Friday, 5 March 2021

A Life in Music: Loz Kingsley and Vo Fletcher. Guitar and Mandolin. And how.

Definitely a string thing

In this edition of Lives in Music, I'm talking with Loz Kingsley and Vo Fletcher, Mandolin and Guitar players of great skill and experience. I met this pair, I think, back in 1974, when they were doing a session at the old BRMB Radio. They were no slouches then, and they've only got better since. To listen to the podcast episode, go here, or simply scroll down to the bottom of this post

Vo plays with a bewildering number of talented people all over the midlands and beyond, and he gets together with Loz, who only returned to live work with the much-missed Rhino and The Ranters, for regular and highly enjoyable sessions in some of the nicest boozers in the region. And of course, having spent nearly a year in lockdown, that's something I have missed enormously. There is some compensation with Vo running (as do many others) a live session on Facebook every Tuesday at 6pm.


They have, as you might expect, mighty track records, which you'll hear about. There's also some super live guitar and mandolin work to be enjoyed in this episode, along with a taster from Loz's new album,
Vintage Mandolin.

Links

The Tuxedo Bay Facebook page
All you ever need to know about Jellikins
Rick Sanders and Vo Fletcher page on Costa Del Folk
Vo's weekly Wine O'Clock live sessions: Tuesdays 6pm on Facebook 


Albums
Loz's album Vintage Mandolin can be had by emailing 
loz1954@me.com 
Vo's new album is at 
vofletcher.com 


Vo and Loz's episode of Lives in Music


 

The Lives in Music Podcast series   
I've been doing this for about two years now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, looking at how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To see who's in the list of artists, here's a link to see every episode.
One further footnote: the intro and outro flourishes I'm using in this series of Lives in Music podcast come from Vo himself. I asked him for a bit of live impro, and this was the result.  

The Radio To Go blog

This blog has been going since 2007. I started it to focus mainly on radio stories, as the industry went through a series of convulsive changes. Those changes aren't over yet, not by a long chalk. Over the years I expanded the range of topics to cover local music, another subject close to my heart. I think it was a Destroyers gig that pulled me in that direction. I've banged out several hundred posts in that time, and of course deleted quite a few. But if you're interested in thoughts on the local scene and/or radio futures, by all means visit the full topic index on the Radio To Go blog
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Friday, 26 February 2021

A Life in Music: Richard March

One way to extend a career built on Pop. Did it really Eat Itself?

Photo Credit: Nick Sayers
This is a companion blog post to my Lives in Music Podcast with the excellent Richard March. You can find it here, or scroll down to the bottom of this post, or follow this link for the entire Lives in Music list.

Richard has been in a huge array of bands and projects in his 30 years or so as a working musician. I first met Rich when he was in the much loved Rhino and The Ranters; but he cut his teeth with 80s legends Pop Will Eat Itself and then Bentley Rhythm Ace, and now he's a member of Swampmeat Family Band, and, oh yes, let's not forget the Boom Operators. with other projects bubbling away nicely. Some of those projects come up in this podcast.

Five years ago, I wrote a Radio To Go blog post about 
Richard's walking bass saga. His standup double bass 
was stolen from outside his house, along with a lot of PA kit. The bass was returned intact – it was found in the street, unlike the 
stolen kit. In short order a fundraiser was launched to help Rich 
replace everything. 
It hit its target very promptly, which let Rich replace at least his PA kit, with the 
remaining £400 going to Nordhoff Robbins, the music charity. These guys could 
not be better - as it says on their site, they use music to 'enrich the lives of people 
with life-limiting illness, disabilities of feelings of isolation'. 

Coping with our Covid nightmare lockdown. Ugh...
This podcast post covers very different ground, the likes of which we could not 
have imagined in 2016. Most of this series of Lives in Music was recorded remotely,
in lockdown. If you listen hard, you can tell who has, by far, the poshest 
microphone. 

I'm particularly interested in how creativity can flourish in lockdown, and we touch on all sorts of ways that performers can hit their audiences. We cover some of the ways – largely on YouTube. At the bottom of this post, I've I listed quite a few examples that you can go see and enjoy.

