Radio 2 Guitar Season

Episodes

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02Bert Weedon: The Teacher Of Rock And Roll20140526

Richard Hawley tells the story of how Bert Weedon, one of Britain's most important and yet least celebrated guitar heroes, taught a nation to fall in love with the guitar.

When he died in April 2012, tributes to Bert Weedon came flooding in from the very top British artists; Clapton, McCartney, May and many more. Not only had he been one of Britain's first rock n roll guitarists, but through his 'Play In A Day' tutor book he had taught millions of us how to play.

Rock 'n Roll devotee and fellow guitar obsessive Richard Hawley charts Bert's story. From buying his first guitar for about 75p to recording hits like 'Guitar Boogie Shuffle' and 'Apache' and working with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Richard explores how Bert helped put the guitar centre stage in British music.

Helping Richard tell Bert's story are those who knew him best, worked with him or were inspired by 'Play In A Day', as well as archive of Bert speaking to the BBC - all mixed over a fantastic soundtrack that spans five decades.

'Bert was quite, quite possibly the most influential guitarist of all time' Neville Marten, Editor of Guitarist Techniques magazine

'Bert's legacy to music is that he was one of the first.' Joe Brown

Interviews: Joe Brown, Marty Wilde, Maggie Weedon, July Rodgers, David Arnold, Bob Stanley, Neville Marten, Mike Rutherford, Bruce Welch, Albert Lee.

03The Carol Kaye Story20140602

As part of BBC Radio 2's guitar season, Johnnie Walker travels to Los Angeles to meet legendary session guitar player Carol Kaye. Johnnie hears her incredible story which has seen her partake in over 10,000 recording sessions throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, first on guitar and then on bass.

We will get a behind the scenes glimpse into the recordings of some of the biggest hits of all time. Carol will tell her story of the early hits with Sam Cooke, the years spent working with Phil Spector and the intense recording schedule of the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. We will hear how she became renowned for her creative flair and invention of memorable bass lines to hits like Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman and Sonny and Cher's Beat Goes On. Away from the charts, Carol tells us how she also recorded for Film and Television, on themes for Mission Impossible, Kojak and Ironside.

This programme celebrates Carol Kaye's story and the influence her playing has had on the way we hear the bass guitar in popular music to this day.

04Paco Peć±a - The Spirit Of Flamenco20140616

Paco PeƱa is one of the world's greatest flamenco guitarists and the first musician to be made a professor of flamenco. In "The Spirit of Flamenco" Paco goes on a personal journey to explore how the religion and music of southern Spain have come together to create one of the most infectious sounds of world music. He'll delve into the spiritual side of flamenco and explore how faith impacts on this vibrant musical style and how they inspired his great Flamenco Mass which has been performed in his home city of Cordoba at the famous Mezquita-Catedral - the mosque turned church with its distinctive red and white Islamic arches. He'll feature the gypsy communities in Andalucƭa that gave birth to flamenco, which for them is as much a way of life as a musical style and he'll about "duende" - the soul of flamenco. He'll discover what it takes to make the best flamenco guitar, try his hand in the workshop and give an impromptu master class on the techniques of flamenco guitar.

05Kalamazoo Gals20140623

As part of Radio 2's Guitar Season: Suzi Quatro unravels the mystery of the Kalamazoo Gals, quite possibly, the greatest craftswomen written out of American guitar history.

Legendary stringed instrument maker Orville Gibson began making guitars, mandolins and violins in the Michigan town in 1896. After his death, the business expanded producing a wide range of instruments that were popular for their quality and tone.

But as America was drawn into World War 2, Gibson claimed their work force stopped producing guitars and concentrated on making parts for radar equipment and aircraft wings to support the nation's war effort.

But this wasn't the case. As Suzi reveals, an all-female workforce made over 25, 000 instruments including 9000 guitars. So why did the company keep this quiet? Did they fear no one would buy an instrument if they knew it had been made by a woman?

We'll meet some of the women who worked in the Gibson factory in the 1940's and hear their stories. Their skill, dedication and attention to detail produced guitars that were used by artists from Buddy Holly to Gene Autry and Woody Guthrie.

Even though the Gibson company of today has new owners, Suzi asks why Gibson are still reluctant to acknowledge the role that these ordinary American women played in the creation of some of the most beautiful and melodic instruments crafted in their factory in Kalamazoo Michigan.

And we hear the story of 'the soldier's guitar' a 1943 Southerner Jumbo that went with an unnamed soldier to the European battle front. The soldier survived, as did the guitar. It's now owned by academic and musician John Thomas who uncovered the truth about Gibson's wartime production by the Kalamazoo

Producer: David Cook.

06Girl On Guitar20140630

Cerys Matthews celebrates the legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist Joni Mitchell.

