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Pirate Johnnie Walker

Being jingle geeks, John and I do a lot of complaining about the bland sound of radio today. It probably won’t surprise you that we love the sound of the ‘Pirate’ stations of the Sixties, but it may well surprise you that Radio 2 have let the one-time star of Radio Caroline, Johnnie Walker, take over the airwaves yet again with his very own pirate station. Although Johnnie has had a long career with the station, this isn’t simply another ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ (as Brian Matthew does that very well indeed on Radio 2); Johnny pretends that he really is a pirate station bobbing about on the waves, enjoying the indulgence of the BBC, with most of the music being provided from his private collection of vinyl. To top it all off, you can only get in touch with Johnny by postcard or letter!

If you agree that the music of the Sixties was ‘too much’, then you’ll love this. If you’re interested in jingles, then you’ll love the retro re-stylings of the original PAMS IDs, and if you just adore good music, hosted by a great DJ who’s having the time of his life, then you’ll love this too. It’s broadcast on Saturday nights from 9pm-11pm, but the magic of iPlayer means you can listen again (one modern development that is worth celebrating). This week’s show concentrates on rock and roll, with stonkers such as ‘The Happening’ by The Supremes, and rarer gems such as ‘Judy in Disguise’ by John Fred and his Playboys. There’s also a great interview with Dave Cash, who made his name on Radio London with Kenny Everett.

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That is a brilliant, brilliant idea. I’ll make a note to listen this coming Saturday.

Zagrebo's picture

By Zagrebo
February 19, 2009 @ 12:05 am

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Ah, I am also liking these! Johnnie seems to enjoy the conceit, and the chance just to spin every excellent record that springs to mind. He actually tries to play most of it from his old vinyls as well, I believe.

In a schedule that gives a little too much time over to sycophants and bores, he loves the music and is a fine DJ for it, so it is like a bonus Sounds of the Sixties, with less surprises but more years to cover…

Simon Reid's picture

By Simon Reid
February 19, 2009 @ 1:34 am

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Fantastic show well done Johnnie
The show is so good it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Its a blast from a time when radio was so exciting it just highlights how dull and boring today’s radio has become. Its a pity that Johnnie’s show is not broadcast on Saturday AM 10-12 in-place of that awful boring show.


By Roger Bailey
February 19, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

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Listened to it this morning on iPlayer, wonderful stuff! I really like all the roleplaying of being on a ship, especially when that bloke ended up in the water…

Zagrebo's picture

By Zagrebo
February 19, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

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I was arround in the sixties and remember listining to radio caroline and miss those days of great radio and music. I just wanted to know is Jonnys radio program (pirate station) going to be realsed for sale on cd.


Howard Bowden

March 15, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

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Hi Howard,

I think that’s a question for the BBC, but there are playlists on the show’s site;…

Tanya Jones's picture

By Tanya Jones
March 16, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

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Sorry, but I gave this a go and found it really irritating and false. Keith Skues’ Sunday night show on the various BBC Eastern Counties stations is much better, and has been going for a good few years. Johnnie Walker’s a pirate in more ways than one…

By Cheeseford
March 20, 2009 @ 3:12 am

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ditto the comment “really irritating and false”

By andrew ormston
April 13, 2009 @ 3:36 am

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