The Tonight Matthew colabs

I used two excerpts in the podcast, taken from the collaborative videos in the 
Tonight Matthew series, where Richard and pals covered Sex and Drugs and Rock 
and Roll, and Life During Wartime. To check out the full personnel, search these 
titles on YouTube. The series has raised some £5000 for Help Musicians – another 
great cause. Why not look in and bung them a few quid?


Videos 
First off, here's links to the Tonight Matthew series, with Rich on guitar or bass 
on all of them:

Good Morning Britain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO8trboFpo4
Mr Blue Sky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZcKnRRrghQ Life During Wartime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA4Te8xEWfg Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM6C2CunuRc Blue Monday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PgHG2g315k Echo Beach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0SxQQ1kIO0 Another Girl Another Planet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuztPWamE-k Love Cats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkt3fGDg6-4 Our Lips Are Sealed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y034nUVqfLc Another Girl Another Planet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA06fj76yDo For What It's Worth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y-1xGIvfsA
Then there's others. More than I can list. But anyway, here's some suggestions Suzi Dian doing Bill Withers' Lean on Me solo
and with some friends
The life-affirming Bolero from Juilliard students and alumni

Peter Gabriel and friends worldwide reprising Biko

Jimi Somerville and Rick Astley Wishing You Well, also for Help Musicians
The great Vo Fletcher does weekly live shows on his Facebook Page
I'll stop there. I know there's a lot more, and I apologise if I've missed anyone out. 
But if you have any recommendations, drop me a line in the comments section :-)

This week's episode

The Lives in Music Podcast series   
I've been doing this for about two years now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, looking at how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To see who's in the series of artists, here's a link to see every episode.

One further footnote: the intro and outro flourishes I'm using in this series of Lives in Music podcast come from Vo himself. I asked him for a bit of live impro, and this was the result.  

The Radio To Go blog

This blog has been going since 2007. I started it to focus mainly on radio stories, as the industry went through a series of convulsive changes. Those changes aren't over yet, not by a long chalk. Over the years I expanded the range of topics to cover local music, another subject close to my heart. I think it was a Destroyers gig that pulled me in that direction. I've banged out several hundred posts in that time, and of course deleted quite a few. But if you're interested in thoughts on the local scene and/or radio futures, by all means visit the full topic index on the Radio To Go blog.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

New ways out of lockdown. You can't keep good musos down

I'm prepping Lives in Music Podcast Series 3. It's different now.

I must start with an apology. I've been quiet on the podcast front. There's a number or reasons for this, obvious and not so obvious.

Our gig scene has been squashed flat.

Firstly: we've lost our live music scene. This breaks my heart. One of my great pleasures is to settle in for a night of stonking live music, joining friends and like-minded souls in a warm and welcoming space, with a pint or something stronger to hand. And then the show starts, and I'm carried away by great musicianship. It can be, rarely, in an enormodome. But I prefer smaller venues, where you can relate to the artist. I especially prefer the smallest venues, where it all starts. I've been in pub rooms with a few dozen kindred souls, and I've had  unforgettable nights. I miss that so much.

So it's been difficult to document those golden live moments, when... there haven’t been any. I’ve had a lot less to write about. I've also had to scrap some very pertinent interviews with venue owners. I'll hopefully revisit these when we can get out and about again.


Face to face chats? Forget it.

Secondly, lockdown or no lockdown, I'm under strict instructions to respect those six feet spaces, and in any case to cut contact down to an absolute minimum. It's, I'm afraid, a health issue, and it's definitely got in the way of producing podcasts.

For me, the essence of getting a great interview is to share space, to have eye contact, to have an intimate connection. I've been used to travelling across town, hooking up a mic to my subject, and diving into a long conversation, which finds its way into the finished podcast episode. That is no more, for the time being.

Live performances online? I'm grateful, but it's not the same.

I follow a lot of people online. I check out their streamed live shows. I'm glad to see them, and I hope that their work generates some revenue. But typing a helpful message of support into Facebook is the only way we can react. The artists can't hear our denatured applause. The compromise of streaming a gig with a live audience – if that can be managed – is the best we have right now.


Those multi-artist remote compilations. Love them.

