Saturday, August 3, 2019

After London After Midnight

John Peel already had US radio DJ experience before he joined Radio London, the UK's legendary pirate radio station in '67. Allocated the unpopular London After Midnight slot, he quickly changed the show's name to The Perfumed Garden and began doing what was then called his own thing. No-one else was in his tree at that time (nor later, when he embraced punk with the same fervor) and his choice of music was based on first-hand experience of what was happening in the US. The show started in May '67 - what you - Mister John Q Public of Anytown USA - have here is a blister-pack of shows July through August that year, when the station was forced to close. BOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! The Man Can't Steal Our Music!

It's apparent from the first few seconds that Peel knew his subject - he knew it was Shawn Phillips playing sitar on the first track. Nobody had heard of Phillips back then (he's getting a piece at FMF©). The quality is pretty awful - exactly the fidelity I heard it at, listening to my transistor radio through a flesh-colored deaf-aid earpiece. Re-live those magical radio moments in the comfort of your own home (if you have one)! Thrill to the nascent musical revolution that heralded the Age of Aquarius! Weep with despair at what the fuck happened to everything since!

8 comments:

  1. Ah Farquahr, I'll forgive the backhanded stab at my frequent homeless state, since you have brought back to my cerebral cortex the happy memories of my youth. A tiny transistor radio, placed under my pillow, with a wired ear piece connected to my right ear on Sunday nights. Having to frequently change the placement of the 2" square box in a futile attempt to gain better reception for the unknown and exotic sounds of Beaker Street radio, that somehow magically transmitted from the bowels of Little Rock to the swamps of New Orleans. Yes, merci Farquhar. T'was a long time ago, but it still brings a smile to this cragged face.

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    1. pmac, this is how I first heard the music that changed my life, and that I still listen to today. The shitty quality never occurred to me - it just sounded fantastic and exciting and magical. When I was buying albums for my first stereo, I wasn't basking in the warmth of the analog experience, I was ignoring the crackles. The music was what mattered. CDs ushered in a whole new era of sound for its own sake - suddenly we weren't listening to the music any more, but the sound it made. The back-to-vinyl purists were even worse than the CD nuts. Vinyl revered for its own sake. These days - our fever-dream apocalypse - I do all of my listening on mp3, the much-derided file format that is actually the greatest advance in Music Fun since the 45rpm record. Wine-tasters throw up their hands in horror, but I'm remembering that insect buzz of my transistor radio, the music warping through the Van Allen belt, right into my heart. mp3 is as hi-fi as I'll ever need.

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  2. Beaker Street radio, the first (& likely only place) that I heard the most incredible "Legend of the Titanic" by Jamie Brockett. pmac - those were the days, my friend. Beaker street made it up into I-70 territory in Kansas, that station had powerful juju and lotsa watts, Incredible late evening summertime AM radio in the Nova, you know...before the incarceration began. ONWARD thru the Fog!

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  3. Hoo Boy, another can 'o' worms. I guess I'm one of those CD nuts.
    Like most readers here my first audio system was a transistor radio and a crappy mono record player with a 3 inch speaker. I did know people with a real stereo system, though, and learned that music in high fidelity (and stereo!) is more musically satisfying.
    Ten years later someone gave me a ride in an SUV with a high end cassette system, and it sounded great. The lesson there was that technology marches on and "low end" formats can be quite capable. I listen to MP3 a lot (I like being outside) and enjoy the hell out of it, but HI-FI still rules.

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    1. Great music deserves great sound, and if you've got the set-up, exploit it. I'll defend the mp3 against higher-fi carriers for a number of reasons - accessibility, portability, flexibility, and enough qual-ity to satisfy my needs. Plus, fun.

      Listening to music through an ear-bud is preferable to having any number of unopened box sets sat on a shelf.

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  4. If You're Going to San FranciscoJanuary 23, 2020 at 12:41 AM

    Please please re-up this one. Love these UK radio shows. tx

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