Posts Tagged ‘Peel Session’

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PunkRock/goth four piece Siouxsie and the Banshees were formed in 1976: Siouxsie Sioux (nee Susan Ballion) (vocals) and Steve Severin (bass) were the constant members of an aggregation that in its best-remembered line-up included John McKay (guitar) and Kenny Morris (drums). Siouxsie had been one of the hangers-on present during the Sex Pistols interview with Bill Grundy. Into this abnormally chaotic adolescence came the Sex Pistols. She latched on to the nascent punk movement and was one of the most visible members of the Bromley Contingent (along with future collaborator Steve Severin) and one of the first people visibly affected by the wave of energy emanating from punk.

Just a few months before this notorious TV appearance, Malcolm Maclaren prompted her to get The Banshees together with Severin on bass, Marco Pirroni (soon to be an Ant) on guitars and a young, John Ritchie (soon to be Sid Vicious) on drums. Apart from Pirroni, who was already a competent song writer and a good guitarist, it was a case of ‘God help us if there’s a war’ as they played a 20-minute improvised version of the Lord’s Prayer at the 100 Club. But 12 months after the Today appearance, everything had changed. With Pirroni departed to join Merrick, Terry, Lee, Gary Tibbs and his truly and Vicious already enjoying short tenure with the Pistols, the line-up settled around Sioux/Severin and John McKay on guitar and Kenny Morris on drums.

In a matter of months they’d gone from being the kind of band who “didn’t know which way up to hold a guitar or how to plug it in” to being a serrated yet sensuous attack unit. Their first Peel Session (‘Love In A Void’, ‘Mirage’, ‘Metal Postcard’, ‘Suburban Relapse’) shows a band who still had trace elements of glam rock, were strangely psychedelic, tribal and stentorian. This was assured, self-contained, original, startling and lots of other things that you would never normally associate with scenesterism.

Siouxsie said of the process like of recording a Peel Session back then, I think for us especially, we worked very quickly, mainly because we’d only played live before and partially it was dependant on who you had doing the session and some of it was about trying out different instruments and different sounds but they were all sessions that were done during the day and I really like them for that. And we always approached our B-sides like that and for me they are a side of the band that a lot of people don’t really get. But this is my favourite side of the band. I like seeing us working in a more spontaneous environment.

The Banshees changed musical direction in the early 80s after recruiting Budgie (drums) and one guitarist was the Cure’s Robert Smith. Siouxsie’s spiky hairdo and black make-up fixed the image of what a gothic band should be years ahead of its time, and album and single releases proved equally successful. John Peel was instrumental in kick-starting their career after producer John Walters had seen them at the Greyhound in Croydon. He gave them a session prior to their even having a recording contract, Peel played their debut release, “Hong Kong Garden”, at the top of his show every night for a week, and shamelessly plugged their first two LPs. Eventually, he tired of their material, the first signs of this being a luke warm response to the mid 1980 release of Kaleidoscope. He later stated a clear dislike for their cover of the Beatles “Dear Prudence”, and said on Peeling Back The Years in 1987 that “the stuff the Banshees do now doesn’t please me as much as the first things they did…I think the Banshees have become, not exactly predictable, but at the same time, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s going to sound like.”

In a 1982 Smash Hits Radio 1 feature Peel cited Siouxsie & The Banshees as being an example of a group he championed, but who then, turn their backs on him. They did two sessions for the programme before they had a recording contract and now Siouxsie says her favourite DJ’s is Kid Jensen, he added. Siouxsie sat in as guest presenter on the Peel show on 20th October 2004, when Peel was on holiday in Peru.

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 29th November 1977 for the John Peel show and broadcast on 5th December 1977. Recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale, London, England . None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast.

Tracklist:

1. Love In A Void
2. Mirage
3. Metal Postcard
4. Suburban Relapse

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 6th February 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 23rd of that month. recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale.

None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast. The version of “Hong Kong Garden” is the only early studio recording on which the oriental hook is played on glockenspiel. The session also includes a version of “Overground” featuring a Hammond organ motif.

Tracklist:

1. Hong Kong Garden
2. Overground
3. Carcass
4. Helter Skelter

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 9th April 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 16th of that month.

Tracklist:

1. Placebo Effect
2. Playground Twist
3. Regal Zone
4. Poppy Day

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 10th February 1981 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 18th of that month.

Tracklist:

1. Halloween
2. Voodoo Dolly
3. But Not Them
4. Into The Light

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 28th January 1986 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3rd February 1986.

