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
Deaf School were an English art rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1973. Between 1976 and 1978 they recorded three albums for Warner Brothers in a style that had its roots in cabaret, moving towards a harder rock sound. The group split in 1978 but have since been recognized as an important influence on many British musicians. According to Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson: "They revived Liverpool music for a generation." Paul Du Noyer went further: "In the history of Liverpool music two bands matter most, one is The Beatles and the other is Deaf School." Nearly all its members went on to enjoy successful careers afterwards, notably guitarist Clive Langer, who would produce Madness and Dexys Midnight Runners (two non-Liverpool acts who cite Deaf School as an influence). He would also co-write (with Elvis Costello) the song 'Shipbuilding'. here's the first of four quality sessions by the band for our hero, taped on 19/08/1976.
Five Hand Reel were a Scottish/English/Irish Celtic rock band of the late 1970s that combined experiences of traditional Scottish and Irish folk music with electric rock arrangements. They were formed originally in 1974 from the remnants of UK electric folk band Spencer's Feat: bassist Barry Lyons (ex Mr.Fox & Trees), Tom Hickland on fiddle and keyboards, and drummer Dave Tulloch. Enlisting two Scottish musicians, fiddler Chuck Fleming and singer/guitarist Bobby Eaglesham,
they decided to call themselves Five Hand Reel. They started gigging in late 1974, playing their first London show at King's Cross Cinema. However in early 1975, Chuck Fleming, returned to his previous band. His replacement was legendary Scottish singer and guitarist Dick Gaughan, an ex member of The Boys of the Lough. The live debut of the renewed band was at the Half Moon in Putney in summer 1975. They signed with Rubber Records in 1976 and recorded their first album, Five Hand Reel, at Impulse Studios in Newcastle on Tyne. It was voted as "Folk Album of the Year" for 1976 by Melody Maker. after signing with rca records the second long-player, For A' That, was recorded in July 1977 at the height of the punk summer of discontent. The opening "Bratach Bana" was one of the first Gaelic songs to be recorded using rock elements. The Irish band Horslips had recorded the same song in Gaelic also in a rock arrangement. As Dick Gaughan says in his notes to the album:"It seems odd in these days when it is now perfectly normal to sing Gaelic songs in a contemporary fashion that this was regarded as daring and adventurous in 1977. We've come a long way since those days." Much of Five Hand Reel's live work was on club, college, and Folk festivals of England and Northern Europe. They were very popular in Scandinavia and recorded an album of traditional Danish songs Ebbe, Dagmar, Svend og Alan with Danish folk singer and radio presenter Alan Klitgaard. In England they were rather unpopular, though appreciated in the Punk clubs as a live act. In 1978 their third RCA album, Earl O'Moray, was recorded in Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales and produced by Simon Nicol of Fairport Convention. It was darker sounding; a more seriously minded album with a passionate undercurrent. later that year Dick Gaughan decided to leave the band, partly due to alcohol and substance abuse, but mostly because of the long distances away from his family. He later resumed his solo career. His replacement for a short time was Sam Bracken, a guitarist and singer from Belfast. Bracken's Irish accent sounded fresh but the rejuvenated band recorded only one more album, 1979's A Bunch Of Fives for Topic Records before finally splitting in 1980. RCA also issued a compilation, "Nothing But The Best", that year. Five Hand Reel were victims of bad management and rip-off recording "contracts" but managed to produce some innovative albums that still
stand the test of time. After the break-up, the members of pursued various solo projects. Bobby Eaglesham released his second (after 1973's Bobby Eaglesham) album, "Weather The Storm" in 1982. He contributed backing vocals on Dick Gaughan's 1988 solo album, Call It Freedom, started Festival Folk at the Royal Oak Pub in Edinburgh, toured with Chuck Fleming, and contributed to the compilation CDs of The Songs of Robert Burns. Later he graduated as an artist from Edinburgh College of Art, with residencies in the USA and UK. Bobby Eaglesham died in 2004. Drummer Dave Tulloch rejoined forces with Dick Gaughan on "A Different Kind Of Love Song". Tom Hickland played in a trio called The Pub Band, doing The Beatles/Buddy Holly/folk rock material. Sam Bracken recorded with his wife Elaine, a singer/flautist, a duet CD "Once More Around The Block" in 2003. Barry Lyons played both in a duo and band with Paul King and later with Jamie Marshal & Grahame White until his departure to Canada in 1996. He worked for a Canadian company, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments in Toronto until 2012, he now runs his own business. mr obscure is throwing the group's third (of four) sessions at you this month. it was put down on 25/05/1977.
