THE JAZZ AGE – SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Individualism, Modernism, Consumerism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Surrealism, Impressionism, , Hedonism, Feminism, Flappers, Coco Chanel, Chicago, New York, Paris, London and the lingering light of New Orleans, Dance Bands, Blues, Hot Music, Black Bottom, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Quickstep, Cars, Electrical Appliances, Marketing, , Mass Media, Art Deco, Bauhaus, The Harlem Renaissance, The Weary Blues, The Waste Land, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Mrs Dalloway, Ulysses, Jim Crow, Segregation, Black & Tan, Vaudeville, Revues, Broadway, Hollywood, Soho, Speakeasies, Savoy Ballroom, Cotton Club, Prohibition, Gangsters, Gramophones, Record Labels, Wireless Radio, Motion Pictures, Technicolor, Bright Young Things, Rhapsody In Blue ladies and gentlemen I give you, Les Années Folles, the Roaring Twenties, The Jazz Age!

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THE LONELIEST CARNIVAL – A CALL TO ARMS

I’m used to doing Notting Hill alone. I mean not really, there’s around a million people also there to chat to, dance with and generally share a vibe with, but I don’t tend to roll with a crew, I rarely ever have. This is since around 1993 when I tried the fateful faux pas of trying to meet up with friends there and ended up left to wander round freely, just me. No herding cats, no having to deal with people who maybe didn’t like Hip-hop or Jungle or Dancehall. Left to my own devices, lost in the music and loving it.


But there was something very lonely about yesterday’s online celebrations, more than I’d expected. Perhaps if they hadn’t been so good it wouldn’t have been so much of a problem but there was literally nobody around me to vibe off when Ebony Steel Band absolutely owned their cover of Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Got To Be Real’ in the Panology section. A quick Facebook post, maybe someone else caught it? Nope doesn’t look like it. There was nobody but the presenter to appreciate why Mangrove Steel Band performing a version of ‘Bottle Over Head’ was a par to Ebony who have the song’s creator Triniboi Joocie amongst their ranks. Then it was left to strangers on Twitter to appreciate with me how Ms Desire should definitely win the Groovy Soca Monarch title this year for her outstanding performance. Yes there’s no denying it was a somewhat lonely experience.

But more than that, at least it gave me the chance to appreciate all of these things. As much as I would give my entire being just to be stuck behind a truck full of speakers singing along to Kes instead, if there was any chance then most definitely “Sign Me Up!” (Boss Lady), but there’s much of the culture of Carnival that can often get lost in the malaise of Carnival Monday (okay the smart folks go on Sunday with or without their families, but still). This year’s online broadcast has already given some of us the chance to connect / reconnect with some of that culture.



This is no longer just Caribbean culture either. I mean no question it’s roots run back to and still retain strong links with the Islands of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and many more besides. But this culture has been beautifully and intricately woven into the fabric of Britain over many decades and despite the foolishness of the far right (or often the not so far right) and the ignorance of xenophobes who try to disentangle or disown these many connections, there is no escaping it. Really though, why would you even want to? That said, it was made clear yesterday that there are many parts that maybe aren’t embraced or celebrated quite like they should be.

It pained me a little to think that I had never seen the Calypso Monarch contest before last night. This is a competition that has been on these shores since the 1950s, at the very least there should be a live BBC broadcast on one of their many Radio, TV or even digital channels. The likes of Brown Sugar, Alexander D Great and G String expressed the thoughts and feelings of the whole nation in their songs. Broadcast from the iconic Abbey Road studios, they covered topics such as Brexit, Racism and of course the ever present Covid 19. These are songs by the people for the people and they should rightly be appreciated by everybody, I was happy that I got the chance to appreciate them last night.

We also need to recognise that Soca is not just for Carnival (to be fair even Trinidad & Tobago are still getting to grips with this one). It was fantastic to see a short film about the “Sound of Soca” on the broadcast, but I know for a fact that the footage used has been offered to all of the major and many smaller outlets for a few years previously with no interest. Plus the talented UK based artists such Triniboi Joocie, Ms Desire, DeeVine, Terrah Dan, Scrappy and all of the others should be much better represented. Yes we on the Super Soca Show are also guilty here, this isn’t a chastisement it’s more of a call to arms, ourselves included.



