Excellent runnings on the Friday show, including a Danish act called The Choir Of Young Believers plus some tunes from Klaus Voormann, who lucked it as a bohemian teenager in Hamburg, watching the Beatles tear up the Reeperbahn and then following that energy trail with gusto.
He designed the album sleeve for 'Revolver', played bass on the post Beatles solo work and had musical fun with Clapton, Manfred Mann and Harry Nilsson. How he's put together a fun little album called 'A Sideman's Journey', that calls in the favours and rocks in some useful places.
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight
The Marvelettes - He's A Good Guy Yes He Is (Motown)
Slow Club - Trophy Room (Moshi Moshi)
Kate Walsh - Trying (Blueberry Pie)
Dot Allison, Paul Weller - Love's Got Me Crazy (Absolute)
The Magic Numbers- Forever Lost (Heavenly)
The Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone (Domino)
Microdisney - Town To Town (Virgin)
Klaus Voorman, Bonnie Bramlett - So Far (Universal)
The Choir Of Young Believers - Next Summer (Chess Club)
Ian Brown - Stellify (Polydor)
Guitar Slim - The Things I Used To Do (Ace)
Cherbourg - No More Flowers (white)
Klaus Voorman, Dr John - Such A Night (Universal)
Fever Ray - Seven (Rabid)
New Radicals - You Get What You Give (MCA)
Rebirth Brass - Band I've Found A New Baby (Special Delivery)
The Lowly Knights - Weight On My Mind (ATL session)
Kate Walsh - Be Mine (Blueberry Pie)
Brian Houston - Glory Glory (BHS)
Sam Cook - Don't Get Around Much Anymore (RCA)
Arctic Monkeys - The Jewellers Hands (Domino)
Klaus Voorman, Paul McCartney - I'm In Love Again (Universal)
Pocket Promise - Clocks And Calendars (Stop:Go)
Jon Allen -Down By The River (Monologue)
Dot Allison - While She Sleeps (Absolute)
And So I Watch You From Afar - Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate (Small Town America)
It was Pamela Hunter's funeral today in Limavady. Half the town seemed to be there at the church, plus friends from London and Dublin. There were poets, artists and photographers, friends from festivals and record companies, disbelieving family members and old folk, shaking their heads.
She was 46 years old and she had come down with a brain aneurysm on holiday in Kerry last week. For the service, her partner John had written a poem about her that stressed her energy, her enthusiam and love for the arts plus her forgiving nature. These qualities had taken her to Dublin while punk rock was mutating into another new thing. She then established herself at Island Records in London where she commissioned photo sessions, album sleeves and videos. After some illness, she returned home where she reconnected with John, a childhood friend, and the script seemed to be essentially happy.
She worked hard on Imagine Belfast, fixed up international fashion shoots and lots of other projects. I was involved in a few exhibitions with her and she was a powerful force - strong on details and so demanding when it was rightly required. I think we had all assumed that there would many more occasions like this. Our hearts are sore when we realise that it can no longer happen.
Marlon Brando wore them in The Wild One and James Dean provided an endorsement in Rebel Without A Cause. They've been modelled by everyone from Joe Strummer and Sharlene Spiteri to Tom Waits, Springsteen and er, The Fonz. The engineer boot, y'see is a design classic, a well-fashioned piece of workwear that has vigour, practiciality and an insouciant regard to the pipe and slippers tendency.
They say the style was birthed in the late 1930s and sold by companies like Chippewa in Wisconsin and Wesco in Oregon. Collectors will rave about the gradual evolution of the boot, with the rivets, the arrow stitching, the leather welts and metal shanks. A steel toe cap is a must, and never a square one. Vibram soles are acceptable and vintage raspberry tops will cost you plenty, pal.
Back in the day, they were popular with land surveyors, but the post war set went booting around in their Harleys. Somewhere in my cassette archives, there's a song by Westworld (remember 'Sonic Boom Boy'?) that praises the iconic value of said footwear. I believe it's simply called 'Steel Toed Engineer Boots'. And why not?
