A brand new crop of sessions will be here on the firstday of each month, replacing the ones before them. mr. obscure can be contacted via his old pal and cowering slave stuart Jones, at firstname.lastname@example.org
the american singer-songwriter david ackles recorded four albums between 1968 and 1973. While working a string of rent-paying jobs after college — "private detective, security guard and circus roustabout" — he was simultaneously composing musicals, ballet scores and choral pieces. These early experiences and enthusiasms were to leave a mark on his songwriting, and helped form a distinctively theatrical singing style. American Gothic, released in 1972, was produced by Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin. Taupin and Ackles became acquainted when Ackles was selected to be the opening act for Elton John's 1970 American debut at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Taupin said of Ackles's style, "There was nothing quite like it. It's been said so many times, but his stuff was like Brecht and Weill, and theatrical. It was very different than what the other singer-songwriters of the time were doing. There was also a darkness to it, which I really, really loved, because that was the kind of material that I was drawn to." Though the album was recorded and mixed in about two weeks, Ackles worked for two years on its conception and "immensely complex" orchestral arrangements. Of Ackles's four albums, it was the only one recorded in England rather than in America. Elektra gave Ackles his biggest budget to date to complete the project and advertised it pre-release as "The Album of the Year." The album was highly acclaimed by music critics in the US and UK: Melody Maker called it a classic and the influential British music critic Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times UK version described it as "the Sgt. Pepper of folk." But sales were again disappointing; it reached only #167 on the US charts. Ackles died of lung cancer on March 2, 1999, at the age of 62. Although he never gained wide commercial success, he influenced other artists, especially British singer-songwriters such as Elvis Costello, Elton John and Phil Collins, all of whom are self-declared fans. After his death Costello said, "It's a mystery to me why his wonderful songs are not better known."Ackles made a rare uk appearance on peel's Top Gear programme, the session taped on 10/01/1968. here it is. blimey!
In the summer of 1970 Irish singers, folk musicians and husband and wife Gay and Terry Woods joined Dr. Strangely Strange, Ireland's version of the Incredible String Band. They gigged in Holland and Germany. The band fell apart shortly afterwards. Terry Woods returned to Ireland to work on his new project, The Woods Band. They recorded their only album in 1971. The record label, Greenwich, collapsed after the band had toured with Greenslade. The album received good reviews but poor sales and original copies are now collecter's items. Reduced to a duo Gay and Terry recorded four albums from 1975 to 1978, and a single. The songs are mostly their own compositions, with accompaniment on dulcimer, banjo and acoustic and electric guitars. here's their second and last session for peel, put down on 28/03/1978.
The Gymslips were an all-girl band from London, England. The original band of Suzanne Scott (bassist / vocalist), Paula Richards (guitarist / vocalist) and Karen Yarnell (drummer) got together in 1980 but first played as The Gymslips in August 1981. The band supported Dolly Mixture on a UK tour. They contributed the song Midnight city on all-girl compilation LP, Making Waves. A tour supporting the Androids of Mu and Rock Goddess followed. In the spring of 1982 they recorded their first of five sessions for Peel after which they signed to Abstract Records. Their first single "48 Crash" (a cover of the Suzi Quatro hit) was released in November 1982 and the follow-up "Big Sister" was released at the beginning of 1983. April that year saw the release of their Rocking with the Renees LP which also saw the band expand to a four piece with the addition of keyboardist Kathy Barnes. With two further Peel sessions, good reviews for the "Robot Man" single and the release of the album in a different sleeve and with the title Drink Problem for the American market, The Gymslips' future looked bright. But twelve months of personnel and contractual problems led to Paula having to recruit a new line up and start all over again. With Karen Kay on bass, Sue Vickers on keyboards and Michelle Chowrimootoo on drums The Gymslips recorded their final Peel session in the summer of 1984 before issuing their last single "Evil Eye" in early 1985 and then calling it a day soon after its release. Paula Richards joined The Deltones and then Potato 5 before again teaming up with Yarnell in band called The Renees and issuing the LP Have you got it as well as contributing the track "He called me a fat pig and walked out on me" to the female only compilation Postcard from Paradise. peel adored the band, giving them five sessions. here's the very first, immortalised on 12/05/1982. However, a track from the session, You'll Never Walk Alone, is missing. my humble apologies. if you have it, please send it to me.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are a British electropop group formed in 1978 whose founding members, Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals), are originally from Wirral, England. While steadily eschewing pop star status, the band cultivated a fanbase in the United Kingdom from 1978–1980. They gained popularity throughout Europe with the hugely successful 1980 single "Enola Gay", and achieved broader recognition via seminal album Architecture & Morality (1981) and its singles. Although retrospectively lauded, the sonically challenging Dazzle Ships (1983) eroded European consumer interest during the mid 1980s; Junk Culture (1984) marked a shift toward more pop-oriented songwriting. Concurrently, OMD reached their peak in the United States and had a major hit with 1986's "If You Leave", written for the film Pretty in Pink. Humphreys departed in 1989 with Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Malcolm Holmes (drums) to form The Listening Pool, leaving McCluskey to lead the outfit; Sugar Tax (1991) and its initial singles were sizeable hits in Europe. By the mid 1990s, however, synthpop had become unfashionable amid the guitar oriented musical climate, and McCluskey dissolved the band in 1996, months after their last successful single, "Walking on the Milky Way". He founded pop group Atomic Kitten in 1998. OMD reformed in 2006 and began releasing new material in 2009. Their European fanbase remained steadfast: History of Modern (2010) became the group's biggest hit on the German chart; English Electric (2013) their largest in the UK since Sugar Tax. The group have sold over 40 million records. mr. obscure is giving you the second OMD peel session (they taped four in all) this month. it was recorded on 14/04/1980.
