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This tale is about a legendary guitar hero who has officially cheated death. To successive generations of guitar aficionados, Wilko Johnson is a cult figure in the rock world. He’s been a Blockhead and a founding member of Canvey Island’s celebrated punk precursors: Dr Feelgood whose unwavering devotion to old-fashioned rhythm and blues and Wilko’s explosive guitar playing inspired everyone from Paul Weller to Joe Strummer.  Life made a cruel twist in 2012 when Wilko was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer but it led to the most extraordinary year of his life which started with a farewell tour, included a part in Game of Thrones and an album with Roger Daltrey, and then culminated with the most surreal experience of all: a cure. The tracks features are: Roxette and Milk & Alcohol by Dr Feelgood, Going Back Home by Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey from their album Going Back Home, and Say Goodbye from Wilko Johnson’s album Blow Your Mind. To learn more about Wilko Johnson and his music visit wilkojohnson.com
Carl Palmer is a drummer’s drummer. His dazzling speed and mastery of the drums has secured him multiple awards and well as a respected place in history as one of rock and roll’s greatest drummers. A consummate professional, a brilliant technician and a dynamic showman, he has thrilled audiences for nearly six decades playing with some of music’s most memorable bands from Atomic Rooster and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown to multi-platinum selling supergroups Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and ASIA. When I caught up with him he was fresh from touring his ELP Legacy shows celebrating 50 years of the band’s third album and ahead of ASIA’s 40th anniversary tour this summer. But what I couldn’t wait to talk about was the release of an amazing boxed set: ASIA In Asia, and hear the stories behind the recording of the 1983 performance in The Budakon, Tokyo. The tracks featured are: Here Comes The Feeling, Sole Survivor, and Heat of The Moment from ASIA In Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983; and Tomorrow Night by Atomic Rooster. ASIA In Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983, is available from 10th June, follow this link to pre-order and read more about it on the CATtales blog. Visit carlpalmer.com for more information about Carl and originalasia.com for the latest information on Asia. Photo credit: Getty Images
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 9: Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader has three BRIT Awards to her name, fronted punk outfit Gang of Four, harmonized with Annie Lennox touring with the Eurythmics, and topped the UK charts with Fairground Attraction. But when I caught up with her at Cambridge Folk Festival she revealed a bit of her more private side as she reminiscing about getting old, Cambridge men and travelled around Europe with a circus! This tale dates back to 29 August 2006, visit CATtales.co.uk/122 for the one with Eddi Reader and sit back and enjoy these tunes. Visit eddireader.co.uk for information on Eddi and to listen to this again and to other tales, visit CATtales.co.uk.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 8: Karine Polwart’s edgy and evocative writing and vocal poise have been steadily winning her respect and affection in the UK and internationally over the past six years as a member of traditional groups Malinky and Battlefield Band.  But now the Scottish Borders based singer-songwriter has established herself at the forefront of the UK folk-roots scene after scooping three prizes at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in February 2005. She’s also a wonderfully genuine person. Here’s how the triple-award winner now she sees the world.  This tale dates back to 30 August 2005, visit CATtales.co.uk/121 for the one with Karine Polwart and sit back and enjoy these tunes.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 7: It was 30 years since The Proclaimers made their legendary TV debut on The Tube, performing the now classic song Letter From America.  Back then, the charts were dominated by the likes of Rick Astley and Sinita and The Proclaimers were unlike anything seen before. The response to the two impassioned brothers singing their hearts out in their own accents about serious political issues was extraordinary and Channel 4’s switchboards were jammed with curious callers.  This tale dates back to 29 August 2005 when Craig and Charlie Reid tell me what the journey has been like. Visit CATtales.co.uk/120 for the one with The Proclaimers and sit back and enjoy these tunes.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 6: There are few keyboard players as accomplished as Mick Gallagher. He’s contributed to albums by iconic punk-rockers The Clash, played with Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey, Robbie Williams, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, and been a right Animal!  