Tanzania and Rochdale


For all of the adulation of BBC Radio 1’s John Peel – and how bizarre it now feels to type that given the near-constant ignorance of him whilst he was on air – there were other radio DJs during the 80s and 90s on the Beeb who did their bit to stand up for decent music. These were desperate times for respecting music lovers due to all manner of nonsense continually played and whole-heartedly supported.


Gary Glitter with Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies and Pudsey (1990). Jesus wept.


Let the record show that there were some beacons of light to be found amongst the dross, the dreadful mind-numbing pop onslaught. Take a bow Ranking Miss P, Radio Tip Top… and Andy Kershaw.


Seemingly, just as wilful and unpredictable as Peel, Kershaw came over as affable, suitably enquiring and genuinely interested in the musical world beyond his nose. From a 1993 broadcast that I taped, a lovely bit of Remmy Ongala and Orchestre Super Matimila.


Disclaimer: It’s a tape recording of Kershaw playing it live – one track recorded from the group’s session [presumably from the BBC’s studios in Maida Vale]. I still like to play the tape to hear the song followed by Kershaw’s track ID for a juxtaposition of Africa and England; unexpected high and low end sounds; and the dual sound of workers striving to impress.

A full glorious version of ‘Niseme Nini’ is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-KeThZgF8M.

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