Tag Archives: CD releases

Heads Up For Hancock Release!

The first of two CD releases featuring the soundtracks to missing TV episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour comes out at the start of July.

The season four episodes – “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (tx 23/01/1959) and “The Wrong Man” (tx 06/03/1959) – are released by BBC Audiobooks as a two-CD set on July 2, 2009,and are currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

In “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (aka “Desert Song”), Hancock is on the run from disgruntled members of the East Cheam Repertory Company. In order to escape, Hancock is forced to masquerade as the Maharaja of Renjipur, with disastrous consequences.

“The Wrong Man” sees Hancock and Sid called in to take part in a police identity parade. However, when a witness picks Hancock out for the burglary of a high street tobacconist, he has only days to clear his name.

In addition to series regulars Tony Hancock and Sid James, “The Flight of the Red Shadow” features Rolf Harris and small walk-ons for series creators/writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Simpson also appears briefly in “The Wrong Man”.

In total, 26 episodes of the TV version of Hancock’s Half Hour (1956 – 61) are missing, all from the first four seasons.

Before season five, HHH went out live and, sadly, the majority were never telerecorded.

Thankfully, some forward-thinking fans made off-air home recordings at the time.

Those soundtracks were returned by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society to the BBC in late 2008 and consisted of the recordings featured on the forthcoming CD alongside further season four episodes: “Underpaid! Or, Grandad’s SOS” (tx 02/01/59); “The Horror Serial” (tx 30/01/59); “Matrimony Almost” (tx 13/02/59); and “The Beauty Contest” (tx 20/02/59).

A follow-up CD, featuring “The Horror Serial” and “The Beauty Contest”, is scheduled for November, and is also available for pre-order from Amazon here.

Both CDs will include explained sleeve notes explaining how the episodes came to be released.

Unfortunately though, according to comedy website Chortle the remaining two soundtracks may be too poor quality to ever get issued commercially.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex: Missing Top Gear Session Discovered

A previously missing 1960s BBC session by psychedelic rock/folk band Tyrannosaurus Rex has been discovered.

The session by the group – which would evolve in to legendary glam act T-Rex in the 1970s – was broadcast on March 23rd, 1968 as part of the BBC Radio 1’s influential “progressive” music programme Top Gear, but wiped soon after.

The BBC archives might not have retained a copy but a fan did, making an off-air recording from his radio featuring the whole session, with DJ John Peel’s introduction and performances of ‘Knight’, ‘Debora’, ‘Afghan Woman’ and ‘Frowning Atahuallpa’.

The sound quality of the domestic tape is said to be good on account of the fan plugging his recorder straight in to the radio, as opposed to placing a mike next to the speaker.

Responsible for discovering the recording is Nigel Lees, an expert on psychedelic music and founder of the Top Sounds record label, set up in 2004 with the purpose of conducting a ‘slow but sure archaeological dig into the UK’s lost pop archive’.

He announced his discovery on the Missing Episodes forum here.

Nigel has been responsible for tracking down other lost live performances by 60s bands such as Tomorrow, Kaleidoscope and Killing Floor, either preserved on transcription disks or from off-air recordings.

These previously unreleased gems, performed on shows including Saturday Club and The Dave Cash Programme as well as Top Gear, have been released commercially by Top Sounds (with the full blessing of the BBC) on three CD compilations: ‘Alphabeat‘; ‘Shapes and Sounds‘ and ‘Shapes and Sounds Vol 2‘.

Wiped hopes to bring you a feature on Nigel and the Top Sounds label soon.

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