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 email@example.com
Basement 5 were a reggae-punk fusion band from London founded in 1978. Their first vocalist was Winston Fergus, then Don Letts. One of their early performances was as support for Public Image Ltd.'s London debut at the Rainbow on Christmas Day 1978. Finally in 1979 Dennis Morris - legendary photographer of Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols, took over as creative force, lead vocalist and lyricist. He also designed the Basement 5 logo and created their image. The drums were played by Richard Dudanski, who had played in the bands 101ers, The Raincoats and Public Image Ltd. Their songs reflected the political situation of the time in Great Britain in the era of Margaret Thatcher: youth unemployment, strikes, racism and the poverty of the working class. In 1980 they signed to Island Records their debut, self-produced single, "Silicon Chip," was issued on 26 May followed by the first album, 1965-1980 (produced by Martin Hannett). However, on the first day of the recording sessions drummer Bigga walked out. Having just finished touring with Ian Dury and the Blockheads who they became very friendly with, they then used their drummer "Gentleman" Charlie Charles of the Blockheads. Hannett, in an interview in 1981, said, "You have to play it very loud to enjoy it fully. It was the most difficult production and I must say, the heaviest. As I recall it has been the most physical album that I've ever done. Made me feel like I'd been carrying bricks around. Heavy work. Putting the bass lines in the right place. But it was good." The sessions also yielded dub reggae versions of several tracks, released on 31 October as "In Dub." "Last White Christmas" was released in time for the yuletide season as a 12" and 7" but the band broke up shortly thereafter, with several members forming Urban Shakedown. The only Basement 5 peel session was recorded on 21/04/1980 - and here it is.
Family were an English rock band formed in late 1966 and disbanded in October 1973. Their style has been characterised as progressive rock, as their sound often explored other genres, incorporating elements of folk, psychedelia, acid, jazz fusion and rock and roll. The band achieved recognition in the United Kingdom through their albums, club and concert tours and appearances at festivals. The band's rotating membership throughout its relatively short existence led to a diversity in sound throughout their different albums. Family are also often seen as an unjustly forgotten act when compared with other groups from the same period and have been described as an "odd band loved by a small but rabid group of fans". Despite most of their recordings being issued in the US, the band never achieved any appreciable success there. They formed in late 1966 in Leicester, England from the remaining members of a group that was previously known as The Farinas and later briefly The Roaring Sixties, whose sound was grounded in R&B. The American record producer Kim Fowley suggested
they call themselves "The Family" as they regularly wore double-breasted suits in performances, giving themselves a mafia appearance, a look they soon abandoned in favour a more casual dress code. Seven albums followed, issued between 1968 and 1973. Family gave their final concert at Leicester Polytechnic on 13 October 1973. Many of its members went onto different musical projects; Roger Chapman and John "Charlie" Whitney formed the band Streetwalkers; John Wetton played with King Crimson and eventually became the lead singer of Asia. Rob Townsend was a member of Medicine Head between 1973 and 1975. He is now a member of The Blues Band since 1979 and of The Manfreds since 1991. Ric Grech died of kidney and liver failure in 1990 at the age of 43, as a result of alcoholism. Tony Ashton died in 2001 at the age of 55 of cancer. Sadly, Jim King died on 6 February 2012 in Middlewich, Cheshire. This rare Top Gear appearance was taped on 11/03/1969.
These days, English musician and singer-songwriter Joe Jackson (real name David Ian Jackson) lives in Berlin. Born in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, David Jackson (as he was then known) grew up in Portsmouth in the Paulsgrove area and attended the City of Portsmouth Boys' School. His parents later moved to Gosport when he was a teenager. He initially learned to play the violin but soon switched to piano and prevailed on his dad to install one in the hall of their Paulsgrove council house. From the age of 16, he played in bars, and won a scholarship to study musical composition at London's Royal Academy of Music. His first band, in Gosport, was Edward Bear, later renamed Edwin Bear and then finally Arms and Legs, but dissolved in 1976 after two unsuccessful singles. Although he was still known as David Jackson, it was around this time that he picked up the nickname "Joe", based on his supposed resemblance to the TV puppet character Joe 90. He then spent some time in the cabaret circuit to make money to record his own demos. In 1978, a record producer heard his tape, and got him signed
to A&M Records.The debut album Look Sharp! was released in 1979, followed by I'm the Man (also 1979) and Beat Crazy in 1980. The Joe Jackson Band toured extensively. After the break-up of the band, Jackson took a break and recorded an album of old-style swing and blues tunes, Jumpin' Jive, featuring songs of Cab Calloway, Lester Young, Glenn Miller, and most prominently, Louis Jordan. The album, and associated single release, was credited to Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive. Jackson's 1982 album Night and Day was his only studio album to reach either the United States or UK Top 10, peaking at No. 4 (US) and at No. 3 (UK), and the cuts "Steppin' Out" and "Breaking Us in Two" were both top 20 chart hits. The tracks "Real Men" and "A Slow Song" pointed obliquely to New York City's early 1980s gay culture.
