Robyn Hitchkock - in search of the perfect Salad.

Robyn Hitchkock – in search of the perfect Salad.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – Live At Town & Country – 1991 – BBC6 Music – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

70s,80s and 90s favorite Robyn Hitchcock tonight – in concert with former Soft Boys members The Egyptians, live at Town & Country and recorded for posterity by the venerable BBC in 1991.

After a run of successes as founding member of The Soft Boys, the band splintered and morphed into The Egyptians. Together with Hitchcock hey had a good run from 1984 to 1994, before reuniting as The Soft Boys in 1994 and again in 2006. This period for the band was marked by several successful singles. Simultaneously, Hitchcock has also had a very successful solo career with an impressive catalogue of albums to his credit.

If you aren’t familiar with the highly versatile Robyn Hitchcock, or his work as founding member of The Soft Boys or The Egyptians, here is a good introduction. If you are familiar – no need to remind you – just hit the play button and crank it up.

Meanwhile . . .back in the Persian Gulf - hunting for mines.

Meanwhile, back in the Persian Gulf. . . hunting for mines.

Click on the link here for Audio Player - CBS World News Roundup – September 29, 1987 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Not a good day for flying, if you were around on this September 29th in 1987. News of Eastern Airlines Flight 924 bound for New York from San Juan which suddenly dropped from an altitude of 33,000 feet, sending passengers, baggage and crew members flying all over the cabin. The plane made an emergency landing in Hamilton Bermuda with 38 injured passengers and crew members, some seriously. Continental Airlines was having an outbreak of planes skidding off slick runways in Kansas City and Houston. And a $230 million Air Force B-1 Bomber ran afoul of a flock of birds while on low-level bombing run practice, crashing in Colorado and killing 3 crewmen. Not exactly The Friendly Skies, September 29th.

In other news, word that Henry Ford II, retired chairman of the Ford Motor Company had died in Detroit at the age of 70, following a series of heart ailments and a bout with pneumonia. Ford was the grandson of Henry Ford, the company founder and took charge in 1945 at the urging of President Roosevelt. Despite his harrowing disaster with the Edsel, he was a screaming success with The Mustang.

Things were heating up in the Persian Gulf as it was reported Iran was laying mines in the shipping lanes through which much of the gulf’s oil exporting was at risk. The British Navy joined the U.S. in deploying mine sweepers around the Straits of Hormuz.

And Chicago was heading into the longest Teacher’s Strike in history, surpassing the previous 15-day record. So it looked like Summer Vacation was heading well into the Fall for Chicago school-children.

And that’s just a slice of what happened on this September 29th in 1987, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

OMD - Ushered in Synth-rock - laid the groundwork for Techno - hailed as a milestone New Wave.

OMD – Ushered in Synth-rock – laid the groundwork for Techno – hailed as a New Wave milestone.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – OMD (Orchestra Maneuvers In The Dark) John Peel Sessions – BBC Radio 1

Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD) were initially lumped into the New Wave genre, but they were up to something else. As Synth-Rock was morphing into New Wave, OMD were laying the groundwork for what would eventually become another genre; Techno.

You have to put yourself somewhere between 1979 and 1983 to get an idea just how revolutionary OMD were. Where a number of bands, who had leaned heavily on synthesizers (i.e. Ultravox) to create vast sonic landscapes, OMD were busily stripping it down to the basics – and not doing anything to make it sound anything other than what it really was – electronic music, plain and simple – but with a beat. And even the beat was synthesized.

So OMD were hugely popular from their first hit, Enola Gay – and went on to produce such classics as Joan Of Arc and If You Leave, which was featured in the John Hughes film Pretty In Pink.

Shifting away from deconstructing electronic music into more Synth-pop, OMD subsequently became much more commercial and much more successful. However, towards the end of the 80’s, interest was starting to wane with synthesizers in favor of a back-to-basics with Rock and with the coming of Madchester and Grunge, OMD hung on as long as possible before calling it quits in 1996.

However, the band came roaring back in 2006 and have been performing and recording ever since.

Tonight it’s the early stuff – the pre-synthpop for John Peel, including their freshman hit Enola Gay to trigger a few memories in case you forgot.

And then there’s Monday to consider . . . .

Overlooked composer of the 20th century who went from Atonal to Political.

Jean-Louis Martinet – French composer of the 20th century who went from Atonal to Political.

Click on the link here for Audio Player - Jean-Louis Martinet – 2 Pieces for Strings and Percussion – French National Orch. Pierre Dervaux, cond. 1963 – ORTF Transcription Service – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Overlooked composers of the 20th Century this weekend. 20th century French Composer Jean-Louis Martinet was a student of Charles Koechlin and Olivier Messiaen and much of his early works were of the Atonal school. But in 1950 he abandoned that approach in favor of a more conventional point of view. He migrated to Canada in 1970 where he stayed until 1976 before returning to his native France.

