Category Archives: Birthday

Star Signs & Life Changing Music

“May 21 rolls around again, and another year in my journey through life has passed,” says Norman B, referring to his birthday. “Looking back over the years,” he continues, “I’m fortunate to have wonderful memories, each with their own soundtrack!” In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B recalls the music that has made an impact on his life. He’ll take us on his life-changing journey complete with his musical soundtrack including Elvis Presley, Elmore James, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, Cornell Campbell, Gregory Isaacs, David Bowie, The Smiths, The Only Ones, Killing Joke, A.R. Kane, Barzin and Hugh.

Plus, Norman B will ask acclaimed astrologer Joyce Levine why star signs and birthdays are inextricably connected? Joyce a top expert on the subject, knows her stuff. She has all the answers and will also explain why Pop Astrology is entertaining but not very useful. But, can Joyce read the star chart of a certain Mr. Trump, to let us know if he will be elected President? Find out in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

Life Elsewhere Show #170 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Thursdays 7.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

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Happy Birthday Mac!

Jo Rae Di Menno & Ian Mac McLagan

May 12 is the birthday of Ian Patrick ‘Mac’ McLagan. Just a week or so before Mac’s birthday in 2014, Norman B ran into his old art school friend at a prestigious charity event in Seattle. In the green room, backstage at the Experience Music Project Museum, the two silver-haired Londoners, chatted away, reminiscing and agreeing they should record their conversation. “We’ll have a fireside chat via Skype!” chuckled, the always effervescent McLagan. Some weeks later, after Mac returned from being on the road, a recording session was arranged. The fireside chat went so well, Mac suggested he and Norman get together again for another lengthy recording. The second fireside chat was recorded later in the year, at the time when Ian released his latest album, United States and was about to embark on a tour with Nick Lowe. On the day of the recording, Mac was his usual characteristic happy self, making quips and pointedly ribald jokes. During the dialogue, the topic of age came up. Ian McLagan spoke seriously for a moment but managed to make light of the fact that he’d be ancient if he ever was able to pay off his second mortgage.

The fireside chats with Mac were lengthy, so we aired them in segments. As December 2014 arrived, we were about to air the final segment, when a brief email arrived from Mac’s Press Agent, “Sorry, Norman” it read, “You need to know that Mac has died!” Mac’s Press Agent Jo Rae Di Menno was also one of his best and most trusted friends. As Mac’s birthday is almost here we asked Jo Rae to share a few memories of her always smiling friend. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, we pay tribute to Ian McLagan.

Photo of Jo Rae Di Menno & Ian Mac McLagan used by kind permission of Theresa DiMenno

Life Elsewhere Show #168 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Thursdays 7.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

Life Elsewhere can be heard on CMG Global Media
If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

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Download Norman B’s Exclusive Thank You Mix

Picture 3A big week at Life Elsewhere headquarters! A record number of listeners to our Podcast via Stitcher and WMNF, plus massive amounts of hits at this site, from Mongolia to Kuwait and Chile to Finland. If that wasn’t enough to keep us busy, it was also Norman B’s birthday which generated non-stop email and snail-mail salutations. The cake, the balloons and festive paraphernalia are gradually being pushed to one side as we concentrate on the Memorial Day edition of Life Elsewhere. One birthday card looks like it will permanently take pride of place on Norman B’s desk. It’s a card from his son James (pictured left), with a sentiment we all agree with.

Impressed with all the generous birthday messages and the ever-growing numbers of subscribers and listeners to Life Elsewhere, Norman B set about saying “Thank You” by making an exclusive mix for you to download. “I decided to give something back to all the wonderful supporters of Life Elsewhere said Norman B, adding “I selected some my all-time favorite and collectable reggae tracks!” The playlist follows and the download link is at the bottom of the page.

Norman B’s Exclusive Thank You Mix                                  

The Twinkle Brothers – I Love You So

(Apologies for the surface noise, this track was taken directly from my well-worn copy). This track first appeared on a 10” ep on the Virgin Front Line imprint, apparently now a rare find. I bought my copy when it was released in 1978, before ever hearing it. The cover caught my attention as I perused the slim reggae bin at the original Virgin Records shop in London. I played that slight piece of vinyl again and again and almost wore it out. It moved me to such a degree I remember playing it repeatedly one night for my opinionated yet terribly smart friend (and sadly departed) Ken, who finally shouted at me, “Can you give that bloody thing a rest?!” And with that he promptly put on The Stranglers.

Osbourne Graham – Baby Don’t Go

B-side of “San San” an Upsetters’ 7” from 1974 produced by the original Upsetter, Lee Perry on the Count Shelly imprint. Very rare find if you are lucky track down this gem.

Johnny Clarke – Hold On

This track most likely can be found on various compilations like almost all of reggae tracks recorded in Jamaica throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The compilation lists go on and on and it has become almost impossible to keep up with who released what, when and where. I first discovered “Hold On” on the album Johnny Clarke Meets Cornell Campbell (In New Stylee). It’s a classic Bunny Lee production recorded at Joe Gibbs in 1983.

