Click on the link here for Audio Player – Steve Hillage – In Concert at the BBC Paris Theatre – December 4, 1976 – BBC Radio 1 In Concert
Another artists synonymous with a decade and genre of music. Steve Hillage was associated with a number of influential artists and bands during the Progressive Rock era of the early 1970s, including Kevin Ayers and most notably, Gong.
When he finally went solo after leaving Gong in 1975, his debut release, Fish Rising was much anticipated and well received.
As times and tastes changed however, so did Steve Hillage. He dabbled in the Punk scene for a while, playing guitar on stage for Sham 69 during the 1976 Reading Festival and becoming a Producer in the 1980s, working with such bands as It Bites, Simple Minds and Robyn Hitchcock. In 2006 he returned to Gong and has been with them more or less since then.
Tonights Concert features the Steve Hillage recorded at the fabled Paris Theatre on December 4th 1976, during the time of the release of his follow-up album L.
(Sorry about the hissy sound of the broadcast. It’s an old tape and it’s seen better days, but it tried its best).
Hitting a speed-bump early-on, but recovered nicely.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Ocean Colour Scene – live at Manchester Apollo – 1998 – BBC 6 Music
History is jammed with bands who got sidetracked somewhere out of the starting gate and never regained their momentum; crashing and burning and left with a legacy of “what if’s” as their epitaphs. Not so with Ocean Colour Scene. OCS (as they sometimes go as), got started in 1989, just around the time the Madchester scene was starting to take shape. With a well received first single and a debut album ready to be released, something went slightly haywire. The label they were on was suddenly acquired by Polygram and their first album was remixed and remastered without the band’s knowledge, and turned what was an auspicious beginning into a disappointing one, since the remixed album was received poorly and failed to make much dent. What ensued was a legal tangle that most other bands would not have survived (and historically didn’t). But in the case of Ocean Colour Scene, it wound up being a minor hitch in what was to become a promising and successful career, after a period of struggle to regroup and reorganize and quickly regain momentum.
The result has been a band well received by audiences and critics alike. And with their 10th album released earlier this year, further evidence that if it’s supposed to happen, not very much can prevent it.
Here is a concert they did at The Manchester Apollo in 1998, recorded and preserved for posterity by the venerable BBC 6 Music and offering further proof that you just can’t keep a good band down, especially when they work so hard to get there. They are currently on tour and will be until December. No sign of them showing up in the States, but they’ve got a ton of dates booked in the UK and Scotland. So if you’re around . . . .
Enjoy and, as always, play loud.
Going through a number of personnel changes in a short period of time.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Strawbs In Concert from London – 1973 – BBC Radio 1 In Concert Series
Strawbs were a band who went though a number of musical changes during their initial tenure from 1964-1980. Initially a bluegrass/folk-rock ensemble, boasting the likes of Sandy Denny, who would later depart for Fairport Convention and a successful solo career. And Rick Wakeman, who would later join Yes and become part of that band’s halcyon days. Strawbs weren’t as wildly successful as the members who passed through, yet they had a substantial following, particularly in the U.S., and during their initial phase went from simple folk rock to Pop (touching on Glam for a bit) and eventually to Progressive Rock and became mainstays on FM radio in the early 70s.
They scored a substantial hit in 1973 with their single Part of The Union, which reached number two on the UK charts, and toured extensively with a group of up-and-comers, Supertramp, often with comparisons to each other in sound.
Tonight it’s a concert from the 1973 period. Wakeman had left to join Yes, and was replaced by John Hawken, formerly with The Nashville Teens. The sound was evolving as was their following on this side of the Atlantic, which was growing by leaps and bounds compared to the audience at home.
However, they did record this gig in London for BBC Radio 1’s In Concert series, and if they weren’t as popular in the U.K. as they were over here, it’s hard to tell by this concert.
A good time was had by all.
For those of you who have heard about Strawbs, but not actually heard them from this period, especially in concert – now’s your chance.
Made the transition to Glam in the early 70s and everything exploded.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Mott The Hoople – In Concert at The Paris Theatre – 1971 – BBC 6 Music
Sometimes I run into a dilemma, of sorts, over what to post for the “roundtable” feature. Tonight it was choice over whether to run the scheduled piece (Mott The Hoople at The Paris Theatre in 1971) or the kick-off European tour concert by The Pixies, who performed earlier today at The Olympia in Paris.
Tough choices. So I threw it out to a vote. And even though it was close, the squeaker was Mott.
So there you have it.
Tonight it’s a performance by venerable Brit-rockers Mott The Hoople, just before their emersion into the Glam genre, right around the time of the release of Brain Capers (one of my favorite albums), in 1971. The concert was recorded, as always, by the ever-present (and thank god), BBC.
