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March 18, 2010



I used to love his ping pong games on his GLR show with its tennis metaphores. He once played it with Richard Williams on train songs. Richard played a devilish tophand spin lob with an obscure train blues where the singer mentioned McComb Mississippi. But Charlie missed the killer smash response when he failed to play 'Down Home Special'

Mick H

Those radio ping-pong games were great, even when the guests (unlike, say, Richard Williams) didn't really understand the point of it and just played what they wanted to play. Raul Malo I remember, from the Mavericks, kept playing these tracks of old British crooners that he rated, like Matt Munro - stuff that Charlie would never normally have played in a million years - but it didn't throw him at all. Almost a precursor of Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour in that respect: opening your ears to music you didn't expect.


Thanks for this Mick. I am really sad to hear this. I used to listen to his GLR show religiously, and frequently taped (actually MDed, as I seem to tend towards evolutionary dead end technologies) and still listen to them often. Like Sheddie, I especially loved his radio ping pong. I don't recall the train one though!

I also combed through his The Sound of the City in my local public library as a teenager, borrowing the LPs of the artists mentioned from the library too whenever I could find them - Bobby Blue Bland was one example I think.

I enjoyed the Richard Williams obituary, where I learned lots of things I did't know, such as that he once wrote for Anarchy. It is also sweet and unsurprising that he seems to have been life-long monogamous, sticking with his teenage sweetheart.


Another way that Charlie Gillett profoundly affected my life (along with that of most British people of my generation): he persuaded, I am told, Ian Dury to sing in his own accent and not in a false American accent. Hard to imagine the parallel world where that piece of advice was unheeded.

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