To my knowledge, I was the only DJ who played anything from Dexys Midnight Runners Searching for the Young Soul Rebels album back in the early 1980s. Now, I know this probably wasn’t true, but the band, with its earnest-but-technically-unskilled singer Kevin Rowland was a bit tough on the ears, definitely not radio-friendly.
So I was delighted to hear a track from Searching… while listening for the first time to Stephen Merchant’s radio show on BBC 6. Merchant is the comedy partner of Ricky Gervais, with whom he created The Office and Extras. Turns out he’s a pretty respectable DJ too. The tracklist from the most recent two-hour show features everything from Al Wilson to World Party to Aqualung to the aforementioned Dexys Midnight Runners.
Merchant is hardly the only thing worth listening to on BBC 6. Last night I spent some time with the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, an eclectic and obscure mix of, well, funk and soul. And sometime later this week I’ve promised myself I’ll find time to listen to Don Letts, the filmmaker, Clash collaborator and onetime member of Big Audio Dynamite.
And that’s just scratching the surface. The full BBC 6 lineup is available here.