Wednesday, 27 February 2013

All You Ever Do Is Talk Talk - Collected Interviews

As well as writing reviews, blogging and other things I've had the opportunity to do some great interviews in recent months for The Guide. This has frequently involved me chatting to well-known people whose work I have been familiar with for many years.

In some cases its been interesting because some people I chat to, I'm informed don't like been interviewed tend to chat the longest, while others can sometimes be a bit more remote, I usually get a few good quotes and comments though, and its an interesting side of the job.

Here's a few of the latest interviews published, all are on the South Wales Argus website, some links have recently changed due to a site redesign, if you spot a missing one feel free to let me know and I'll look into it...

DANCE:
THEATRE:
MUSIC
COMEDY

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Retro Vinyl: Frank Ifield - Babes In the Wood (Columbia, 1966)

I guess all vinyl is pretty retro now, I've had loads of it for years, at one point I donated around 200 albums to a charity shop and sold several on eBay just to downsize (much to my regret) the big problem is usually where to store it.

In recent years I've picked up the odd record in charity shops, though I mainly buy a release now if it only holds a special memory for me, or if I like the cover or what it represents.

I'm going to post several of these items on Retrospace in coming months, there will be stuff from a variety of performers, some from my original collection and some oddities...

I found this release in a charity shop in Swansea around 13 years ago, and features none other than 60s chart star Frank Ifield's soundtrack from his 1965 London Palladium pantomime Babes In The Wood (Columbia SCX6009).

Frank had scored big hits a few years previously with his versions of I'll Remember You and Lovesick Blues on Columbia Records.

Produced by Norrie Paramor, Frank also shared labels with Cliff Richard and The Shadows, in fact it was The Shadows, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett and John Rostill who composed the music and lyrics on this album.

The Shadows had previously been involved with writing music on Cliff's pantomime Aladdin the year before. The Shadows would later re-record some of these songs for their 1966 album Shadow Music.

Looking at the reverse of the cover it looks like Babes In The Wood had quite a cast too, based on a script written by none other than David Croft (still a few years away from Dad's Army) we also have Sid James, Kenneth Connor Roy Kinnear and Arthur Askey taking part in the show.

The reverse cover also sports a silhouette design of Frank as Robin Hood with track listing and production credits for the show and album. I imagine the designer had a great time squeezing all that information in!

This particular release is in Stereo, rare for the time I guess, but a nice collectible. It doesn't seem to have gained a CD release which is interesting considering the Shadows connection.

Its great to see Frank is still very active in the performance circuit and noticed he recently visited Cardiff on his website - I'm gutted I missed him!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Retro Vinyl: Ian Fleming's Goldfinger Original Motion Picture Score (1964)

Although the James Bond film franchise kicked off in 1962 with Dr.No it was 1964's third Bond film that undoubtedly became the most iconic.

Starring Sean Connery as 007, Honor Blackman (fresh from her stint as Cathy Gale in The Avengers) and Gert Frobe as Goldfinger, there is much to remember about this exciting film.

This includes the Aston Martin DB5 and an attack on Fort Knox along with a fabulous music score from John Barry featuring a title theme sung by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley sung by Shirley Bassey.

I actually had this United Artists album on CD some years back and foolishly sold it during a purge, but couldn't resist this vinyl original (ULP1076) when I found it in a Newport car boot sale a few years ago for 50p.

The original mono release its definetely a great piece of 60s pop culture... It was more than worth it for the iconic cover alone!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Jon Pertwee Interview Reveals How Late Actor Nearly Became Mainwaring

This months Doctor Who Magazine features a previously unpublished interview with Jon Pertwee who passed away in 1996.

The actor known for his roles in Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge was also David Croft's favourite choice for the role of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army before Arthur Lowe was cast in 1968.

Jon who was in a Broadway production of There's A Girl In My Soup at the time, revealed how he was given a verbal dressing down by David Croft for not returning to England to film the pilot.

In the interview, originally conducted in 1994 with Matt Adams and David Southwell, Jon Pertwee (whose cousin Bill, played ARP Warden Hodges in Dad's Army) has nothing but compliments for Arthur's portrayal describing him as "the funniest thing I have ever seen" and also admits that had he become Mainwaring himself it would have been unlikely he would have gone on to play The Doctor in 1970.

You can read the interview with Jon Pertwee in issue 457 of Doctor Who Magazine dated March, 2013.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Retro Vinyl: Them - Historia De La Musica Rock, Volume 45 (1982)

I probably didn't get into Them until the late 80s when a rerun of Ready Steady Go featured the Irish rhythm n blues combo in one episode. 

