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Episode 92 : Nick Coleman on Voices + Phil Spector + Miles Copeland

25 January 2021

In this episode we welcome the excellent Nick Coleman into RBP's snug virtual cupboard. Barney, Mark & Jasper quiz Nick about his distinctively personal music writing for the NME, Time Out and the Indie on Sunday, with especial reference to his 1986 interview with jazz-soul siren Anita Baker. This leads seamlessly to discussion of his terrific 2017 tome Voices: How a Great Singer Can Change Your Life, as well as to the harrowing experience of hearing loss that inspired 2012's The Train in the Night.

In this episode, it was impossible to ignore the death of monstrous megalomaniac and murderer Phil Spector. After hearing a chilling audio clip of him speaking to Roy Carr in 1975, Nick and his hosts attempt to separate the man from the visionary architect of the "Wall Of Sound". (Now a certified psychotherapist, Nick compares Spector's narcissistic personality disorder to that of Donald Trump, who finally vacated the White House the day before this recording.) We also bid farewell to Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher, whose lyric for 'The Message' made rap superstars of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and played a huge part in the birth of "conscious hip hop".

Somewhat less megalomaniacal than Spector is Miles Copeland III, whose rapid-fire voice we hear in audio clips from 1989. The man who seemed fated to follow in his dad's C.I.A. footsteps tells John Tobler how bankruptcy made him switch from Wishbone Ash to Wayne County — and how he launched I.R.S. Records as a home for R.E.M., the Go-Go's and Fine Young Cannibals.

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights among the 100+ new arrivals in the RBP library, including Dan Nooger reviewing our previous guest John Simon live at Max's Kansas City in 1972; Mary Harron explaining U.K. punk to her U.S. readers in 1977; and Deanne Stillman reporting on America's enduring heavy-metal subculture in 1991. Jasper concludes matters with passing remarks on avant-jazz enigma Albert Ayler and the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest, staged in the tiny Irish town of Millstreet…

Many thanks to special guest Nick Coleman; The Train in the Night and Voices are published by Penguin.

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.