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Radio 4 on Music Podcast Profile

Radio 4 on Music Podcast

English, Documentary, 1 season, 54 episodes, 1 day, 5 hours, 53 minutes
From Armstrong to Zappa - music documentaries from the Radio 4 archive bringing you a brand new episode each week.
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The Voices of Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt has been recognised as a prog-rock drummer, jazz composer, avant-garde cornet player, artist and activist in a wheelchair. But, above all else, he has been known by one of the most instantly recognisable and distinctive voices of the last fifty years. Forever associated with Shipbuilding, Elvis Costello's song written in reaction to the Falklands War, Wyatt's voice and the causes he gives voice to are intricately entwined. This intimate radio portrait, in his own words, traces Wyatt's journey from the psychedelic excesses of Soft Machine (appearing both with Jimi Hendrix and at the BBC Proms), through the life-changing accident that has confined him to a wheelchair for almost forty years, to recent celebrated musical projects that are reaching new audiences. Produced by Alan Hall. A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
9/17/201429 minutes, 18 seconds
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Jay-Z: From Brooklyn to the Boardroom

Ten years ago rap superstar Jay-Z was struggling to get a record deal after being spurned by every major label - so he started his own. A decade on, with 20 million CD sales under his belt, he is now a major music industry player, and currently reigns as president of the legendary Def Jam records. He built on his success with lucrative sidelines in the fashion industry, a chain of bars, his own brand of vodka, and is also part-owner of a professional basketball team. Now some of America's biggest brands are hiring him in hope his business savvy can help them, too. Finance guru Alvin Hall meets Shawn Carter a.k.a Jay-Z for an in-depth discussion charting the birth of his business empire and rise from the notorious Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to C.E.O’s office, revealing the story of a man who has become a brand in his own right. This programme was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on December 2, 2006. Presenter: Alvin Hall Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith Editor: Tony Phillips
9/10/201429 minutes, 17 seconds
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Beat Mining with the Vinyl Hoover

Broadcaster Toby Amies digs into the archives to discover the value and significance of old vinyl. He uncovers a network of dealers and buyers, supplying a community of 'crate diggers' and 'beat miners' and a world in which samples from records bought for a few pence in a car boot sale can provide the basis for a million-selling hit.
9/3/201456 minutes, 18 seconds
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Kate Bush

In November 2005, Kate Bush broke a 12 year silence with the release of her double album 'Aerial', In this programme she gives a very rare interview to John Wilson in a special edition of Front Row, where she talks about why the album took so long to appear and tells some of the stories behind the songs.
8/27/201429 minutes, 57 seconds
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Conjuring Halie

Cerys Matthews celebrates the life of one of her musical heroines, the great gospel singer Mahalia ("Halie") Jackson, who died in 1972. Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world at the height of her popularity, inspiring singers like Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples. But she was also one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement in America, described by the legendary historian and broadcaster Studs Terkel as one of the bravest people he'd ever met. As a child she suffered illness, poverty and deprivation. The Church was her shelter. During the late 1920s, at the height of the great migration, she toured Illinois performing in churches. But it was in Chicago that she made her name and carved out a place for herself as the first professional gospel singer. She refused to sing secular music, a pledge she kept throughout her professional life. Even Louis Armstrong couldn't persuade her to sing jazz with him. By the 1950s and 60s, touring across Europe, she was being described as "the greatest spiritual singer alive." Throughout, she remained a close friend and comrade of Martin Luther King, travelling with him to the deepest parts of the segregated south and often singing at gatherings where he spoke including at the famous march on Washington. In this programme Cerys shares her passion for Mahalia with another huge fan, Sir Tom Jones. She also talks to gospel singer Vermettya Royster and to the Reverend Stanley Keeble both of whom knew and played with Mahalia. We also hear archive recordings of the historian Studs Terkel talking with Mahalia in the years when they became close friends. We hear from blues and gospel writers Val Wilmer and Viv Broughton. As well as hearing her live performances. Produced by Sarah Cuddon A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
8/20/201429 minutes, 8 seconds
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Fela Kuti Comes Home

