfunkel – Leaves That Are Green (CBS)
Duffy - Mercy (A&M)
Dr Feelgood – I Don’t Mind (Grand)
Ida Maria - Stella (RCA)
Matt McGinn –Double Bed (white)
Chris Bell – Look Up (Ryko)
Adele – Hometown Glory (XL)
Brian Eno – Needle In The Camel’s Eyes (Virgin)
Martina Topley Bird – Carnies (Independiente)
Ian Dury – What a Waste (Stiff)
Sons And Daughters – This Gift (Domino)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down On The Corner (Fantasy)
Prefuse 73 – The Class Of 73 Bells (Warp)


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

'19', Not Out

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 25 Jan 08, 11:23 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI’ve spent the morning listening to the new Adele album, thinking that I’ll never have this kind of intimacy with the record again. As from Monday, ‘19’ is in the public domain and for the rest of the year you’ll hear it ceaselessly in bars and markets, on beaches and wine bars and ringtones.

adele250.jpgInevitably you will grow tired of it. It will be the record that people who don’t normally buy records say they like. The swooning refrains will be used in bad TV documentaries – at the very point when the premature baby is taken off the ventilator to die. And before long, these songs will become the staple of talent show auditions, as hopeless stage brats warble and Simon Cowell’s eyebrows go skywards.

But is that Adele’s fault? Not really. She’s got a bit of style and soul and she sings like she means it. Her songs reference the kind of sentiments we’ve all felt. That track 'Hometown Glory' is rather exceptional. And there’s nothing jarring on the record. That’s why it will be perfect for dinner parties.

I guess the hope is that Adele has a satisfying year, that she doesn’t go mad with the workload and the publicity. The ultimate hope is that albums two and three are a bit more dangerous and a little less Sade.

Listen to tonight’s radio show at 10pm to preview some of the tracks.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Mass Lysteria

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 22 Jan 08, 08:20 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIn your younger days, you wanted to be Billy Bremner, scoring against Chelsea in the cup final after extra time. You could do all the moves, all the faces. Then you discovered youth culture and decided that you’d rather be Joe Strummer, saving the world against evil capitalists and Jeff Lynne fans. You even dabbled with a bit of James Dean and Eddie Cochran, trying to get the hair and the pose right.

egg250.jpgLater, you were pleased enough if someone reckoned you looked like Van Heflin, or even Gene Hackman. So long as they didn’t mention Clive James. By now, your ego is busted, your expectations are supine in the looks department. And then one of your kids improvises a portrait of the father, using an upturned, empty egg shell. There it is, jeering at you from the kitchen table.

Life: is this all it’s cracked up to be?

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

We Saw The Sea

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 20 Jan 08, 10:37 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgCongrats to British Sea Power, who splashed into the top 10 of the albums chart today. I do hope that they celebrated quietly and that their tour is proceeding without any great danger to life.

britishsea250.jpgI say this because when the band played their Spring & Airbrake in Belfast last Thursday, they were on some kind of terrifying mission. A band member hurled himself into the audience with a tuba. The lady with the violin was dressed as a woodland creature, possibly a badger. There were marionettes hanging from the ceiling, maybe of a Weimar provenance. And of course the band were wearing that strange gear; Enid Blyton adventurers meet early Spandau Ballet. I hope it never catches on.

Songs from the peppy new album ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ were well aired. By encore time, there was a proper frenzy in the house and Noble had grown tired of clambering over PA stacks and lighting struts. His last gesture was to go charging off the stage, high into the air and to catch a support pillar in the middle of the crowd. We heard the clunk of flesh and bone connecting to a solid chunk of architecture. And while he managed to clamber back on stage, we saw the look on his face. The guy was in pain. We felt for him, man.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Sam, The Man

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 19 Jan 08, 06:05 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgI’m listening to an old recording of Just Five singing ‘Well Don’t That Beat Them All’ and it’s just about perfect. It has the rough and tumble rhythm that young men with scruffy hair made around 1964. It is one of the rare artefacts that we have to remember the Maritime scene in Belfast. And most importantly, it’s proof that Sam Mahood had a voice that really was hard to beat.

just5.jpgComing from a later generation, I never saw Sam live on stage. And while I always hoped that I’d meet him some day and I’d hear some of those great old stories, that’s not going to happen now. Sam passed away on December 23, another piece of our cultural history that’s not been celebrated like it should.

