Archives for September 2011

Playlist 26.09.11

Stuart Bailie | 13:04 UK time, Friday, 30 September 2011

Katharine Philippa comes from Portadown, I believe, but her art derives from some other intense sphere. She specialises in rapture, quietly expressed, with keyboard and strings and songs that take a while to catch fire. I'm not sure there's a music analogue to this. She seems more in tune with metaphysical poets like George Herbert or maybe Emily Dickinson. I guess you might find a parallel drift with Joanna Newsome or Regina Spector. Out of time, not conventional, entrancing. Has she heard Judee Still yet? If not, that should be quite a combination. Katharine is playing Auntie Annie's, Belfast on October 3.

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Mondays, ten - midnight

Lou Reed - I Love You Suzanne (RCA)
The Jayhawks - Hide Your Colours (Rounder)
Beirut - A Candle's Fire (Pompeii)
Wonder Villains - Zola (No Dancing)
Nellie Lutcher - He's A Real Gone Guy (Signature)
Josh Rouse - Diggin' In The Sand (Bedroom Classics)
Nick Lowe - You Don't Know Me At All (Proper)
The Youngbloods - Sugar Babe (BBC)
Wilco - Dawned On Me (dBpm)
Katharine Philippa - Fallen (white)
REM - Talk About The Passion (IRS)
Tiny Ruins - Pigeon Knows (Spnk)

The Divine Comedy - Tonight We Fly (Setanta)
Cashier No. 9 - Oh Pity (Bella Union)
Wilco - Born Alone (dBpm)
Steve Forbert - Romeo's Tune (BBC)
Kurt Vile - So Outta Reach (Matador)
Josh Rouse - Movin' On (Bedroom Classics)
REM - At My Most Beautiful (Warner)
Joe Henry - Odetta (Anti)
Jayhawks - Pouring Rain At Dawn (Rounder)
Beth Orton - Sweetest Decline (Heavenly)
Marcus Foster - I Was Broken (Polydor)
Wilco - Sunloathe (dBpm)
Nick Lowe - Til The Real Thing Comes Along (Proper)
Phil Odgers - The Parting Glass (Vinyl Star)

Remember Them This Way

Stuart Bailie | 15:50 UK time, Monday, 26 September 2011

March 15, 1991, and I'm in the very intimate confines of the Borderline club in London, watching a combo called Bingo Hand Job. The band members are Raoul, Spanish Charlie, The Doc, Ophelia, Violet, Conrad and Stinky. But actually, they are Michael Stipe and the rest of the REM combo, plus friends like Billy Bragg, Robyn Hitchcock and Peter Holsapple.

There's quite a sense of occasion. Prior to this, the band had toured for a couple of years with 'Green', but with the appearance of 'Out Of Time', there's no rush to repeat the experience. Instead, they will play a few 'surprise' gigs like this one. Hence the frenzy for tickets outside, the desperate US college kids on Charing Cross Road and the silly prices on offer.

What we get are bijou performances of 'Half A World Away', 'Radio Song', 'Losing My Religion' and some errant cover versions like 'Love Is All Around' and 'Tom's Diner'. Michael is quietly transfixed. A few fans are weeping. It's quite a good one.

I wasn't so moved when I heard that REM had quit. The sense of empathy has long gone, and I'd be pushed to hum a recent song. However, I'm still intending to play a song or two on the show tonight for sentimental reasons. If you feel that way also, please send in a request.

Culture Club, 2011

Stuart Bailie | 15:45 UK time, Monday, 26 September 2011

Welcome to Donegal Street Belfast, home of St, Anne's Cathedral, the John Hewitt pub, luxury apartments and the new kebab shop. And tonight for the third annual Culture Night, the drag is busy with visitors and old-timers, all looking for a signature event.

They find it aboard an open top bus, which has been commandeered by the anointed Lord Mayor of the festival, Terri Hooley. His entourage is with him and they're waving down at their subjects, pouring out of the Duke Of York, waving from the hotel windows and sauntering past the old Assembly Rooms.

Behind the bus, there's a parade float, decked out in a loose representation of the shipyard cranes. Katy Richardson, the Wonder Villains and various game musicians are up there, playing charming versions of 'Alternative Ulster' and 'Girl From Mars'. The weather has been understanding and the crowds have responded to the throwdown. This is fun.