Fela Kuti is Africa's most famous musician. Before his death in 1997 he recorded nearly 50 albums and invented his own genre of music: Afrobeat. In the 70s and 80s his legendary club in Lagos was famed for housing the best live band on Earth. As witnessed by James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. But there was more to Fela Kuti than ground-breaking music. He was also a political revolutionary who spent his life strongly criticising successive military regimes in his native Nigeria. While his contemporaries would sing in more general terms of oppression, Fela singled out his targets, personally naming them in songs which became popular all over Africa. It wasn't long before he was a hero to many working class Nigerians. But his taunts didn't go down so well with the authorities. Nor did his controversial lifestyle: he openly smoked marijuana, declared his home an independent state of Nigeria and married 27 women on the same day. The story goes he was the most arrested person in Nigerian history. He appeared in court hundreds of times, had spells in prison and permanently suffered from his injuries after regular beatings at the hands of the military and police. Fela believed they were also responsible for the death of his mother, who was thrown from an upstairs window when his home was stormed by 1000 soldiers. In 2009 his incredible story was turned in to a successful Broadway musical and this April it performed in Lagos for the first time. Fela Kuti was coming home. But while the rest of the world is finally paying attention to this musical and political revolutionary why will you struggle to hear any of his music on Nigerian radio? Have they forgotten Fela? Or do the powers that be still find his music offensive? Radio 4 visited Lagos to find the answers.
8/13/201429 minutes, 2 seconds
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Front Row - Neil Young

In a rare interview, Neil Young talks to John Wilson about his album 'Americana' and his long, somewhat unpredictable career. He talks about his politics, the current state of the protest song and the joys of playing with his longterm sparring partners Crazy Horse.
8/6/201429 minutes, 38 seconds
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Youssou N'Dour at 50: Africa's Greatest Star

Robin Denselow profiles the musician Youssou N'Dour as he reaches his 50th birthday, and travels to Senegal to interview the singer in his home city of Dakar. Denselow analyses not just his music but the way N'Dour has used it for the benefit of his country and his continent. He had huge success with the duet 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry in 1994, but he has been making music for nearly 40 years and has collaborated with many international artists. Contributors include Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, DJ Charlie Gillett and Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab. A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.
7/30/201428 minutes, 22 seconds
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My Wizard

John Aizlewood examines the oft derided genre of Progressive Rock, a catch all term for a variety of bands from Pink Floyd to Yes to Hawkwind to Jethro Tull. He talks to Floyd's David Gilmour, Rick Wakeman of Yes and Keith Emerson, and ponders the subtle difference between 'Prog' and 'Progressive', before asking the difficult question - was any of it any good?
7/23/201429 minutes, 33 seconds
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Billy Preston: That's the Way God Planned It

Billy Preston was a musical genius. A child prodigy, he was first seen as a small boy performing live on national TV with Nat King Cole. He was a star of the Hammond Organ, an accomplished dancer and a talented singer-songwriter. He is the only person 'officially' recognised as the fifth Beatle, although that title would turn out to be more of a millstone than a milestone. By the 1970s he'd written three number one singles, toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones and collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop: Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Eric Clapton, Sly Stone, the Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin to name just a few. His musical career was out of this world but his personal life was a disaster. He spent much of his life battling with drugs and even ended up in jail. Fellow keyboard player and fan Rick Wakeman explores his incredible story. With contributions from the likes of Jools Holland, Bill Wyman, Pete Townshend and many more, this documentary also reveals - for the first time - the secret he spent his life suppressing. A secret his former manager Joyce Moore believes fuelled his personal problems.
7/16/201429 minutes, 20 seconds
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R.E.S.P.E.C.T - The Art of Backing Vocals

Nick Barraclough pays tribute to arguably one of the least recognised jobs in pop, that of the backing vocalist. Tracing the evolution of vocal harmony from Medieval canon through to Gladys Knight and the Pips, he draws a straight line from the ‘Fa-la-las’ of Tudor song through to 50s doowop with the help of arranger and musicologist Harvey Brough. Along the way we'll hear examples of the art from The Shangri-Las to Steely Dan, and find out what happens when session singers mover their larynxes.
7/9/201428 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth

Ziggy Stardust was a rock and roll fantasy. But David Bowie's fictional rockstar, around whom his 1972 album, stage show, and film were built, was inspired by a real performer, Vince Taylor, born in Isleworth, Middlesex. This programme uncovers the truth about a singer whose wild lifestyle ultimately destroyed him, but in so doing he gave rise to a myth that transcended glam-rock and science fiction. His record "Brand New Cadillac" remains to this day a British rock 'n' roll classic, covered later by The Clash. But Vince was frustrated by his limited success in Britain and, already displaying the unpredictable behaviour and volcanic temper that were to dog him for the rest of his days, he moved to France where the "ye-ye" crowd really went wild for him. They called him 'Le Diable Noir' - the Black Devil. Decked out in black leathers, chains, kohl eye make-up and with his hair greased up into a high pompadour he was immediately signed to the French Barclay label. But fuelled by alcohol and drugs Vince's behaviour became increasingly erratic. At a party he tried LSD for the first time. In his state of mind at the time it was absolutely the very last thing that he needed. Vince Taylor underwent a kind of public breakdown at his next gig, where he started claiming he was a divine being. David Bowie bumped into him in London and later said: "Vince Taylor was the inspiration for Ziggy...He always stayed in my mind as an example of what can happen in rock n roll. I'm not sure if I held him up as an idol or as something not to become. There was something very tempting about him going completely off the edge." The programme, presented by MARTYN DAY, tracks down many of the people who worked with Taylor, including members of his original band and his family.
7/2/201429 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Dream Time of Jazz