An alternative, and one that I very much enjoy, is the very produced multi-artist compilation. These work, sometimes to great effect, but it's a different confection. The artists must work to a basic track for timing purposes, so the result is, inevitably, produced. In an upcoming series 3 podcast, I go though this in some detail. But there have been some extraordinary work coming our way, which would not otherwise have surfaced at all. 


A way forward. Soon come: Lives in Music Series 3.

Now I've surfed back to the working world – long story - I've settled on a new way of working. It's a compromise, but it lets me get back to doing podcasts with musicians, which I love to do. I'm using software which lets me invite my subject to chat to me remotely though their computer. Think Zoom, but with better bandwidth and no time lag. It's the same kind of software that's in use at Radio – you can tell it's that kind of software, because, every so often, the remote link goes down, embarrassingly.


So now I'm back in business. I'm recording lots of chats, and then diving headlong into post-production. I hope very much to start releasing the new series by the end of February.

It's good to be working on this series, especially as I want to focus as much as I can on how musicians have broken through this new set of wholly unfair barriers. Let's see how everyone is doing!

The Lives in Music Podcast
I've been doing this for about fifteen months now. These are interviews with local 
musicians, covering how music has shaped them throughout their lives. Series 3 
also looks hard at how lockdown has had an impact. There are some lovely stories. 

To review the list of artists, here's a link. 

See more radio and broadcasting posts on Radio To Go

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Sunday, 6 December 2020

Two questions: Lockdown creativity, and when do bands turn into their own tribute acts?

Covid-19 and creativity

For most of the lifetime of this blog, I've managed to post pretty regularly. Sometimes weekly, maybe more like a monthly average over the years. But I've had to be quiet of late. Like the local music scene, I've been squashed flat. Let me explain... 

This blog is, mainly, about local music and musicians, with occasional diversions into radio. And it's been very difficult to write about the local music scene when it's been trashed by lockdown. I don't see a recovery coming our way for at least another six months. But, oh boy, will it ever be bloody marvellous when it comes back, in all its glory.


Distractions and dysfunction

There are personal as well as practical reasons for my inactivity. At the start of lockdown, I plunged head-first into a massively complex and demanding database project for the excellent Radio Classic in Tampere, Finland. Sadly, I didn't go over there – all flights were cancelled during lockdown. That took me through to mid-summer, as I watched our local scene suffer. Along the way, I had to scrap three fine Podcast interviews I had collected with promoters and venue managers, who suddenly had no venues or gigs to work on.

By the time I surfaced from the Finland work, you could forget about gigs. Podcast interviews were out, too, especially for me - I'm one of those rather vulnerable at-risk types. Then, things got scary. I had some serious health issues - not Covid, by the way - as summer shaded into autumn. Thankfully, most of them are in hand now, and I'm feeling more like a human being again.

Mojo partially back at last, I am tiptoeing back to music. I've followed a ton of live streams, some of which have been absolutely inspirational. I've also enjoyed those multi-muso collaborations – check out the 'Tonight Matthew...' series. Here's one. Or how about this sensational compilation of former and current students from the Juilliard School in New York?


Fresh air and a working brain... at last!

But it's only been very recently that I've felt clear-headed enough to take some recent albums and work my way through them. One of them isn't exactly that recent either. I was in Banbury in early March, just before lockdown, to catch up with Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention – the podcast is here. Dave kindly gave me a copy of the band's latest album, Shuffle and Go – it's their 29th album. Not bad going for a band that's been going since 1967. I finally listened this morning. Gloriously, Fairport are still fresh, experimenting, trying new things, and generally enjoying themselves. They have a loyal fanbase; fans gather each year at Cropredy, the band’s festival (obviously not this year), where, of course, the band will reprise old material.


Who are you making music for?

And that is an interesting conflict. Diehard Fairport fans will clamour for the old material, songs like 'Meet On The Ledge', and some of the vintage Jigs and Reels. But I’m not sure how much the current Fairport still enjoy doing material that their predecessors have been doing for forty or fifty years, even if some members (Peggy, Simon Nicol) have been there for pretty much the whole time. It helps to pay the bills; people love the hits. But do the band still love the very old material, especially given that along with the regulars, there's also lots of new blood?