I had a pair of pretend engineer boots for a while, and I always felt like a bit of an imposter. Now I've just taken custody of a proper pair, sourced online and properly heavy and functional. I may never ride a V Twin and there's not much rebellion left in the old bones, but I do like those boots.
The Jim Dickinson tribute went better than I had hoped - a full hour of music after 11pm, uniquely touched by the Memphis maestro. I'm still amazed by the online audience in that I provide breakfast listening in New Zealand and afternoons on another day in America. I love those e-mails and it seems that this particular broadcast struck a note. We're off the playlists and deeply into the music. Sure is gratifying.
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight
Elvis Presley - Rags To Riches (RCA)
Pete Molinari - Today Tomorrow And Forever (Damaged Goods)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Don't Be Cruel (Sun)
Chuck Prophet - American Man (cv)
Tom Petty - American Girl (MCA)
The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin (Bella Union)
Colenso Parade - Not For Diamonds (white)
Martin Belmont, Graham Parker - In The Midnight Hour (Gold Top)
Deadstring Brothers - Sao Paolo (Bloodshot)
Julie Feeney - Impossibly Beautiful (Mittens)
Temper Trap - Down River (Infectious)
Tinariwen - Lulla (Independiente)
The Duckworth Lewis Method - Meeting Mr Miandad (1969)
J Tillman - Year In The Kingdom (Bella Union)
Billy Preston - Slaughter (Warner)
Second hour - tribute to Jim Dickinson
The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
The Replacements - Skyway (Reprise)
Jim Dickinson - The Strength of Love (Sepia Tone)
Aretha Franklin - Don't Play That Song (Atlantic)
Amy LaVere - Tennessee Valentine (Archer)
Ry Cooder - Across The Borderline (Warner)
Big Star - Thank You Friends (Ryko)
Jason And The Scorchers - Absolutely Sweet Marie (Polygram)
Jim Dickinson - Bound To Lose (Artemis)
Bob Dylan - Dirt Road Blues (Columbia)
Primal Scream - Stone My Soul (Creation)
Texas Tornados - The One I Love The Most (Reprise)
North Mississippi All Stars - Po Black Maddie (WEA)
Jim Dickinson - O How She Dances (Sepia Tone)
Are you completely mad? At a time when advertising revenue is plummeting, circulation is busted and the kids apparently don't care, there are a few bold characters who still care enough to trouble the magazine racks. I first met James Brown when he was a gobby fanzine writer, before his rise into the NME and then his phemonenal launch of Loaded and the generational splurge that nearly cost him his sanity. There's a book about the era, written by Tim Southwell that captures some of the infernal tilt of it all.
James has been keeping the head down of late, but now it seems that he's ready to get busy again. You can read about it here.
Meantime Everett True, aka The Legend! is another fanzine graduate with form behind him. He was my editor for a while at Vox, and you can read some of his musings about corporate publishing over here.
There's even more soul searching over at Drowned In Sound, where a clatter of writers are agonising over a trade that seems in exceptionally poor health. I wouldn't bet too heavily on its survival, but I do like the distinction between music writer and critic. I'll party with the former every time.
My old friend Gill Smith passed away earlier this year. I first met her at Record Mirror in 1985, where she was funny, loud and expressly alive. Everyone liked her, even Morrissey, who renamed her Nancy Culp after a character in the Beverly Hillbillies. She was an amusing gossip columnist, who used to get her sharpest stories from hairdressers to the stars. I also remember her swishing a riding crop around the office to discipline writers with errant deadlines. And in certain parts of the London demi-monde, herself and her pal Bev were saluted as the Rubber Goddesses.
Gill later moved to the NME and the laughter continued for a few years, before we all grew out of that caper. And for the last six months or so, I followed her fighting decline though the medium of Facebook.