In 1938, pianist and jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton was running a bar in New York, unable to get anyone to play his music and having failed to make much money out of his compositions. It was there that broadcaster Alistair Cooke came across him and persuaded folklorist Alan Lomax to record Morton at the piano, singing and reminiscing about his days in New Orleans. The resulting tapes form the basis for this programme. Historian Marybeth Hamilton examines the recordings, which lay untouched for years because of their explicitly violent and misogynistic content, but nevertheless paint a vivid portrait of the early days of jazz. The programme contains some strong language which may offend.
6/25/201458 minutes, 39 seconds
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Dexys Midnight Runners: Don't Stand Me Down

Music critic Pete Paphides tells the story behind three 'follow-up' albums - from Dexys Midnight Runners, Fleetwood Mac and Suede - with tales of musical pressure, creative differences, personal politics and mixed results. How many bands have found themselves with a massive and often unexpected hit album, only to struggle with the creation of their next opus? Sometimes the follow-up exceeds the first album, but often nerves kick in and bands are removed from the very stimulus that created their magic in the first place, finding themselves in a world of creative confusion, sycophants and accountants. Pete Paphides talks to musicians, producers, and critics to explore the stories of follow-up albums with the same expert knowledge he brought to Lost Albums. Programme 1: Dexys Midnight Runners - Don't Stand Me Down. Kevin Rowland and Helen O'Hara give rare interviews about a pivotal time in Dexys Midnight Runners' history. Having been the best selling UK band of 1982 with their massive hit single Come On Eileen and the hugely popular album Too-Rye-ay, Dexys took some time to consider what to do next. Don't Stand Me Down was brave and different to Too-Rye-Ay. Rowland had a clear vision and went to great lengths to record and mix it to his own specifications. His interest in his Irish roots and Irish politics was one of the themes of the record. Misunderstood in its day, it received poor reviews but has since gone on to receive critical acclaim. Produced by Laura Parfitt A White Pebble Media Production for BBC Radio 4.
6/18/201429 minutes, 11 seconds
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Between Rock and a Good Cause

John Wilson tells the story of American music promoter Bill Graham. Through his work with the top bands of the day, Graham pioneered big concerts in well-equipped venues and was the first to use rock music to raise money for good causes. Contributors include Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, biographer Robert Greenfield and British promoter Harvey Goldsmith.
6/11/201429 minutes, 32 seconds
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When the Levee Breaks

Mark Lamarr looks at the little-known story of Memphis Minnie, known for her guitar skills, her rowdy ways and the song 'When the Levee Breaks' a musical celebration of a key moment in Blues history. 'Levee', later made famous by Led Zeppelin and Dylan, was released in 1929, long before guitars found amplification, in reference (like many blues songs of the time), to the great Mississippi flood of 1927. The flood was a huge factor in the Migration of African Americans into what would become the great RnB and Blues towns of Detroit, Memphis & Chicago. When the Levee Breaks is its most famous telling. Neither born in Memphis nor called Minnie, the musician who wrote and recorded it travelled that now well worn blues journey both physically and musically in the first wave of blues musicians emerging from the Delta in the late 20s. When the Levee Breaks was one of over two hundred songs written by Minnie during her lifetime, many are blues classics. Though her story has been largely ignored when compared to Robert Johnson, Leadbelly and other Blues artists of the time. In a journey that starts along the banks of the Mississippi in a post Katrina New Orleans and ends in the promised land of the Blues, Chicago, Mark Lamarr explores her story, the flood itself and the development of the Blues that emerged around the Great Migration. Producer: Rob Alexander A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.
6/4/201429 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Song Doctor

Stephen Evans talks to record producer Rick Rubin, who resurrected the faltering career of Johnny Cash in the early 1990s. Rubin talks about his close relationship with the country star and the remarkably personal music that came out of it.
5/28/201429 minutes, 17 seconds
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Southern Journeys

