Originally from England, I’ve been living in the U.S. (Washington, D.C.) since 1986, but have also lived and worked in five other countries. I saw Buddy Holly on TV in England in 1958 and my life was changed! Since I’ve been in the States, I’ve achieved most of my ambitions: I’ve met Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Sam Phillips, and Scotty Moore; I’ve met Buddy Holly’s family in Lubbock; I’ve been to New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville. I used to work at a radio station on the Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia border playing a lot of Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette, and now have a show on Radio Fairfax in Virginia. I also write about music and contribute regularly to Now Dig This, the best magazine for anyone interested in rock ’n’ roll.
I hate the standard “Oldies” format that simply plays one track after another (“Rock Around the Clock” followed by “Get a Job”) with no information about the singer, the composer, or the musicians, and no attempt to put the recordings into their musical and social context. It’s fascinating, for example, that James Burton played guitar not only with Elvis, Ricky Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis, but also with Bob Luman and Dale Hawkins. It’s also fascinating that the records produced at Sun studios in Memphis in the mid-’50s were made by sharecroppers’ sons who had recently moved to the cities.
On my two-hour weekly show, you’ll hear lesser-known songs by well-known singers like Buddy Holly and Carl Perkins, and also some great tracks by not-so-well-known singers such as Bobby Charles and Roscoe Gordon. You’ll also learn about some of the musicians I’ve met, including Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry and Billy Lee Riley. I’ll tell you who played on each track, who wrote the song, where it was recorded, and what the singer did later in his/her career. It’s fun, you’ll hear the best music, and you’ll get to appreciate one of the 20th century’s great art forms — the two-minute record.