Mastertapes

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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0101Billy Bragg (the A-side)20121030

John Wilson launches a new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios.

Programme 1, A-side. 'Talking With The Taxman About Poetry' - Billy Bragg reveals how the self-proclaimed 'difficult' third album was written and created with a guitar he bought when he was out shopping for swimming trunks (he claims he still swims naked as a result)... he explains how a film about the James Brothers helped him write "There's Power In A Union'... and describes how Andy Kershaw's inability to shut up led him to writing 'Levi Stubbs' Tears'. And he plays excerpts from the album live in front of the audience.

In the B-side of the programme, it's the turn of the audience to ask the questions and Billy considers the state of protest songs today, reveals what music he is writing at the moment and explains what poetry he would discuss with today's taxman. That programme can be heard next Monday at 11.00pm.

Future Programmes will include Paul Weller talking about the Jam's last album, 'The Gift'; Suzanne Vaga recalls the making of 'Solitude Standing', the album that made her a worldwide superstar; and Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone takes us back to the seminal Zombies' record 'Odessey and Oracle'

Complete versions of the songs performed in the programme (and others) can be heard on the 'Mastertapes' pages on the Radio 4 website, where the programmes can also be downloaded and other musical goodies accessed.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0102Billy Bragg (the B-side)20121105

John Wilson launches a major new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios.

Programme 1, Side B. 'Talking With The Taxman About Poetry' - Having discussed the making of his self-proclaimed 'difficult' third album (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 30th October and still available online), Billy Bragg responds to questions from the audience.

He considers the state of protest songs today, reveals what music he is writing at the moment and explains what poetry he would discuss with today's taxman. And he plays excerpts from the album live in front of the audience.

Future Programmes will include Paul Weller talking about the Jam's last album, 'The Gift'; Suzanne Vega recalls the making of 'Solitude Standing', the album that made her a worldwide superstar; and Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone takes us back to the seminal Zombies' record 'Odessey and Oracle'

Complete versions of the songs performed in the programme (and others) can be heard on the 'Mastertapes' pages on the Radio 4 website, where the programmes can also be downloaded and other musical goodies accessed.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0103Suzanne Vega (the A-side)20121106

The second programme of this new series in which John Wilson talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios, each edition includes two episodes. In Episode 1 (The A side), John asks the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 2, A-side "Solitude Standing". Singer and songwriter Suzanne Vega discusses the influences behind her platinum-selling second album, released 25 years ago, which included hits like "Luka" and the title track.

She explains that it was her manager who saw the potential of "Luka" and convinved her that a song with a social message could be a hit.

She recalls how the tune for "Tom's Diner" came to her while she was walking down Broadway after having been to the real Tom's restaurant.

And she discusses the way in which images and words were part of her life from a very early age and have influenced her work.

In the next programme (The B-side) it'll be the turn of the audience to ask Suzanne the questions.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

0104Suzanne Vega (the B-side)20121112

John Wilson talks to Suzanne Vega about her career defining album "Solitude Standing".

Programme 2 (B-side).Now it's the turn of the audience to ask Suzanne the questions.

We hear how the sound of Solitude Standing changed toughened from her previous album, as Suzanne decided to bring out the drums and give the sound an edge.

Suzanne describes writing the song "Gypsy" for a boy she met at summer camp and how the two of them got back in touch when he realised the song was about him.

And we hear how Suzanne has written a follow-up song to the album's hit song "Luka".

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

0105Paul Weller (the A-side)20121113

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 3, A-side. "The Gift" - 30 years after the band's split, Paul Weller talks about 'The Gift' - the last album for The Jam. The band's only No 1 album, it marked a musical departure from the classic Jam sound to a more soul-influenced style, and it ushered in Weller's ideas for the Style Council. It was an album that didn't just focus on the state of society, it also had a lot to say about where music was going in the 1980s - and it included the classic No 1 'Town Called Malice' as well as 'Running On The Spot' and 'Carnation'. Paul also plays exclusive live versions of some of the tracks on the album.

In the B-side of the programme, it's the turn of the audience to ask the questions and that programme can be heard next Monday at 11.00pm.

Producers: Paul Kobrak & India Rakusen.

0106Paul Weller (the B-side)20121119

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question in the A-side, and then the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 3, the B-side. Having discussed the making of "The Gift", the final album from the Jam (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 13th November and available online), Paul Weller responds to questions from the audience and performs acoustic live versions of some to the tracks from the album which was released 30 years ago.