Joni Mitchell is one of only two women to have made it onto Rolling Stone magazine's '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'. She's received eight Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award - the citation on which called her "one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity".

The programme includes the music that influenced her, her love of art, and examines how she writes her songs - as well as reflecting on her eclectic and prolific back catalogue.

Joni Mitchell writes lyrics that speak to the listener and in a career spanning over five decades she's produced folk, jazz and electronic influenced work which is known and loved around the world.

But it's for her guitar playing that many fans love her, and many fellow musicians look up to her. Almost every song Joni has written on the guitar uses non-standard tuning. This and her highly rhythmic strumming style creates a rich and unique guitar sound. Originally Joni tried to teach herself how to play from a Pete Seeger songbook. She never finished the book - Her left hand had been weakened by polio, and some of the fingerings were difficult. Joni didn't give up though - she started to create alternative tunings that allowed her to play each song. The programme features a demonstration of how those tunings were achieved.

Contributors include legendary folk singer Judy Collins - who had hits with Joni's 'Both sides now' and 'Circle Game' - synth-pop producer Thomas Dolby - who worked with Joni in the 1980s, musician Max Bennett - who worked on Joni's earlier albums and toured with her, TV and Radio Producer Trevor Dann - who profiled Joni for the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, cultural commentator Kate Mossman, and musicians Jennifer Crook and Eddi Reader.

07London's Tin Pan Alley: Danny Baker's Musical History Tour20140707

Danny Baker offers a colourful guide to the pivotal role Denmark Street aka Tin Pan Alley has played in guitar music history - from the advent of rock 'n' roll in the 50s through to present day.

Behind almost every door in this iconic London street, Danny discovers an amazing story - as told by the many well-known musicians he bumps into on his journey including former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman and ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock who take us on unique tours of their old haunts.

One-time Denmark Street regular, Donovan, also performs his specially written track 'Tin Pan Alley' on the site of a former hangout and recounts tales of one David Jones often sleeping in his tour van parked in the street overnight, before becoming better known as David Bowie.

Plus 50s/60s rock 'n' roll star Marty Wilde tells how he bought the first ever Les Paul Gold Top guitar to surface in Britain - after a certain American music legend put it up for sale in one of the road's music shops. Meanwhile, one of today's guitar supremos, Suede's Bernard Butler, shares his love affair with the street and how it has played a key part in his own career.

Along the way, Danny uncovers fascinating Denmark Street connections with many more guitar legends such as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and The Who's Pete Townshend.

He also discovers how today's musicians such as Mumford and Sons, Katie Melua and The Libertines are helping keep the street's musical legacy alive.

08Part Of Radio 2's Guitar Season20140714

If you ask Harold Bradley, 88, how many records he's played on during his career he doesn't know. "It's over 13,000 that I know of" he says, "but then there were ten years of files that were destroyed and ten more years with no paperwork at all".

Since 1946, Harold has been playing three sessions a day, five, six or seven days a week, with an average of three songs a session - you can do the maths!

A Nashville native, he played on every record Patsy Cline ever made, and with Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, JJ Cale, Buddy Holly and literally thousands more. You can hear him play on "Stand By Your Man", "King Of The Road" and "Jingle Bell Rock".

He was the second person to take an electric guitar on the Grand Ole Opry, and together with his brother Owen played a major role in establishing the Nashville recording industry which remains a multi-million pound earner to this day.

Despite all this, you've probably never heard of him, and that's exactly how he likes it.

He is the consummate session player, and this is his story. But its also the story of an industry, of how Nashville became one of the world's pre-eminent recording sessions and an intimate look at how records are made.

Harold himself is at the core of the programme, explaining his style and philosophy, recreating the session in which he recorded "Crazy" using exactly the same equipment for a spine-tingling listening experience, and reflecting on his many years as the king of the session guitarists.

Joining him to explain and expand the story are guests including guitarists Brad Paisley and Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs, harmonica great Charlie McCoy, singer Mandy Barnett and many more.

10Radio 2's Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs20140825

As part of the Guitar Season of programmes on Radio 2, we've been asking you to vote for what you consider to be the Greatest Guitar Riff Ever. Now in a special programme Zoe Ball will count down the top thirty and exclusively reveal what's been voted your greatest guitar riff of all time.

A panel of guitar music experts, made up of Radio 2 presenters, music critics and record producers were selected to pick the 100 guitar riffs. They are: Janice Long - Radio 2 Presenter, Bob Harris - Radio 2 Presenter, Richard Allison - Radio 2 Presenter, Gideon Coe - 6 Music Presenter, Steve Levine - Music Producer, Paul Sexton - Music journalist and broadcaster, Sunday Times, Radio 2, Sian Llewellyn - Editor, Classic Rock Magazine.