The story of American traditional music is dominated by the father and son team John and Alan Lomax who discovered, recorded, and popularised the music of the poor, the dispossessed and voiceless. During Alan Lomax 's 1959 tourofthe southern states, he was accompanied by his then lover, English folk singer Shirley Collins , and here she tells the story of how he recorded the sounds of a world that was fast disappearing, but which still influences popular music today.
5/21/201458 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Smiths' Strangeways, Here We Come

In the summer of 1987 Britain's best loved indie band abruptly came to end when guitarist Johnny Marr sensationally quit. The Morrissey/Marr partnership that had produced such a wealth of finely crafted pop tunes was over, just weeks after the group finished recording their fourth album, "Strangeways, Here We Come." Since then, all four band members have separately pronounced the LP as their best work. Bass player Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce also claim that, at the time, they were blissfully unaware of any conflict. So what happened? In this final part of the Swansong series, Stuart Maconie examines the circumstances surrounding the final recording by The Smiths, revealing the reasons behind one of the most famous breakups in British pop history. With new interviews from Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke and producer Stephen Street and contributions from music journalist Sian Pattenden and Morrissey biographer Simon Goddard.
5/14/201428 minutes, 42 seconds
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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

In this BBC Radio 4 programme, Tracey McLeod rewinds over half a century to the golden age of the Girl Group. The songs of groups like the Chantels and Shirelles were songs sung by girls for girls. These groups, formed at the dawning of the pop music industry, paved the way for the likes of The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Shangri-Las, and eventually The Supremes. We hear recollections from those involved as well as observations from writer Charlotte Greig and producer Pete Waterman.
5/7/201428 minutes, 48 seconds
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This Are 2 Tone

Phill Jupitus celebrates the phenomenon that was 2-Tone music. Thirty years ago, bands such as the Specials, the Beat, Madness and the Selecter created a new sound born from a blend of punk, reggae and ska.
4/30/201429 minutes, 29 seconds
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Fender Heaven

David Stafford celebrates the Fender Stratocaster with the help of some of its key players including Hank Marvin, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and Johnny Marr.
4/23/201429 minutes, 48 seconds
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Sampledelica! The History of the Mellotron

Mark Radcliffe charts the history of the unwieldy Mellotron, a bizarre, tape-driven instrument that dominated the soundscape of the late 60s and 70s and featured on records by The Beatles, The Moody Blues, King Crimson and Tangerine Dream, to name a few.
4/16/201428 minutes, 59 seconds
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Ian Curtis

Series of biographical discussions with Matthew Parris. Poet Simon Armitage nominates Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who took his own life in 1980 at the age of 23. Curtis's fellow band member Peter Hook remembers his friend.
4/9/201428 minutes, 9 seconds
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Suede - Dog Man Star

Music critic Pete Paphides tells the story behind three 'follow-up' albums - from Dexys Midnight Runners, Fleetwood Mac and Suede - with tales of musical pressure, creative differences, personal politics and mixed results. Programme 3: Suede - Dog Man Star In 1991, Suede was named "the best new band in Britain", with a string of hit singles and a universally acclaimed debut album, 'Suede'. Flamboyant singer Brett Anderson and incendiary guitarist Bernard Butler became feted as song-writers. David Bowie was amongst their fans. The scrutiny that followed took its toll on their relationship. Determined to write a dissolute conceptual masterpiece, Anderson exiled himself in a gothic pile in North London while Butler questioned the paraphernalia that came with pop stardom. Bereavement and clashes over the album's producer heightened the tension and, with just one part to complete on the album, Butler walked out for good. Suddenly, having blazed the trail for Britpop, they returned with an album deemed out of step with its sunny positivism. But almost two decades on, Suede's second album Dog Man Star reappeared to a plethora of 5 star reviews. Producer: Laura Parfitt A White Pebble Media Production for BBC Radio 4.
4/2/201429 minutes, 33 seconds
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Scott Walker

Stuart Maconie talks to the reclusive singer/songwriter Scott Walker, recorded at the time of the seminal album 'Tilt' which broke an 11 year silence.
3/26/201425 minutes, 14 seconds
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Star Spangled Hendrix