There was much more to love about last night’s broadcast, from insightful interviews to fantastic live performances (though whoever messed up by cutting Janet Kay off just before Silly Games needs a good talking to) and I’m sure there will be much more to learn and love over the rest of the weekend. It may be the loneliest Carnival ever, but it’s still our Carnival and we should celebrate it as much as we are humanly able.

Sign up to the live broadcasts at nhcarnival.org and if you are watching over the rest of the weekend and need someone else to appreciate a DJ or a live performance with, then feel free to holler at @KaptinisDead on Twitter, it’s the best I’ve got right now but it’s something.

NB: I’m aware that I’ve only focused on the Caribbean influenced elements of Carnival and yet Notting Hill Carnival is nearly as diverse as the city itself, fully appreciate this and I only covered what was shown on the broadcast but the following days also pay tribute to the West African and South American influences at the very least and I may well cover these on subsequent posts.
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NOT-TING HILL CARNIVAL 2020 – ONLINE BACCHANAL

There’s so much to say about Notting Hill Carnival’s online presence this weekend, too much in fact so I’m going to keep it brief. Suffice to say they have knocked it out the park and although nothing will quite match up to the joys of stumbling through packed streets trying to find your favourite sound after forgetting that there’s a reason you don’t usually smoke weed after drinking rum all day, they have at least given a worthy representation of the infinite elements and influences which make up one of the best Carnivals in the world.

For the online broadcast there are four channels, Channel One (not to be confused with the legendary reggae sound) kicks off proceedings on the Saturday with the Panology Steelband Show and the UK’s Soca Monarch contest (or should I say London’s considering there is often one for the older Leeds Carnival who had their first Calypso King contest back in 1967! They will also be repping online for those who like their celebrations a little cosier and much more Northern. I will certainly be tuning in to check Soca star Lyrikal and catch some of the vibes. To register go to @CarnivalLeeds on Twitter).

That channel will continue over the rest of the weekend with interviews, conversations, food & drink, carnival poetry & Soca ‘Warm-Up Workouts’ amongst other things, whilst Channel Two mostly tries it’s best to create a Mas Parade feeling online, Channel Three reps many of the best loved Sound Systems and the Main Stage on Channel Four has a huge list of incredible artists repping Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Barbados and of course the UK. I’m not even going to start mentioning them all but if you love Soca, Reggae and Afrobeats you’re in for a treat especially. Have a proper scout of the website here and don’t forget to register for full access.

There’s also a major Spotify collaboration with a whole bunch of podcasts and specially curated takeovers that range from The Marley Brothers to Machel Montano. Sounds such as Rampage, Saxon Sound, KCC, Channel One, Rap Attack, Nasty Love, Gladdy Wax and Gaz’s Rockin Blues are also included in the celebrations. Check more information on that here.

I’m not sure if this will fend off or fuel my carnival tabanca this year but either way I’m looking forwards to this weekend and I’m glad to see it’s being repped with care and consideration.

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VIRTUAL SOCA MONARCHS

I’ve been crashing out super early most nights over lockdown but I managed a late Saturday night this weekend just gone to catch the Antigua & Barbuda Soca Party Monarch contest.

For those who don’t know the Soca Monarch competition happens on most of the Caribbean Islands (plus Guyana) where Soca music is prevalent. Artists in these tournaments are judged for the live performance (including a band, usually provided) of one of their tracks. Generally each artist will choose one of their favourites from that season, but due to Covid 19 things ran a little different this year for this particular one and there were a number of classic songs in the contest.

Of course the biggest issue was that, aside from the judges, film crew and presenters the artists had no crowd to perform to, except for those viewing at home who were encouraged to still get involved with call and response in the comments section of the live chat. In many ways this could have been a bonus for some artists, although a great crowd is a real lift for the performer, any artists who don’t catch the mood for whatever reason, have to work 10 times as hard to make sure the energy doesn’t get sucked out of them by a stiff response.

Energy was certainly not a problem for any of the performers this time, levels were high and in a world where live shows are often just seen as a necessary inconvenience, one great thing about Soca monarch contests in general is just how much the performance matters. Artists are judged on the originality and creativity of their lyrics, the arrangement and melody line of the music, but also on the rendition and, depending on the type of tune, whether they brought the ‘groove’ or the ‘party’ with them.

