Category Archives: 2011
August 2, 2011
This year sees the 40th anniversary of The Old Grey Whistle Test. The OGWT was launched in the UK in 1971 and until 1998 it was the BBC’s flagship music programme providing the first British exposure to the likes of Bob Marley, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan and Billy Joel. Many of you will have seen the 1978 footage of Dire Straits perfoming Sultans of Swing on the OGWT.
The story goes that the show got its unusual name from the USA where songs written by people such as Carole King and Gerry Goffin where perfomed before RKO cleaning staff many of whom were in their mature years and had greying hair. If they could whistle the tune after hearing it, it was said to have passed the ‘old grey whistle test’. Bob Harris, who presented the OGWT for many years, tells a slightly different version. “It was a ‘tin pan alley’ phrase from years ago.” says Bob, “When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys [doormen in grey suits]. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test.”
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, various artistes who performed on the OGWT will be featured in a series of programmes on BBC Radio 2. Bob Harris’ interview with Mark is scheduled to be aired at 10 pm on the 5th of October.
The OGWT at 40 radio series will go up on the BBC iPlayer in its own dedicated area for the duration of the whole series. It will not be downloadable but will give you the opportunity to stay in touch with the broadcasts if you come to them late. Each show will be added up to the iPlayer the week it airs and will remain there until the series finiahes on January 5th 2012.COMMENT
July 14, 2011
In a coming together of two of the greatest living songwriters, Mark and his band will be joining Bob Dylan for a series of shows around England and Europe this autumn.
Both artists will be taking a coterie of their own musicians and as usual Mark has assembled a group of players who are the best in their field. The band will consist of Richard Bennett on guitar, Guy Fletcher on keyboards, Jim Cox on piano, John McCusker on violin & cittern, Mike McGoldrick on flute, whistle & pipes, Glenn Worf on bass and Ian Thomas on drums.
Mark has taken a break from recording his next album in order to participate in what is likely to be the must see show of the year. Mark’s association with Dylan dates back to 1979 when he played on Dylan’s Slow Train Coming Sessions and then produced Bob’s acclaimed 1983 release Infidels.
Mark says, “I’m much looking forward to going out on the road with Bob in such a special year. Also, it was an honour to be asked to record one of Bob’s songs on the forthcoming Amnesty International 50th anniversary album to mark his 70th birthday”
Check out the dates and starting from Saturday 16th July mk.com ticket salesCOMMENT
June 30, 2011
Mark has written to foreword to a new book written by his great friend, Rudy Pensa. The book, titled Archtop Guitars: The Journey from Cremona to New York, traces the work of legendary guitar makers John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisito and John Monteleone, and their connections with the master violin makers of Cremono, Italy, such as Antonio Stradivari, Guiseppe Guarneri and Andrea Amati. You can find out more about the book here.COMMENT
June 15, 2011
Mark is continuing to work on his next solo album. Musicians working with Mark on the new album are Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar), Glenn Worf (bass), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Ian Thomas (drums), Jim Cox (keyboards). Also weaving their magic are Phil Cunningham, Mike McGoldrick and John McCusker. Mark is unlikely to start mixing the album until early 2012 and there is currently no release schedule. Further info will be posted as it becomes available.COMMENT
May 20, 2011
On the 19th of May Mark, Guy, Luke Brighty, John McCusker and Danny Thompson, played a special charity gig before an invited audience at central London’s new Corinthia Hotel. The event was in aid of Mariella Frostrup’s The Gender Rights & Equality Action Trust (GREAT). Songs played were Sailing To Philadelphia, Romeo & Juliet, Get Lucky, Song For Sonny Liston, Marbletown and Local Hero. GREAT aims to foster gender equality and raise awareness and funds to support grass roots gender equality projects in Africa and beyond. Among the highlights of the evening was the auction of an MK Strat which sold for a very impressive £75,000.COMMENT