Sunday 26 August 2012

The search for authentic sound

It's no longer available on BBC iPlayer, but let's hope the powers that be repeat BBC Radio 2's one-off documentary, "Mark Goes to Memphis", in which acerbic film critic (and part-time bass player) Mark Kermode and his band associates from The Dodge Brothers go and record in legendary Sun Studio. Here's the blurb from the BBC website:
The UK's most outspoken film critic, Mark Kermode, is also an accomplished skiffle bass player and devotee of American roots, jug-band, bluegrass and rockabilly music.

For the last ten years, Mark has played bass in his band The Dodge Brothers. Their album Louisa and the Devil was praised and played by Radio 2's Bob Harris, and they've performed with Noah and the Whale, The Subways, CW Stoneking and more.

In March, Mark realised a long-held dream when The Dodge Brothers made a musical pilgrimage to the the home of the blues - Memphis Tennessee. The purpose of their journey was to record their second album at the legendary Sun Studio - the place where Elvis Presley began his recording career along with a host of other musical heroes like Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

In this one hour special, we accompany Mark and the band on their journey. We follow them as they rehearse and play in locations in, and around, Memphis and trace the fascinating musical history of this iconic city.
There's also a short video:

In an ersatz age of simulacra, this is a fascinating quest for the genuine, affording insights that could be gained no other way. Recommended.