When Jimi Hendrix returned to his native America as a star, the country he knew had changed. This programme, presented by Tom Robinson to tie in with the 40th anniversary of the guitarist's death, explores the pressure Jimi was under to make an explicit political declaration. Tom explores Hendrix's 14 months in the Screaming Eagles 101 Airborne Division that saw him parachute a total of 26 times before he was invalided out with a broken ankle. Brother Leon Hendrix discusses his elder bother's time in the military, along with comments from author Charles Sharr Murray. Singer and friend Eric Burdon explains how, after the riots in Grovesnor Square, Jimi trotted out the American government's party line on Vietnam - the so-called "Domino Theory". The Soft Machine supported Hendrix as they traveled across America and drummer Robert Wyatt recalls how Jimi responded to media questions about the war, and the emergence of the Black Power movement. Hendrix was receptive to the Black Panther Party and found the Seattle Chapter of the organization run by two former high school friends. Both Panthers, Aaron and Elmer Dixon talk about how receptive Hendrix was to the cause. The programme culminates with Jimi's Woodstock Festival performance of 'The Star Spangled Banner', an eloquent (and wordless) statement against the Vietnam war. In retrospect, it can also be read as a swan song for the era of peace and love and for Hendrix himself, who died in his sleep the following year. Jimi Hendrix is more than a blues guitarist who got lucky in the 60s. He did the best he could to be his own man without openly taking sides, and we are still trying to get to know him 40 years after his death. Producer: John Sugar A Sugar production for BBC Radio 4.
3/19/201429 minutes, 11 seconds
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Bert Jansch

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Joan Armatrading talks to leading guitarists about their music and guitar technique. Joan meets Bert Jansch, widely acknowledged as one of the most influential musicians of all time. Since the mid-1960s, every generation has been held spellbound by his extraordinary fingerpicking and stringbending techniques. He continues to be revered as the master guitarist of folk music. A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.
3/12/201415 minutes, 16 seconds
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Sculptress of Sound: The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire

The broadcaster and Doctor Who fan MATTHEW SWEET travels to The University of Manchester - home of Delia Derbyshire's private collection of audio recordings - to learn more about the wider career and working methods of the woman who realised Ron Grainer's original theme to Doctor Who. Delia's collection of tapes was, until recently, in the safekeeping of MARK AYRES, archivist for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Matthew meets up at Manchester University with Mark, along with Delia's former colleagues from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, BRIAN HODGSON and DICK MILLS - plus former 'White Noise' band member DAVID VORHAUS - to hear extracts from the archive, discuss their memories of Delia and the creative process behind some of her material. Her realisation of the Doctor Who theme is just one small example of her genius and we'll demonstrate how the music was originally created as well as hearing individual tracks from Delia's aborted 70's version. We'll also feature the make up tapes for her celebrated piece 'Blue Veils and Golden Sands', and hear Delia being interviewed on a previously 'lost' BBC recording from the 1960s. Matthew's journey of discovery will take in work with the influential poet Barry Bermange, as well as her 1971 piece marking the centenary of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. This Archive on 4 is brought up to date with an individual track from 'The Dance' from the children's programme 'Noah'. Recorded in the late 1960s this remarkable tape sounds like a contemporary dance track which wouldn't be out of place in today's most 'happening' trance clubs. Producer: Phil Collinge.
3/5/201442 minutes, 36 seconds
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The View from the Back - Charlie Watts

In a rare interview, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts talks about his career, his love of jazz, keeping time for the Rolling Stones and why he prefers Stravinsky to Elvis.
2/26/201429 minutes, 26 seconds
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How Folk Songs Should Be Sung

Immediately after the success of the BBC Radio Ballads, Ewan MacColl set about the Herculean task of trying to drag British folk music into mainstream culture. Frustrated by the dreary amateurishness of folk song performance, he decided to establish his own centre of excellence to professionalise the art. He called it "The Critics Group". MacColl tutored select artists "to sing folk songs the way they should be sung" and to think about the origins of what they were singing. He introduced Stanislavski technique and Laban theory into folk performance and explored style, content and delivery. BBC producer Charles Parker recorded these sessions to aid group analysis. 40 years on, the tapes have come to light. For the first time, a clear sound picture can be constructed of this influential group in action. Former group members Peggy Seeger, Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Richard Snell, Brian Pearson and Phil Colclough recount six frantic years of rehearsing, performing and criticising each other. They recall the powerful hold that Ewan MacColl exerted which was eventually to lead to the collapse of the group in acrimony and blame. Presenter Martin Carthy MBE, now an elder statesman of the British folk music scene, shared many of McColl's ambitions but didn't join the group himself. He listens to the recordings and assesses the legacy of MacColl's controversial experiment. Producers: Genevieve Tudor and Chris Eldon Lee A Culture Wise Production for BBC Radio 4.
2/19/201429 minutes, 15 seconds
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When Cassius Met The Beatles

