Etta James in the Rock’s Backpages podcast

Etta James

They were so much older then, they’re younger than that now: me ‘n’ RBP’s Mark Pringle reel in the years and riff on all that’s new this week in the world’s biggest library of music journalism – definitive interviews with legends of the last 60 years by the pop press’ greatest writers … and much much more.

In this week’s RBP podcast , the great ETTA JAMES considers her life in R&B up to 1978—‘Roll With Me Henry’, Johnny Otis, Chess Records and working with Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals. Your hosts in turn consider her impact on singers from Janis Joplin to Adele and discuss the late Rob Partridge, Royal Trux and pioneeringly “out” glamster Jobriath. Their attentions then turn to Burl Ives, Marc Bolan, Willie Nelson, Portishead and the Fugees.

Is that machine on? Archive on Radio 4

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Along with Jon Savage, Allan Jones, Caitlin Moran, Michael Lydon and presenter Stuart Maconie – to mention but a few – I’m one of the voices gabbing in Jonathan Mayo’s terrific Radio 4 doc on the golden age of the music-press interview. The programme also features a bunch of clips from the Rock’s Backpages audio archive, including the spoken thoughts of Messrs. Hendrix, Cobain, Marley and Garcia…

Noisey Joni

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I had a good conversation the other day with Noisey’s Philip Eil about the Joni Mitchell anthology we put together at Rock’s Backpages. Read it HERE if you will.

“If I was to make kind of crass analogies, [I’d say that if] Dylan is sort of Shakespeare, then Joni is Milton… or Dante. In terms of popular music that’s more than just mindless singalong pablum, then she is an artist of genuine stature, whose songs, whose music, are as great as any art form, as the work of any artist in the 20th and into the 21st century. It doesn’t matter who the hell it is: Faulkner, de Kooning, Bergman. People tend to think that pop music is a lesser art form. I think when you listen to Court and Spark, you can’t really sit there and say, ‘Well, this is just pop music.’ You have to think of it on a level with the greatest art that’s been done in the last hundred years.”

Any Major Dudes will tell you: Steely Dan panel in Manchester, 11.11.17

Steely Dudes

To celebrate RBP’s brand-new anthology Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion, I shall on Saturday 11th November be discoursing with fellow Dan fanatics John Ingham (who reviewed Katy Lied for Sounds) and Daryl Easlea (who revisited Aja for the BBC) about the wit, wisdom and sheer musical brilliance of Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker. It’s at 2.15 pm at Manchester’s Louder Than Words festival, and you can book tickets here