Rabz’ Radio Show March 2023: Rock Chicks

This post will no doubt be seen as either a desperate attempt to ensure some gender balance or an exercise in unrepentant sexism.

Quite frankly Cats, I couldn’t give a rodent’s.

The definitive “Rock Chick” when I was growing up was one Suzi Quattro. All that leather and attitude, as well those heavy guitar chords blasted out (by her all male band) very loudly. A path followed by the likes of the Runaways and one Joan Jett, whose definitive contribution to Rock’s canon was “I love Rock and Roll (so put another dime in the jukebox, baby)”.

Otherwise, I’ve not really got any favourite “Rock Chicks” as such, my preference for women in contemporary music being more about their magnificent voices and (any) physical desirability as an added bonus.

An aspiring Rock Chick should however recognise there is a “uniform”, undefined as it is. Some essentials might include tight jeans, tight tops, suede jackboots (black or tan) and a Brando, topped off with just about any possible edgy female hairstyle you could imagine (with additional points for the mighty Femullet).

Anyway, here’s this month’s two intro tracks.

Suzi Quattro – Can the Can

Zepparella – Kashmir

Again, barely scratching the surface here, Cats. No doubt there’s a whole heap of Rock Femmes that you’re just waiting to nominate in the comments thread. So, go for it Cats, you know you want to!

Rabz’ Radio Show February 2023: Electronica

The term “electronica” is used in this thread to define music that largely utilises electronic instruments, as opposed to placing it in any particular timeframe or referring specifically to any group of artists (as Wikipedia does). The use of electronic instruments and the creation of synthesised music has it roots in the early twentieth century. The term “electronic music” is also relevant here.

I first became vaguely aware of electronic music during the new wave period from roughly 1977 onwards. The contemporary progenitors of this style included the purveyors of “Krautrock”, for example, Can, Tangerine Dream and the legendary Kraftwerk. Krautrock had its spiritual origins in German Avant-Garde and the Bauhaus school of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties (before it was, of course, shut down by the nazis).

Other styles related to electronic music included the mainly dance and nightclub-oriented sub genres such as Chicago House, Techno, Jungle, Acid House, Rave and Trip Hop.

Also related is the Ambient genre, popularized by the also legendary Brian Eno, who has managed to be a central figure in some of Rock’s most epic and groundbreaking releases, both as a musician and a producer. His work with David Byrne on albums such as “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” and the “Catherine Wheel” is among my favourite music, the latter being an absolutely epic musical journey originally used as a soundtrack for a Twyla Tharp Broadway dance production. Incredibly, I somehow managed to overlook it in last month’s thread on Albums.

Anyway, here’s a truncated list of some of my favourite electronic bands/artists:


Brian Eno

Massive Attack

The Crystal Method

Chemical Brothers


The Human League

Heaven 17

Groove Armada

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Danny Tenaglia

Franky Knuckles

LCD Soundsystem

The two intro tracks for this month include:

Kraftwerk – Europe Endless

Groove Armada – Groove is on

Dishonourable mention: “Metal Machine Music”, Lou Reed (1975).

Again, barely scratching the surface here, Cats. No doubt there’s a whole heap of other bands artists that you’re just waiting to nominate in the comments thread. So, break out the Rolands and Theremins and go for it Cats, you know you want to!

Rabz’ Radio Show January 2023: Albums

You can write off this medium of music storage as an anachronism at your peril, Cats. I noted various recent stories in the meeja stating that sales of vinyl LPs are at their highest since the medium was declared (finally) dead upon the advent of the compact disc format in the eighties. Thirty-three and third, indeed.

I’m not so much interested in the physical storage medium as the “concept” of an album. Sure, vinyl LPs were a more physical phenomenon given their size and the sheer laboriousness involved in playing the bloody things, not to mention their susceptibility to damage and the maintenance of extremely specialised equipment such as the stylus. My friends who still maintain (or are expanding) their vinyl collections seem to revel in these inconveniences rather than bemoan them. Another one of life’s great mysteries, it seems.

Vinyl LPs also resulted in an emphasis on the artwork, which served multiple purposes. A signal to prospective buyers as well as a keepsake reminder if the musical contents proved more than adequate. Many rock music aficionados denounced the transition to CDs solely because of the reduction in size of the artwork.

When I first started splashing out my own money on albums they were not only expensive but a potential source of much regret if most of the contents were, shall we say, less than musically satisfying.

Which brings us to the most important aspect of this post. Albums that contain no filler, the bane of many a vinyl enthusiast until CDs allowed both random access and the programming of the listener’s favourite tracks.

Lou Reed was the first “artist” (I’m aware of) to refer to an album as being ideally listened to in one sitting, as if it were a book or a movie – New York, 1989, an album played extensively on my Walkman (Cats, does anyone seriously miss cassettes?) when in Manhattan in 1993.

Off the top of my head, two of my favourite albums of all time include “Sparkle in the Rain” (1984) by Simple Minds (the second side is truly spellbinding) and Ed Kuepper’s monumental “Honey Steel’s Gold” (1991).

Anyway, here are the two featured albums for this post, both of which have a visual component and both of which feature no filler.

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

Barely scratching the surface (although thankfully, not of a bloody vinyl LP). Looking forward to seeing the nominations of various Cats – so go for it, you know you want to!

Rabz’ Radio Show December 2022: Covers and the Covered

It’s always “interesting” to discover that a song you may have assumed was written by a certain artist or band turns out to be a cover. A classic example of this is posted below as the first of the intro tracks.