Turning into your own tribute act

Look at it this way: when do longstanding acts turn into their own tribute bands? In Fairport's case, probably never on record, but you might well see them pay tribute to their illustrious past at Cropredy. I would suggest that The Stones and what's left of Status Quo, Queen and AC/DC are already there. The example set by Robert Plant over the years, most recently with his admirable Saving Grace project, tells me that Led Zeppelin will never go there, no matter how much money is waved at them.

Or consider the brilliant Bruce Hornsby. Does he have to play ‘The Way It Is’ at each gig? Well, his audience may well want him to, but he’s going way beyond all that. He's never stopped experimenting, and gloriously, he is not alone.


Nostalgia pays

Another side of the coin, however, is the revival of 80s and 90s acts, who are being rediscovered by their original and newer audiences. Locally, Pop Will Eat Itself, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Ocean Colour Scene, and The Wonder Stuff, among others, benefited from this trend before lockdown, and will surely return when all this is over. I'm willing to bet that, unlike the Stones and their ilk, none of these bands did more than make a fair living in their heyday; many of them probably not even that. And now that Spotify has ripped the possibility of long-term earnings away, this route is a decent way to go.

I also think that this issue shows up the brutal contrast between local scenes, as perky and vibrant as they may be, and the big business end of music. All Spotify and the other streamers want now is to build numbers any way they can. That very much favours the long-standing veterans, as well as the flashiest of newcomers. The long-standing veterans generate the numbers from their back catalogue; the newbies from their notoriety. I'm willing to bet that despite her party people negative publicity, Rita Ora's streaming numbers are up. But right now, the local scene can, as usual, hardly get a shout out, and that, too, filters back into streaming figures.


When this is over, I'll find you and hug you

What a mess. I can't wait for all this to be over. I dream of sitting in a boozer, pint in front of me, surrounded by friends, taking in something fine, sparky and inventive. How about you?


See more radio and broadcasting posts on Radio To Go

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Thursday, 6 August 2020

A journey though a massive and messy music library

 Well, we all knew lockdown was going to be weird...

Fortunately for me, a project dropped into my lap in March, and it kept me very busy for months. I am only now rocking gently in my backwater, blinking, looking around, thinking of other projects.

With projects, I always go in too deep. This was no different. But oh, was it ever fascinating.

Some background first. For much of my time in radio, I have been gainfully employed sorting out other people's programming disasters, the ones that crop up in music scheduling and database systems.

The programming  beast 

The leading system I've worked in is, still, RCS GSelector, along with its RCS predecessors. If you're a fan, it's a splendid beast. But with all such systems, it's easy to paint yourself into a corner. You need decent music nous, allied to geekiness and tenacity. It's a tricky balance. Too much geekiness squeezes out on-air spontaneity.

The thinking behind computer music scheduling is, I find, often shared by musicians. Their shows are planned out: sets kick off with bangers, new material is nicely balanced, there's a flow built in, and the audience goes on a journey. Even when set lists are starting points rather than a rigid show structure, the same principles apply. If you know your stuff and your audience, you don't need a fixed safety net, either at radio or onstage. And that's as far as I'm going with that particular debate. 


The work

My cleanup work has taken me all over the UK and Europe. Often, one job has led to another; other times I have been put forward by much appreciated colleagues. It's been a lovely, magic carpet ride. But Covid19 has put an end to flying off to distant lands; now it's Zoom meetings and distance work.

I'm happy to work in any music format: the fundamentals, be they in Pop, Rock or Classical, are the same. Seriously, they really are, even while library sizes and presenter freedom vary enormously. Personally, I prefer a deep library in a station that values its presenters for their knowledge, but that's just my taste.


The Classical differences

But Classical? Well, there are differences. Tricky ones. Take durations for a start: Classical music radio is not the home of the 3'30” pop edit. Amazing works of 15 minutes and longer are common; you simply can't do without them. The 'bleeding chunks' debate - chopping out moments from Concerti or Symphonies - continues. Now, I love a complete work, an entire opera, a splendid soloist delivering fireworks to an audience... when I'm in that audience. But music radio doesn't work that way; instead, it offers a flow of music to take with you while you go about your day. Radio is rarely an 'appointment to listen' medium; you can now listen again with ease. So that's two challenges right there.