Last week, there was a celebration of her life, with many old friends gathering in the West End of London. Hilarious photos were fetched out, old stories resurfaced and for a short time, we recaptured the essence of another time. Many of the characters are still doing well. Roger Morton is now managing Razorlight and Janis Long is still loving her music on the radio. Others are managing decently in TV production and publishing. But I think we all concluded that the current era is less frivolous and lacking in some essential zest. Gill got the best of it.
Back in 1991, Primal Scream were making excited noises about some upcoming sessions in Memphis with Jim Dickinson. I was vaguely aware of the name and the connection with Alex Chilton and Big Star. Jim's pedigree also involved the Rolling Stones, The Replacements, Aretha Franklin and even the legendary Sun record label.
As ever, the Scream Team were wise to an intense force in rock and roll, and in time a couple of Jim's own albums, 'Dixie Fried' and 'Free Beer Tomorrow' became valued items in my music collection. More recently, he worked with Amy Lavere, who also knew that he was one of the true keepers. Sadly Jim died on Saturday after some problems with his heart. You'll read some fond obituaries in the coming days, and all of them will confirm that he was pure rock and roll and that he was wise to the mysterious, magnificent pulse of Memphis.
Musical satisfaction on the Friday show. The new album by The Very Best is all heart and plenty of adventure. David Joseph was something I fetched ut of the back of the cupboard at home and it is proper, squelchy '80s soul. It reminds me of Sam's in Bangor, circa 1983. Dawn Landes is sounding good and the new recrd deserves a bit more attention.
I celebrate my tenth anniversary on the Friday slot in two weeks. Any tunes and stuff I should do to mark the occasion?
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight
Lou Anne Barton, Marcia Ball, Angela Strehill - Good Rocking Daddy (retroworl)
Mick DeVille - Spanish Stroll (EMI)
Cosmo Jarvis - She's Got You (Wall of Sound)
Lavelle White - Soul Deep (retroworl)
The Clash - Lost In The Supermarket (CBS)
The Very Best - Mfumu (Moschi Moschi)
David Joseph - You Can't Hide Your Love (Island)
Don't Move - Love Her Dearly (Tin Angel)
Lisa Hannigan - I Don't Know (lisahannigan)
Cat Malojian - Made In America (Bad Paw)
Joe Henry - Progress Of Love (Anti)
Nick Drake - Fly (Island)
Stone Roses - This Is The One (Silvertone)
Dion - Baby Let's Stick Together (Ace)
Kate Walsh - June Last Year (Blueberry Pie)
Graham Parker - Silly Thing (Mercury)
The Very Best - Rain Dance (Moschi Moschi)
Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl (NPG)
The Whispertown 2000 - Done With Love (Acony)
Thomas Truax - In Dreams (SL)
Little Dragon - Feather (Peacefrog)
Duke Special - Why Does Anybody Love (V2)
James Blackshaw - Cross (Young God)
Dawn Landes - Little Miss Holiday (CV)
Willie Nelson - Come Rain Or Come Shine (Blue Note)
Soulsavers - Pharaoh's Chariot (V2)
I woke up early the other morning in a state of massive anxiety. I had been having one of those dreams that was luridly real, full of dread and overpowering circumstance. It took about half an hour to reassure myself that all was actually OK in the real world and that I'd not really been part of a media pile-up and career suicide.
In the dream, I had taken a minute out of my radio show to get myself a drink of water from the cooler outside. There I had met an old friend, and we got talking, and soon the events had escalated into an exotic meal, an assembly of my most rowdy pals and a total dereliction of my radio show. Around midnight, I realised the enormity of the abuse and I hurried back to Studio 8. It was all over and some doleful looking colleagues were clearing up. They had plugged the gap in the show but at some personal distress. No-one would look me in the face. I thought about the potential excuses - illness, family issues, temporary insanity, but nothing was sufficient. It was all over.
