Free Speech * De Gedachten zijn Vrij: The United States of America * Mon. 05, Tue. 06 June [2017-20]

NEW * NIEUW :   THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA *** REPEATED  * HERHALING:   THE DAWN OF PSYCHEDELIA ** A QUIET EXPLOSION ** THE POETRY CAFE ** [2017-20 =2016-33** There is no freedom without freedom of speech: always, everywhere and for everyone. Anything less is a violation of it.   
United States of America cover lowres

MONDAYS  & TUESDAYS:  CET (Brussels, Berlin) 12:00 noon till 16:00 hrs and from 16:00 till 20:00 hrs  ** GMT (London) : 11 a.m.  till 3 p.m. and from 3 p.m. till  p.m. G

FORMAT: Free Speech consists of four 60-minute shows.  A new show is added each week. It is followed by three previous shows. 

12 noon  and 16:000 hrs CET (11 a.m. and  3 p.m. UK time) NEW SHOW
THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA: seven tracks from the original album, 1968 ** AND ALSO: Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne * Mungo Jerry * The Byrds * 5th Dimension * Mama Cass * Degenhardt & Süverkrüpp * Miek en Roel * Voice: Jim Hightower 

 13:00 and 17:00 hrs CET (12 noon  / 4 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
: RADIO 68 PLAYS selected tracks from the 2cd “Dawn of Psychedelia” and assorted pop songs that introduce and discreetly announce psychedelic music  – the  music form that was going to define pop  in 1967: The Yardbirds * Pink Floyd  * The Moody Blues **  Aldous Huxley * Gabor Szabo  (Chico Hamilton) * Sounds Incorporated * Ken Nordine * Timothy Leary  * Allen Ginsberg * Sonny Bono * Terry Randall * 13th Floor Elevators * The Deep **  Yusef Lateef **  The Leathercoated Minds * Grains Of Sand * Charles Lloyd Quartet  *

14:00 and 18:00 hrs CET (1 p.m. / 5 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
A QUIET EXPLOSION: MUSIC by The Uglys (A Quiet Explosion), Donovan, Roy Harper, The Hedgehoppers Anonymous, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck Group, The Searchers, The Hollies, Mick Softley, Tom Lehrer, Matt McGrinn ** Interview with Bruce Kent (excerpts) about the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament * Audio: ‘War Game’, an official nuclear alert announcement, radio news reports. 

15:00 and 19:00 hrs CET (2 p.m. / 6 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
THE POETRY CAFE, London: Fourth Friday of 25 April 2015 ** FOURTH FRIDAY POETS, feat. Jenny Lewis, Adnan al-Sayegh, John-Paul O’Neill, Alfred Todd, Hylda Sims, Eddy Bonte, Dan Kennedy ** Music: Rattle On the Stovepipe **



 “ (…) The band barely lasted two years, released only one album (in 1968, which Columbia’s marketing department sat on its hands to promote), and ended up a cult favourite that would later be speculated as a phantom influence for the Krautrock sound.  The USA’s self-titled album still stands above the work of most of their Monterey-era, psych-rock peers, and this long-awaited reissue tacks on 10 tracks’ worth of audition tapes, B-sides, and alternate takes.
The band’s deft addition of electronic noise and modulation into what would otherwise be soundtracks for the Beach Boys’ California or ham ‘n’ eggs Anglo-rock was several years ahead of its time. Former UCLA ethnomusicology instructor Joseph Byrd concocted miracles with ‘musique concrete’ -style tape collages and white noise blurts that veered in and out of the songs like uninvited but still welcome guests. He also tackled a dub-like mixology of tape delays and ring-modulated fade-outs and, best of all, distorted and punch-drunk synthesizers that sound indistinguishable from electric guitars. This was a fresh approach to rock from a unique group of musicians: UCLA students who had studied Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen but, as Byrd’s liner notes claim, were “ignorant” of rock roots. And, although the band does indulge a few moments of awestruck discovery of their instruments’ capabilities, the noise generally works with the music rather than simply being fodder from badge-wearing freaks tying to spook the Organization Man.
If USA had an anthem, it was “The American Metaphysical Circus”. The track opens with a pleasantly disorienting hodgepodge of sampled John Philip Souza marches and Byrd’s faithful kiddie-baiting Ringling Bros. calliope melodies before chanteuse Dorothy Moskowitz arrives with her herbal tea-watered croon, carefully enunciating like a three-nights-of-sleep-deprived mother’s lullaby. Meanwhile, electric violinist/ring modulator foreman Gordon Marron emits aurora borealis streaks of police siren wails and bassist Rand Forbes keeps the music resting its head on a bar table all night long (…)”. (Source: )