I've worked on Classical databases four times now: firstly in Ireland with the splendid RTE Lyric FM, where more than half the personnel were active musicians. Later came Bartok Radio in Budapest, and more recently pre-launch setup work at Scala Radio in London. And the most recent project, with all the Zooming and remote working, was for Radio Classic in Finland.

My job was to tidy up a messy database and set it up in GSelector before handing it back to the local team to take it onward. I won't go into all the gory details, but every conceivable data entry mistake was there... it was a tangle.


Mind your Language!

The interesting areas were the use of language, and the local market. Finland values its culture and identity. It supports the arts: national and regional orchestras are properly funded, unlike in the UK. It's admirable; I so wish we took this approach with the Arts in general, and music in particular. I also wish we had Finland's admirably low Covid19 infection rates.

From a population of less than 6 million, Finland exports a steady and impressive flow of talent: the first two conductors to follow Simon Rattle when he left the CBSO came from Finland; one of them now splits his duties between orchestras in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London.

Of course there were local composers whose works I wasn't familiar with; with these, the plan is for the Radio Classic team to strike the right balance. And that's the proper approach: radio has to reflect its locality, be it national or regional. Dumping a generic format onto a station is cheap; it directly affects the bottom line, but it may not build audiences. We often hear of 'MacDonalds Radio' in this context, but in truth, even that giant corporation goes to great lengths to cater for local markets. And it's worth pointing out that Classic Radio Finland are part of Bauer Media, who, admirably, have given their station free rein to develop as they see fit. It's easy to jump to conclusions about massive corporate radio groups, but those conclusions are not always spot-on.

So – back to the Classical job. How to describe a work? What language do you use? Do you say the Magic Flute? Or the original Die Zauberflote? Or the Finnish Taikahuilu? Verdi was, I am told, passionately in favour of works being sung in the language of the country where the performance was taking place. But, with works and orchestras in at least six languages, this aspect was increasingly complex.


The Web. Upending things. Again. Everywhere.

In working through the Radio Classic library, something else struck me: just how much emphasis has moved away from tradition and towards powerful performances. I contrasted an opera aria from a revered Finnish veteran, recorded in the 60s, with a fresh recording of the same piece by a contemporary superstar. The difference was extraordinary. The veteran was polite, formal and understated. The superstar was showy and explosive. That, change, in my view, has been driven by opera houses and orchestras competing online to deliver more of an experience to a wider audience, the more so because a lot of their work is now filmed and distributed either live or as special cinematic events. The days of 19th century polite salon performances of music designed to be played at home, once all the rage, are long gone. As elsewhere, the web has had its way, and we are now in the world of short-term spectacle.


Bottom line, as usual: what matters, and to whom?

The initial clean-up task completed, Radio Classic are now up and running. What are the next steps? Many classical stations embrace movie soundtracks; others rush to programme contemporary 'mindful' piano work from the likes of Ludovico Einaudi; still others incorporate gaming music, written for teenagers and young adults, into their output. Gaming companies are now so flush with cash that they can afford to hire entire orchestras to record their material – but I'm really not sure that an orchestra's playing qualifies a piece of music for use in Classical radio. It's a sliding scale of age appeal, which doesn't tempt me, but then I am very aged. That said, I can't say I'm exactly a purist either. The big question is to recognise the demands of the market, as I mentioned earlier.

My personal view? The great works are there because they have found their place over decades and centuries. That timescale means things change slowly; it's the complete opposite of pop. Recordings of individual Classical works may not generate huge sales figures, but that's partly because there are often literally hundreds of different versions of the same work available to the listener. Therefore popularity has to be measured in a different way; chart sales, downloads and influencer-driven YouTube views don't work in this arena. The picture is further muddied by a combination of stuffy conservatism in the classical industry itself, and the shift to showier, flashier performances that new technology has fostered, as mentioned earlier.

It's never easy. But right now, my best wishes go to the good folk at Radio Classic Finland, who are now navigating these tricky waters. I think they'll do just fine. You can, of course, listen to them here: 
https://radioplay.fi/radio-classic/

and if that doesn't work, go here: https://tinyurl.com/y4dstoxe

See more radio and broadcasting posts on Radio To Go

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Friday, 27 March 2020

A Life In Music: Simon Duggal (not forgetting brother Diamond Duggal)

Go On, name a music genre these guys haven't worked on. Just try...

