A piece of late flowering Fish-era Marillion, the third single from Clutching at Straws, the last album to feature Fish as singer and lyricist.
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It was with great sadness I heard on Sunday of the death of Brian Matthew, one of the voices of my youth and, through the BBC Radio 2 programme Sounds of the Sixties, also of my recent adulthood.
This came only a few days after the BBC had mistakenly reported his death.
Despite his apparent dismay at a crass decision by the powers that be to replace him, and his stated intention to make further programmes for Radio 2, Mathew was obviously not as hale and hearty as he once was (none of us are.) There had been another lengthy absence from the programme a couple of years ago so the final news was merely a confirmation of what I had feared.
Whatever, Sounds of the Sixties is not – and never can be – the same without him. The new incumbent, Tony Blackburn, is far too chatty (what is all that stuff with Dermot O’Leary, who follows him on air? Just play the music and give us the information about the acts) and always sounds fundamentally unserious about the show’s contents. It’s Blackburn’s style and has always been his style but it grates somehow.
So. Here is the tune that will forever now be associated with Matthew – the one with which Sounds of the Sixties played (and plays) out every episode and which I will never in future be able to hear without a further tinge of sadness.
Brian Matthew: 17/9/1928 – 8/4/2017. So it goes.
What a striking opening line. “Bless my cotton socks I’m in the news.”
This, the biggest hit from The Teardrop Explodes, screams 1980s but is somehow also timeless – and the brass was an unusual touch.
Reward is also notable for having a definite ending and not fading the way most pop songs do. Anything else though would have been a travesty.
Herewith is a live version.
A guitar heavy one from 1970.
Delaney and Bonnie – under whose name along with their friends – this song was released formed a rotating ensemble using many musicians among whom was Eric Clapton who features on this recording.
His heyday was in the 50s so I had kind of missed all that by being too young. I must have been aware of him somewhere in the background via the paltry amount of rock music on the radio in those times but I didn’t really come into contact with his music till the mid to late 60s when some of his singles were in the pile beside the record player at a youth club I went to. It’s therefore No Particular Place to Go and Memphis Tenessee I remember most particularly. It wasn’t actually till years later that I discovered No Particular Place to Go was a reworking of a 1957 song, School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell).
So here are those two Berry singles the second in a later live version.
Go Johnny go! Tell Tchaikovsky the news.
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18/10/1926 – 18/3/2017. So it goes.
Following last week’s offering from Black Sabbath here’s a more famous Changes – the Bowie song, here taken from BBC sessions. To my mind there’s a lot more energy in this live version than the LP track.
Regular readers will know I occasionally mention the Radio 2 programme Sounds of the Sixties.
Barring two minor interludes when he was unwell, for all the time I’ve been listening to it – many years now – it has been compered by Brian Matthew, a well-known voice from the Light Programme of my youth. In fact he has introduced the show for 27 years.
Recently he has been absent for a span of time during which Tim Rice filled in. I was pleased when I learned on 18/2/17 that Matthew was set to return – as he did last Saturday, the 25th.
This turned out to be a temporary reprieve as Saturday’s episode was valedictory and Matthew informed us it would be his last ever Sounds of the Sixties.
Fair enough, Matthew is not a young man any more. I wish him well in his (part) retirement. I say part as he did say he would be introducing other Radio 2 shows from time to time in the future. But I’ll miss him.
The good lady and I speculated on who might or could replace him – neither of us thought Tim Rice had quite the timbre of voice for it – whether a star of the 60s or the only other DJ from that time presumably available (Johnnie Walker already ensconced in the Sounds of the Seventies seat) Tony Blackburn.
All was revealed in a trailer I heard on Sunday. It’s to be Blackburn. I suppose it’s the obvious choice. The show will feel very different, though. Blackburn does not have the gravitas that Matthew has.
Another change is that Sounds of the Sixties will now be aired at 6.00 am rather than 8.00 am as previously. That’ll be me listening on catch-up then.
If any of you still hanker after Matthew and his style that last show is available on the iPlayer for another three weeks or so.
I discovered two sad departures this week, both Peters, though one of them actually occurred in January.
Peter Skellern’s affection for the brass band sound made him stand out as a bit old fashioned in the early 1970s.
His biggest hit was You’re a Lady, no 3 in 1972.
I remembered his revival of Frank Noble’s song Love is the Sweetest Thing as being a bigger hit than in fact it was. It apparently only reached no 60. It has a brilliant lyric, though.
Peter Overend Watts was Mott the Hoople’s bass player and is seen quite prominently in this clip:-
Peter Skellern: 14/3/1947 – 17/2/2017. So it goes.
Peter Overend Watts: 13/5/1948-22/1/2017. So it goes.
The Peddlers were a frequent sight on UK TV at the back end of the 1960s and very early 1970s but never had much chart success. Birth, from 1969, was their biggest hit.
The piano riff is reminiscent of the one in Elton John’s Border Song which came out in 1970.