This weekend it’s his 2 Pieces for Strings and Percussion, in a radio performance by the French National Orchestra conducted by Pierre Dervaux and recorded around 1962. I don’t believe this piece has been recorded by anyone else, and I am reasonably sure this is the only recording available, which hasn’t been heard since it was first recorded. More rarities.

Something unfamiliar this weekend. Enjoy and read more about him.

Stan Kenton - bringing his New Concepts of Rhythm message to Teenage audiences in the early 1950s.

Stan Kenton – bringing his New Concepts of Rhythm message to Teenage audiences in the early 1950s.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Stan Kenton and His Orchestra – Live At Steel Pier – Atlantic City, New Jersey – Aug. 4, 1953 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

This might take a little getting used to – but, the Music of Stan Kenton in the early 1950s, was aimed primarily at teenagers. Rock n’Roll hadn’t come into being yet – blues, jump-blues and what was otherwise labeled “race music” was largely out of the mainstream radar. The music of Stan Kenton was loud, complicated and high-energy. The soft, mellow sounds of “sweet bands”, favored by an older audience didn’t really apply to the Kenton crowd.

Subsequently, Stan Kenton during these years was a huge draw on College and High School campuses. It was music in transition for an audience with too much adrenalin to sit still. This was largely the same audience who, less than 2 years later fell under the spell of Bill Haley and His Comets. The teenagers in 1953 went on to become the young adults in 1955 and moved on to Dave Brubeck, with a few stalwarts remaining loyal to Stan Kenton.

But this was music that, although not entirely new, was interesting enough to grab an audiences attention.

So here is a sample of those “new concepts in Rhythm” from a concert held at The Steel Pier in Atlantic City on August 4, 1953. Stand Kenton and His Orchestra featuring a number of future legends as soloists, including Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz and Conte Condoli.

Pretend you’re 18 and this was what you were looking for.

Skip Bifferty - one of those overlooked gems in an era crammed with gems.

Skip Bifferty – one of those overlooked gems in an era crammed with gems.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Skip Bifferty in session for Top Of The Pops – 1968 – BBC Radio 1 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

There was certainly no shortage of bands climbing on the Psychedelia bandwagon in the late 1960s. A lot of them made it to one single, or one album – many didn’t make it that far. Those who secured label deals weren’t guaranteed (as if they ever are at any time) success or even recognition.

Skip Bifferty were virtually unknown in the U.S. and only moderately known in their native UK. The Newcastle band formed in 1966 and gained a good word of mouth in music circles. With several singles to their credit in 1967 along with their s/t debut album, they were on the verge of a breakthrough via almost constant touring and opening for The Who in 1968.

But their reputation didn’t extend past the Atlantic ocean and despite their debut album released by RCA in the U.S. it came and went in a flash with barely a notice.

And then things got messy towards the end of 1968 – a dispute with manager Don Arden forced the band to dissolve and regroup under another name, Heavy Jelly. But by then the momentum had gone and they went their separate ways. However, as fate would have it, several of the members re-appeared as Bell & Arc in the early 1970s. And later – most notably keyboard player Mick Gallagher and guitarist John Turnbull, as founding members of The Blockheads, backing Ian Dury in 1977. Mick Gallagher would later show up playing in The Clash.

But that was the future that hadn’t happened as of 1968, when these sessions were done for the BBC’s Top Of The Pops series.

A taste of Psychedelia as it is now being re-discovered and unearthed.

More where that came from – and more being unearthed every day, it seems.

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What Late Night Radio sounded like in 1951.

What Late Night Radio sounded like in 1951.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – KXLA – Art Laboe Show – June 24, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

A slice of local Los Angeles history this weekend. Art Laboe was a regular fixture on the Los Angeles scene ever since he first went on the air in 1949. Hosting a nightly (or early morning) live show from Scrivner’s, a local drive-in where he interviewed patrons, teens and passersby while playing records, Laboe became enormously popular in Southern California.

This show, a portion from June of 1951 when he was doing a stint at Pasadena radio station KXLA (the forerunner to KRLA). It takes place outside another famous Los Angeles landmark – The Colony Club, one of the more popular Burlesque clubs in the L.A. area. In trademark Art Laboe fashion, he interviews people around the club while running the occasional hit record of the day.

And here’s a sample of what he did every night for decades. You also get a chance to hear the rarely played “Mama Will Bark” duet with Frank Sinatra and Dagmar about 20 minutes in.

Los Angeles in the 1950s – Los Angeles before Rock n’ Roll and the 405 – or even the 10.

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