Set On revived his 2013 hit ‘Smile A Lot’ which was a previous runner up in the Groovy category but came in at third place this time (there was no distinction between the usual Groovy and Jumpy competitions, with just one overall winner). The main difference this time was, due to only being allowed minimal props, he relied on a little acting, taking the form of The Joker once again (as he did in 2013) but this time adding a rather sinister twist to the otherwise feel good vibe of the song.

In second place was Ricardo Drue with ‘Homesick’, a firm favourite on our Super Soca Show radio outings, in fact we’ve played it every week since it came out.

Although he had been sat on the track for four years before releasing, he couldn’t have a more relevant tune for our times as he laments missing his ‘home’ turf of the Carnival fetes. It’s a great track that can be found on his recent album of the same name. I had it on whilst jogging this evening and it’s fantastic.

In the top spot was another classic, this time it was the 2005 El A Kru track ‘Maria’ which helped secure this year’s Soca Monarch title for the song’s original vocalist Blade, no longer a member of his old band but now with Burning Flames. His faultless performance certainly showed just why he was asked to be a vocalist for arguably the island’s all time number one Soca family.

Although he never placed, my personal favourite and undoubtedly the people’s champion judging by the live comments section was Lyricksman whose questionable Covid 19 garlic remedy (not actually a remedy) extolled in his track Antrobibiogibatic (not the catchiest title but certainly a talking point) was forgiven with the stand out performance of the night whilst also being dressed as a gigantic clove of garlic.

Honourable mentions must also go to Destiny, a protege of the reigning Groovy Monarch Menace XL and his MnM camp, she gave a strong solid rendition of ‘I Like It’ which ticked all of the boxes for sure, and also newcomer Island Prince, who was the reigning Junior Groovy Monarch, certainly showed a lot of promise for the future.

Many other Soca Monarch competitions have also moved online, the one in St Vincent & The Grenadines happened last month with Sick-O taking the main title and D’Fusion winning the Ragga Soca title, whilst this coming Friday is the Cyber Monarch in Grenada which is also running differently with the same entrants for both the Groovy and Power Monarch categories and just one overall winner at the end. The line up for that is strong though with many of the islands top artists competing so I shall certainly be tuning in if I can manage another late night!

Don’t forget myself, Dub Boy, Sam Atki2 and Jonesy Wales host the Super Soca Show every Saturday on Ujima 98FM from 12-2pm (BST or GMT depending on the time of year). You can catch the last few shows on the Ujima website or previous shows on our Mixcloud. We have also started a Spotify playlist for the new tunes we play which started this week.

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GLASTONBURY PLAYLISTS: SHANGRI-LA’S LIVE BANDS + KENDRICK LAMAR APPRECIATION CLUB

I’m going to come back to both of these playlists at a later date and break them both down properly but for now here are my next two daily playlists which continue the Glastonbury theme.

First up is 80 fantastic bands that have graced the Shangri La area of Glastonbury, down there in the South East ‘Naughty Corner’. Also the place I’ve played the majority of my sets at the festival under various guises. Big shout out to Chris Tofu who programmed most of these bands and continues to be a shining star for alternative festival music and culture.

Next is tomorrow’s playlist but as Kendrick Lamar was due to be headlining the Pyramid stage tonight you can have it early. 40 tunes that prove he is one of the greatest of all time.

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GLASTONBURY 1982 – MY FIRST YEAR

*Playlist at the bottom if you want to head straight there.

Continuing on from yesterday’s Glastonbury post, I’ve made a playlist in a similar vein to the 1970 one but dedicated to my very first visit to Worthy Farm back in 1982. As with the previous one I have tried to keep it in the order which acts played, however there’s not exactly a scientific method to guarantee that I’m correct. I certainly remember very little from that year except for working the gates with my Dad (I assume as part of CND as it was their second year as both financial beneficiaries and co-organisers of the event) and being very happy to receive 20p tips, lots and lots of mud, loving the big pirate ship in the kids area but being rather worried about the signs saying “Beware Of The Adders”, getting very lost (not for the last time at Glastonbury) and having a lovely hippy couple buy me my first ever can of coca-cola. That’s pretty much it, the only band I remember that year were Aswad who would continue to be a life long favourite. Here’s a cute photo of me from that year though…

Of course the music in 1982 was a world away from that very first one in 1970, although the original policy of Pop, Folk & Blues was still apparent in acts such as the Climax Blues Band, who had been around since the late 60s but were veering toward a more rock & pop sound by the 80s. Not to be confused with The Blues Band of course, who were also on the bill and were formed from the ashes of ‘British Invasion’ band Manfred Mann in 1979.