According to his peers, Sam was a classic soul belter, arguably better than some of our more famous sons. Terri Hooley likes to talk about the theatre of Sam shows. Mahood would use a lot of those James Brown moves, falling on the stage, feigning exhaustion, demanding that the audience cheer all the harder to revive him. With his wavy red hair, his buckle shoes and a woman’s furry jacket, he must have surprised Belfast, never mind his hometown of Ballymena.

sam180.jpgThere will be a musical celebration for Sam at the King’s Head, Belfast on Sunday, January 27. The likes of Ronnie Greer, Rab McCullough, Terri Hooley and Lee Hedley will feature, and some of the old Just Five heads will also be involved. It starts at 3pm.

I’m not sure how many Just Five tracks are commercially available, but ‘Don’t That Beat Them All’ and ‘I Will Have You’ are included on the excellent CD, ‘Belfast Beat, Maritime Blues’, compiled by Roger Armstrong, with sleevenotes by Owen McFadden. The CD booklet uses an old Just Five image from City Week / City Beat, the local publication which covered the local music scene so passionately. I’d love to know where the paper’s old photo archive has gone. It’s another part of our story that needs to be preserved, to be valued.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Let's Do Panama

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 17 Jan 08, 12:23 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgTonight I’m planning on a trip to the Limelight in Belfast to see the Panama Kings. Despite the exotic name, they have some kind of connection to Ballymoney. Their tunes are sparky and strange and singer Niall has an aura of rampant cool.

panama250.jpgThey have a track called ‘Your Children Are Screaming’ which has possessed my mind for the past few days. It stomps and fulminates and says alarming things that I can’t quite explain. It’s pretty clear that they enjoy their Flaming Lips, and the slashing guitars are true to the spirit of Gang of Four. Anyway, when I saw them in November at Auntie Annie’s, they were tremendous.

Tonight’s gig is presented by the Two Step organisation and also features Fighting With Wire plus contenders A Plastic Rose. I will be the old guy with the earplugs and I trust, a happy face.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Eeee Emmm Ayeee!

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 15 Jan 08, 09:12 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgBack in 1999 I was making a documentary on the British music industry on behalf of the Foreign Office. Over the space of six months, we made repeated visits to the EMI building to watch the UK’s most prestigious record company in action.

emi.gifThe Brook Green offices were lined with memorabilia from The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Queen, Pink Floyd and the Pet Shop Boys. We met with the top executives who talked us through the company stories, how people with good ears and stubborn characters had made the place resound. Acts such as Kate Bush and Radiohead had been nurtured over long periods of time, allowing them to become artists in a deluge of commodity.

We watched the label prepare Jamelia in the same way, taking her from a fairly liberal development deal to a sustained sell. She seemed happy with her position and surrounded by fairly decent people. And we heard how Robbie Williams had been carried over the dark years of cocaine, paranoia and the delusion that he was the equal of Liam Gallagher. Fascinating stuff.

We even broached the story of how EMI had ditched the Sex Pistols, nervous that the band’s infamy would have dented the great institution. The Pistols took their revenge by wiring a nasty tune called ‘EMI’ while the company seemed to have missed out on a cultural moment.

Today, EMI bosses are expected to announce as many as 2 000 job cuts. The papers have been full of speculation and stories about the apparent dissatisfaction of artists on the roster. Other record companies have been suffering too, as the digital age has thrown their authority into doubt.