The Florists were a uk group in existence for a very short time indeed. they were Sue Prior (Vocals) Lawrence Diagram (Guitar) Gary Terrell (Bass) Dick Harrison (Percussion) Andy Diagram (Trumpet) and Michael Pollard (Drums).
fans of manchester bands in the early eighties will have spotted the fact that Lawrence Diagram from the Diagram Brothers helped out, and that two of these people were also members of dislocation dance. Michael Pollard later married kathyrn way from dd. he also provided the photography for the two DD albums and still works as a photographer. after the Florists split, Pollard left to record with Sue Prior under the name Missing Couple (found drowned). they spent two weeks at Revolution studio in Cheadle recording an album. With finished sleeve artwork prepared, the lp was shelved as the label hit financial problems. this is a truly brilliant peel session, one of my all-time personal favourites. the longest hour is utterly sublime. what a pity they never made any records. this fairly rare session was
immortalised on 13/07/1983 and represents the only recordings this mysterious group ever made. for god's sake download it, or you'll miss out on something wonderful.
Lush were an English alternative rock band formed in 1987 and disbanded in 1998. They were one of the first groups to attract the "shoegazing" label. Later, their sound progressed toward Britpop. They were initially named The Baby Machines, with a line-up of Meriel Barham (vocals), Emma Anderson (guitar, vocals), Miki Berenyi (guitar, vocals), Steve Rippon (bass), and Chris Acland (drums). Anderson and Berenyi had been schoolfriends, having known each other since the early 1980s. They published the Alphabet Soup fanzine together and in 1986 Anderson joined The Rover Girls as bassist and Berenyi joined The Bugs also as bass player. Neither band lasted long and in 1987 they joined Barham and Acland in The Baby Machines. Rippon joined shortly thereafter, and the band members decided on a change of name to Lush, making their live debut at the Camden Falcon on 6 March 1988. Barham left the band and later joined Pale Saints. Berenyi then took on lead vocal duties.
Emma Anderson said of the band's beginnings: "We were kind of punk rock in one way. We did think 'Well, if they can do it, why the fuck can't we?' Basically, our idea was to have extremely loud guitars with much weaker vocals. And, really, the vocals were weaker due to nervousness – we'd always be going 'Turn them down! Turn them down!'" Miki Berenyi said, "We started by writing crappy riot grrl anthems... which was probably charming in a juvenile way. But there was a very rapid shift from the minute we started to write for records. The music, the lyrics became much more thoughtful and expressive, more important, really. I remember that change beginning when Emma wrote "Thoughtforms," it certainly made me think I needed to get my act together." In 1989 they signed to 4AD and released Scar, a 6-track mini-album. Critical praise for this and a wildly popular live show established them as one of the most written about groups of the early 1990s UK indie scene. Anderson told Melody Maker, "I remember when I couldn't play, I wasn't in a band, didn't know anyone else who could play, and now we've got a record out on 4AD. I sometimes find it impossible to come to terms with what's happening." The following year, the EP Mad Love (produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins) and the single "Sweetness and Light" (produced by Tim Friese-Greene) were released. All three releases were eventually combined into the Gala compilation album which was produced mainly for the US and Japanese markets.
Their profile was raised by extensive touring, including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and tours of Japan and the United States (with Ride). Their first full-length album of completely new material was Spooky, released in January 1992. Again produced by Guthrie, it featured a sound very similar to the Cocteau Twins, with walls of sound and a great deal of guitar effects. Reviews were mixed and critics of the album hold that Guthrie's production brought the sound away from the band's original creative vision; although the album sold well, reaching number 7 in the UK Albums Chart. The album was preceded by the band's first UK top 40 single, "For Love." Rippon left the band during the final mixing of the album to concentrate on writing, though his book Cold Turkey Sandwich—a fictionalised chronicle of his time touring—was rejected by publishers. He was replaced by Phil King. Also in 1992, Lush toured America as part of the Lollapalooza festival. They were added to the 2nd Lollapalooza roster in 1992 by its organiser, Perry Farrell, the Jane's Addiction/Porno for Pyros frontman, who personally requested them for his new tour program. Split, produced by the band with Mike Hedges, was released in June 1994 and featured a more stripped-down sound. it wasn't as successful as Spooky, however. They concentrated on the American market under the advice of their management but failed to make a breakthrough there; they suffered further setbacks when tours of Japan and the UK were cancelled. They decided to break from their management and begin work on a new album. 1996's Lovelife, the band's final album, became the biggest seller of their career. Produced by Pete Bartlett, their live engineer, it was released on the heels of the Britpop craze. it featured a guest appearance by Jarvis Cocker in a duet with Miki Berenyi on the song "Ciao!" In October 1996, tragedy struck when drummer Chris Acland committed suicide by hanging himself at his parents' house. After a long period of grieving the band continued for a time but officially announced that they had split up on 23 February 1998. their one and only peel sesson was immortalised on 23/01/1990. here it is.