The folkier side was represented by the much loved Irish traditionalists The Chieftains. I’ve included the only two tunes I’m fairly sure that they played which are ‘Boil The Breakfast Early’ from their 1979 album of the same name and the hillbilly hoedown classic ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ that had been a duet with Ricky Skaggs on their 1981 album ‘Another Country’.

There was also Roy Harper, who had gotten into an onstage punch up with Ginger Baker the previous year. I haven’t included any songs from him here though as he mostly performed tracks from his Work Of Heart album which isn’t on Spotify. However you can watch a video of him performing the 20 minute title medley which makes up the whole second side of the album (and most of his live set too).

Both Thompson Twins and U2 are on the poster but almost certainly didn’t play and there was Funkapolitan, Ekome and Steve Wally but I can’t find any evidence of their sets and they aren’t on Spotify anyway to be fair, so the only other act I know who definitely played but isn’t included on this playlist is Jean Phillipe Rykiel, here’s a video from his synthtastic performance though.

The other band on that video is Talisman, Bristol reggae legends who were a very well respected live force but much like fellow Bristolians Black Roots, never signed a major label deal like many of their contemporaries so often get missed out of the history books. They had no album out at this time but their ‘Dole Age’ 7” single from 1981 seemed to have had quite a bit of pick-up.

Although I’m not sure if the likes of Jah Shaka and Saxon Sound were doing their all night sessions by that point, reggae had a relatively solid representation that year (although in the Official Glastonbury 50th Anniversary Book it states that Dennis Brown played in 1982, but that wasn’t til the following year). As I mentioned earlier, Aswad also played. One of our most successful reggae exports who were just on the cusp of breaking through to a bigger audience in 1982. You can actually watch their whole set below, I’ve included two tracks from it on the playlist. ‘Sons Of Criminals’ from their 1979 album Hulet and Warrior Charge from the underground classic film Babylon which also starred lead singer Brinsley Forde.

The poster also says that Steel Pulse were supposed to play but I can only deduce that they were replaced by Black Uhuru who by all accounts seem to have headlined the Friday night. It sounds like it was a great show and I can well imagine with the mighty Mykal Rose on vocals and reggae’s greatest rhythm section Sly & Robbie also performing with them that night. Sadly any videos of their set that night seem to have been taken down.

Another highlight that is often mentioned, also the only set my Dad can actually remember, is Judy Tzuke who had started as a teenager in the folk clubs and had a Top 20 pop hit in 1979 with ‘Stay With Me Til Dawn’ which I’ve included the live version of here (from 1982, potentially this Glastonbury performance). She had just moved over from Elton John’s Rocket record label to Chrysalis and had been on a 57 date tour to promote her 4th album ‘Shoot The Moon’. Glastonbury was the grand finale of the tour and sounds like it was a strong performance. There is a live album called ‘Road Noise’ that includes some tracks from the show.

It’s proved impossible to work out exactly who actually opened the stage but based on billing and hazy recollections from various people it might well have been Osibisa. They are one of my favourite bands from this line up, a heavy, soulful, funk driven afro-rock band made up of West African and Caribbean expats based in London. They had been around since the late 60s and are still about in some form today. They were a favourite on the early New York Disco scene of the early 70s and on this playlist I’ve included their 1982 version of their Disco classic ‘Sunshine Day’ which originally appeared on their 5th album ‘Welcome Home’ in 1975 plus ‘Time Is Right’ from their 1981 album ‘African Flight’.

If Osibisa did open then my best guess for the next act is “punk poet” John Cooper Clarke who performed in both 1981-1982. Having not held the festival in 1976-77 and only being very “impromptu” in 78, there was never really much punk per se at Glastonbury but the post-punk era saw the likes of The Pop Group and The Slits in 1979, with The Sound (and you could maybe include New Order) in 1981, whilst here in 1982 (and the following year) funk fuelled Northerners, A Certain Ratio, played off the back of their third and perhaps finest album on Factory, ‘Sextet’.

What I really respect about the programming for this year is the fact that Van Morrison and Jackson Browne are both at the top of the main posters but it looks like neither played the final slot traditionally allotted to the ‘headliners’. As someone who has railed against the old school linear programming approach for years this is definitely appreciated.

