Monday, 27 August 2012

Street Corner Soul final episode now on BBC iplayer

The final episode of Street Corner Soul was repeated last night on Radio 2 and will be available on BBC iplayer for one week - link here. Again, another highly enjoyable and recommended episode, with some titbits of information I had forgotten about.

Did you know, for example, that Maurice Williams' Little Darlin' and Stay were both inspired by the same girl and written when Williams was about fourteen? Or that the Five Satins' All Mine (a particular favourite) was only acapella because the band didn't show up? The issue of ripoffs (in the matter of songwriting) was only dealt with briefly at the end, as was the impact of the British invasion, but given the time available I still say that this series was as good as could be hoped for.

For example, Steve Propes was on hand to talk about Dootsie Williams and Dootone, so there could be no compolaints about the quality of interviewees throughout the series: everyone who is prominent on the internet was there. (And Maurice Williams himself was interviewed.)

Members of the Chantels - as in the Channel 4 series The Voice - recreated Look Into My Eyes, still sounding pretty good, all those years on: like the Flamingos, another example of church-inspired singing which wasn't gospel but which influenced doo wop. The Chantels were produced by Richard Barrett (both are pictured top), and it's interesting to discover that, as with Frankie Lymon, their hits were the result of numerous takes: the groups who recorded on tiny labels may not have had the opportunity to try for perfection, but some of the genre's biggest hits were the result of people like Barrett.

And for those still lamenting the loss of Mark Lamarr's show from Radio 2, it was good to hear Jesse Belvin's Goodnight My Love at the end, a fitting farewell and signoff from this exemplary series. I hope that it inspired at least some listeners to go out and find some of this music, or reminded others (like me) of its importance. If it is a dying art, then at least these four half hours give some indication to the novice of why it demands to be celebrated.

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