Tracklist:

1. Candy Man
2. Cannons
3. Land’s End

All Five sessions. All are available on “Voices On The Air” – The Peel Sessions and “At The BBC” CD set.

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Jethro Tull the British progressive rock group. Their music is characterised by the vocals, acoustic guitar, and the flute playing of Ian Anderson, who has led the band since its founding, and the guitar work of Martin Barre, who has been with the band since 1969, after he replaced original guitarist Mick Abrahams.

The complete session recorded by Jethro Tull on 16th June 1969 for John Peel on the Top Gear show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 22nd of that month. Ian just didnt realise the greatness of Glenn Cornick r.i.p and Clive Bunker..this was magic..the other line ups were good. Clive was along with ginger baker and mitch mitchel..the best if their era.bonzo was the best thumper and barlow best technician.

Recording date: 16th June 1969  First broadcast: 22nd June 1969.

Tracklist:  Bourée / A New Day Yesterday / Fat Man / Nothing is Easy

John Peel was a great supporter of the 1968 incarnation of Jethro Tull , the band did their first session for Top Gear before their first LP was released. He was present when the band played at a free concert in Hyde Park on 20th June 1968, and both Peel and Tull can be seen in a (silent) British Pathé film clip  made at the event. In an enthusiastic account of the festival , Peel wrote: “Jethro Tull had bee preceded to the park by rumours of their goodness. They played with fire and brought out the first rays of the sun…..” In another of his IT columns, a few months later, he praised their debut session: “I wonder did you hear Jethro Tull on Top Gear – they were very good and I look forward to their LP..”

John Peel was a fan of Mick Abrahams‘ guitar playing, which can be heard on the band’s debut single “A Song for Jeffrey”, whose psychedelic-blues style shows the influence of Captain Beefheart’s Safe As Milk LP. But once Abrahams left (replaced by Martin Barre), After he left Jethro Tull, Mick Abrahams‘ own bands (Blodwyn Pig and Mick Abrahams Band) got plenty of airplay on Peel’s shows, and Abrahams did sessions for them.

Peel lost interest in the band. This, apparently, caused a sort of altercation between Peel and Ian Anderson which led to Peel abandoning the band.

Ian Anderson dedicated the 40th anniversary edition (released in 2010) to John Peel, stating that he was regretful that he never had the chance to make up with him. During the months following the recording and release of This Was, our little Blues band featured on a number of BBC Radio sessions, some on the John Peel show, some for other broadcasters (note:  all the sessions the band did in 1968 were recorded for “Top Gear”) and the results – amazingly enough – were retained by the BBC in whatever cavernous vaults and audio dungeons line the bowels Bradcasting House in Portland Place, then and now the home of the “Beeb”. These sessions were, as far as I remember, completely live recordings and stand the test of time surprisignly well. Sonically, they are pretty damn fine. […]

But John, who had a soft spot for original Tull guitarist, Mick Abrahams, was not to be so supportive of our next effort. He advised me, at a co-appearance in a Devon club in early ’69, that he didn’t like the new songs of Stand Up and thought it at mistake that we had apparently lost touch with our blues roots and Mick in particular.

Martin and I were a little stung by this and so the mood was not good when we recorded the songs for Peel’s live sessions show four moths later. John Peel, himself, didn’t turn up, which made us feel somewhat unloved! Peel’s producer John Walters reported some of this bad feeling to his master and thus began a long and regrettable period of disassociation from one of the two or three people most supportive and influential in getting Tull’s career started.

1. Family Entertainment (0:10)
2. Listening In (3:08)
3. Billy’s Third (5:59)
4. Here Comes The Summer (8:21)

The complete session recorded by The Undertones on 22nd January 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 5 February 1979.

Pink Floyd - Syd Barrett

Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, in the last of two rare sessions for John Peel, recorded on December 20, 1967. There are a lot of people (myself included) who felt that Pink Floyd changed radically after Syd Barrett left. That the new Pink Floyd, post-Saucerful of Secrets needed some getting used to. The story has been told and retold a million times, and doesn’t need repeating here. Syd Barrett was the true driving force behind Pink Floyd in the early days – he did, if nothing else, take Psychedelia several steps higher and expanded the sheer creative horizon of the genre. Coupled with the fact that Barrett was a tremendous writer, with a vision and wit few matched.

That it all fell apart due to emotional instability fueled by just a little too much acid has become the stuff of legend. That his solo work later was fleeting, and that he was already too far gone to connect with an audience who didn’t want to let him go made the whole story that much more tragic.