But he’s most well-known for being a member of Ian Dury and The Blockheads. Three years after Ian’s passing, Mick chatted frankly about life with Ian, the future of The Blockheads and what it’s like to work with so many iconic names. This tale dates back to 9 November 2003, visit CATtales.co.uk/119 for the one with Mick Gallagher and sit back and enjoy these tunes.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 5: Laura Cantrell’s country vibe struck a chord with the Cambridge Folk Festival crowd with her soft, melodious tones wooing the audience.  Her 2000 debut album, Not the Tremblin' Kind brought the Nashville-born and New York City-based performer considerable acclaim and I was interested to learn whether the American music industry differed much from that in the UK. This tale dates back to 2 August 2003, visit CATtales.co.uk/118 for the one with Laura Cantrell and sit back and enjoy these tunes. Visit lauracantrell.com for more information about Laura.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat o' Nine Tales; 9 special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 tales... Tale 4: Roddy Frame is an absolute delight.  It’s rare for a performer armed only with an acoustic guitar to create a sound which could be mistaken for ten men and his charismatic stage-presence completely captivates any audience.  This style of performance is a long cry from Roddy’s days with Aztec Camera who came to prominence in the early eighties and it’s many years since he became an acclaimed solo artist performing acoustic tracks under his own name.  This tale dates back to July 31st 2003, visit CATtales.co.uk/117 for the one with Roddy Frame and sit back and enjoy these tunes. The tracks featured are: Good Morning Britain, Somewhere in my Heart, Oblivious, White Pony and all I Need Is Everything. Visit roddyframe.com for more information on Roddy and to listen to this again and to other tales, visit CATtales.co.uk.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat O’nine Tales; nine special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 Tales. Tale 3: Phill Jupitus may be best known as a stand-up comedian and for his time presenting Never Mind The Buzzcocks than singing but I caught up with him just as he was about to go onstage to front a gig by the legendary Blockheads. This tale dates back to February 28th 2003, visit CATtales.co.uk/116 for the one with Phill Jupitus and sit back and enjoy these tunes. The tracks featured are: Sex & Drugs & Rock N Roll; Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick; What A Waste; Sweet Gene Vincent; and Billericay Dickie. To buy The Blockhead’s music visit www.theblockheads.com and to listen to this again and to other tales, visit www.CATtales.co.uk 
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat o' Nine Tales; 9 special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 tales... Tale 2: There’s so much more to Nils Lofgren than just being part of Bruce Sprinsteen’s E-Street Band. He’s played with Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Patti Scialfa, and Grin as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So when I got the opportunity to I speak with him backstage on his Break Away Angel solo tour, I jumped at the chance. This tale dates back to 16th November 2001, visit CATtales.co.uk/115 for the one with Nils Lofgren and sit back and enjoy these tunes. The tracks featured are: Shine Silently; I Came To Dance; Cry Tough; Old School; Without You; Across The Tracks. Visit nilslofgen.com for where to purchase these and more of Nil's music, and to listen to this again and to other tales, visit CATtales.co.uk.
Twenty years of interviewing fabulous musicians is no mean feat and I thought it deserved some kind of celebration, or at least to be marked in history for posterity. So, I’ve recorded Cat o' Nine Tales; 9 special episodes of CATtales to look back on those early encounters where the recordings of the interviews no longer survive and the details only remain in written form. After introducing my guest, I’ll give you a link address to read the interview and play some of their key hits for you to listen to whilst you enjoy it.  Thank you to you the listeners and my fabulous guests for your support over the years, I hope you enjoy these special 9 tales... Tale 1: There’s more to ex-Fairport Convention Vikki Clayton than excellent song writing, a haunting singing voice and musical talent. Beneath the quiet exterior lurks a passion for cats, a fetish for shoes and an empathy for mankind. This tale dates back to October 12th 2001, visit CATtales.co.uk/114 for the one with Vicky Clayton and sit back and enjoy these tunes. The tracks featured are: Shakleton’s Song; The Badger; Here Be Dragons; and The Gardener’s Bonny Daughter. Visit vikkiclayton.info for where to purchase these and more of Vikki’s music, and to listen to this again and to other tales, visit CATtales.co.uk.