The best-known line-up of the Pirates, and also the only line-up ever given Johnny Kidd's blessing to retain and to record under the name "The Pirates" (Mick Green, Johnny Spence and Frank Farley) reformed in 1976, surprising everyone with their powerful brand of R&B. They played at 'Front Row Festival', a three-week event at the Hope and Anchor, Islington, in late November and early December 1977. This resulted in the band's inclusion, alongside the likes of Wilko Johnson, the Only Ones, the Saints, the Stranglers, X-Ray Spex, and XTC, on a hit double album of recordings from the festival. The Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival compilation LP (March 1978) reached number 28 in the UK Albums Chart. This line-up did its final gig in 1983 (until reforming for the third time in 1999). After that the Pirates kept going on every now and then with various lines-up, always including Mick Green (Guitar/Vocals); in the 1980's and early 1990's with John Gustafson (The Big Three, Roxy Music) on bass and vocals, and with different drummers. The original line-up recorded a number of reunion albums in the late 70's and early 80's; Out of their Skulls, Skull wars, Happy birthday rock & rollandFistfull of dubloons. The band dissolved on the death of Mick Green in January 2010. Since then past members have formed a new band, The Spellkasters, in 2013 with new frontman Pete Edmunds, a guitarist who plays very much in the Mick Green style. An album Kastin' The Spell was recorded in Sweden for release on Angel Air Records in February 2014. The Spellkasters start a hefty worldwide tour schedule in March 2014. this is the third of three bbc radio one sessions they recorded for our hero. it was taped on 09/05/1978.
The Rezillos are a punk/new wave band formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1976. Although emerging at the same time as other bands in the punk rock movement, the Rezillos didn't share the nihilism or social commentary of their contemporaries but instead took a more light-hearted approach describing themselves at the time as "a New Wave beat group". Their songs are heavily influenced by 1950s rock and roll, 1960s English beat music and garage rock, early 1970s glam rock and recurring lyrical themes of science fiction and B movies, influences that mirrored those of US bands the Cramps and the B-52s who were starting out at the same time. The Rezillos' biggest hit in their home country was the UK Top 20 single "Top of the Pops" in 1978, but they're best known outside the UK for their cover version of "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight", which featured on the soundtrack to Jackass: The Movie in 2002. Since the Rezillos recorded it, the song has been covered by other punk bands, including Youth Brigade and Murphy's Law. Released in July 1978, the Rezillos' only studio album Can't Stand the Rezillos is now considered a classic album of the first wave of British punk, but the group split up just four months after its release, following internal arguments about their future direction. After the split the band's guitarist and principal songwriter Jo Callis briefly joined a couple of unsuccessful Edinburgh post-punk groups, before being invited to join The Human League. He went on to co-write some of The Human League's best known songs during their most successful period, including their biggest worldwide hit, "Don't You Want Me". The Rezillos' vocalists Eugene Reynolds and Fay Fife formed the Revillos, a group with an ever-changing line-up that continued where the Rezillos left off. The Revillos split up in 1985, briefly reforming in 1994 for a tour of Japan, and again in 1996 for a UK tour. In 2001 the Rezillos reformed after being invited to play at Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations, and have continued to play live ever since, as well as releasing the occasional new single. There were two sessions for the great broadcaster: here's the last one, put down on 31/05/1978.
Between the early sixties and the mid-seventies the English rock vocalist Steve Gibbons played in groups such as the Dominettes, the Ugly's, Balls (with denny Laine) and, very briefly, the Idle Race. He then formed his own band who worked the pub and club circuits until 1975 when they were spotted by Peter Meaden, former manager of The Who. This led to the Steve Gibbons Band joining The Who's management stable and recording their first Polydor album Any Road Up in 1975. This was followed in 1976 by a tour with The Who in the UK, Europe and the United States. Playing the concert arenas, they shared the stage with many big name bands of the time. Their next album, Rollin' On included their biggest hit single, "Tulane", a Chuck Berry cover. Three more albums followed, all on Polydor. In 1981, after a change in personnel they recorded Saints & Sinners for RCA and later responded to an invitation from the German Democratic Republic to become one of the first western rock bands to tour the major cities of East Germany in 1982. Gibbons played at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert in 1986 which featured George Harrison. Nine more albums were released in the 1980s and 1990s, and the touring continued. this is the second of their three sessions for peel, immortalised on 21/02/1977. annoyingly, one of the tracks, Please Don't Say Goodbye, is missing. sorry.
The list of band names below is purely for illustrative purposes - I don't pretend to have sessions by all these people - but I do have a frightening amount of them.