Tony Orlando celebrates 60 years in showbiz, Michael Brewer is still one toke over the line and harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar spills the wine

Legendary harmonica player Lee Oskar begs us 'Never Forget'

Harmonica player, composer and visual artist, Lee Oskar is probably best known for founding the group War with Eric Burdon, which had hits with ‘Spill the WIne’ and ‘ Low Rider’ amongst others, back in the 70’s. Today Lee has just released the most meaningful record of his entire career,  dedicated to his late mother who was a holocaust survivor. It’s called ‘Never Forget’ and that’s exactly what Lee hopes people will do. The album addresses the atrocities of the Holocaust and is his musical memoir, telling his journey, his and his family’s story and also humanity’s story. I spoke to Lee recently and found myself completely moved both by the narrative and the music. Take a look and listen to my zoom call with Lee and learn more about him here.

Eric Burdon and WAR - Low Rider

Meet Michael Brewer - One Toke Over the Line

California duo Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley began their careers separately on the 60’s Los Angeles folk club circuit before teaming up to write and perform together. In 1971, the duo scored a surprise top 10 hit with ‘One Toke Over the Line’ in spite of radio bans owing to the song’s marrijuana -oriented lyrics. Following the song’s success the pair decided to move out of the big smoke to the rural quiet of Missouri and this is where I caught up with Mike Brewer recently. He told me over a very scratchy phone line that he still sees Tom Shipley as often as possible, that occasionally they do get to play together and that despite marijuana being legal there, he’s still smoking and living like it was 1969. You too can relive those days by tuning in to segment two of this week’s show. Make sure you check out the documentary that’s out about Brewer and Shipley too. Can you guess what it’s called? Yep, ‘One Toke Over the Line and Still Smokin.’ It’s a great watch. See the trailer below.

Tony Orlando on sixty years in show biz

L As a child living in New York City’s Hells Kitchen, Tony Orlando used to climb up on the roof and dream one day of seeing his name in lights. Of course the 76 year old has seen his name in lights many times during the course of a sixty year career. Tony tells me that as a teenager he began performing, cutting demo tapes with composers and searching for rock and roll tunes that he could parlay into hits. At 16 he auditioned for producer Don Kirshner who helped him record several hit singles. By 1967 he was managing a subsidiary of Columbia Records. Check out my zoom interview with Tony above. He’s a lovely man and happy to share all the back-stories that surround his mega-hits.

The consummate performer

At the movies - Kenneth Branagh's 'Belfast'

Set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, Belfast is Kenneth Branagh’s most personal movie. The story is seen through the eyes of 9 year old Buddy, a fictionalised version of the young Branagh who grew up in the city. The movie stars Dame Judy Dench, Jamie Dornan and 11 year old Jude Hill who beat 300 other children to land the role. The movie is tipped for Bafta and Oscar success. Read more about Jude Hill here

Leave a Reply