And even during the period of this session, things were dicey. The previous Peel session was marred by a freak-out, and getting this one on tape was probably a miracle in retrospect.

I have never been able to figure out why Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream weren’t officially released or included as part of the myriad retrospective packages put out over the years. They have become legendary “lost” tracks, which have gone on to be highly influential and even covered in the late 70s by The Soft Boys (their version of Vegetable Man is almost note-perfect). The original sessions have been bootlegged and passed around to collectors and cherished as priceless evidence for a few decades now.

Syd Barrett, even now some 10 years after his death, has only gained in stature and mystery – the sadly little of what he left behind has been thoroughly dissected and analyzed over the years. And new fans have discovered and are enthralled by this figure, who came and went in a flash, but left an enormous impression on an era.

If, for some reason, you aren’t familiar with Syd Barrett, or haven’t heard this Peel session, have a listen and go on a search and see what else you can find. There’s precious little, but what there is will amaze.

Play loud. thanks so much to the pastdaily.com

The Servants were an indie band formed in 1985 in Hayes, Middlesex, by singer-songwriter David Westlake who started the band with schoolfriend Ed Moran.

The band’s Small Time album was well received on its 2012 release, more than twenty years after its 1991-recording. The belated release followed the inclusion of 1990’s Disinterest in Mojo magazine’s 2011 as one of the greatest British indie records of all time.  The Servants played their first gig at The Water Rats Theatre in London’s King’s Cross on 1st July 1985. The line-up for most of the early gigs was: David Westlake, John Mohan, Phil King and Eamon Lynam (a.k.a. Neasden Riots). After Declining offers from Statik, Stiff, and Él, they signed with Head Records, set up by Jeff Barrett, later head of Heavenly Records.

Westlake’s urbane English song-writing was well received by the press, and the band was invited to record a John Peel session soon after the release of first single “She’s Always Hiding” in March 1986

Keen to distance themselves from the “shambling” scene, the band earned a reputation for haughtiness. They grudgingly accepted an invitation by the then-popular NME to appear on their C86 compilation, insisting on the track being B-side of their first single – the wrong-footing “Transparent”. The NME compilation turned out to sell well and the Servants became known for a lesser track.

The band’s next release, the four-song e.p. “The Sun, A Small Star” (August ’86), showed Westlake’s song-writing becoming still more deft, the title-track being later described as a classic”.

Luke Haines joined the Servants from early 1987 to late 1991. Drummer Hugh Whitaker left The Housemartins and joined the band as they returned to the studio to demo new material for Creation Records.

In early ’88 the Servants moved to Glass Records, who promised a reasonable budget to record an album. Plans were made to go into the studio with John Brand, producer of Hayes punk-band the Ruts. At the eleventh hour the band were told that Glass distributors Red Rhino had “gone bust”. The budget was slashed, and they went into the studio to record an epic single, “It’s My Turn”. They played some gigs to support the single but Glass delayed releasing the record for a year.

The Servants released its debut album, Disinterest, in 1990 on Paperhouse Records. “It is Art Rock,” Haines later said, “Ten years too late and fifteen years too early.” Westlake and Haines recorded the Servants’ second album, Small Time, in 1991. Not until twenty-one years later was it released, in 2012 on Cherry Red Records (then in 2013 on Captured Tracks). Small Time is Westlake’s own favourite Servants record. The songs are, says Haines, “looser, more mysterious, strange and beautiful, . . . sounding . . . like nothing else really.”

The long unavailability of 1990’s Disinterest is explained in the Small Time notes: it is “stuck in an irretrievable record company quagmire, where it looks set to remain.” Small Time was issued with a second disc, Hey Hey We’re the Manqués, containing demos and rehearsal versions of first-album material.

The Servants’ last gig was at the Rock Garden, 21 August 1991 “With no room to manoeuvre and no opportunities left”, the band finally called it a day.

Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch told a U.S. music magazine The he was a huge Westlake fan and that he had tried to locate Westlake in the early ’90s in hope of forming a band with him, before starting Belle & Sebastian.

Cherry Red Records released a 2006 retrospective of the Servants, called Reserved. The compilation features all of the releases prior to the Disinterest album plus Peel sessions tracks and demos. US label Captured Tracks released a 2011 vinyl compilation of the Servants, called Youth Club Disco.

Westlake and Haines played together for the first time in twenty-three years at the Lexington, London N1 on 4th May 2014. Westlake and band played at an NME C86 show on 14 June 2014 in London to coincide with Cherry Red’s expanded reissue of C86