INTERVIEW with J. Byrd:


Dawn of Psychedelia cd lowres

The 2cd “The Dawn of Psychedelia”  (Cherry Red, 2015) tries to trace and explain the origins of psychedelic pop music and quite correctly points towards the early sixties, the fifties and occasionally even further back in time  – to the Beats, new jazz forms (e.g. Sun Ra), experimental composers like Varèse, the introduction of new substances like marihuana, LSD  or mescaline (Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception” about his mescaline habit appeared in 1954), art forms that broke all the rules (Pollock, Dalí) and Indian music.
By the end of 1966, the global success of of rock’n’roll, yeah-yeah, beat and white R&B was fading. First of all, pop musicians increasingly recorded self-written material or turned to songwriters who created a body of work outside the official song-writing business (Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Neil Diamond, Tim Hardin). Second: as they  developed their creativity, these young composers searched for new sounds and found these in their very own past (folk music), in other genres (free jazz) or even in an entirely different culture – the Indian sitar being the prime example. Songwriters with an ear for production – like Brian Wilson – needn’t even travel in time or space, but used  the new technology to create unheard of sounds in the studio.

Psychedelic pop music then show the following features:
exotic (sitar), new (melotron), but equally traditional instruments like the flute;
music interspersed with spoken word, voices, street noise and all sorts of weird sounds;
electronic effects, from the wah-wah pedal to feedback, fuzz and distortion;
complex patterns, chord changes, improvisation, solo and repetition (jazz being the main source here);
the incorporation of other art forms on stage (action painting, dancing, light shows) and the extensive use of modern graphics for LP sleeves;
lyrics about  esoterical, psychological and spiritual themes, often sung in a high, shrill voice and sometimes used for effect only.

“The Dawn of Psychedelia” consists of music and spoken word. There’s a lot of jazz here, some Varèse and tons of sitar. The spoken word tracks cover anything from an interview snippet with Dalí to a  recipe for ‘Hashish Fudge’. The merit of this release is to clearly show that psychedelic pop didn’t come out of the blue, but the downside is that many tracks can easily be replaced by some other piece of music or spoken word.

RADIO 68 PLAYS selected tracks from the 2cd “Dawn of Psychedelia” and assorted pop songs that introduce and discreetly announce psychedelic music  – the  music form that was going to define pop  in 1967: The Yardbirds * Pink Floyd  * The Moody Blues **  Aldous Huxley * Gabor Szabo  (Chico Hamilton) * Sounds Incorporated * Ken Nordine * Timothy Leary  * Allen Ginsberg * Sonny Bono * Terry Randall * 13th Floor Elevators * The Deep ** * Yusef Lateef **  The Leathercoated Minds * Grains Of Sand * Charles Lloyd Quartet  *


Jef Nutall Bomb Culture cover

The year is 2016 and we are being led by the mentally deranged: asked if she would approve a nuclear attack that could kill 100,000 people in Britain, Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May simply answered ‘Yes’ and seemed to be very proud of her statement. She wants more money for the Trident nuclear programme.