The tale of an unexpected encounter between 20th century legends - a meeting which created a new template for global celebrity. February 1964: The Beatles fly into Miami, sparking Beatlemania as they prepare to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. Meanwhile in a low-rent Miami gym, the underdog Cassius Clay trains to fight reigning champion Sonny Liston for the world title. The pundits say Clay hasn't a hope. Quite unexpectedly, the paths of these legendary figures cross. British photographer Harry Benson arranges for The Beatles to visit Cassius Clay in the gym. Clay picks up Ringo and swings him around the ring as if he's no heavier than a toddler, as the other band-members lie at his feet. Clay pretends to knock all four Beatles down with a single punch. The resulting images remain in the memory long after this brief encounter. The Beatles triumph on TV. Cassius Clay amazes all the boxing writers by defeating Liston. They suddenly both find themselves on the cusp of a new kind of stardom - they're young, outspoken and able to capture the global imagination. John Wilson reports from Miami on the background to this unique encounter, with the memories of three people who were there at the time: photographer Harry Benson, who was travelling with the Beatles, writer Robert Lipsyte, who was covering the fight for the New York Times as a rookie reporter, and fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco, then working at the gym in Miami. All witnessed the moment when Cassius met The Beatles. John also taps the memories of Paul McCartney. Producer John Goudie.
2/12/201429 minutes, 11 seconds
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Black Is A Country

Singer/songwriter Erykah Badu tells how the Black Power movement changed American music forever in the 1960s. From free jazz to the first stirrings of hip hop, this is a story of when the new music met the new politics. Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp and the Last Poets' Abiodun Oyewole offer reflections on a turbulent time in American history. Contains repeated use of language which may offend.
2/5/201456 minutes, 48 seconds
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Black Is A Country

Singer/songwriter Erykah Badu tells how the Black Power movement changed American music forever in the 1960s. From free jazz to the first stirrings of hip hop, this is a story of when the new music met the new politics. Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp and the Last Poets' Abiodun Oyewole offer reflections on a turbulent time in American history. Contains repeated use of language which may offend.
2/5/201456 minutes, 48 seconds
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Leonard Cohen

The Canadian songwriter reflects on his musical career, with observations from Jennifer Warnes , who sang in his live band and recorded an album of his songs, and Suzanne Vega, who was moved by his music while a teenager.
1/29/201427 minutes, 58 seconds
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Kraftwerk: We Are the Robots

Marc Riley presents the story of Kraftwerk, arguably one of the most influential bands of the 20th century and certainly one of the most enigmatic. Former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür and fans including including Gary Numan, John Foxx, The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and writer Paul Morley offer their impressions of the band without whom modern music would sound very different. Part of Radio 4 on Music, re-releasing the best of Radio 4's music back catalogue.
1/22/201429 minutes, 6 seconds
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Like Blackpool Went Through Rock

Sean Street recalls the Radio Ballads, a series which heralded a completely new form of radio feature making which began in 1958. Mixing original voices and sounds with specially composed music, producer Charles Parker and folk singers Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger eloquently documented the lives of people who, up to that point, had rarely been heard on the BBC. Charles's daughter Sara recounts how the series began and its continuing influence on programme makers and listeners.
1/15/201457 minutes, 43 seconds
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Dread, Beat an Blood

Benjamin Zephaniah reassesses dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson's 1978 debut album. Dread Beat an' Blood expressed the black British experience as it had never been heard before. Using his trademark spoken word style set to an instrumental reggae beat, the record voiced the frustration of a generation. Linton discusses the issues he tackled on the record, such as police harassment, the National Front and the criminal justice system. Thirty years on, how much has changed?
1/8/201428 minutes, 50 seconds
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Steve Reich

Lynne Walker talks to the hugely influential American composer about the evolution of his music, his interest in African and Indonesian music and jazz.
1/1/201429 minutes, 50 seconds
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Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

Music critic Pete Paphides tells the story behind three 'follow-up' albums - from Dexys Midnight Runners, Fleetwood Mac and Suede - with tales of musical pressure, creative differences, personal politics and mixed results. How many bands have found themselves with a massive and often unexpected hit album, only to struggle with the creation of their next opus? Sometimes the follow-up exceeds the first album, but often nerves kick in and bands are removed from the very stimulus that created their magic in the first place, finding themselves in a world of creative confusion, sycophants and accountants. Pete Paphides talks to musicians, producers, and critics to explore the stories of follow-up albums with the same expert knowledge he brought to Lost Albums. Programme 2: Fleetwood Mac - Tusk How do you follow a record that sells 21 million copies worldwide and spends over 30 weeks at number one in the US album chart? The answer is Tusk - the album Fleetwood Mac recorded in the wake of 1976's Rumours. Despite joining the band just three years previously, this was the record that saw Lindsey Buckingham impose his will on Fleetwood Mac using the studio as a crucible in which he shovelled intra-band infidelities and his new-found love of punk. In 1979 it was deemed a failure, nicknamed "Lindsey's folly" from industry insiders. After 35 years, it has been reappraised as their boldest, most forward-looking release, "a peerless piece of pop art", influencing Radiohead and REM. Produced by Laura Parfitt A White Pebble Media Production for BBC Radio 4.
12/25/201329 minutes, 8 seconds
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Nick Drake -Unsung