According to Emily Eavis, Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’ had been a favourite in their household but never one to fall back on the hits, Van Morrison stuck mostly to tracks from his last three albums, including that year’s ‘Beautiful Vision’, plus a few choice covers and perhaps one nod to the crowd with ‘Gloria’ from his old band Them. The Eavis family can’t have been too upset not to hear some of their favourites however, as Van Morrison has played the festival at least another six times since.

Given the CND involvement, Jackson Browne’s history of anti-nuclear protests was no doubt a bonus. Amongst other things he had co-founded the Musicians United for Safe Energy and had been arrested protesting against the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. If I’m brutally honest I’m not a big fan of the music particularly but many are and he’s also written for the likes of Joan Baez, The Eagles and The Byrds.

I’ve just had to change the tunes I had planned for Randy Crawford as I’ve only come across his set list in my final edit of the post. To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of his 1982 release ‘All Along The Watchtower’ but I’m a little disappointed he didn’t play the title track, considering Randy actually played in Jimmy James and the Blue Flames with Jimmy Hendrix when he was just 15 years old and it was a nice segway into the next paragraph. Ah well, I’m going to keep that how it was anyway, apologies to all the continuity sticklers….

Incidentally it was Sunday night’s final act Richie Havens who had first introduced Jimmy to the song, after he had gotten it from Bob Dylan. Although I can’t find any recordings of his 1982 set, there’s a great video of him performing in 1987 here, where he opens with another Dylan song ‘Just Like A Woman’. He also performs ‘Freedom’ which many will recognise from his iconic opening set at Woodstock. I’ve included that on the playlist along with his incredible 1980 Lamont Dozier cover ‘Going Back To My Roots’ to round it all off nicely.

Of course I’ve nearly forgotten to include Saturday night’s headline act, which considering the Torygraph once asked “Are Mancuniain pop-rockers Sad Cafe the most-forgotten of all Glastonbury headliners’” is quite ironic. To be honest they were the only act I’d never even heard of from the line up, although I did know lead vocalist Paul Young for his solo work and his time with Mike & The Mechanics. Perhaps there’s a reason for that, but regardless they did once headline the Pyramid stage which is more than I’m ever likely to do.

That said I’m happy enough playing my usual sets over in the South East “Naughty” corner, which I shall be representing in tomorrow’s playlist (and blog post though that might not be til a little later) when I showcase some of the incredible bands that my legendary compadre Chris Tofu has booked for Shangri La over the years. Honestly there’s some real gems amongst them that usually get overlooked in the wider Glastonbury coverage so do check that out. Until then here’s my 1982 playlist, enjoy!

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Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival 1970 (aka The Very First Glastonbury)

*Playlist at the bottom if you want to head straight there.

Today I should be heading down to be part of celebrations for Glastonbury Festival’s 50th Birthday, sadly due to Covid 19 none of us are but I wanted to mark the occasion still, so I’ve put a few dedicated playlists together.

The first is a celebration of the festival’s very beginnings, right back to 1970 when Michael and Jean first decided to open Worthy farm to a mixture of hippies, freaks and curious locals for the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival. A very different affair to what we see today, even the name is completely different, although more geographically correct at least.

If it wasn’t for what Glastonbury grew to become, Pilton Pop would most likely be a footnote in UK Festival History at best and there is little chance I would have given the majority of the bands here the time of day. It had nothing like the all star commercial draws of that year’s final ill fated Isle Of Wight Festival or the very same Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music which inspired the couple to try their hand at putting on a festival. Nor did it have the counter cultural clout of Phun City, arguably the precursor to the free festival scene of which Glastonbury would become a part of the next year when Andrew Kerr and Arabella Churchill came on board. However here we are 50 years later, the small gathering of around 1000 – 2000 people has grown to a 200,000 capacity city of discovery, experimentation, inspiration and escapism and I’m relishing the excuse to dig back through that first line up and introduce a few new fantastic acts to you.

In fact the only real household name booked in 1970 was probably The Kinks, who actually pulled out last minute. I’m not even certain how many of the bands Michael Eavis actually knew before he booked them. Although he was (and still remains) an avid Pop music fan, by his own admission once he’d set his mind on the idea of a festival, he simply got the phone book out and decided to ring round some agents, the majority of which I assume would have been Bristol based.