Simon Duggal, with his brother Diamond Duggal, is a hugely influential producer, promoter and now record label manager. They may not be that well known to you, but they work worldwide across as many genres as they can handle. 

Like Ruby Turner, Steel Pulse and Apache Indian, they started out in Handsworth, Birmingham. 

Their own brand/band, Swami, is massive across Asia. On top of that, they had their very own 'Oh Brother Where are Thou' style breakout hit in Birmingham while barely out of their teens. 

And that's before we get on to Shania Twain...

Simon, like his brother, is meticulous in his ability to recall career details. That's what made this such an entertaining interview. He also is a serious recording equipment geek. I can't tell you all the kit he has accumulated, but some of it has serious music history. 

This blog is a companion piece to the Lives in Music Podcast, which you can grab here. Or if you like, you can scroll down this page and listen to the embedded player. 


Links

Swami wiki page
Up! album version
Apache Indian wiki page




Lives in Music


The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. But they all have stories.


The podcast



The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'. 


Subscribe!

Subscribe to the Podcast through your podcast host to automatically download each episode to your chosen device. These will then land with you first, before everyone else hears about it.

If you would prefer email updates each time a podcast episode (or blog post) is published, you can subscribe to the mailing list. Head here and scroll down to the signup form.


Friday, 20 March 2020

A Life In Music: Roy Williams

A mighty influencer. You Tube kids, you don't know you're born. 


In this edition I'm talking with an extraordinary, super-capable, veteran music pro from the Black Country of the UK, who has, quietly, had a massive influence on music making in this neck of the woods and far, far beyond. 

Roy was one of the team that launched the legendary JBs in Dudley, where anybody who was anybody simply had to play. Then he went on to managing, sound mixing, often for a lifetime friend, Robert Plant. and just doing an awful lot for an awful lot of people, simply because it was the right thing to do. 

But it's the sidelines that make this conversation so interesting - the by ways, the diversions, and the way he frequently drops hints and prompts about interesting music areas - areas that eventually emerge as having been profoundly influenced by him. And, of course, the stories.

This is a companion blog piece to go with the Roy Williams Lives in Music PodcastYou can jump to all the podcast episodes here - there are 18 other Lives in Music available right now - or scroll down to listen to the embedded player on this page. 


Photo credit: Suzy Gallier


Links


Robert Plant website
JBs Dudley facebook page

Saving Grace 2019 review


Lives in Music


The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. They all have stories. Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production.

The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'. 


The Podcast





Published in Series 2  (series 1 episodes listed here)

1 - Brian Travers of UB40
2 - Ricky Cool
3 - Mark 'Foxy' Robinson of the CBSO
4 - Roy Adams
5 - Gavin Monaghan of Magic Garden studios 
6 - John Mostyn
7 - Stewart Johnson: taking UK Country back across the pond
8 - Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention

9 - Roy Willams
10 - Simon Duggal (Simon & Diamond, Apache Indian, Shania Twain, Desi Beats)


Subscribe!

Subscribe to the Podcast through your podcast app to automatically download each episode to your device. These will then land with you first, before everyone else hears about it.

If you would prefer email updates each time a podcast episode (or blog post) is published, you can subscribe to the mailing list. Head here and scroll down to the signup form.


Saturday, 14 March 2020

A Life In Music: Dave Pegg - a bass player with serious history

'One of the world's top bass players - within my price range'


Dave Pegg has played Bass with one group for half a century: the excellent Fairport Convention. Fairport have one of the most tumultuous histories in British Folk-Rock. But, like many groups that survive that long, they have a spectacularly loyal following, and that now means that they are on a more stable footing than at any time in their history.

But before Fairport, there was Rock, gigging five nights a week in the effervescent 60s Birmingham pubrock scene, a stint with the legendary Ian Campbell Group, and the not insignificant matter of 15 years holding down the bass chair with Jethro Tull.

In the podcast, one thing struck me forcibly - when Dave describes the 1970 band as getting really good, really fast. I think this illustrates that statement perfectly. Just look at Peggy go!