This compilation features 12 great tracks recorded by Them between 1964 and 1966. Baby Please Don't Go is an excellent bluesy single from the 60s with great vocal from Van Morrison as is the rocker Gloria (later covered by U2) and Here Comes The Night (also recorded by Lulu). My favourite points are the blues standards including Paul Simon's adaptation of Edwin Arlington Robinson's Richard Cory and I Put A Spell On You.

I seem to remember purchasing this LP, Volume 45 in a series called Historia De La Musica Rock, from a Record Sale in W.H.Smith's. Darlington, County Durham in 1988. I don't think I would have paid more than  £2 for it and its always struck me as a rather odd release because of its foreign title.

A quick Google reveals Historia De La Musica Rock was part of a 100 volume collection attempting to document the history of popular rock music with reissues or compilations dedicated to specific artists - a nice idea for its time!

Heaven knows how this found itself into W.H. Smith's in Darlington though, although I do remember often seeing a lot of foreign releases by 60s bands in there, and used to spend hours perusing their vinyl sales.

This edition (Volume 45) was released on Decca in 1982 and appears to be a direct repackage of The World of Them from 1970 (also released on Decca Records).

For a completest look at Historia De La Musica Rock visit Rate Your Music.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Retro Vinyl: Buddy Holly's Greatest Hits (1967)

Buddy Holly's tragic demise on February 3, 1959 along with fellow rock n rollers Richie Valens and The Big Bopper didn't bring an end to the bespectacled Texan's record sales success.

Without even living to see the 1960s in he would go to sell numerous posthumous albums and singles as well as  impact the British music scene by influencing the likes of The Shadows, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Hollies.

I found this great 12 track compilation on a stall on Darlington Market back in the 1980s for around 50p.

Later Holly compilations are probably more comprehensive, but the beauty with this one is that at 12 tracks its greatness is in its simplicity. There is not a single song on here that couldn't be defined as one of Buddy's greatest hits from the rocking strong Crickets debut That'll Be The Day through to the posthumous ballad True Love Ways.

The original release of this LP appears to be June 1967, and various versions of it were reissued over the next decade until MCA put out 20 Golden Greats in the late 1970s.

I love the poster stylised cover of this version with purple background and vintage circus-style font, interestingly in-keeping with The Beatles Sergeant Pepper album released the same month.

Holly might have been gone 8 years by the time of this mono release but the ramifications of his musical legacy were still been felt in 1967 as they are now in 2013...

On Television: Dad's Army - The Honourable Man

Tonight's episode of Dad's Army (BBC2 Wales, 6:30pm) sees Sgt Wilson (John Le Mesurier) move up the social ladder in the fringes of aristocracy much to Mainwaring's (Arthur Lowe) annoyance.

There is some lovely interaction between Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier in this episode, particularly as their usual roles of Captain and Sergeant and Bank Manager and Clerk are almost overturned due to Mainwaring's pomposity.

If you want to buy this episode of Dad's Army you can find it on several DVD releases including Dad's Army- The Complete Sixth Series along with The Deadly Attachment.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Recalling 1963: The Beatles' She Loves You

It might be 2013, but the pop culture and history of 1963 still has a prolonged effect 50 years on...

It was the year of the big freeze in the UK, Cleopatra, The Birds, From Russia With Love and Summer Holiday  drew audiences to the cinema. History unfolded  Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and President  John F Kennedy's assassination while on television there was TW3, Steptoe and Son and  the launch of Doctor Who...

Of course, it was also the year of Beatlemania, not only did The Beatles take the pop charts by storm but also other beat groups such as Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Hollies, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes and The Rolling Stones.

Only a year before, Beatles manager Brian Epstein had been told that "Guitar groups were on their way out" when trying to win his clients a record contract, but even those aforementioned guitar groups such as The Shadows were still doing well in the chart stakes as were singers such as Cliff Richard and Frank Ifield.

She Loves You was The Beatles second Number One and had over 500,000 advance orders before it had even been revealed what the song was was called.

Its memorable "Yeah Yeah Yeah" chorus helped the fab four gain identity with not only the record public but the world and made John, Paul, George and Ringo the biggest thing since Elvis.

I love this release purely for its uplifting energy and passion, its a great single and the B Side I'll Get You is also a fabulous track showing The Beatles also made great B Sides as well - ( in fact Andy Fairweather Low recently featured a new interpretation of it on his tour).

This featured single was given to me in a clutch of old singles by my sister several years ago, its been well played but is still housed in its Parlophone sleeve and remains a recording of greatness.

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