The old days are essentially gone, but I trust that the creative engine that is UK music will continue to throb. The alternative is just about unthinkable.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Nice Day For A Scouse Wedding

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 14 Jan 08, 10:49 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgLast night I watched coverage of Ringo Starr in his hometown, bashing out ‘A Little Help From My Friends’. Most of the Brookside cast joined in on the chorus, the famous Ringo voice was mostly in tune and Liverpool was officially the European Capital of Culture.

liverpool.jpgThe run-up to the launch may have been tense and the image of the “Scouse wedding” gave some idea of the politics involved. But for one night at least, the city looked like a unified, positive location, even if the pay-off was letting Dave Stewart on stage.

ringo4.gifI’m also rather found of Ringo’s new single, ‘Liverpool 8’, which traces the Starr history, from maritime adventures to Rory Storm And The Hurricanes, Butlins and the The Beatles. The narrative spins off to Hamburg and Shea Stadium and leaves us with a lusty chorus and much sentimentality.

So how would things have evolved if Belfast had won the culture bid? With the greatest of respect, I don’t think it would have been adequate. The city is definitely on its uppers and the horizon looks increasingly cool. But the pressures of putting on a massive display may have caused actual harm to our prospects.

Remember, Belfast didn’t even make the shortlist. That was the moment when the cute consensus was trashed. True, there had been a kind of peace, and a sliver of political agreement. But the city’s amenities were basic, the arts infrastructure was strained and there was little investment in culture. Being rejected so flatly was an important moment, and from that time on, the rebuild has been modest but sincere. Some day, we may have our recognition before all of Europe, but the real pay-off is more culture for our citizens, better art on show and the occasional sight of a tourist, miles away from a bad mural.

So while Liverpool currently has its moment, Belfast is getting better, all the time.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

All Pop, No Fizz

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 10 Jan 08, 10:12 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThe value of great pop music is that it transcends the music industry, the sneering critic and the envious classical bod. A three minute song that registers in your soul and excites your intellect is rare. And I’m not sure how many examples were in last night’s BBC Four programme. ‘How Pop Songs Work’.

charleshazlewood.jpgThe presenter Charles Hazlewood seems like a decent enough chap, with his orchestral credentials and blokish demeanour. I just get nervous of those people rummaging around in our territory, and making glib comparisons between The Beatles and Schubert. In the past, we’ve been patronised by tweed-wearing academics who will blether for money about Doric modes and Georgic interludes. They don’t rate the music, but they think they can explain the forensics of structure and style. Yes, but does it rock your heart?

The best lesson I ever got about pop music was when a girl sang me the Hot Chocolate song, ‘You Win Again’. She made it sound like the most powerful statement in the universe. A few days later, and I was in a disco when her burly ex-boyfriend broke down in tears. The DJ was playing that song. And the boyfriend had lost, again. Take it away, Errol Brown...

amywinehouse.jpgAnyway, Charles Hazlewood played a bit of Abba and made the case for Amy Winehouse. He wibbled about the Arctic Monkeys and connected Jamie T to the operatic tradition. Sorry, but I wasn’t buying this, and additional quotes from the grinning Professor Of Pop just seemed silly. Also, anyone who compares that buffoon Wyclef Jean to Bob Marley just isn’t listening properly.

And I’ll not be lectured to about ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The song stinks. Forever. I’m thinking instead about the Molière play, The Bourgeois Gentleman, when the central character is royally confused by the academics with their posturing and arcane references.

A Hot Chocolate tune is the better investment.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Astral Weeks, Wondrous Days

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 7 Jan 08, 10:50 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgOn Saturday night I watched Duke Special with 23 members of the Inishowen Gospel Choir, with harp and keyboards, xylophone and sundry folk blowing notes across bottlenecks, jug-band style. The song in question was Ballerina by Van Morrison and the aim was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the album Astral Weeks.

dukeastral3.jpgAs hoped, the Duke was in imperial form. He located the pain in the song, letting us know that the dancer can barely deliver the gig. But he also found the deliverance, the idea that great art can rise above commonplace problems. A pivotal lyric, "the show must go on", becomes the theme for the evening, as short-term difficulties are fixed and a genuine sense of wonder is despatched from the stage.