Complete versions of the songs performed in the programme (and others) can be heard on the 'Mastertapes' pages on the Radio 4 website, where all the programmes of the series can also be downloaded and other musical goodies accessed.

Producers: Paul Kobrak & India Rakusen.

0107Brinsley Forde (the A-side)20121120

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 4, A-side. "New Chapter" - More than 30 years since its release, Brinsley Ford talks about Aswad's third studio album. Formed in Ladbroke Grove in West London, Aswad are the band that put UK Reggae on the map. They were renowned for their fusion of styles including dancehall, funk, hip-hop and dub and for bringing strong R&B influences to the Reggae scene. New Chapter, their first album for CBS, was both a watershed for the group and a benchmark for British reggae and it features tracks like 'Natural Progression', 'Ina Your Rights', 'Candles' and 'African Children'. Released in 1981, it went on to influence the likes of Maxi Priest, Soul II Soul and Massive Attack.

In the B-side of the programme, it's the turn of the audience to ask the questions and that programme can be heard next Monday at 11.00pm.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

0108Brinsley Forde (the B-side)20121126

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 4, the B-side. Having discussed the making of "New Chapter", the third album from the UK reggae group, Aswad (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 20th November and available online), Brinsley Forde responds to questions from the audience and performs acoustic live versions of some to the tracks from the album which was released more than three decades ago.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

0109Ray Davies (the A-side)20121127

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 5, A-side. "Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One" & "Muswell Hillbillies" - Ray Davies goes back to the early 1970s and the making of two classic Kinks albums. Marking a period of transition for the group (as they left one British record label for an American one), both were concept albums, tackling such broad themes as corruption within the music industry and the destruction of old communities via urban regeneration. In a revealing interview, Ray Davies considers the power of the lyric and the importance of place in his song-writing. He also performs exclusive live versions of songs from the two albums.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0110Ray Davies (the B-side)20121203

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 5, the B-side. Having discussed the making of two classic Kinks albums, "Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround, Part One" and "Muswell Hillbillies" (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 27th November and available online), Ray Davies responds to questions from the audience and performs acoustic live versions of some to the tracks from the albums, both of which were released more than forty years ago.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0111Corinne Bailey Rae (the A-side)20121204

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 6, A-side. "The Sea" - four years after her Number One debut album Grammy award winning Corinne Bailey Rae returns to its follow-up album, released in 2010. An extremely personal album, it explored a range of human emotions from grief and loss to love and joy. In a revealing interview, Corinne describes not just her musical upbringing and influences but also talks movingly about the impact that the death of her husband had on the making of this album. And, together with pianist Steve Brown she performs an exclusive live version of the title track from the album.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0112Corinne Bailey Rae (the B-side)20121210

John Wilson continues with his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 6, the B-side. Having discussed the making of her second album, "The Sea" (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 4th December and available online), Corinne Bailey Rae responds to questions from the audience and, together with pianist Steve Brown, performs acoustic live versions of some of the songs discussed.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0113The Zombies (the A-side)20121211

John Wilson concludes his series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 7. Forty five years after it was recorded, Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone recall the making of the Zombies album 'Odessey And Oracle'. When it was released in 1968, after the band had split up, it was indifferently received. But since it has been described as: "one of the great undiscovered works of the psychedelic era" - Pitchfork; "an album that should grace any record collection... essential" - BBC; and "combining the adventure of Sgt. Pepper with the concision of British Invasion Pop" - Rolling Stone.

Those who have cited the Zombies as influences include everyone from Courtney Love to the Magic Numbers and from the Arctic Monkeys to Paul Weller. 'Odessey And Oracle' (the title was mis-spelt by the designer of the cover) contained only one stereotypically summer-of-love hit ('Time Of The Season') - the darker tones and dramatic third-person feel of much of the album (including the likes of 'Care of Cell 44', 'The Butcher's Tale' and 'A Rose For Emily') makes it sound ahead of its time.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

0114 LASTThe Zombies (the B-side)20121217

John Wilson concludes his new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios. Each edition includes two episodes, with John initially quizzing the artist about the album in question, and then, in the B-side, the audience puts the questions. Both editions feature exclusive live performances.

Programme 7, the B-side. Having discussed the making of the Zombies' seminal 1968 album, "Odessey and Oracle" (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 11th December and available online), Rod Argent, Chris White and Colin Blunstone responds to questions from the audience and perform live versions of some of the songs from the album, still held in such high regard.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.