Jah Walton – Touch Her Where She Want It Most

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 3.26.22 PMNow here is a fine example of the conundrum of reggae…truth and rights vs. slackness…or…an overindulgence of a debatable religious idea vs. downright blatant sexual boasting. Mr. Walton aka Joseph Cotton manages to mix up both idioms in the short space of one album. The first track “Stay A Your Yard And Praise God” sets a seemingly righteous tone, which abruptly changes with the title track “Touch Her Where She Want It Most”. You certainly don’t have to decipher the lyrics to understand what Mr. Cotton is on about. And just to bolster his predilection, he follows with  “Tender Pum Pum”. But it’s the front cover artwork, if you happen to come across it, that may convince you of Jah Walton’s true religion. Recorded in 1981 at Channel One and produced by Phil Pratt.

General Echo – Answer The Telephone

Earl Anthony Robinson made no bones about where his interests lay, with album titles like “Slackest LP” and 12″ of Pleasure. I happen to own a cassette recording of him toasting with his own Echo Tone Hi Fi sound system where his graphic boasting was for the time truly original and shocking. This track recorded one year before his premature death in 1980 is from the album Rocking & Swing“.

Barry Brown – Girlfriend + Girlfriend In Dub

Curiously, Barry Brown apparently wants to borrow a girlfriend! A rousing disco-mix from the exceptional album “Showcase: Midnight Rock At Channel One” Produced by and featuring Jah ThomasScientist and Roots Radics provide the backing.

Susan Cadogan – Nice And Easy

From a 1976 album produced by Lee Perry, alternately titled Susan Cadogan and “Hurt So Good”. Unfortunately like many female reggae artists, Ms. Cadogan is best remembered for a just one hit. Her sweet breathy vocal style was well handled by the inimitable Mr. Perry on an album well worth searching for.

Derrick Lara & Trinity – Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

True story: I used to play this track, many years ago on Wednesday nights at Tugs, the legendary club in Seattle. When I had the crowd at a fever pitch after a set that involved mixing B52’s into Soft Cell then into The Supremes I needed something to keep ‘em on the dance floor but also change the pace a little. This 12” disco-mix’s thundering bass-line coupled with the familiarity of the song had everyone in a sweaty throbbing mass on the dance floor. The only trouble was the first evening I was about to play the disc, a not so careful visitor to the dj booth managed to knock the platter to the floor. It was Jamaican pressing and therefore made out of the old thick breakable vinyl…a chunk about one inch across snapped off the edge…the disc was still playable but I had no choice but to cue it up, skipping the opening bars to begin where Mr. Lara says, “Yeah!” It was a huge success and requested again and again. I almost certainly played the record every week for over a year but dancers at Tugs never ever heard the beginning. Thankfully I managed to find a digital version so you can hear the whole wonderful effort intact. Enjoy.

Norman B’s Exclusive FREE Thank You Mix was available for a limited time. 

Don’t Miss the Memorial Day Edition of Life Elsewhere

Monday, 9.00am EDT, May 26

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“Cock & Balls!” Said The Professor

Julie LangfordJulie LangfordAssociate Professor of Roman History at the University of South Florida, joined the Birthday edition of Life Elsewhere. Ms Langford described in explicit detail how the ancient Romans celebrated birthdays and rites of passage, “Romans marked out children from adults by their dress, in particular by an amulet that citizen children would wear around their neck. Very often, this had a phallus and testicles…it was in the shape of a cock and balls” the Professor cooly announced, causing Norman B’s producer to have an instant deer-in-the-headlights moment as she readied herself to hit the “bleep” button. Julie Langford went on to describe how a phallus was the symbol of life  and crucial in averting the Evil Eye. The Professor continued with stories about sacrifices, honey cakes, the age girls became women and much more.

Listen to the complete Podcast of Life Elsewhere’s Birthday edition, which also includes Norman B retracing momentous changes in his life through music. His musical selection includes, Elvis Presley, Elmore James, Marvin GayeThe Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Cornell Campbell, Gregory Isaacs, David Bowie, The Smiths, The Only Ones, Killing Joke, A.R. Kane and Barzin.

This is the song Norman B heard at the age of ten, that changed his life. Hear the complete Podcast of Life Elsewhere’s Birthday edition here or here

Elvis Changed My Life.

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Has music changed your life? Do you think about getting old? In the next edition of Life Elsewhere (Monday, May 19 at 9.00am EDT), Norman B, with a birthday just days away, reveals his thoughts on aging and the music that changed his life. With a surprising soundtrack, he’ll take you on a journey from the age of ten when he first discovered rock and roll to the present day. Plus, we learn about celebrating birthdays in ancient Rome with Julie LangfordAssociate Professor of Roman History.

Listen live to Life Elsewhere

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Podcast available at Stitcher