Wishbone Ash are the musicians’ musicians, and original and founding member Andy Powell is happy with that.  With over 50 years and more albums than Andy can recall under its belt, Wishbone Ash is still going strong despite seeing more than 20 band members go through the exit door and surviving an acrimonious court case.  There may have been a few lows along the way, but there have certainly been far more highs, as Andy and the band embark on a major tour with the excitement about playing the band's newest album, Coat of Arms, and 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of their critically acclaimed album Argus. We chat about the secret behind the band’s longevity, pioneering their signature twin-lead guitar style, what makes a good song and how nostalgia is the future. The tracks featured are: Blowin’ Free from Argus; In Crisis from Power of Eternity; and We Stand As One from Coat of Arms. Visit wishboneash.com for more information about Andy and Wishbone Ash, where to purchase their music, and when and where they will be performing live.
Albert Bouchard has been in the Rock game for a long time. A lover and appreciator of all things music, Albert was one of the founding members of the legendary rock group, Blue Öyster Cult, which sold over twenty million records world-wide with such classics as (Don’t Fear) The Reaper and the No. 1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart Burning For You. Albert’s influence as both a drummer and a songwriter is felt throughout the genres of classic rock, hard rock, and heavy metal to this day and much has been written about Albert’s acrimonious split with the band in 1982. But Albert has no regrets.  He worked as session musician and also went back to college to achieve a BA in music and MA in English Literacy, formed a band with his brother Jo, called Blue Coupe, and was honoured as an outstanding educator by President Obama at the White House. And now he’s back making music with the trilogy of Imaginos. The tracks featured are: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult,  Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria from Re Imaginos; and Shadow of California from Imaginos 2 both by Albert Bouchard. Visit AlbertBouchard.net for more information about Albert, where to purchase his music, and when and where he will be performing live.
British guitarist Steve Hackett has thrilled audiences for decades with his epic electric guitar work, first as a member of the Peter Gabriel-fronted version of Genesis and since then as a prolific solo artist. The influence Steve has had on other musicians can’t be understated. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, not to mention being a highly charming man of considerable intellect.  Steve is now embarking on a world tour performing the hugely successful Genesis album Seconds Out and then hot on its heels, a 25 date UK tour, Foxtrot at Fifty, to mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Genesis album, Foxtrot. Steve talks about his passion behind his latest albums: the beautiful acoustic Under A Mediterranean Sky and the heavy rock Surrender of Silence as well as sharing how he achieves his distinctive two-handed tapping and sweep picking styles and how eternity wouldn’t be long enough to play music. The tracks featured are: Can-Utility and the Coastliners from Genesis’ album Foxtrot, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight by Genesis from Selling England by The Pound; Mdina from Steve’s album Under A Mediterranean Sky; and Natalie from Surrender of Silence. Visit HackettSongs.com for information about Steve, when and where he is touring, and how to buy his music. 
Original rude boy, 2-tone pioneer, and former frontman for The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat, Neville Staple has been at the forefront of the ska movement for over 40 years. Not only is his 2-Tone legacy huge, but Neville has also been credited with bringing ‘toasting’ (a forerunner of rapping) to the UK from Jamaica. He’s performed, written or produced hit albums and singles, TV and film soundtracks (including the 2019 Spiderman blockbuster), not to mention receiving awards from MOJO and NME, as well as Silver, Gold, and Platinum Discs. He’s also received a lifetime achievement award from Coventry’s Foxford School and been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Arden University. The tracks featured are: Ghost Town from new album From The Specials & Beyond; Skinhead Symphony by The Specials; and Don't Let Life Pass You By and Monkey Man, again from From The Specials & Beyond.  Visit www.fromthespecials.com more information about Neville, Sugary and the band, where to purchase music and when, and where, From The Specials will be performing live.
