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Episode 66 : Remembering Charlie Gillett + Johnnie Allan audio

16 March 2020

In this week's episode, RBP's self-styled "power trio" pay tribute to the late Charlie Gillett, without whose seminal 1970 book The Sound Of The City Rock's Backpages probably wouldn't exist. It is a decade since we lost Charlie – one of the first RBP writers to come on board, back in 2000 – so we wanted to do justice to the enduring influence of The Sound, as well as to his wonderful "Honky Tonk" radio show, his Oval Records label and his passionate championing of African and other "world" music genres.

Two clips from Bill Brewster's 1999 audio interview with Charlie prompt reflection and reminiscence from Mark & Barney, as does a Record Mirror piece in which Charlie describes the infamous 1970 press junket that took 134 UK rock journalists to New York to watch the little-known Brinsley Schwarz play Bill Graham's Fillmore East.

From there, we segue neatly into a clip from Cliff White's 1978 audio interview with Cajun "swamp-pop" star Johnnie Allan, whose immortal 1971 cover of Chuck Berry's 'Promised Land' – featured on Charlie's 1974 compilation Another Saturday Night – made Oval Records beloved of a generation of rootsy UK pub rockers. Mark, Barney & Jasper wax lyrical about the wonders of 'Promised Land', and about Cajun music in general, before Mark guides us through his weekly library highlights. Among the latter are pieces about "Peter No-One" of Herman's Hermits, tenor legend Stan Getz and 'Cuddly Toy' boy Roachford. Jasper finishes things off with closing remarks about pieces on Missy Elliott and Clean Bandit.