Eight different acts have accepted the challenge of taking a track from the Morrison classic. Brian Houston had opened with ˜Astral Weeks itself, inviting us into the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dreams. Cara Robinson had teased out the soul-jazz dimension of Beside You'™ while Brendan and Declan from The 4 Of Us were wowing over Sweet Thing'™.

At very short notice, Matt McGinn walked in and played Cyprus Avenue'™. We were transfixed by the vision, with the leaves falling one by one and the girl radiant with the rainbow ribbons in her hair. Between songs I was sketching out the history of the record, celebrating the references to Belfast and the amazing cultural confidence that had led a 23 year old artist to write this colossal work.

ursula.jpgThe Winding Stair
seemed at ease with ˜The Way Young Lovers Do™, and those odd time signatures were smartly accomplished. Perhaps the most daunting gig of the night was ˜Madame George, that whirling homage to a figure that plays dominoes in drag. It was Ursula Burns who had accepted the mission and she sat with her harp and realised that child-like vision. Perfect. Finally, it was time for Tom McShane and the fragile adieu of ˜Slim Slow Slider'™.

˜Astral Weeks Revisited™ was a collaboration between the Out To Lunch festival and the Oh Yeah project. There's a gallery of images by Phil O' Kane here. It was an education to hear the different acts responding to the music in their individual ways. It was a pleasure to see the audience so lit up by the idea. And if you don'™t own Astral Weeks by now, you really ought to catch up.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

And The Winners Are...

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 21 Dec 07, 09:31 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgOn tonight's Late Show at 10pm, I'll be playing my fave tracks from 2007. This has become an annual event, and I do enjoy the chance to load up a two hour programme with all the choice moments.

johnpeel.jpgIt's probably a throwback to John Peel and his Festive 50, which was a national event for some of us. Myself and my mates would debate the relative standings of Joy Division, The Undertones, The Clash and The Specials. For years, Stiff Little Fingers were a feature, eventually giving way to the Wedding Present, PJ Harvey and the Mary Chain. Happily, all the Festive 50 polls are on the John Peel microsite, providing a snapsot of alternative music as it occurred.

Here are my top records of 2007.


ALBUMS

1. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
2. Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight
3. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
4. Robert Plant, Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
5. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
6. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedela
7. The Undertones – Dig Yourself Deep
8. Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights
9. Bruce Springsteen – Magic
10. Foy Vance – Hope
11. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
12. The Good The Bad & The Queen – The Good The Bad & The Queen
13. MIA – Kala
14. Radiohead – In Rainbows
15. Laura Viers –Icebreakers
16. Cathy Davey – Tales Of Silversleeve
17. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew – Spirit If
18. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
19. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
20. Ry Cooder – My Name Is Buddy

SINGLES

1.Modest Mouse – Dashboard
2. Arcade Fire – Keep The Car Running
3. Soul Savers – Revival
4. Amiina, Lee Hazlewod – Hilli
5. Duffy – Rockferry
6. Candie Payne – I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
7. Bruce Springsteen – Radio Nowhere
8. Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Door
9. Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse – Valerie
10. The Good The Bad And The Queen – Green Fields
11.The View – Same Jeans
12. Manic Street Preachers –Your Love Is Not Enough
13. The Hold Steady – Chips Ahoy
14. Andrew Bird – Heretics
15. Tuung – Bullets
16. Feist - 1234
16. Josh Ritter – Right Moves
17. MIA – Jimmy
18. Peter Bjorn And John – Young Folks
19. Ian Brown – Illegal Attacks
20. The Shins – Australia


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

A Fair Intake Of Ale In New York

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 18 Dec 07, 07:04 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgHere’s a few shots of myself and Shane MacGowan in New York, November 1987. We’d been drinking saki in a Japanese restaurant, we’d swapped hats and for some reason Shane started spoon-feeding me ice cream.

shane6.jpgThe Pogues had just finished making the video for ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’. I was bewitched by the song and delighted to be in Manhattan to see the band play live at The Ritz. Since guitarist Phil Chevron was ill with a stomach ulcer, they’d flown in Joe Strummer to deputize. So as a bonus I watched them play ‘I Fought The Law’, London Calling’ and an encore of ‘Maggie May’. Nearby I could see The Beastie Boys, Jim Jarmusch and Matt Dillon. Everybody was smiling.

shane4.jpgFor the most part, Shane was decent company, keeping his distance behind that woozy persona. But if you said something he disagreed with, he’d immediately snap into focus, revealing a vast musical knowledge and a reserve of moral indignation. No fool, that guy.