Steve Harley has spent over 50 years making us smile. The rebel with a cause really has done it all; achieving number one chart success, selling millions of records worldwide and writing music that will live on forever. One of the nicest men in the business takes time out to chat with me about music and life. Steve explains: how he has achieved the purest sound possible on his latest album, Uncovered; why he wrote a third verse on Compared With You (and who it is for); what advice he has for young people getting into the music business today; how he gets irritated by the ‘woke’ society; and about his love of birds…of the feathered variety. The tracks featured are: Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me) from live album Anytime; Only You and Compared With You (Your Eyes Don’t Seem To Age) from Uncovered; and Seeking A Love from the Face To Face album.  Visit steveharley.com for more information about Steve, where to purchase his music and when and where Steve & The Cockney Rebels will be performing live.
Anyone living in 1982 couldn’t possible avoid signing, no dancing (well in my case anyway), to the iconic tune The Lion Sleeps Tonight by pop sensation Tight Fit. O-whim, o-whay! Lol Famed for their skimpy jungle outfits, the single reached number one in the UK charts where it fought off competition for three weeks. More chart success followed with Fantasy Island and Secret Heart before Denise Waterman, Steve Grant and Julie Harris went their separate ways.  But fast forward to 2010 and the original line-up responded to requests to perform again and have been singing live up and down the UK and in Europe ever since. Fast forward even further to the present day, the band have released a long-awaited third album with the debut single Fallout, which has already been hailed by their loyal fans as a fantastic nod to yesteryear. The tracks featured are: The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Fallout. Visit Tight Fit fan page on Facebook for more information, to vote for Tight Fit in the Heritage Chart on www.heritagechart.co.uk .
The words ‘legend’, ‘superstar’ and ‘world-renowned’ are over-used these days but when referring to Rick Wakeman, they are more than appropriate. A classically trained keyboardist, Rick reached international stardom with the influential band that pioneered progressive rock: Yes. However, his real success came as a solo artist when he went on to sell more than 50 million records. As a keyboardist extraordinaire, he’s performed with Elton John, David Bowie and Cat Stevens, been an awarded a CBE, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and appeared as a Grumpy Old Man on BBC’s programme of the same name. When you chat with Rick, you’re never quite sure what direction the conversation is going to go. He’s intelligent, articulate, opinionated, and amusing, in fact anything but grumpy. We talk about anything and everything, from the overcrowded internet, his hatred of ‘family’ updates in Christmas cards, being impersonated online, and his love for stargazing to the subjects to ruin every good party: religion and politics! The tracks featured are: Catherine Howard (The Six Wives of Henry Vlll), Sir Lancelot And The Black Night (The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table), Ice (Time Machine) and Ascraeus Mons (The Red Planet).  Visit rwcc.com for more information about Rick, where to purchase Rick’s music and when & where he will be performing live.
Back in the 70s there was no other gang quite like the aptly named Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB). With a unique combination of blurred music genres, eye-catching theatrics, and progressive rock rifts, SAHB bedazzled viewers of Top Of The Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test alike. At Alex Harvey’s side, for hits like The Faith Healer, Midnight Moses, and Delia guitarist Zal Cleminson menaced mockingly, portraying a half mime, half clown character that was more suitable for a  horror film than a musical performance. Zal recounts the rise and fall of SAHB, his struggles with Nazareth, being a session player with Elkie Brooks and Midge Ure, writing a novel, and exclusively shares a track from his forthcoming album with Orphans of The Ash. The tracks featured are: The Faith Healer and The Dolphins (SAHB), Heart’s Grown Cold (Nazareth) and The Last Train Home (Orphans of The Ash), which are available in stores and digitally on all the main streaming/download outlets.
Dance anthem Everybody’s Free is the defining song of the 90s peaking at No.6 in the UK, selling more than 6 million copies, and catapulting Rozalla to international stardom. Hit after hit and a tour with Michael Jackson followed for the chart-topping Queen of Rave, but when musical tastes changed and girl and boy bands started to dominated the charts, dance music lists its edge. But Rozalla is no ordinary performer. She never let her love for music subside and continued to release music, and toured the UK with Billy Ocean. Now she’s back, proving that a single-minded passion for music will get you through, and the Queen of Rave is reclaiming her throne with no thought of relinquishing it any time soon. The tracks featured are: I Feel It Slipping Away and I Want You Back, which are available in stores and digitally on all the main streaming/download outlets.
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