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Issue 1080

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Review

Andy Kershaw: No Off Switch (Serpent's Tail)

Andy Kershaw:  No Off Switch (Serpent's Tail)

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UK release date 21.06.2011

You might be wondering what on earth are B&S reviewing an autobiography by Andy Kershaw? An innocuous but amiable fellow who some of you may have heard of and seen presenting Live Aid, the Old Grey Whistle Test and a longstanding radio 1 DJ. Well for those of us in the know, respect must be given for the man who championed World music in this country almost single handedly.......

AK was responsible for bringing us amongst others, the magnificent Ali Farka Toure, the Bhundu Boys countless blues artists such as Ted Hawkins and unearthing forgotten soul legends such as James Carr (arguably the finest of them all!) His contribution should not go unnoticed nor his vociferous attacks on Bob Geldof who somehow forgot to book any black acts for Live Aid!

This no holds barred account is a terrific read. Kershaw just had the lucky knack of being in the right place at the right time and his insane desire to get in the thick of world conflicts saw him report (as a renowned BBC journalist) with first hand experience on the atrocities in Rwanda and Angola, the turmoil in Iraq, the sinister Tonton Macoute in Haiti and the troubles in North Korea. Intrepid to the point of lunacy, Kershaw escaped ambushes, landmines and guns being pushed in his face and has lived to tell this most admirable tale.

Domestic problems saw him banged up and ostracised but the boy wonder has survived it all and this thoroughly absorbing journal bares witness to that. Kershaw's integrity and humility shines throughout. I couldn't put this down, like a cat with nine lives (he must have gone through eight already!) Andy is a survivor and very much back at what he loves doing best. A mesmerising read about triumph through huge adversity, welcome back!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz
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