Wonderful world, beautiful people

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Sound Opinions here before. It’s a radio show recorded for Chicago’s main public radio station, WBEZ, syndicated around the country, and available as a podcast. I don’t listen to it every week—not all that interested in what the kids are listening to—but it often has a segment or two that seem to be targeted to my demographic of one. This week’s show hit the spot.

The longest segment is an interview with the great Jimmy Cliff, who takes the guests through a short history of reggae and its Jamaican predecesors: mento, ska, and rocksteady. I wasn’t expecting Jimmy to come across as well as he did. In this episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks from a decade ago, he seemed a bit befuddled,

but in the interview he’s knowledgable, gracious, and on the ball. And the interviewers, local rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis, let him talk, which was good, because their knowledge of reggae didn’t seem especially deep.1

The show then goes on to give a rave review of Richard Thompson’s latest album, Electric, and finishes off with a tribute to the late Troggs singer, Reg Presley.

Three stories, all focused on artists older than me. What are the odds?

  1. I greatly miss Mark Lamarr’s old reggae show on BBC Radio 2. There was a guy who loved and knew about the music. The way he treated Jimmy in the clip above was, I think, only a slight exaggeration of his true feelings.