In this special edition of Kaleidoscope from 1997, John Wilson explores the life, death and most importantly the music of English singer songwriter Nick Drake with the help of those who knew him, including his producer Joe Boyd, friend and arranger Robert Kirby and Nick's sister, actress Gabrielle Drake. Part of Radio 4 on Music, re-releasing the best of Radio 4's music back catalogue.
12/18/201329 minutes, 17 seconds
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Nusrat Was My Elvis

Jeff Buckley was just one of the Western musicians to fall under the powerful spell of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - a Pakistani singer of Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music whose origins can be traced back to the 8th century. In this programme Navid Akhtar explores the Nusrat phenomenon with the help of Nitin Sawhney, Peter Gabriel and Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja. Part of Radio 4 on Music, re-releasing the best of Radio 4's music back catalogue.
12/11/201328 minutes, 45 seconds
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Blowing in the Wind: Dylan's Spiritual Journey

To coincide with Dylan's birthday (24th May 2011) presenter Emma Freud explores the singers spiritual journey revealing a side to the performer often over looked. The programme opens with how Dylan grew up a small-town Jew in Hibbing, Minnesota. We hear from Cantor Neil Schwartz he also grew up in the same town and his mother was Bob's Sunday school teacher. Author of 'Prophet, Mystic, Poet' Seth Rogovoy reflects on Dylan's early years and his Barmitzvah. We explore early Dylan music and author Clinton Helylin believes Dylan not only drew on early negro spirituals but the Old testament for his more engaging material. Helping makes sense of some of the more complex theological messages is Nick Baines The Bishop of Bradford and a life long admirer of Bob Dylan. It was in the late 1970s, Dylan became a born again Christian and 1979 album 'Slow Train Coming' championed Jesus. Author of 'Down The Highway' Howard Sounes finds Dylan's three Christian albums a "difficult listen". Whether they meant something significant to his audience is another matter, but Al Kasha who helped Dylan with his understanding of the scriptures is convinced you can't doubt the depth of Dylan's religious conversion. Dylan's embrace of Christianity was unpopular with some of his fans and his album "Shot Of Love" recorded the spring 1981, featured Dylan's first secular compositions in more than two years, mixed with explicitly Christian songs. Essentially Dylan's venture into Christianity seemed to be coming to an end. As we discover with all things Dylan, its tricky to work out what is going on inside the singer's mind but 'Blowing In The Wind - Dylan's Spiritual Journey" will go someway to exploring his thoughts and spiritual beliefs through his songs and these revealing interviews. Producer: John Sugar A Sugar Production for BBC Radio 4.
12/4/201328 minutes, 29 seconds
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Nina Simone

The chanteuse, pianist, composer and civil rights activist Nina Simone is the choice of another female musician who has made a career of defying convention; Joanna Macgregor. Presented by Matthew Parris.
11/27/201328 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Armstrong Tapes

Jazz historian Helen Mayhew looks at the remarkable life of Louis Armstrong as told through his archive of tape recordings, covering his personal life as well as his music. This programme contains language that some may find offensive.
11/20/201358 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Story of Township Music

Johannesburg-based journalist Ofeibea Quist-Arcton looks at how music thrived alongside events such as the Sharpeville massacre, the Bantu Education Act, the Soweto Riots of 1976 and, of course, the fall of apartheid.
11/13/201357 minutes, 50 seconds
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Good Vibrations: The Story of the Theremin

Bill Bailey tells the story of the remarkable 'hands off' electronic instrument and its enigmatic inventor and charts its use from horror and sci-fi film soundtracks through to contemporary dance music and of course its use on the Beach Boys' iconic 'Good Vibrations'.
11/6/201327 minutes, 13 seconds
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Lou Reed

