Saturday, 7 January 2012

Independent Radio-Where To Find It

If your musical tastes drift far away from the commercial dial, it can be hard to find radio stations that offer you something diverse and different. For me discovering music came from my Dad who introduced me to the Rolling Stones, The Beatles all the good British Invasion music. I found it difficult however to go beyond that, sometimes I would read music books and come across these great artists but where could I possibly hear them? My first light bulb moment came when I was about 16 and I wandered across radio wasteland and found myself at a place called Soul Time on 106.7 PBS FM, it was a station I was totally unfamiliar with. It was my first introduction to soul music and in those days host Vince Peach had Pierre Barroni and another guy playing both northern and southern soul. It was the first place I heard southern soul artists like James Carr, O.V Wright, Percy Sledge etc, I also heard for the first time Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, Gene Chandler, Tyrone Davis and all the good stomping northern soul music from Motown. The show also did promos for other shows, so soon I was listening to Blue Juice on a Sunday and when I could I would tune into Kenny Weir and The Pearls on a Monday afternoon, there was also a blues show on Tuesdays where I first heard J.B Hutto.

I also used to listen to Jazz on Saturdays and on one particular morning I flicked the dial looking for something else and wandered across Off The Record on 3RRR, here we had a program that was devoted to American roots music so I heard a lot of country but with a more alternative bent, certainly not the commercial Nashville stuff. Host Brian Wise pretty much played anything, you would hear old blues from Howlin Wolf, the latest from Van Morrison or something obscure from deep in the Americana heartland. Community station 3CR has a blues show that has been running for over 30 odd years probably even longer than that, it's Saturday night programming is outstanding. I remember hearing it when I was a kid, my next door neighbour was a big blues fan and I think he switched it on one night. It wasn't until recently that I re-discovered it, from 7-8 on a Saturday night you have Hot Damn Tomales which plays a lot of blues and roots music concentrating on newer releases. At 8 you have Shake Rattle and Roll which has been around for nearly 40 years and at 9.30 you have Blues With A Feeling and this program plays obscure sounds from right back to the acoustic blues stuff of the 30's and early 40's. If you want to hear people like Lowell Fulson, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson etc then tune in. From 11 pm you have Hillbilly Fever which as it suggests devoted to country, western swing and hillbilly music. I go by the adage if you want it it's out there you just have to take the time to find it.

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