Tomorrow night it’ll be The Pixies, I promise. For now, it’s Death May Be Your Santa Claus and a bunch of other great tunes.
Play very loud.
Digging trenches and trying on gas masks.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Prime Minister Chamberlain Address on Munich Crisis – September 27, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
News for this September 27th in 1938 was grim. The crisis in Munich was rapidly coming to a boil and it seemed at the time inevitable that war would break out.
British Prime Minister Chamberlain, exhausted from the rigors of Shuttle Diplomacy, was about to present his case to Parliament, but decided to address the nation (and the world via shortwave) on the situation as it stood before Parliament convened.
Prime Minister Chamberlain: “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war.
I can well understand the reasons why the Czech Government have felt unable to accept the terms which have been put before them in the German memorandum. Yet I believe after my talks with Herr Hitler that, if only time were allowed, it ought to be possible for the arrangements for transferring the territory that the Czech Government has agreed to give to Germany to be settled by agreement under conditions which would assure fair treatment to the population concerned.
You know already that I have done all that one man can do to compose this quarrel. After my visits to Germany I have realised vividly how Herr Hitler feels that he must champion other Germans, and his indignation that grievances have not been met before this. He told me privately, and last night he repeated publicly, that after this Sudeten German question is settled, that is the end of Germany’s territorial claims in Europe.”
Eventually an agreement would be reached, and the Czech people were, to put it mildly, thrown under the bus as a provision to prevent war. But on this day in 1938 there was no such outcome, and only speculation that war was going to happen. And the process of calling up reserves, trying on gasmasks and stocking up supplies for yet another war was well underway.
And that’s what this day looked and sounded like in 1938 as relayed to the U.S. by the BBC – and the tension dragged on.
Overlooked, even by their own admission.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Call – live at The BBC – 1983 – BBC In Concert series – BBC Radio 1
Finishing up 80s week – for now.
If you go to The Call’s website, you’ll be struck by an phrase – one you hear over and over throughout the years: The Most Underrated Band In The World. In the Call’s case, they’re almost right.
The four piece band from Santa Cruz, California probably had a bigger reputation overseas than they did at home. They became something of a band’s band. Admired by everyone from Bono and Peter Gabriel to Simple Minds. They toured considerably, and did achieve Arena status, but as a support band – not as a headliner. It was the one aspect of success that eluded them, even though they were widely respected, they had numerous successes, and a number of successful albums and singles, they never quite got that final push into household name category they should have received. Fronted by Michael Been, formerly a member of the 60s Psych band Aorta (another wildly underrated band) and a resurrected H.P. Lovecraft (called simply Lovecraft), Been was the driving force behind The Call and responsible for the unique musical directions they followed.
Tragically, Been collapsed and died of a massive heart attack backstage at the Pukkelpop Music Festival in Belgium while working as a sound engineer in support of his son’s band The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. That was in 2010.
Tonight it’s the band early on. A set recorded by the BBC for their In Concert Series in 1983 that is both inspired and high-voltage. It perfectly captures the uniqueness of the band and recalls a great band that almost made it to the top, but fell short.
Enjoy – as always, play loud. It’s Friday anyway . . .
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain – trying out that new thing called Shuttle Diplomacy.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: News of the Crisis in Czechoslovakia NBC Blue Network – September 13, 1938
September it seems, is a crisis month in history. On this September 13th in 1938, crisis was looming in Europe over a piece of disputed land belonging to Czechoslovakia, yet claiming to be part of Nazi Germany.
With a tenuous peace in Europe for a little under 20 years, this new flareup brought memories of 1914 to many. Disputes, squabbles and demands – and the end result being war.
And so this day in September of 1938 was about saber-rattling and the fears of a war looming, and the scramble to negotiate a peaceful settlement in the brewing conflict.
An interesting point in history. First – the new use of the airplane as a means of bringing about Shuttle Diplomacy; something that was not around in 1914 (other than small bi-planes). And second – the first real use of radio as a means of transmitting information. It was The Munich Crisis (as this was to be called) that really brought about the birth of Radio News on a grand scale. The idea that a person in Los Angeles could be as informed as the person in Belgrade, at roughly the same time, was a fascinating technological leap. And it signaled a whole new way of communicating and, most likely, probably aided in ending the conflict quicker than it would have in 1914.
But on this day in 1938 the crisis was new and the crisis was deadly and there was no clear end in sight.
History unfolding, as it was presented by the Blue Network of NBC and by shortwave relays by the BBC on September 13, 1938. Starting off with a program at the time, a bulletin breaking into the program and the rest is history.