Peggy, as everyone calls him, has a stock of anecdotes... catching a Bjork show with Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin in Sydney, Australia, or booking the 83 year-old Petula Clark for Fairport's Cropedy Convention. He has an encyclopaedic memory, and can reel off the names of obscure bands he cut his teeth with back in the day.  A great man to pass time with over a pint.

This is a companion blog piece to go with the Dave Pegg Lives in Music Podcast. You can jump to all the podcast episodes here - there are 17 other Lives in Music available right now - or scroll down to listen to the embedded player on this page. 


Links


Fairport Convention
Ian Campbell Folk Group wiki
Dave Pegg wiki
Jethro Tull



Lives in Music


The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. They all have stories. Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production.


The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'.

Published in Series 2  (series 1 episodes listed here)

1 - Brian Travers of UB40
2 - Ricky Cool
3 - Mark 'Foxy' Robinson of the CBSO
4 - Roy Adams
5 - Gavin Monaghan of Magic Garden studios 
6 - John Mostyn
7 - Stewart Johnson: taking UK Country back across the pond
8 - Dave Pegg

9 - Roy Willams (JB's, Little Acre, Weapon of Peace, Robert Plant)
10 - Simon Duggal (Simon & Diamond, Apache Indian, Shania Twain, Desi Beats)


The Podcast



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Saturday, 7 March 2020

A Life In Music: Stewart Johnson

A Country Music dynasty. Made in Brum.



Ask any Lives in Music participant, and you'll get the same answer - there's no easy or straight route through life as a musician. You go where the work is, and if you're very, very lucky, you get to call a few shots in due course. 

This blog post is a companion piece to Stewart's Lives in Music Podcast episode, which you can listen to here, or you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and listen there. 

In Stewart's case his life took him all over Europe and the UK as a post-war Army brat, and that exposed him to a host of influences. From there, he went in to rock, with some success, followed by stage work, all the while nurturing his deep love for bluegrass and the best in country music. He's passed this on to his children, leading to the first family band in Brum, and kicking off his daughters' solo careers, crafted in the teeth of opposition on both sides of the Atlantic. It's a great story.


Links

Hannah Johnson

The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. They all have stories. Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production. All published episodes can be found here

Published in Series 2  (series 1 episodes listed here)

1 - Brian Travers of UB40
2 - Ricky Cool
3 - Mark 'Foxy' Robinson of the CBSO
4 - Roy Adams
5 - Gavin Monaghan of Magic Garden studios 
6 - John Mostyn
7 - Stewart Johnson
8 - Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention

9 - Roy Willams (JB's, Little Acre, Weapon of Peace, Robert Plant)

10 - Simon Duggal (Simon & Diamond, Apache Indian, Shania Twain, Desi Beats)

The podcast episode



The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'. 

Subscribe!
Subscribe to the Podcast through your podcast host to automatically download each episode to your chosen device. These will then land with you first, before everyone else hears about it.


If you would prefer email updates each time a podcast episode (or blog post) is published, you can subscribe to the mailing list. Head here and scroll down to the signup form.


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A Life In Music: John Mostyn

Birmingham's Music renaissance man



Photo: Graham Young, Birmingham Live
With some fifty years in the business across a dizzying range of bands and activities, John Mostyn is endlessly interesting. He's done the mega-deals, battled with the music industry at the very top levels, and he's worked just as hard on small local projects which simply deserved some help. 

And he has some incredible stories.

There's a lot to be gleaned from listening to John's experiences. Not that John minds; he's always been happy to share and lend a hand. And there are always, always, new projects, which you might never have considered in a month of Sundays.

This is a companion blog piece to the John Mostyyn Lives in Music Podcast, which you can listen to here. Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page and listen to the embedded file.

Links


Carpe Aqua If you don't know about this, you're missing out.
The Beat (led by the late Ranking Roger)
The English Beat (led by Dave Wakelin)
Fine Young Cannibals wikipedia page

Ocean Colour Scene



Lives in Music


The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. But they all have stories.



The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'. 



Subscribe!

Subscribe to the Podcast through your podcast host to automatically download each episode to your chosen device. These will then land with you first, before everyone else hears about it.

If you would prefer email updates each time a podcast episode (or blog post) is published, you can subscribe to the mailing list. Head here and scroll down to the signup form.