I listened to this programme on the way home after seeing the lovely Yasmin Levy last night at the Union Chapel, and the programme was a fitting follow-up to the gig. Whilst driving I was laughing, it really made me smile, and there were some really touching moments too in the programme. It was good to hear Alexis Korner's voice again (it took me right back in time - especially, when I heard the first few bars of the theme music that accompanied one of his old radio shows), and to hear Mick Jagger's take on being told how to play the harmonica. That was classic!
The programme was made by the Somethin' Else production team - who have been instrumental making so many interesting documentaries for radio and television.
Review from today's Guardian, by Elizabeth Mahoney:
Alexis Korner: Rhythm and Blues Champion (Radio 2) began last night in promising fashion. In Korner it had a captivating, flamboyant artist to portray, and those asked to remember him in soundbites did the bandleader proud. I liked a friend of Korner's, describing how bohemian his life was and reaching for a memorable detail: "He used to have iguanas on the kitchen table".
Mick Jagger also contributed to the programme - made by his younger brother, Chris - and conceded Korner's pivotal role in bringing the future Rolling Stones together. He was also very funny when telling an anecdote about Cyril Davies, Korner's straight-talking musical collaborator. Jagger had gone to ask Davies for a harmonica lesson. "You fucking suck it, you fucking blow it, and the fucking sound comes out, all right?" Davies snapped. "That," said Jagger, "was my harmonica lesson."
Archive clips revealed Korner to have a mellifluous voice and a relish for storytelling. He recalled falling in with a delinquent teenage crowd, and stealing records from Shepherd's Bush market. "You had to have a saddlebag that was at least 12in big to join the club," he explained. "You had to be able to slip the records into your bag and vanish."
This series is available on BBC I-player for a few more days. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008w4mr There's a particularly touching moment in the first episode when Chris Barber talks about Ottilie Patterson singing Lowland Blues in Muddy Waters' club.