That’s certainly the case with the Plastic Dog Agency and amongst the acts that agent Mike Tobin put forward was a relatively new band he was managing called Stackridge. Briefed by Eavis to fill in any gaps in the programming should any of the other bands not turn up, they ended up becoming the first ever band to play Glastonbury, opening with ‘Teatime’ the first track on this playlist, a wonderful tune which starts relatively twee and lovely before building up some powerful momentum and energy, given the reports of this first year and where they are now I found it rather fitting.

A progressive rock band with some folk leanings, Stackridge would sign to MCA Records later that year, eventually working with legendary Beatles producer George Martin and recording a number of sessions for John Peel’s Radio 1 show. They never quite got the recognition they were after and split in 1977 with a couple of members finding some success as part of The Korgis (remember this one?).

I’ve tried to keep the artists within the order they performed, however with no film cameras or recordings and only hazy recollections, there’s obviously no guarantee of that. Also not all of the acts that played have music on Spotify. As far as I can tell though, Keith Christmas went on relatively early and he’s next on the playlist.

Keith was a respectable name on the British Folk scene and his agents, The Village Thing, had their offices above Bristol’s legendary Troubadour Folk Club. His debut album ‘Stimulus’ had been released on RCA the year before and I’ve included his excellent ‘Travelling Down’ from that plus two songs from his 1970 follow up Fable Of The Wings. An interesting aside is that Keith played guitar on David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ after he had performed at the 1969 Beckenham Free Festival which Bowie had organised. He’s still doing his thing too, his ‘Life, Life’ album was released just last year.

Representing the other side of the progressive folk rock spectrum and scoring high on the twee spectrum was Amazing Blondel. They were a lute wielding troupe from Scunthorpe, inspired by Renaissance music and Elton Haye’s faux medieval minstrel works whose debut album had come out in 1970.

Their next album later that year came out on Island Records, as did 3 subsequent others and they supported such luminaries as Genesis, Procol Harum and Steeleye Span. Despite never quite reaching those heights and being included in the Torygraph’s ‘Worst Acts To Play Glastonbury’ they actually had some great tunes as you can hear on this playlist and under that friendly folk exterior were some pretty solid bluesy grooves at times.

We get a little bit further out there with Marsupilami, another band who had just released their debut album. They were signed to Transatlantic Records whose roster up until then had included a mixture of jazz, blues, folk and experimental artists such as Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, John Cage, John Coltrane, Pentangle, Ralph McTell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Richie Havens and Alex Korner. I’d say their prog rock offering probably sat somewhere in the middle of that lot whilst also betraying just a little of their rhythm & blues background.

They had been the first act on at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1969 but there seems to be little else to tell before they eventually called it a day in 1971. To be honest though the music they left behind in their short lifespan kind of speaks for itself, I can totally see myself tripping balls in a farmers field to them and loving it back in 1970.

Another band who had a similar musical journey through r&b to prog rock was Alan Bown. They had been running for 5 years prior to the festival, relatively ancient compared to most of the rest and had just replaced their singer with Robert Palmer of ‘Addicted To Love’ fame.

The only album I could find on Spotify was their 1968 debut which came out on Verve Forecast, a rock subsidiary of the legendary Jazz label that ran from 1967-70, however they had a follow up in 1969 on Decca subsidiary Deram in 1969 and an album out on Island Records in 1970 called ‘Listen’ so do hunt them down if you want a better idea where they were at around the time that we’re talking about (although the UK release of their second album ‘The Alan Bown! Is the only one to feature Palmer on vocals, the US version of the same album still has their previous vocalist Jess Roden).

Quintessence were another jazz influenced prog rock band who were also signed to Island Records. They were based in Notting Hill and had a heavy Indian influence, undoubtedly inspired by the band’s spiritual Guru, Swami Ambikananda. To be fair the tracks I’ve picked here from their self titled second album perhaps don’t show that influence as much as some others on there but I’d recommend checking out the whole release. Also Raja Ram from the band went on to form Psy-Trance pioneers Shpongle and still plays with them occasionally.

