The COCTEAU TWINS – ” Peel Sessions “

Posted: May 17, 2020 in MUSIC
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On the surface, this isn’t as essential a release as other BBC John Peel sessions LPs. Because the Cocteau Twins used drum machines, the backing tracks and the rhythms replicate the known versions much more than other bands forced to record live in the studio. Yet these BBC John Peel Sessions is still a whopper of a treat for fans and the uninitiated, A sound that builds and builds until one is overcome with unspeakable, barely understood emotions  as Elizabeth Fraser starts to blossom into one of the most riveting voices to ever blow air into a mic.

The original members were Elizabeth Fraser (vocals), Robin Guthrie (guitar, drum machine) and Will Heggie (bass guitar), who was replaced by Simon Raymonde (also bass guitar) early in the band’s career.
These BBC Sessions were released as an an album of BBC studio recordings by the band The Cocteau Twins released in 1999 by Bella Union in the UK and Rykodisc in the US. The album spanned the band’s career from the early 1980s through the 1990s. Taken from a series of early 1980s Peel sessions. Throughout most of the Eighties, Peel made favourable comments on the band in interviews.

The band were discovered by Peel when they sent demo tapes to him and the 4AD label. After hearing the demo, Peel invited the group to do a session for his show in 1982. The 4AD label heard the track and signed them. Peel would play their songs throughout most of the Eighties, although by the time the band released their 1988 ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ album, his interest appeared to have waned. At the end of 1988, Peel’s listeners voted their track ‘Carolyn Fingers’ in the 1988 Festive Fifty, despite the DJ not playing any tracks from the album throughout the year.

John Peel Session, 15th July 1982

“Alas Dies Laughing” – 3:29
“Feathers-Oar-Blades” – 2:19
“Garlands” – 4:19
“Wax and Wane” – 3:50

John Peel Session, 31st January 1983

“Hearsay Please” – 4:23
“Dear Heart” – 3:37
“Blind Dumb Deaf” – 3:41
“Hazel” – 3:22

John Peel Session, 4th October 1983

“Strange Fruit” (Billie Holiday cover written by Abel Meeropol) – 1:52
“From the Flagstones” – 3:
“The Tinderbox (Of A Heart)” – 4:46
“Hitherto” – 3:57

In 1984 Peel included ‘From The Flagstones’ by the Cocteaus in his selections for “My Top Ten” and discussed the band with Andy Peebles. Cocteau Twins – From the Flagstones .Well, this is my favourite record of last year. And they were one of those bands again, like when I first heard them I thought, “Great, I’m glad I lived long enough to hear this.” My favourite record of last year, The Cocteau Twins and From The Flagstones. It’s a very, very pleasant voice actually. I like listening to that. Well, I like the extreme voices. I was just thinking that. Over the years it has always been people who have got the really idiosyncratic voices that I like Beefheart, Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart, Elizabeth Frazer of the Cocteaus, Mark Smith of The Fall people like them.

John Peel Session, 5th September 1984

“Pepper Tree”
“Whisht [Beatrix]”
“Peep-Bo [Ivo]”
“Otterley”

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