Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Took-off Earl (Ian Whitcomb's new radio show)

This is to alert readers that Ian Whitcomb's peerless radio show has moved from Luxuria to XM 24. My post about his Luxuria programme, readable here, still holds good, although the blurb on the XM 24 website here says it rather more succinctly:

The Ian Whitcomb Show is an hour-long fun fest featuring an eclectic and exciting panorama of American and British popular songs, ranging from Tin Pan Alley ragtime through 1920s crooners and dance bands to raunchy pioneer 1950s rock ‘n’ roll. Join host Ian Whitcomb, 1960's Brit Invader, music historian and ukulele maven, on The Music Summit.
Details of the currently free to download podcast version here.
Shows run for one hour rather than two but  the shorter format, or perhaps a different hand on the production tiller, or something, makes the shows sound a bit tighter.

And either his voice has suddenly become richer and deeper or the quality of broadcast microphone employed has drastically improved with his transfer - or both? I shall forbear from using the word "slick" as it's still the essential Ian, although I suspect this version of the Ian Whitcomb Show will gain more converts among people who don't already know much about some of these genres. Which can only be a good thing: as I said in my earlier review:
Whitcomb's awareness of the deep, tangled roots of popular music means that he is able to make the most illuminating comments in his show en passant, seeing the sort of connections others wouldn't
so why not download a few shows and get yourself illuminated? The most recent programme is entitled Whistlers, Yodellers, Zithers and Such, featuring, among others, The Waikiki Swingsters, the Pan American Marimba Band, Reginald Dixon, Guy Mitchell ... and Rolf Harris. Now that's what I call eclectic.

At the time of posting you can also download shows about accordion music, what he calls "Transcendental Tunes" (more Mills Brothers and Flanagan and Allen than the Lemon Pipers) and others. His British Invasion Revisited show studiously avoids the Beatles in favour of the names less often played and towards the end of  he let slip a detail which will be of interest to regular readers.

Apparently, when the New Vaudeville Band's Winchester Cathedral first became known in the States, so many people assumed it was Ian that eventually he got tired of denying it and went along with it, even singing it in his act, thus adding to the already impressive list of his musical and literary achievements over the years  "self-confessed surrogate Alan Klein." How many others can make that claim, even today?

Actually, I've just listened to the programme again and it seems his impersonation actually took place in the happy no-time between Geoff Stephens' intention to make the New Vaudeville Band flesh and the actual hiring of members. So who can blame him for spying a gap in the market?


  1. Hi Pismotality, you seem to have a lot of great photo's of Alan.
    Me thinks you might be related. Are you?

  2. Hello,
    No, I'm not - I just like Alan Klein's work. The images were either found online or scanned from CD sleeves. Keep watching this blog as I hope to post a fuller account of his career soon.

  3. Oh Okay, wishful thinking I suppose.
    Did you know that his brother Eddie is a sound engineer. I think he has worked with Paul MaCartney quite a lot.

    Keep on blogging, it's Great!!

  4. Yes, if you google "meet Eddie Klein" you will find a Russian website which reproduces an issue of the Wings fanzine Club Sandwich with an article about him. As far as I can tell the website is safe, though I won't give a direct link just in case. It includes the information that "Eddie would sing on [Alan's] demos, getting to know London's few recording studios in the process" and eventually got a job at Abbey Road in 1967.

    Thank you, I intend to keep blogging, though I am also working on an offline project which will take up a fair bit of my time over the next few months. But I sincerely hope I can overhaul the Alan Klein info before too long - I have a lot of extra information acquired via the British Library about all the theatre shows he was involved with.