I’m not sure what got me started on it, but I found myself a few days ago on a Joy Division kick. There is a lot for me to like about Joy Division, both musically and historically. Musically, they took the inspiration of punk rock, slowed it down, gave it space, and helped lead a new generation in search of its own unique musical expression. Historically, they are interesting in that they are one of a select group of persons that attended the early Sex Pistols performances (the second Sex Pistols show, given in Manchester), a number of whom would go on to form bands themselves, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Billy Idol and Steve Severin. We heard a nice set from Joy Division: Leaders of Men (from 1977), Transmission (1979), She’s Lost Control (one of several mixes that I’ve heard, this one from July of 1979), Incubation (from 1980), Dead Souls (from October 1979), and finally Love Will Tear Us Apart (from March 1980).
From time to time I like to bring back the piece that I used a portion of as the theme for this show. Richard Strauss premiered Also Sprache Zarathustra in 1896, and it was immediately successful and has become a regular part of the symphonic repertoire. The opening fanfare, titled “Sunrise” in the composer’s notes, has been used on a number of occasions, most notably in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Tonight’s recording is a 1968 rendition by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the conduction of Zubin Mehta.
Another thing that I like to return to from time to time is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. As is my practice, we heard this classic album from start to finish, as this is the only real way to listen to this masterpiece of progressive rock music.
We closed the show with a pair of lovely numbers from Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys: a Tiffany transcription of Take Me Back To Tulsa, from May of 1946, and then Ida Red, a similar transcription from the same transcription session. The transcriptions were a method of essentially pre-producing a program for radio broadcast. Wills recording 350+ such transcriptions, and many of these have only recently (as in the 1980s/1990s) been released to the public. Some of his best work can be found on these transcriptions, and they are a vital document as to what Wills and his band could do.