Thursday, March 09, 2006

I want my BBC.

Couple of interesting docs on BBC Radio 2 right now. One, which started this week, looks at plagiarism and plundering in music history, sort of a rip-offs 101. The first thirty-minute program looks at fairly well known cases, including a Brian Wilson/Chuck Berry rip, the George Harrison/Chiffons case (we hear Harrison say that he was ripping off a different song), and a ZZ Top/John Lee Hooker cop. Hooker actually chimes in at one point. Could get more interesting as the series, called It's the Same Old Song, rolls into hip-hop.

And then there's this, part three of a four-part James Brown audio-bio, Get Up for James Brown, with current interviews with Brown and many associates, including a notable turn with soul sister Marva Whitney, who makes it plain in stating that she. does. not. hate. James. Brown: "You must gives props to whom props are due." The statement does not come easy. Lots of great music snippets, too, mostly from the JBs band of the early 70s, including "King Heroin," "Hot Pants," "Soul Power," "Stoned to the Bone," "Talkin' Loud," "Think," "Got to Have a Job," "Doing It to Death." The British context makes for an odd tone at times—the host is unusually interested in where Mr. Brown's nicknames (Hardest Working Man, Mr. Dynamite, etc.) came from—and the JB expert will likely be bored, but it's never less than respectful and it's not like you're going to hear a four-hour radio doc on JB on American radio, mind.

These programs have about a minute of lead-in from previous shows, so don't be alarmed if they don't cue right up. In one case, it's Joan Armatrading reporting from her music journey through the Caribbean.


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