We're not always good at street events in this city, but it's only right that the Parades Commission has allowed this one to pass. No-one is offended, the mood is tolerant and happy and the streets belong to the artists, the artisans, the people. Pity it's not always thus.

Playlist 19.09.11

Stuart Bailie | 09:05 UK time, Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Not too many popular recording acts are writing songs about the prophet Isaiah and his purification with a burning coal on the lips, applied by the Seraphim. But hey, we've got Pete McAuley, central mover in Rams Pocket Radio, an act that's in full creative array, lashing out memorable songs and author of some intriguing ones, like 'Coal My Lips Are Sealed'. If he is quoting from the Old Testament, then it puts him in a similar sphere to U2 and Nick Cave, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. We're speculated before how much of an influence that the old text is on local acts like Duke Special, Foy Vance, Burning Codes, Iain Archer and others, arguably even Snow Patrol and 'Run'. All permissible, natch, so long as the music passes muster.

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Mondays, ten - midnight

Lee Dorsey, Betty Harris - Love Lots Of Lovin (Soul Jazz)
The Gourds - I Want It So Bad (Vanguard)
Rams Pocket Radio - Coal My Lips Are Sealed (Reel To Reel)
Paul Simon - So Beautiful Or So What (Universal)
Laura Marling - All My Rage (Virgin)
Margie Joseph - Stop In The Name Of Love (Stax)
The Horrible Crowes - Sugar (Side One Dummy)
Gene - Olympian (Costermonger)
Naomi Bedford - Railroad Bill (Dusty Willow)
Elvis Presley - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Sun)
Jono McCleery - Fears (Counter)

Tom Petty - I Need To Know (MCA)
Peter Delaney - Pariah Chimes (Deadslack Strings)
Manic Street Preachers - This Is The Day (Sony)
Mariachi El Bronx - Norteno Lights (Wichita)
Maria Carlisle - Weird Girl (Ancient and Modern)
Paul Simon - Rewrite (Universal)
Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate - Doudou (World Circuit)
The Gourds - Ink And Grief (Vanguard)
Gabe Dixon - Running On Fumes (Fantasy)
Laura Marling - Don't Ask Me (Virgin)
John Martyn - Can't Turn Back The Years (Virgin)
Nathaniel Rateliffe - Happy Just To Be (Rounder)
The Delgados - If This Is A Plan (Mantra)
The Waterboys - The Faery's Last Song (Puck)

The Fear Factor

Stuart Bailie | 09:06 UK time, Monday, 19 September 2011

Were you scared by Dr Who and its most recent episode, The God Complex? That was surely the intention as the action was amped up around a cosmic minotaur, a shape-shifting hotel, rooms full of latent anxieties, clowns, dummies and even a bellowing gorilla. But for all of the frenzy and the seeming allusions to The Shining, Dead Of Night and 1984, there was barely a particle of terror.

Great mythology aims for the archetypal blast and the uttermost fear. The God Complex was merely busy. But it did prompt me to recall the programmes that did it for me as a child.

Many people of my generation will shake an involuntary spasm at the mention of The Singing Ringing Tree, a vicious East German production with a surplus of expressionist energy. Others will cite The Owl Service, The Changes or Children Of The Stones. All were alarming in their time. But they were surely not so weird or so affecting as Escape Into Night.

This ran over six episodes in early 1972. It was about a sick girl called Marianne who would make drawings of some macabre reality. There were stones, each with an enormous eye. They were encroaching on the girl's space, surrounding the house. There was a boy, drafted in to share the fear, plus boarded up windows and a deal of lucid dreaming. The soundtrack was oppressive. Juvenile heads were melted.

After the tradition of the day, the tapes were apparently erased. Still, I hear there's a black and white version out there, and occasional dollops of information on the web. I'm not sure I want to measure those old tapes against the infernal version in my head, which resonates, still.

Pete Was Here

Stuart Bailie | 18:14 UK time, Friday, 16 September 2011

I'm doing the day job when there's a noisy altercation outside the office. Terri Hooley has entered, with a film crew, a bottle of red wine and a tall gentleman who reveals himself as Pete Doherty, sometime Libertine, partner of Kate Moss and stand-alone troubadour. He's as tall as I'd suspected and seems to be in awe of the Belfast record shop boss.