Analysts might be able to tell me something profound about it all, that it was an analogue for some other part of my life, but at the time it felt like a variation of the old maths exam revisited dream, or the naked in public riff. It was a shocker.
Yesterday I visited the Rock & Roll Public Library on Acklam Road, London, W11. It's a funky little building under the Westway - the fabled piece of road that The Clash often sang about. Fitting then that the building is full of artifacts from the collection of the band's guitarist Mick Jones. His records, his books, his tin toys and board games, many of them foraged from the Portobello Market nearby. Obsessive that I am, I can connect pieces from his hat collection to specific record sleeves and cover stories while the neon pink of the Clash flight cases also makes me a little feverish.
He clearly has a thing about the film Zulu, and his collection of music magazines is formidable. I'm surrounded by approving fans - many of them middle-aged blokes who envy Mick's ability to keep his archives together under the pressures of adult life. We're all quietly grieving the day that we chucked out the old NMEs and copies of Zig Zag. And we remember that Mick's post Clash band, Big Audio Dynamite, also provided colour, intelligence and fun.
If you can't make the visit to London before August 23, be comforted by the idea that the collection should have a permanent home at some point. In the meantime, there's some video footage here.
Neil Hannon at the Andersonstown Leisure Centre last night, thanks to the Feile. Just the fella himself and a piano and sometimes a guitar. He did 'Songs Of Love' at its most basic, but still affecting style. He fluffed 'Imaginary Friend' rather badly. 'Our Mutual Friend' was rightly tense and for the encore there was a version of 'Cheek To Cheek' that Fred Astaire might have cut loose to.
But the big moment was 'Sunrise', Neil's overview of war and peace in the north. He articulated it well, skirting though all the mess of political semantics and tribal meanings. And he sang about the emerging peace like it was a sureity and a necessary act. The audence sang along. It was tremendous.
It was a simple idea - songs written by interesting artists, about other artists. Reggie Chamberlain King was in the thick of it, and soon we had more ideas than we could possibly manage in two hours. So there was no room for 'Jackie Wilson Said'. And sadly we didn't manage to fit Camera Obscura and 'Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken' in there. 'Levi Stubb's Tears' - that was another sad omission. Some other time, eh?
Dexys Midnight Runners - Geno (EMI)
Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke (Motown)
Stephen Marley - Master Blaster (Motown)
Van Dyke Parks - Bing Crosby ( Warner)
Scritti Politti - Cry Like Aretha Franklin (Rough Trade)
David Bowie - Song For Dylan (EMI)
Bob Dylan - Song To Woody Guthrie (Columbia)
Shel Silverstein - A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing (Columbia)
Johnny Cash - The Night Hank Williams Came To Town (Mercury)
American Music Club - Johnny Mathis' Feet (Reprise)
Van Morrison - Domino (Warner)
Dr John - Memories Of Professor Longhair (Clean Cuts)
U2 - Angel Of Harlem (Island)
The Auteurs - The Rubettes (Hut)
John Cale - Mr Wilson (Island)
Jonathan Richman - The Velvet Underground (Rounder)
The Rockingbirds - Jonathan Jonathan (Heavenly)
ABC - When Smokey Sings (Mercury)
John Lennon - How Do You Sleep (EMI)
George Harrison - Wah Wah (EMI)
Sandie Shaw - Steven You Don't Eat Mean (Rough Trade)
The Pet Shop Boys- The Night I Fell In Love (Parlophone)
Rufus Wainwright - Dinner At Eight (Dreamworks)
The Eurythmics - Beethoven (RCA)
Willy DeVille died on Thursday, simultaneously consumed by pancreatic cancer and hepatitis c. He was only 58 but he had lived an intense life, a rock and roll song on legs, imbued with danger, disarray and street corner soul.
In August 1977, he had a hit single on this side of the pond called 'Spanish Stroll'. To these impressionable ears that were tuning into the joys of punk rock, the record seemed like an older and deeper variant. It was about summer nights in a fractious part of the city, about beautiful girls with heavy manners, about songs coming out of basement bars and exotic activities in back alleys.
