I only occasionally listened to Charlie Gillett who died today, but it was comforting to know that he was there. And like Peel, he was one of those music folks whose influence on me is pretty immeasurable - even when I didn't listen to his radio shows. One way to sum up my life is as a musical journey - discovering new things all the time, moving across genre and nation as I go. Like Charlie and John, I seem never to be sated for new sounds. and they both helped immeasurably in feeding my addiction.
When I was delving into history, discovering soul and Motown and their precedents, it was Charlie Gillett's book, the Sound of the City that drove me in many a direction. Behind the scenes at the time, Gillett was one of the people whom, whilst Peel mainly gave voice to British musicians, started travelling around the world for new aural excitement and fascination. Would my playlist include Tinarewen, Amadou and Mariam, Amalia Rodriguez or any of the many non-Western musicians whose brilliance has genuinely increased the quality of my life in recent years? Maybe these musicians would have come to prominence anyway, but Gillett's support of them must have helped raise their profile.
Who'd've thunk that blues existed in the Sahara?