Mark Coles talks to the famously difficult to interview Lou Reed alongside his former Velvet Underground colleagues including John Cale and Maureen “Moe” Tucker, as well as Reed's biographer Victor Bockris.with observations also from David Bowie. Coles recounts Reed’s famous disdain for journalists and interviews in general before he’s summoned in for his allotted slot with the man himself.
10/30/201315 minutes, 25 seconds
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Freak Out! The Frank Zappa Story

Germaine Greer presents a profile of Frank Zappa, the 1970s icon of eccentric rock whose range of work included serious orchestral composition, film-making and social activism, particularly in the field of anti-censorship. Contributors include Gail Zappa, son Dweezil, guitarist Steve Vai, family friend and author Peter Occhiogrosso and David Butcher, chief executive of the Britten Sinfonia.
10/23/201328 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Who Live at Leeds

Paul Gambaccini uncovers the stories behind the Who's seminal 1970 album, often cited as one of the best live rock albums of all time, with recollections from those who were there, from road crew to audience members to critics to guitarist Pete Townshend.
10/16/201329 minutes, 10 seconds
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Synchronicity by the Police

A new series in which each week Stuart Maconie examines the final album by a major artist. This week, Synchronicity by The Police. Released in 1983, it was the band's fifth album and it hit the number one spot on both sides of the Atlantic. In America, it knocked the commercial juggernaut of Michael Jackson's Thriller from the top of the charts, selling over 8 million copies in the process. It also produced five international hit singles, including their most famous track Every Breath You Take. As Sting & co toured the world to promote their most successful release, each night playing 60,000 seater venues, at that point in their career they could genuinely lay claim to being the biggest band on planet Earth. Although the split was never officially announced, Synchronicity was to be the last studio album they would ever record. Despite all of the success, the truth was the three members couldn't stand to be in the same room as each other. With archive interviews from Sting and Andy Summers and brand new contributions from Stewart Copeland, manager Miles Copeland, producer Hugh Padgham and journalist John Pidgeon, Stuart Maconie examines what went wrong.
10/9/201328 minutes, 16 seconds
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Punk Heaven for Little Girls

Robert Sandall hears from Siouxie Sioux, Chrissie Hynde, Viv Albertine of the Slits and X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene about the difference punk made to women's lives and their place in the music industry.
10/2/201329 minutes, 1 second
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The Twilight World of Syd Barrett

Six years after his death (7th July 2006) Syd Barrett lives on freeze framed, still young and a striking lost soul of the sixties whose brief moment of creativity outshines those long years of solitude shut away in a terraced house in his home town of Cambridge. This revealing programme hears how his band Pink Floyd (and family) coped with Barrett's mental breakdown and explores the hurriedly arranged holiday to the Spanish island of Formentera - where the star unravelled. In the programme we also hear about Barrett's pioneering brand of English psychedelic pop typified on early Pink Floyd recordings 'Arnold Layne', 'See Emily Play' and the strange songs on Pink Floyd's impressive debut album 'The Piper At the Gates of Dawn'. Undoubtedly Barrett's experimentation with the drug LSD affected him mentally and the band members reveal how concerned they were when he began to go catatonic on-stage, playing music that had little to do with their material, or not playing at all. By Spring 1968 Barrett was out of the group and after a brief period of hibernation, he re-emerged in 1970 with a pair of albums, 'The Madcap Laughs' and 'Barrett', but they failed to chart and Barrett retired to a hermit life existing under the watchful gaze of his caring sister Rosemary (featured in the programme). We hear from David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright (one of the last interviews before his sad passing) about how there was little understanding of mental illness when it came to the drug fused culture of the time. These days a strung out star is hurriedly booked into the Priory and given counselling. As this programme reveals Barrett's mental breakdown was not understood and the steps taken to help him were inappropriate and still rankle the members of Pink Floyd today. Producer: John Sugar A Sugar Production for BBC Radio 4.
9/25/201329 minutes, 22 seconds
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Lennon: The Wenner Tapes

An in-depth portrait of John Lennon, told through the audio of Jann Wenner's seminal 1970 New York interview with Lennon for Rolling Stone magazine. It’s 1970 and John Lennon is about to release his first solo album. He’s not long emerged from months of Primal Therapy with its creator, Arthur Janov and he’s about to give his first major interview with Rolling Stone magazine. In the interview, he’ll talk openly about his solo career, the break-up of the world’s most famous band, his marriage and a lot more besides. Wenner and Yoko Ono also look back on the event, but the focus is very much on Lennon, who seems energised by what he sees as his freedom from the Beatles. It’s John Lennon at his most honest - and on occasion, his most abrasive. There is frequent use of strong language.
9/18/201342 minutes, 57 seconds