The year is 1966 and protests against the nuclear threat have been going on ever since the American army brought Japan on its knees by dropping two atom bombs. The world’s so-called ‘superpowers’ soon started  a nuclear race and within a matter of years developed enough atomic weaponry to wipe out all life on earth many times over. In the UK, the fist Aldersmaston March was organised in 1958 by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or CND. Its aim was simple: no nuclear weapons. Many marches would follow. Protesters – men and women of all ages and from all walks of life – would be stopped, driven back, beaten, arrested, put in jail, convicted….  The CND wanted just one thing: disarmament, a goal not understood by the military, nor by the other powers that be.
In the sixties, people felt that a nuclear war could happen any time and the near-clash that we know as ‘The Cuban Crisis’ only confirmed their worst fear. Governments distributed leaflets about actions to be taken in the case of a nuclear attack. Schoolchildren actually exercised  how to hide and protect against the fallout, wealthier citizens had a nuclear shelter built, governments had entire shelters built to house the government and top officials. Jeff Nutall’s forgotten book ‘Bomb Culture’ says it all:  our entire culture, our entire way of life was actually dominated by the impending catastrophe. An entire younger generation grew up with the idea that the end could really be near, any time. This feeling of helplessness combined with a strong sentiment of the uselessness of life and the meaninglessness of morals, explains the explosion of energy and creativity of the generation that shaped the 60s.

The threat was omnipresent in culture too. Black humour and utter cynicism are at the core of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ (1964). Peter Watkins’ ‘War Game’ (1965) was banned straight away. Dozens of artists recorded songs about the nuclear disaster to come and some did not even take it seriously –  depicting a nuclear shelter as the perfect hiding place for lovers….  Tom Lehrer’s cynical  ‘We Will All go Together When We Go’ can be found on his live album from 1959 and Homer Harris released ‘Atom Bomb Blues’ (with Muddy Waters on guitar) as early as 1947!

The year is 1966 and in January 1966 a band from Birmingham calling themselves The Uglys released their third single, with the self-written ‘A Quiet Explosion’ on the B-side. The title is perfectly clear: when the bomb falls, we’ll all be gone before we know it. It will come like a thief in the night. The record went nowhere, nor did The Ugly’s. Still, this is the song that illustrates the first chapter of Jon Savage’s ‘1966. The Year the Decade Exploded’.  (Text by Eddy Bonte)

RADIO 68 PLAYS ‘A Quiet Explosion’ and more unknown or forgotten anti-bomb pop and blues songs by famous (Arthur Big Boy Crudup) or less famous artists (Matt McGrinn), excerpts from ‘The War Game’, snippets from an interview with Bruce Kent about the history of CND (see also: and authentic audio files (such as a nuclear Attack Message  from 1961).

FOURTH FRIDAY POETS THE POETRY CAFE London: Fourth Friday of 25 April 2015,

Poetry Cafe Group Picture 28NOV14 DSC06093

Hylda Sims, a poet and a singer in her own right, hosts the ‘Fourth Friday’ poetry readings at The Poetry Cafe, London, bringing together and thoughtfully mixing published poets, poets from the floor and live music in the folk tradition.
On Friday 24 April 2015 the music was performed live by Rattle on the Stovepipe, who play traditional English and Appalachian folk music. The band research  old tunes from a wide variety of sources. On their latest cd, “Old Virginia”, those tunes tell stories about desperate, resisting, fighting, adventurous and exploited characters – be it a man wrongfully condemned to death (‘Coleman’s March’) or a woman dying in childbirth because she cannot afford a doctor (‘Bill Dalton’s Wife’, written by the ultra-red Georgia poet Don West).
The published poets were Mimi Khalvati, Jenny Lewis and Adnan al-Sayegh. Lewis and al-Sayegh share a love for the epic of Gilgamesh. They also translate each other’s work, with surprising and  most lyrical results (Mimi Khalvati will be broadcast later).
We selected the following floor poets: Alfred Todd who compares the present-day Docklands to the docks of his childhood; John-Paul O’Neill who co-hosts the Poetry Cafe’s Tuesdays nights, is co-founder of Farrago poetry; Eddy Bonte of Radio 68. It is with great pleasure that we also broadcast poet-singer extraordinaire Dan Kennedy.
john-paul o’neill

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