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Six Of The Best – Stuart Cosgrove

February 9, 2015

Six Of The Best is a semi-regular feature that pokes, prods and persuades your favourite bands, bards and barometers of hip opinion to tell us six of the best tracks they’ve ever heard. The tracks could be mainstream million-sellers or they could be obfuscatingly obscure, it doesn’t matter. The only criteria set is that, aye, they must be Six of the Best. Think of it like a mini, groovier version of Desert Island Discs…

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Number 20 in a series:

Stuart Cosgrove is, to most folk in Scotland, the owner of that distinctive voice with the Tayside twang barking and cackling its way out of the tranny each Saturday afternoon between 12 and 2. “Ah yes indeed Tam!” could almost be his catchphrase. As co-presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Off The Ball, he’s a bringer of much needed humour and mirth to suffering Scottish football fans up and down the land.

The most petty and ill-informed football show on the radio‘ is a must-listen to in my house – it’s the central part of my pre-match warm up before I head off to Rugby Park to watch my team lie down to whoever they’re up against that week. Although primarily a football show, there’s a fair smattering of music references. Sometimes, one of the guests will be of that ilk, other times Tam and Stuart will discuss their musical preferences, with Stuart the black music obsessed yin to Tam Cowan’s cabaret ‘n crooners yang. And there’s always a record to play out with, a thematically-linked song that encapsulates the mood of that week’s big (or petty) talking point. It’s my favourite show on the wireless by some distance.

stuart cosgrove

In the 70s, Stuart was a buttoned-down and baggy-panted Northern Soul fan, a collector of rare 7″s who was fond of hopping on the overnight Perth to London train and disembarking at Wigan just in time for the Casino to open. In the 80s, Stuart indulged his musical passions further by writing for the fanzines before graduating to the NME and The Face. He was an early champion of electronic dance music and his job gained him access to all sorts of musical royalty, from Stevie Wonder and Jimmy Ruffin to Prince and the hallowed halls of Paisley Park. He’s long-since moved onwards and upwards (would you still want to be writing for NME nowadays? What/who could you muster up any enthusiasm to write about?) and is now a high heid yin at Channel 4. Somehow, inbetween the radio work each Saturday, working in London through the week and going to as many St Johnstone games as he can fit in, he’s found the time to write a book.

Here’s the blurb;

Detroit 67, The Year That Changed Soul is the story of the city of Detroit in the most dramatic and creative year in its history. It is the story of Motown, the breakup of The Supremes and the implosion of the most successful African-American record label ever, set against a backdrop of urban riots, escalating war in Vietnam and police corruption. The book weaves through the year as counterculture arrives in Detroit and the city’s other famous group, the proto-punk band MC5 go to war with mainstream America. The year ends in intense legal warfare as the threads that bind Detroit together unravel and leave a chaos that scars the city for decades to come.

 

It’ll be right up my street, and no doubt many of yours too.

Ahead of its publication at the end of March, Stuart somehow found the time to contribute to Plain Or Pan. Keeping with the Detroit theme, Stuart tells us his six favourite Detroit musicians. In what must surely be a serendipitous moment, most of them have graced this blog countless times already.

 

Marvin Gaye
The original black crooner who wanted to be the black Sinatra but ended up fronting the greatest album of all time ‘What’s Going On.’

Marvin GayeInner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

David Ruffin

The bespectacled lead singer of The Temptations was the most complicated character at Motown and at war with himself. He eventually died of a drug overdose.

The TemptationsMessage From A Black Man

Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul came from a famous Detroit family whose father was the city’s most flamboyant preacher.

Aretha FranklinSave Me

Mary Wilson

Often seen as ‘the other Supreme’ caught in a bitter war between Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, but her voice effortlessly floated from jazz, to soul and even opera.

The SupremesAutomatically Sunshine

Ronnie McNeir

An outsider who often won local talent contests in the Motor City but was in his sixties before he joined The Four Tops as a stand in for the legendary Levi Stubbs.

Ronnie McNeirLucky Number


Jonnie Mae Matthews
The godmother of Detroit soul and a pioneer who had a voice rougher than sandpaper and smoother than silk.

Jonnie Mae MatthewsThe Headshrinker

 

Stuart Cosgrove is the author of Detroit 67. You can read more about the book and its author on the Detroit 67 Facebook page. Afterwards, you’d best get on the good foot and pre-order your copy from here (or your usual online book retailer.) I’ll see you at the front of the virtual queue.
detroit 67

5 comments

  1. Don’t know why Mr Cosgrove was taking the train from Perth to Wigan in the 1970’s. I was working in Perth in the early 70’s and one of my flatmates, John Glenn, was running regular weekend soulboy nights at the Isle of Skye Hotel – just over the bridge from the city centre. I remember helping him out a couple of times and being amazed at the soulboys (and girls) turning up to dance the night away, armed with their gym bags, towels and talcum powder.


  2. Cool story, cheers!


  3. Great article. But whIat is a Tayside Twang? I like to think that those of us from Broughty Ferry sound completely different to Dundocnians nevermind pople from Perth.


  4. Cosgrove, when working for the Face came to Ricky’s scooter emporium just off the Gallowgate to interview some of the West of Scotland’s scooter it’s for an article in the late 80s. A couple of us from our mob waited about for a bit and then buggered off thinking that the whole thing was a wind up. I was surprised a while later to find an article and pictures of guys I knew in the mag. Funny thing was I suspect that I was one of the few who read the Face, I was definitely the only one in our club.

    I like Off The Ball but too much talk about Motherwell for an Airdire supporter like me and Tam Cowan’s taste in music is as awful as his taste in shoes.


  5. Great wee story, Drew.



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