It’s now my intention to fill in the missing pieces on my country collection. When I was growing up Radio One stopped just after tea time. Going back up to my room to switch on the transistor radio brought a little disappointment but also some pleasant surprises. After the day time fun was over Radio One’s 247 Medium wave band would automatically revert to Radio Two. Here we would find Humphrey Littleton playing Jazz and folk and country programmes buzzing about names that were…well only just names. Box Carr Willie, Conway Twitty and Melba Montgomery. Could any of the music be as exotic as the names?
I remember 70’s pre-Habitat houses and rifling through record collections to see be-jewelled starts smiling up from below stetsons, caressing guitars. Themed albums on Mexico, Hawaii and Texas; seasonal offerings, hymns and hoe downs. It seemed to me a bit like being a horse racing commentator; how would one ever learn all this back story?
In truth I never have. When I started by deputising for Brian Burnett on Brand New Country (only once) I bought my trusty Country A – Z and it’s always served me well in a crisis but mostly I’ve relied on being led by my ears. If it sounds good I’ll be listening.
I thought of these feelings this week as I stumbled across a name I’ve seen many times but never fully known about. It is only now I realise how wonderful that is. Like a football fan who has only just hit on the George Best Youtube section it pleases me to think there are days of discovery ahead. This Friday I want to bring you closer to two of the names that have been only names. One is this man.
Hoyt Axton was a folk and country singer as well as being an actor. Primarily he was a song writer and his massive song, “Joy To The World” was a radio fixture when I was a young lad when it was cut by Three Dog Night.
The other name will remain a secret but he’s going to sing something by one of our AC friends, Mr Darrell Scott. As well as all of that we will play music by the biggest country star on the planet right now. Having never played a Garth Brooks song ever before we’re changing all of that thanks to our very special guests Blue Rose Code.
Blue Rose Code is essentially one man. He is the very gifted Ross Wilson – Edinburgh born, but resident in Peckham London. His album however is a beautiful long hymn to his home city and perfectly mashes together Ross’s own original voice with his three big influences; Van Morrison, Tom Waits and John Martyn. On stage and on the record he’s backed up by some wonderful musicians including legendary bass player,Danny Thompson.
I saw Blue Rose Code recently at The Glad Cafe and can tell you this will be a remarkable session. Steel, second guitar stand-up bass and beautiful backing vocals from Eliza Wrenne Payne makes this a great sounding live act and they brought all that touring experience and dynamic to the session.
We’ll have new songs from old friends The Barr Brothers, Chuck Prophet, Peter Molinari and an excellent new name to introduce to you in the form of Haley Bonar. We think you will like what she does and I humbly suggest Friday’s show may well be one of these nights you don’t want to miss. It all starts from five past eight this Friday on BBC Radio Scotland.