The next three acts came on as it got dark at the festival, all had a heavy Blues leaning: Duster Bennett, a one man band who was backed on some of his early recordings by members of label mates Fleetwood Mac. The 3 tracks I’ve picked from his 1970 album ‘12DB’s’ feature Peter Green and original Yardbirds guitarist Top Topham and I’ve also included his live version of ‘Bright Lights Big City’ as a Somerset Gazette report from the time picks it out as the last tune from his set and a highlight of the weekend. Bennet sadly died in a car crash in 1976 but was very much respected in the Blues community and definitely had the potential to be a star by the sounds of it; following Bennet was Steamhammer who, although very much based in the blues, ventured more into rock music. I’ve included a couple of tracks from their 1970 album ‘Mountains’ which was released through B&C Records but also a couple from their previous 1969 album ‘MKII’ which came out on CBS; then Sam Apple Pie, a band from Walthamstow who ran their own Blues Club. The tracks I’ve featured are from their debut 1969 self titled album, but they named their second album after their postcode – East 17 and I can’t help but wonder if any followers of the 90s boy band ever purchased it by mistake.

Although the reporter from the Somerset Gazette then jumps to the headline band, Michael Eavis has previously said how glad he was that Ian Anderson played such a great set just before, as Marc Bolan was late arriving, so I’m going to assume he was up next.

Not to be confused with Jethro Tull’s frontman of the same name, Ian was another act that Michael had booked through The Village Thing agency and in fact Ian co-ran both agency and the record label of the same name. All of the tracks here are from 1970 releases but two are from his Book Of Changes album on Fontana which still shows influences from his previous incarnation as Ian Anderson’s Country Blues Band, whilst the others from ‘Time Is Ripe’ on The Village Thing label showcases more of the folkier alternative side that the label would be known for (Ian also went on to edit fRoots magazine, pretty much the folk lovers bible).

To be honest I have no idea what music his set leaned towards that evening but certainly his later offerings would have worked nicely before the psychedelic Folk sound that Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn were just about holding onto as Tyrannosaurus Rex around that time, albeit with an ever growing rock sensibility as you can hear here.

Edit: I’ve actually just been introduced to Ian and he says he would have been playing songs from “Royal York Crescent”, performing with the same musicians that were on the album (his debut for The Village Thing). You can check tracks from it on the excellent ‘The Time Is Right’ compilation over there at Bandcamp

Of course just one month after Pilton Pop they released “Ride A White Swan” the first single under the shortened moniker of T.Rex. Next came glam rock super stardom before Bolan’s untimely death in a car accident on 16th September 1977.

Originn is the only other band I know that played the festival but I can’t find any releases from them, Wayne Fontana was down to play but was a ‘no show’ and although there have been reports that both Roy Harper and Planxty performed I can’t find any credible evidence for this, despite which Planxty didn’t actually form until 2 years later!

It would seem that nearly all of the acts that played were relatively unknown but just on the edge of bigger things, I would guess this was likely a budgetary issue more than anything else. Even the headliner fee of £500 was a far sight less than the £20,000 paid for Led Zeppelin at the Bath Blues Festival earlier that year (Eavis eventually had to pay Bolan off in installments as they hadn’t actually broken even) but often this is the most exciting time to catch acts, also the fact that none but T.Rex have remained household names means their histories will be forever tied closely to this very first Glastonbury Festival. Regardless of that association though, there are some fantastic songs in this playlist that deserve to be heard more so as we can’t be back on Worthy Farm this year, what better way to kick off this long weekend in lockdown, then cranking up these songs, taking yourself back to 1970 and celebrating the very humble beginnings of the world’s most iconic music festival.

Next playlist up is Glastonbury 1982 – the first year I found myself there. Also I’ve been making a playlist a day since lockdown began covering lots of different music scenes, genres, acts, years and events. You can find the rest here.

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DUR BRAIN – SPIRITUAL

I’m not sure you can live in Bristol without having a healthy mix of respect, belief, scepticism and occasionally actual contempt for the all round holistic hotch potch of esoteric influences that have come to (somewhat) define the New Age movement. To unpack all of that would take longer than I can be bothered right now, however I think most of the ‘contempt’ side of the equation is stoked by those very same insufferable pseudo spiritual spunkwagons that Dur Brain is addressing in this here new Hip-hop tune, I’m sure some of you will recognise the type.

I’m yet to see Bingbag Wisdom live but I’m forever told great things about them and Dur Brain is both drummer and emcee with the group. This is his debut track for a new self produced solo project and it’s off to a fine start I reckon. Coming off a little like Tone Def’s PM Dawn piss take in ‘Fear Of A Black Hat’ but with a 2020 Bristol twist. this should be a festival anthem when we’re finally allowed out together again.

Out today to purchase on all major platforms.

