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Episode 74 : Chris Blackwell's Island Records + Sparks + Remembering Phil May

25 May 2020

In this week's episode, Mark, Barney & Jasper talk extensively about one of the great labels, Island Records — a hallowed home to such groundbreaking acts as Jimmy Cliff, Nick Drake, Roxy Music, (Bob Marley and) the Wailers and, yes, U2. Listening to clips from John Tobler's 1989 audio interview with Island founder Chris Blackwell, RBP's power trio reflect on what made the label such a powerhouse for non-mainstream genres like folk and reggae. Blackwell talks of its transformation after 1967, as well as his first encounter with Marley in 1972.

A neat segue via Lenny Kaye's 1975 overview of the label leads "the team" into a discussion of Sparks, the American art pop duo who've just released their new album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. Mark & Barney reminisce about the Mael brothers' Island years in the '70s, commencing with Kimono My House and its astonishing hit single 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us'. We stay in the '70s, moreover, as the RBP troika considers great Disc pieces — about Lou Reed and Chinnichap — by the splendidly-named Ray Fox-Cumming.

Mark rounds matters off by talking us through new library pieces about Santana, Hamilton Bohannon, John Fahey, Joni Mitchell and N.W.A., while Jasper adds his tuppenceworth on articles about British folk institutionTopic Recordsthe death of the album and rapper Busta Rhymes. And we go out with a clip from Johnny Black's 1995 audio interview with Pretty Things frontman Phil May, who sadly passed away last week...

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.