Sorry if most of my blogs seem to have a Hooley reference these days - I seem to be the James Boswell to his Samuel Johnson. But there's a crazy amount of energy about the guy, as his life is filmed and he seems intent of carving out a few more chapters before the year is out.

I show Pete around the Belfast Music Exhibition and he's very taken by Mickey Bradley's Undertones jacket. He wants it. He also offers to play a gig in the venue some time. Then I show him the Strummerville rooms upstairs and he's rightly excited to see the reproductions of Joe's old notebooks.

Pete talks about his childhood days in Lisburn (dad was in the army and stationed here). There are some conversations that I can't report and then a bedraggled story about a night in a hotel corridor in Germany with Amy Winehouse, a pool of urine and some rather angry Berliners.
Then the entourage is off, headed for friends in the Commercial Court area. There are gigs tonight, filming assignations and expectant fans. We hope they will not be disappointed.

Playlist 12.09.11

Stuart Bailie | 09:40 UK time, Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Nick Lowe doesn't do bad records these days. 'The Convincer' in 2001 delivered the new tone: low-key but emotionally acute, a little bit funny and a tremendous deal of country-soul. That was seconded by 'At My Age' in 2007 and now we have 'The Old Magic'. The words are spare, the phrasing is deadly while the 62 year old author flits from regret and botheration to moments of unscripted joy.

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Mondays, ten - midnight

The Housemartins - Happy Hour (Go Discs)
The Horrible Crowes - I Witnessed A Crime (Side One Dummy)
The Marvels - Rocksteady (Soul Jazz)
The Horrors - I Can See Through You (XL)
The Lost Brothers - City Of The Rose (live at Electric Picnic)
St Vincent - Year Of The Tiger (4AD)
Nick Lowe - Somebody Cares For Me (Proper)
Junip - Rope & Summit (City Slang)
Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois - An Ending (Ascent) (EG)
Feist - How Come You Never Go There (Polydor)
Strange Boys - Me And You (Rough Trade)
Marsalis, Clapton - Ice Cream (Reprise)

Leonard Cohen - Dance With Me To The End Of Love (Columbia)
The Horrible Crowes - Last Rites (Side One Dummy)
The Vals, Henry McCullough - Look To The One (white)
Josh T Pearson - Sorry With A Song (Mute)
St Vincent - Champagne Year (4AD)
Ben Glover - I Am With You (white)
Glen Campbell - Hold On Hope (Surfdog)
The Lost Brothers - Turquoise (live at Electric Picnic)
Ani DiFranco - Freight Train (Preservation Hall)
Marsalis, Clapton - Joilet Bound (Reprise)
JT Nero - Gallup, NM (Dishrag)
Nick Lowe - Stoplight Roses (Proper)
Tiny Ruins - Old As The Hills ()
Timariwen - Imidiwan Win Sahara (V2)
Morgan O' Kane - Hold Your Fire (white)

Tales From The Tavern

Stuart Bailie | 09:43 UK time, Monday, 12 September 2011

Richard Dormer is smoking Majesty cigarettes and wetting his throat with tremendous gulps of Picard 25. Between the brandy and the smokes there are shakes of the head plus theatrical snorts and tics that are funny and familiar. Dormer, you see, is now in character. He's got the long black coat with the CND badge, the impudent beard and the roving eye. He is Terri Hooley, record label boss, punk chancer and full-on fabulist of Belfast city.

Filming has started on the Good Vibrations movie and so we are in a bar on Union Street called The Tavern. Outside the main door is a functioning cage, a reminder of the bad old Seventies when bars were routinely blown up and paranoia was a regular state of mind. The upstairs room has the vintage funk of another decade and this is where Dormer has settled, amid the bottles of India Pale Ale, the Formica tables and the lumpen ashtrays.

His job this afternoon is to be Hooley, the bringer of tales. To get the Terri look even better, he has reversed the prosthetic lens that creates the effect of his character's glass eye. Now it looks a bit wonky. Like the man himself, on a brandy mission.

