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So it goes: Ronnie Hazlehurst dead at 79

By Music and TV

Michael Crawford in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘EmThere’s very little that can conjure up a childhood memory like familiar TV theme music (the smell of Play-Doh, perhaps) and the creator of the most familiar all those tune passed away yesterday of a stroke.

Ronnie Hazlehurst wrote and conducted the signature tunes for dozens of BBC shows in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s including “The Two Ronnies”, “Last of the Summer Wine”, “Parkinson” and “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” and hearing any of them instantly provokes waves of nostalgia in this writer (except “Blankety Blank” which was truly awful though undeniably catchy):

From a very lovely Independent obituary:

One of Hazlehurst’s trademarks was to make his themes fit the title of the programme. For example, for Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – the classic comedy starring Michael Crawford as the effete Frank Spencer – he used a piccolo to play the letters of the title in Morse code.

For brave readers wanting to share the memories here are the themes to “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” (including Morse code), “The Two Ronnies” and the wonderful “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”.

By Asides and Music

Jon Lusk on Fat Freddys Drop, just played at Glastonbury (from The Guardian):

The band’s laidback, island-time ambience is unmistakeably a product of its environment, but that seems only to have enhanced their appeal to British listeners. Though Mu’s beachfront home has just been sold, the new owners have agreed to let him to working there for the time being, and it is just the right setting for the band’s calm, cool, maritime style. 

I think this is the same Jon Lusk who was Programme Director at Radio Active when I started back in 1986.

Johnny Marr joins Might Mouse ...

By Asides and Music

Every band has been there: you’ve just had a hit album — then your Johnny Marr-esque guitarist quits. Meet the group that came up with a crazy solution …

On the fourth or fifth day, when all six of us were playing, we saw some homeless people hanging outside Isaac’s house,” he says. “It occurred to me that I had no idea where this music was coming from but I could see them dancing in the dark. The experience was like a short circuit to my feet.

Willie and Wynton

By Music

200701162211Now this is a gig I would have given a lot to see: Willie Nelson playing with Wynton Marsalis in New York in a concert organised by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Click here for the review from the New York Times (reg. req. and recommended):

He also brought his intractable style, which posed more of a challenge to the other musicians than any clash of genre. His conversational way with rhythm, in particular, momentarily threw the band. During a series of stop-time breaks on “Basin Street Blues,” the second tune, Mr. Nelson’s phrasing was almost perversely free of tempo, rustling like a breeze. In much the same way, he seemed to regard the jump-blues thrust of “Caldonia” as merely a recommendation, something to heed at will.

I have seen both of these artists, although separately. Wynton Marsalis played at the Michael Fowler Centre at an early Festival of the Arts and my only memory of that concert was being annoyed by the noise from the air-conditioning during the quiet bits.

Willie played at Athletic Park with The Highwaymen in (pause while I go and find the programme to check the date) 1991. A life-changing experience.

Note: I know the blockquotes look rubbish. Sorry, it’s on the list of things to fix.

Tuesday Allsorts #3

By Asides, Cinema, Magazines and Music

Trying to get back to a regular posting schedule. Here goes:

Holy Hell, possibly the funniest thing in the world: Some deranged genius adds James Earl Jones dialogue from other movies to Star Wars. I shit you not!

The Be Good Tanyas live at The Barbican in London (reviewed in The Grauniad);

A.O. Scott in the NY Times (reg. req.) ponders why critics and public respond so differently, so often (I just watched POTC:DMC and can see both sides “complete shit” v “a $9 diversion with a few laughs”;

Amazon are in big trub for selling cock-fighting magazines – but that’s not all they sell… (thanks Gawker);

Bob Geldof gets a hard time for cancelling in Italy when 45 people turn up to the 12,000 seat stadium (“Harden up, Sir Bob!”) but let us not forget that he helped organise a benefit concert in Auckland when the Neon Picnic was cancelled in 1988 so he’s alright by me – the $1,500 a plate shindig in Auckland the other week is much harder to excuse.

iTunes Sentience (pt 3)

By iTunes and Music

OK, I know I haven’t fixed the colours but I’ve been away for a few days – the longest sustained absence of Internet in 10 years I realised yesterday (A family wedding in Christchurch if you must know).

But this really is freaky: The Million Dollar Quartet’s 1956 version of Don’t Be Cruel followed by Elvis’ original. With 1745 tracks on that playlist to choose from, iTunes becomes a radio-programming-God.