Thursday, August 05, 2010

Charlie Gillett - UB40/ Joe Lung

Two more Undercurrents radio shows from 1981 with Charlie's guests being UB40 and Joe Lung. Both talking about the independent music scene at the time. UB40 , who's debut album was high in the charts chat about their influences and how they got started and play music from The Clash and Gregory Issacs etc. as well as featuring tracks from "Signing Off" which they made in a bedroom studio in Birmingham.
Joe Lung , a DJ played records in clubs like the Marquee and Moonlight and his selection of platters includes The Dancing Did and The Delta 5 etc.

Wikipedia says of UB40 -

"The band members began as friends who knew each other from various schools across Birmingham. The name "UB40" was selected in reference to the document issued to people claiming unemployment benefit from the UK government's Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) at the time of the band's formation. The designation UB40 stood for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40.

Brian Travers saved up and bought his first saxophone whilst working as an electrical apprentice for NG Bailey. leaving after a few years to become a founding member of UB40 alongside Jimmy Brown, Earl Falconer and Ali Campbell.

Before some of them could play their instruments, Ali Campbell and Brian Travers travelled around Birmingham promoting the band, putting up UB40 posters. The band purchased its first instruments from Woodroffe's Musical Instruments with £4,000 in compensation money that Campbell, who would become the lead singer, received after a bar fight during his seventeenth birthday celebration.

Their sound was created and honed through many long jam sessions at various locations in Birmingham. Their first gig took place on 9 February 1979 at The Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath, Birmingham for a friend's birthday party.

UB40 caught their first break when Chrissie Hynde heard their John Peel session and gave them an opportunity as a support act to her band, The Pretenders. UB40's first single, "King"/"Food for Thought" was released on Graduate Records, a local independent label run by David Virr. It reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

Their first album was titled Signing Off, as the band were signing off from or closing their claim on the unemployment benefit. It was recorded in a bedsit in Birmingham and was produced by Bob Lamb. Norman Hassan said of the recording: "If you stripped my track down, you could hear the birds in the background." This is because his tracks were recorded outside in the garden. Signing Off was released on 29 August 1980, and entered the UK Albums Chart on 2 October 1980. It reached as high as No. 2 in the UK and spent 71 weeks in total on the chart. Signing Off is now a Platinum album."

Charlie Gillett - UB40 Part 1

Charlie Gillett - UB40 Part 2

Charlie Gillett - Joe Lung Part 1

Charlie Gillett - Joe Lung Part 2


Anonymous said...

many thanks for this
It is great to hear Mr Gillett's
voice again .
I remember the song 'squashed things in the road' by the dancing did , whatever happened to them!
what a fantastic time to be young and not only making music but getting it on mainstream radio
brilliant stuff
please keep the 'undercurrents' shows coming at us on here for us to hear

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks for the feedback Anon - most welcome. I was thinking of cutting back the Charlie Gillett shows as Ive had no comments about them for ages but will add a few more soon.

Anonymous said...

I realise that it probably is not
a crowd pleaser nowadays, but undercurrents
was much maligned and underrated
at the time and showed the earliest seeds of the indie scene.
of course if you are not getting a response from people you may not think it worth putting the shows
I am interested in the show!
and will continue to play the shows as long as you put them up
so please don't cut back on Charlie
Gillett's undercurrents shows, if anything I think that it is more of a warm tribute to the maverick broadcaster

wastedpapiers said...

You are a lone voice Anon but I know a lot of the last few shows have been downloaded, even if there are not many comments. Feedback is always useful though to gauge what is popular and what is not. Charlie was more famous in his later years for championing "world music" and most people seem to forget his early radio shows about the alternative indie scene , punk and pub rock etc. which he was passionate about at the time and I think this shows in his interviews and record choices. Some may seem at odds with what he did later but just shows you I think what a wide range of music he was interested in.

Anonymous said...

I met the man who was known as Joe Lung last weekend and he told me of his surprise at being able to hear himself (it was a live programme and he didn't tape it). I arrived here, hoping to download the show, but the mediafire links are dead. I know it's a bit cheeky, but if you have time, please could you re-up them. xx