Starry Vaults

Second serving of highlights and blunders from seminal TV rock slot as it catches up with punk

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Introducing the new Uncut… Bob Dylan at 80 and our free 15-track Dylan CD!

Welcome to a very special issue of Uncut, as we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday. As you might imagine,...

Introducing Uncut’s amazing Bob Dylan covers CD

Featuring 14 brand new versions of Dylan songs by The Flaming Lips, Cowboy Junkies, The Weather Station and more - plus one previously unreleased Dylan track

Introducing the Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Neil Young

Updated with a deep dive into Archives II and more

Prince’s “lost” album Welcome 2 America is finally getting released

The Prince Estate have announced details of a new release. Dating from 2010, Welcome 2 America is finally due for...

George Martin’s ‘Ray Cathode’ tracks to be reissued

Two electronic instrumental tracks from George Martin dating from the early Sixties are being reissued. A collaboration with BBC Radiophonic...

Ironically, the musicians who look back on The Old Grey Whistle Test with dewy-eyed nostalgia and the great reverence that they themselves received from the once-whispering but now croaky Bob Harris are the very people whose contributions here are eminently fast-forwardable.

By contrast, the artists later appearing on the show as a TV opportunity, pure and simple, are those who make for the most interesting viewing today.

The early-’70s section, all long hair, beards and appalling afro perms, blue-eyed soul and singer-songwriters, offers much embarrassment: Loggins and Messina’s “The House At Pooh Corner” is so utterly appalling that it becomes a perverse highlight. Even the glittering Roxy Music, the eccentric Kevin Ayers and Roy Harper, and the Moon-era Who would have been better served by superior song selections, should they exist.

Things turn the corner with Be Bop Deluxe. The Whistle Test eventually caught up with punk and new wave, and performances by Squeeze, The Adverts, The Style Council and, especially, Patti Smith, the Banshees, The Undertones and The Pogues are genuinely exciting if not essential, meriting its four stars.


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