Almost two years later, Jackson recorded the US No. 20 and UK No. 14 album Body and Soul, also heavily influenced by pop and jazz standards and salsa, showcasing the US No. 15 hit single "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)". Joe's only Peel session was taped on 21/02/1979. And it's available here, for you, for free.
Prince Far I was a rastafarian reggae deejay and producer, known for his gruff voice and critical assessment of the Jamaican government. His track Heavy Manners used lyrics against measures initiated towards violent crime. He was born Michael James Williams in Spanish Town, Jamaica. his first job in the music industry was as a deejay on the Sir Mike the Musical Dragon sound system,also working as a security guard at Joe Gibbs' studio, and later as a bouncer at Studio One, but after recording "The Great Booga Wooga" for Bunny Lee in 1969 (under the name King Cry Cry, a reference to his habit of breaking into tears when angered), he got the chance in 1970 to record for Coxsone Dodd when King Stitt failed to turn up for a session. Dodd was sufficiently impressed to release the resulting recordings, Williams now using the name Prince Far I (at the suggestion of another producer he had worked with, Enos McLeod). With a unique deep bass voice and talkover style, preferring to describe himself as a "chanter" rather than a "toaster", he became a popular reggae musician, styling himself "The Voice of Thunder". His first album, Psalms For I, featuring the Lord's Prayer and various psalms, was dedicated to illiterates who were unable to read the Bible. He then worked with Joe Gibbs on the second album,
Under Heavy Manners, before being signed by Virgin Records for their Frontline label. Twelve albums followed between 1978 and 1981, including the highly regarded Cry Tuff Dub Encounter series of dub albums, produced by Williams and released on his Cry Tuff label, and featuring the Roots Radics under the pseudonym The Arabs. Spending an increasing amount of time in England, he collaborated with UK On-U Sound Records including providing vocals in the
reggae collective Singers & Players and may be considered a mentor figure to Adrian Sherwood. His final live performance took place on 7 December 1982 at Band on the Wall, Manchester, captured on his album Musical Revue.
In 1983 he provided vocals on Suns of Arqa's second LP Wadada Magic, and many of these vocal overdubs have been reused by the band repeatedly on a variety of tracks and remixes, ranging from their first album in 1980 to (so far)
2006. He is credited for vocals on the sleeve of each of the releases in question. Later that year (1983) he recorded the album Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) with producer Roy Cousins in Kingston. Before the album was
finished he was shot at his home in Kingston, Jamaica, during a robbery, allegedly relating to a dispute over money, and died later in hospital. He is referred to by The Clash in their single "Clash City Rockers" and also by The Mountain Goats in the song Sept. 15th 1983, a reference to the date of his death. I'm giving you the only session he did for Peel, immortalised on 07/06/1978.
Roy Hill is an under-rated English singer songwriter. In 1977 he won a Melody Maker music contest and gave up his day job to give the rock lifestyle his best shot. Roy was living in the sleepy Spa town of Cheltenham at the time, having moved from Ledbury where he'd learnt to play the guitar from scratch and gigged in local pubs, clubs and dances with friends in bands called The Upways and The Crestas. Eventually he sent some demos round the major labels and got a deal with arista records. In 1978 the debut album, rather unimaginatively titled Roy Hill, was released.