Another interesting aspect of covers relates to the lively discussion/arguments/shouting matches that might arise about whether a particular artist/band has covered a song and made it their own. That is, the cover is considered to be better than the original. There are many songs written by Bobby Zimmerman for example, that could be included in this category, given his somewhat “esoteric” (and not to everyone’s taste) vocal and musical stylings. In his favour, the songs were pure gold nuggets just begging to be refashioned in a more “listenable” form. His version of “Like a Rolling Stone”, however, has never been bettered, even by Jimi.

To stimulate some discussion and debate, at this point I’ll list some songs that have been extensively covered, the original artist and the definitive (in my opinion) version. Some of my favourite ever songs are on this list. They include:

Heard it through the Grapevine: Writers were Whitfield/Strong, original artist was The Miracles, definitive version by Gladys Knight and the Pips (sorry, Marvin)

Song to the Siren: Writer/original artist Tim Buckley, definitive version by This Mortal Coil

Hey, Mr Tambourine Man: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by the Byrds

All along the Watchtower: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by Jimi Hendrix (honourable mention XTC)

I can only give you everything: Writer/original artist Them, definitive version by Naz Nomad and the Nightmares (i.e. the Damned)

Spirit in the Sky: Writer/original artist Norman Greenbaum, who also performed the definitive version

Out of Time: Writer/original artist the Rolling Stones, definitive version a dead heat between The Stones’ and Chris Farlowe (given they’re basically musically identical)

Sea of Love: Writer/original artist Phil Philips, definitive version by Horace Andy

Sweet Jane: Writer/original artist Lou Reed/Velvet Underground, definitive version by the Cowboy Junkies (although the Velvet’s version is also magnificent)

Anyway, here’s the two intro tracks:

I think it’s going to rain today: Writer/original artist Randy Newman, definitive version by UB40

Song to the Siren: Tim Buckley on the Monkees’ TV Show, 1968

Enjoy, Cats!

Please post your favourite songs that have been covered at some point including either the original or your preferred cover version. Again, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Plenty of space in the comments section, so go for it and let’s see some spirited debate. You know you want to.

Rabz’ Radio Show November 2022: Movie Soundtracks

The use of music in movies generally takes two forms – building or essaying the mood of a particular scene, (“the score”) or the use of a particular song (or theme) to emphasise a scene’s context.

I’ve only got about four movie soundtracks in my collection that I’m aware of – they include:

Betty Bleu (1986)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Colors (1988)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Bought those soundtracks mainly because they included songs I loved by artists who weren’t in the collection, or the whole soundtrack stood on its merits. Whoever curated the Full Metal Jacket soundtrack for example, did very well indeed.

Other classic soundtracks I love include Animal House and Quadrophenia, both featuring the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”, which legend would have it, was the subject of a long running (31 months) FBI investigation due to allegations the lyrics were allegedly laced with profanity, graphically depicting (that’s enough of that – Dover) culminating in this legendary finding: (FBI Agents were) “unable to interpret any of the wording in the record.”

Something that does get on my goat is the incongruous, completely out of context use of songs in movies – see for example the use of Jr Walker and the Allstars’ “Shotgun” in “Misery”.

Two songs that anyone who’s seen the films will immediately recognise:

Theme from Betty Bleu – Gabriel Yared

Misirlou – Dick Dale

Enjoy, people! Please post freely, especially your favourite songs or music from various films, of which there should be many. Again, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Plenty of space in the comments section, so go for it. You know you want to.

Rabz’ Radio Show Rocktober 2022: Psychedelia

This is my favourite musical genre. As various R&B purveyors in the sixties got a bit older, they started experimenting with illicit substances other than amphetamines, such as THC, LSD, mescaline and psilocybin.

Consequently, the music became far more complex (and occasionally extremely self-indulgent) and was meant to reflect an alternate consciousness, if getting totally off your face on the aforementioned substances could be dignified with such a term. See for example, the difference in musical style between Help and Rubber Soul, recorded after the Beatles had recently experienced Mary Jane (courtesy of one Bob Dylan) and LSD. Syd Barrett, the founder of and key initial figure in Pink Floyd was a salutary example of what happens when too much LSD is barely enough.    

The Psychedelic style has remained a musical staple since the late sixties, nonetheless. The definitive (for me) record of 1967’s (northern) “Summer of Love” was the Monterey Pop Festival, so gloriously essayed in the D A Pennebaker film – although the standout performance is by Otis Redding, who was most certainly not a purveyor of Psychedelia. Various movies of the time also sought to explore the “altered consciousness” concept, including “The Trip” and “Vanishing Point”, not to mention “Easy Rider”.

Some of my favourite examples of the genre post the sixties include Naz Nomad and the Nightmares and the Dukes of Stratosphear (the Damned and XTC respectively). Primal Scream also mined the genre with their 1997 epic, “Vanishing Point” (named after the film), which included an awesome homage to Syd Barrett, “Burning Wheel”.

The other wonderful thing about Psychedelia is the fashion style and the instruments. Stoves, suede Chelsea boots, paisley shirts, mop top haircuts, granny glasses, suede fringed or Levi’s jackets, mellotrons and twelve string guitars (hello, Rickenbackers).  

Some other bands and artists that have dabbled in the genre include:

The Byrds


Jefferson Airplane

The Dandy Warhols

The Church

Barely scratching the surface. No doubt there are many artists, bands and songs that will be posted by Cats this evening. Now again, comes the hard part – picking two intro songs. Let’s have some local flavour:

The Church (1981)

The Moffs (1984)

Enjoy, Cats!