It wasn't a pose either. Willy lived in that zone all of his life, with the pulse of rhythm and blues, the Latino shimmy, the bad company and the tainted romance. It was his code and he was essentially true to it.
A few weeks back, I spent a rather enjoyable time with Gloria Hunniford, driving around the parts of Belfast with a musical connection and swapping stories. When we arrived at the Ulster Hall, Gloria recalled how she had shared a bill there with Roy Orbison and Tiny Tim. I could never compete with such in the cool stakes. Anyhoo, she's writing a story about her time here for an article that will appear in the Sunday Telegraph, August 22. Hurrah!
A few days ago, the reliably irate Bob Lefsetz told us that the concert business was going the way of the recorded music industry. Frankly I thought he was overstating the story. How could rock and roll function without the two legs that have supported it so ably for so long?
Sure enough, the politics of live music have smelt rotten for some time now, and the huge hike in prices that compensated the biggest artists against poor CD sales has surely reached its limit. Leonard Cohen is quite the artist and I adored him at the Albert Hall a decade ago, but his recent asking price was so hard to justify.
Now they're selling Coldplay tickets for a dollar. That may be a freakish exception, or maybe it's another sign of the industry nemesis - that poor folk just can't sustain the big fees.
Coming your way soon: the wandering minstrel. Buy him a jug of mead and he'll do a killer version of 'Greensleeves'. In 360 degrees, man.
Iain Archer was live on the show on Monday night talking up his new album, endorsing the Lowly Knights and playing a momentously long track from John Martyn. He's live at the King's Head tonight in Belfast, part of the MONIO (Music Of Northern Ireland Origin) festival.
I finally got to play 'Dolphins' and opted for the Beth Orton version. Given that she's just been announced for the Open House Festival in September, this was all rather timely.
Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up (Virgin)
Madness - Sugar And Spice (Lucky Seven)
Wilco - You Never Know (Nonesuch)
Dawn Landes - Romeo (cv)
(Iain Archer interview)
Iain Archer - Streamer On A Kite (Iain Archer)
Mark Kozelec - Rock And Roll Singer (Badman)
Iain Archer - Black Mountain Quarry (Iain Archer)
John Martyn - Small Hours (Island )
Iain Archer - Everest (Iain Archer)
Keb Mo - She Just Wants To Dance (Okeh)
Richard Swift - Lady Luck (Secretly Canadian)
Levon Helm - Move Away Train (Vanguard)
The Very Best - Warm Heart Of Africa (Moshi Moashi)
Beth Orton and Terry Callier - Dolphins (Heavenly)
Charlie Dore - Radio Boogie (Black Ink)
The Duke And The King - If You Every Get Famous (Loose)
U2 -Moment Of Surrender (Universal)
George Pringle - Bonjour Tristesse (Death To False Metal)
Cookin On 3 Burners - Hole In My Pocket (Freestyle)
Black Crowes - Remedy (Def American)
The Pastels / Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth (Domino)
Randy Newman - I Think It's Going To Rain Today (Nonesuch)
It's taken a year for my mother to sell the family home, but 49 years to leave it. She's been elsewhere for a while, and so there wasn't much to remove. But still we were a little choked and it's been odd to think that there's no physical connection to that bit of Belfast now. I drove the kids the long way to the house, pointing out my former haunts and epiphanies, but they didn't get it. They said they would miss granny's wallpaper.
I thought I had taken away all my stuff, but there was a final bag of school photos and forgotten correspondence. I found a remarkable package dating back to 1983, when I had taken it upon myself to send the BBC a critique of punk rock in Northern Ireland and how it had gone wrong. It was hand-written, just a little pompous but I recognised myself in that earnest college boy. My eldest daughter took a look and cracked a smile. "You've been doing the same thing ever since," she remarked. "Yes," I answered. "I think I have."