Loads of saki was consumed on our night off. The restaurant bill was equally expansive, and the guy from the record company was outraged. “You’ve just blown the entire earnings from ‘Fairytale’!” he spluttered. An exaggeration, I reckon, but hey, it was well spent.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Reasons To Believe

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 17 Dec 07, 12:25 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgBruce was in imperial form last Saturday in Belfast. Smiling, rocking and enthusing. He’s played much longer gigs, but this was sweetly paced and emotionally right. He said he liked our ferris wheel, he took us into the darklands of American foreign policy and the hits kept dropping with reliable joy.

e-street-radio.jpg
The E Street Band was all in black and lined up like an identify parade. Each took a chance to solo and we bellowed for Clarence Clemons, blowing his sax like no other pensioner. Little Steven was gurning and leaning into Bruce’s mic like the best of pals. Nils Lofgren played lead on ‘Because The Night’, a moment to leave you transfixed and tearful. Next thing they’re all wheeling into ‘She’s The One’ and then ‘Promised Land’, which ends on a coda of the Curtis Mayfield tune, ‘People Get Ready’.

The ‘political’ section of the night is well-judged. Flashes of New York, Baghdad and the rubbish experiences of GI Joe. For the encore he revives ‘Kitty’s Back’ from that first album, and we feel honoured. A cowboy hat with Xmas trimming is fetched up for ‘Santa Clause Is Comin’ To Town’ and we go hoarse with the sentiment of it all.

Here’s the playlist:

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Magic
Reason to Believe
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land / People Get Ready
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The River
I'll Work for Your Love
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Badlands

(Encore)

Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Kitty's Back
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

It's Gonna Happen

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 14 Dec 07, 11:23 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgIt’s not the biggest comeback story in the world, but I’m rather excited to hear about the return of That Petrol Emotion. They’re playing some dates in March, including a show at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

thatpetrolemotion.jpgAs you probably know, the band was formed by John and Damian O’ Neill after The Undertones had finished. Steve Mack from Seattle sang and leaped around while fine players such as Raymond and Ciaran also served. Lovers of Ulster rock should at least be familiar with ‘Big Decision’, ‘Sensitize’, ‘It’s A Good Thing’ and ‘Natural Kind Of Joy’. Between this and the looming return of My Bloody Valentine, it's like 1988 all over again.

Meantime, have you heard the story about Led Zep playing Ormeau Park, Belfast in 2008? See the ATL site for more.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Bruce on The Loose

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 12 Dec 07, 09:21 AM

Stuart Bailie.jpgThankfully Led Zeppelin mania has abated. It was quite alarming to hear so many Radio 2 presenters pledging their allegiance to the Zep, even though their normal playlists would suggest a more sedate record collection. At least Terry Wogan had the strength of mind to ridicule this mass delusion. At heart, they are mostly Abba fans.

springsteen.jpgSo let’s get revved up for the return of Bruce Springsteen to the Odyssey arena, Belfast. When he played there with the Seeger Sessions Band, the mood was exultant. His new album ‘Magic’ rocks with the E Street Band and is steered by the author’s conscience. Expect many references to war in the Middle East. But the guys are also doing ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ in the set. Bonus!

Don’t forget, this Friday at 10pm will find my Radio Ulster show delivering the A-Z of Springsteen, from ‘Atlantic City’ to Steve Van Zandt. There are some playlist ideas here. We’re still welcoming your suggestions and requests, so please participate.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

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