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KENNY ROGERS APPRECIATION CLUB

My first encounter with the music of Kenny Rogers was in the mid 90s. I was working as a waiter in Pontins and shared a room with Alan from the Rhondda Valley. There were many peculiarities about Alan but the most relevant here was his taste in music, it was literally the worst I’ve ever known. He delighted in buying £1 tapes of pub cover bands singing naff songs, those were his absolute favourite, he would come in drunk after the pubs closed at night and play them at full volume. The reason this is important is because out of everything he played, 2 songs were a reprieve from the rest, Carl Douglas’ ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ and Kenny Rogers ‘Coward Of The County’. Both he played a lot, I mean a few times a day. That in itself could easily have driven me insane but I actually breathed a sigh of relief when they came on, trust me it was better than everything else in his collection.

I never really paid Kenny much mind after that, until Wyclef Jean from The Fugees dropped his Dubplate of ‘The Gambler’, I hadn’t yet heard the original but I loved that version. Then of course fellow Fugee, Pras dropped ‘Ghetto Superstar’ to the tune of ‘Islands In The Stream’, Kenny’s classic duet with Dolly Parton. Again, at that point I’d never heard the original but when I did, my brain already had a positive association which meant I had an automatic appreciation.

It took me many years more to build up a proper love for Country Music, in fact it took watching Smokey & The Bandit 1-3 back to back one late night to even plant the seed properly (never ever both watching number 3 by the way, Burt Reynolds only appears in flashbacks).

I still can’t quite get with the majority of Kenny’s output, saccharine love songs and over polished production abound, however there’s no question that he’s left behind some phenomenal music. His early work with The First Edition is probably my favourite stuff, it’s country music blended with soul, blues and folk, but there are still many gems in his more mainstream years, his story telling especially is second to few. I’ve tried to pick out the best for my latest ‘Appreciation Club’ playlist and it’s really lifted my mood no end since putting it on myself. Hopefully it can do the same for you. Even if you never thought you liked Kenny Rogers before, please pay tribute to this lost legend today by putting it in, you never know!

In case you didn’t get the news, Kenny Rogers died last night. Rest in power Kenny, thanks for the music. Here’s the playlist…

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ISOLATION RAVING

How many times have you heard the word unprecedented in the last couple of weeks? To be fair nothing else quite seems to sum things up as precisely and with nobody really having any clue as to what’s happening next (or now come to think of it), expect to hear the word a hell of a lot more.

Certainly I’ve never known anything come close, watching the fragility of the world around me as it unravels is truly humbling and more than a little unnerving. My whole life is events and music pretty much, I’d never ever conceived of a time when people wouldn’t be gathering together, not even in my most dystopian visions of future wartime. But I’ve watched in shock and more than a little horror as seemingly unshakeable institutions such as Glastonbury fall foul of covid-19s viral reach, we can but hope that most of the festivals and events which have been affected / infected are simply ‘off work sick’, although I’m sure there must be at least a few with underlying health issues already.

But it’s impossible for me to be totally pessimistic at this exact moment, because I am currently tuned into Darius Syrossian’s DJ set at the Defected Virtual Festival, if ever there was an injection of relentless optimism this has to be it.

Before I was inspired to sit down and write this I’d been dancing round my kitchen to the sounds of Shapeshifters, prior to that I’d been trying to keep up with BoJo’s daily broadcast via subtitles with The Vision playing in the background and Dan Shake’s set which started my afternoon at the festival (sadly I was late to the party and missed Joey Negro,Monki, Melvo Baptiste and Defected head honcho Simon Dunmore) was probably enough good vibes to see me through the apocalypse.

What’s been particularly great though is the amount of people I’m seeing locked on and loving it. Sure there has been online broadcasts for many many years and some have built up a sense of community around them, but this feels different somehow. Perhaps it’s because we don’t have much other choice for communal musical appreciation (even the Eurovision Song Concert has been hit, not that I could ever remember watching it) and anything is better than nothing, even in isolation there is a certain sense of togetherness. Of course nothing beats being together in the same place, united on the dancefloor, and you’d better believe I hope we can get back to that soon, but at least social distancing in times of the internet doesn’t have to mean complete social exclusion.



Of course I shall see how I get on after 7pm when I switch to the Run Tingz ‘Big Bristol Lockdown’ stream. A good old fashioned sweaty rave up probably won’t be the same on my ones but it’s important to keep on moving and keep positive.

See you on the virtual dancefloor ❤

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