Richard/Terri will make himself at ease in the bar and will offload a series of his most requested stories. It's been many years since the narratives parted company with historical accuracy, but truth is often a servant to Hooley's desire to entertain. And so the guy will sit down with a female reporter and remember how it was when he met John Lennon in London and ended up throwing punches at the legend. Apparently there was an argument about guns at a Highbury garage and Terri was aggrieved.

The reporter is nodding but looks confused. A fellow drinker is glassy-eyed, oblivious. Likewise with the barman who has heard all of the embellishments before. And so the action moves across the room, to a robust customer on the Hot Dog fruit machine. He also dismisses the stories, determined to feed in the coins and batter the hold buttons.

Kind reader, this is myself, in my debut film role. If have endured and often ignored Terri's stories for over 30 years, and so I am most qualified for the cameo part. The film's wardrobe people have dressed me like a stevedore from On The Waterfront. Either that or a Village People rendition of a shipyard worker. I am hot and itching with the surplus of man-made fibres. But still delighted to be here.

Between takes, Dormer makes up a series of his own stories, jazz-style. Give him a famous name and he'll spin it into a Hooley yarn. "It's all a bit heightened," he remarks with a smile. Indeed so. We might be in a Belfast sink-hole around 1979, but equally it's like the Boar's Head in Eastcheap a few centuries back, when Falstaff was talking about a humiliating robbery, changing the details, revising and reworking the event into some gleaming and gallant action.

Therefore the glasses are filled, the characters reconvene and it all starts rolling again.

Playlist 05.09.11

Stuart Bailie | 15:05 UK time, Wednesday, 7 September 2011

There's no law that says every Paul Simon record should be great. Every the artist himself might admit that he's put out a few lesser efforts. Certainly, few fans got into a lather over 'Songs From The Capeman' and on other occasions he's been out of synch with the people.

Still, many good songs. I liked his slightly barmy adventures with Brian Eno on 'Surprise' and his recent album, 'So Beautiful Or So What' is gently compelling. You all know that he writes well about the minor distress of adult life. But the new songs are also about the little illuminations out there. He lifts you, he sings like he really cares and he can muster an inventive groove more often than not.

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Mondays, ten - midnight

Aretha Franklin - The House That Jack Built (Atco)
Gabe Dixon - Strike (Fantasy)
Yuck - The Wall (Fat Possum)
William Burroughs - musical tribute
Piney Gir - Oh Lies (Damaged Goods)
Mr Heavenly - I Am A Hologram (Sub Pop)
Paul Simon - Dazzling Blue (Universal)
Paul Thomas Saunders - Appointment In Samara (RT60)
Booker T Jones - Progress (Anti)
Crystal Fighters - Champion Sound (Zirkulo)
Elvis Costello - There's A Story In Your Voice (Lost Highway)
Slow Club - Horses Jumping (Moshi Moshi)
The Answer - Vida (Spinefarm)

Nick Cave - Nobody's Baby Now (Mute)
Gabe Dixon - My Favourite (Fantasy)
Blue Flint - Take Your Shoes Off (JRR)
Willie Nelson - Graceland (Columbia)
Paul Simon - Questions For The Angels (Universal)
Lucy Wainwright Roche - American Tune (Strike Back)
Emmy The Great - Iris (Close Harbour)
Tom Rush - Shadow Dream Song (Elektra)
Don Gallando - Wichita (First Floor Story)
Love Inks - Rock On (City Slang)
The Waterboys - Politics (Puck)
Shelby Lynne - Revelation Rd (Everso)
Ciaran Lavery - Until You're Leaving (white)
Paul Simon - Love And Blessings (Universal)
Linley Hamilton - Have A Good Time (Lyte)

I'll Be Your Mayor

Stuart Bailie | 09:36 UK time, Friday, 2 September 2011

Terri Hooley

So Terri Hooley is now the elected Mayor of the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast. His function is to lead a parade back and forward along Donegall Street during Culture Night on September 23. The Parades Commission have been notified and with a cute bit of programming, the quarter will be pedestrianised for the evening. The friends of Hooley put up some spirited campaigning, warning Facebook users that Terri would be unbearable if he lost. My feeling is that he'll be hard to contain anyway. But he was in good form at the inauguration, borrowing the chain of office from the real Mayor of Belfast and promising that he won't kiss too many babies during his term of office. 'I'll kiss plenty of women though," he declared.

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