Despite its ten tracks (all penned by Roy) receiving positive praise in the music press, some felt was a lightweight and syrupy debut offering. Legendary producer Gus Dudgeon, best known for his collaborations with Elton John, was hired to make it a hit Lp - a controversial choice of producer
during the time of punk rock. The album went well over budget, sank without trace and Roy Hill never made another. Dudgeon was also behind Roy's second single release, George's Bar, the second track lifted from the album. Both singles failed to make the chart. Two appearances on the UK television music showRevolverin July and August 1978 didn't seem to improve the record sales, sadly. A naff "handsome hunk" photo of Roy on the front of the LP sleeve didn't sit well in record racks next to covers adorned with scowling, emaciated punks with safety pins through their noses. In 1980, Dave Cousins left the strawbs and Roy was recruited as the replacement lead vocalist. Five years later he teamed up with Strawbs' bassist Chas Cronk to form a new outfit, Cry No More. They released three albums. A couple of compilations of outtakes and other stuff by the Roy Hill Band were issued later, also in the eighties. The two sessions they taped for Peel are frankly marvellous; melodic, well-arranged songs with intriguing wordplay and powerful guitars. this is the first, immortalised on 20/06/1978.
uk pop-rock chart regulars Squeeze came to prominence during the New Wave period of the late 1970's and continued recording successfully in the 1980's and 1990's. They are known in the UK for a string of clever, catchy hit singles. Though not as commercially successful in the states they did have three hits there, have a dedicated American following and continue to attract new fans. All the big hits were written by band members Chris Diffordand Glenn Tilbrook, with the former penning the lyrics and the latter handling the composition. The duo were hailed as "the heirs to Lennon and McCartney's throne" during their peak of popularity in the early 1980s. The group formed in Deptford, London, in 1974, and first broke up in 1982. Squeeze then reformed in 1985, and disbanded again in 1999. The band reunited for tours through the United States and United Kingdom in 2007,
and this touring version of Squeeze has continued into the present day. Difford and Tilbrook confirmed during interviews at the V Festival in both 2008 and 2011 (and in a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone) that they plan to produce a record of new Squeeze material. In 2010, they issued Spot the Difference, an album of newly recorded versions of older material. Then, during their 2012 tour of the US, Squeeze made available for sale a 4-song CD of new demo recordings; later in 2012, the band's first new official studio recordings in 14 years were issued as the EP Packet Of Four. Currently, this 4-song CD EP is only available as a bonus disc to purchasers of various live concert recordings of Squeeze's 2012 UK tour. this month i'm giving you their first peel session (there were two), recorded on 17/08/1977.
That Petrol Emotion formed in 1984 from the ashes of three groups: the Derry Hitmakers, Bam Bam and the Calling and The Undertones. It was formed by guitarist John O'Neill and second guitarist Raymond Gorman who DJ'd together at the Derry 'Left Bank' club. Drummer and friend Ciaran McLaughlin joined next after having relocated from Derry to London, followed by John's brother (and Undertones lead guitarist) Damian O'Neill who played bass from 1985 until 1988 upon John's departure. He then took up guitar duties from 1988–1994 and 2008–present. American singer Steve Mack, who was on a year out working in a pizzeria in London at the time, finished off the line up. Following John O'Neill's departure, his brother Damian switched to the guitar, leaving bass duties to John Marchini (1988–1991) then Brendan Kelly (1991–1994 and 2008–present). That Petrol Emotion's influences encompassed artists as diverse as The Beatles, Afrika Bambaataa, Television, Sly & the Family Stone, Captain Beefheart and Can. Dropped from Virgin, Their fifth and final album Fireproof (1993), released on their own label, Koogat, saw Marchini leave and Belfast-born Brendan Kelly take up the bass in his place. Kelly's playing pushed That Petrol Emotion towards their heaviest, most riff-laden album to date which, like their debut, reached number 1 in the UK Indie Chart. Despite the generally positive press coverage and the loyal fan base they garnered over ten years and five full-length albums of their career, That Petrol Emotion never attained the level of commercial success or popularity enjoyed by their contemporaries (e.g. My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth). As a result, the band split amicably in 1994. Still, their body of work remains critically acclaimed within the music press, and it is widely agreed that while never achieving chart success, That Petrol Emotion left a lasting influence on the Britpop and Madchester movements. This is the last of three Peel sessions, recorded on 16/12/1986.
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.