Mike Heron is a Scottish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work in the Incredible String Band in the 1960s and 1970s. He played in R&B and pop bands in Edinburgh, including The Saracens, and in late 1965 successfully auditioned to join a new trio, The Incredible String Band, with Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer. Heron has said: "It was an exploring era in the Sixties and people were rebelling from the boring pop stuff into folk and blues and world music. You couldn't sit down and listen to Buddy Holly and pass the joint around. So we tried to make the kind of music we felt was missing from our lives, that fitted with the hippy lifestyle." He's also released a number of solo recordings, mostly more rock-oriented than the Incredible String Band material. The first of these, Smiling Men with Bad Reputations, released in 1971 when still a member of the ISB, took eclecticism to a new extreme, blending rock, folk and world music into an atmospheric whole. With three other members of the final "electric" ISB line-up - Graham Forbes, John Gilston, and Malcolm Le Maistre - he formed the band Mike Heron's Reputation, later known simply as Heron, with whom he recorded and toured until 1977. this is the second peel session, taped on 05/04/1977.
Mr. Airplane Man are a female duo from Boston, USA. the late Mark Sandman (Morphine) became a fan after hearing them on the streets in 1998. Margaret Garrett (guitar, vocals) and Tara McManus (drums) play a splendid punk-blues hybrid. The duo's name is a tribute to Howlin' Wolf, who once drafted a ditty called "Mr. Airplane Man." It was a shared obsession with Wolf that inspired the band's formation. After living on opposite coasts for some time, the friends reunited in Boston in 1995, where they lived in a basement for a year and absorbed the sounds of the Delta blues as much as any two people can. With that, they hit the streets, honing their chops by playing for rent on the sidewalks of Cambridge - Garrett with an electric guitar and battery-powered amp and McManus with her trusty five-gallon drum. Then they went on tour with Sandman, who helped record their first album, which was released that year and led to more touring. While in Memphis, a chance encounter in a local diner would result in their next release. Garrett had recently become converted to the musical gospel of Monsieur Evans' '68 Comeback. By coincidence, they met a gent who knew the man, and he arranged for an introduction. The Boston crew hit it off with the Memphis gang and an alliance was formed. They continued on to New Orleans for a gig and, upon their return, M. Evans was set to do some recording. Their first release was the single, "Johnny Johnny," which was followed by a full-length in March of 2001. Red Lite was like a history of MAM as it included the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," a set list staple since their days in Central Square, along with other longtime favorites like Jessie May Hemphill's "Black Cat Bone." Next, they hit the road with the White Stripes and opened for the Strokes, as well as local acts DMZ and the Lyres, both featuring the legendary Jeff "Monoman" Conolly. Recorded in Detroit with Jim Diamond (the White Stripes) and mixed in Memphis with Doug Easley and Greg "Oblivian" Cartwright, Moanin' was released in September of 2002, and it's where MAM really
hit their stride. Highlights of the well-received platter, which included the haunting spiritual, "Jesus on the Mainline" and the blissful girl group pop of "Not Livin' at All" (penned after repeated listens to the Lyres' "Help You Ann"). Mr. Airplane Man then took their show across the country, during which time they tried out new material set for inclusion on their next recording. here's the second of their two peel sessions, layed down on 11/03/2004.
Thin Lizzy were an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist/vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott assumed the role of frontman and led them throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums and several massive hit singles. Thin Lizzy are best known for their songs "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town", all major international hits still played regularly on hard rock and classic rock radio stations. After Lynott's death in 1986, various incarnations of the band have emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey. Lynott, the de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band's songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy boasted some of the most critically acclaimed guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities during The Troubles. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal. Rolling Stone magazine describes the band as distinctly hard rock, "far apart from the braying mid-70s metal pack". this session, recorded on 31/07/1973, is the second of no less than nine sessions for the great broadcaster - he was a big fan!
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.