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 Au Pairs were a British post-punk band formed in Birmingham in 1978 and in existence until 1983. They released two studio albums and three singles. Their songs were said to have "contempt for the cliches of contemporary sexual politics" and their music has been compared to the
Gang of Four and the Young Marble Giants. They were led by Lesley Woods, who was once described as "one of the most striking women in British rock". Their first album Playing with a Different Sex is considered a post-punk classic with strong, sarcastic songs like "It's Obvious" and
"We're So Cool" taking a dry look at gender relations. Other songs, such as "Armagh" with its refrain, "we don't torture" criticized the British government's treatment of Irish Republican prisoners in the then ongoing Troubles in Northern Ireland, which caused some controversy at the time. The group performed in 1980 for the concert film Urgh! A Music War. The second album, Sense and Sensuality (1982), showed an even greater influence of jazz, soul, funk and disco on the band's sound, but was less well received. They broke up in 1983, just before they were about to go into
the studio to record an album with producer Steve Lillywhite. Woods formed an all woman band called the Darlings in the late 1980s but then left the music industry. She now works as a lawyer in London. Guitarist Paul Foad remains an active musician, playing with Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes, a Jamaican jazz band, and teaching guitar in and around Birmingham. He's also published a guitar technique book, co-written with Stuart Ritchie, titled The Caged Guitarist (2000). Bass player Jane Munro works as an alternative therapist (aromatherapy, reflexology and Indian head massage) in Birmingham. Pete Hammond also remains an active musician and teaches percussion in Birmingham. here's the third of four peel sessions, immortalised on 21/01/1981.
Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s. The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll. Science fiction imagery was common in Bill Nelson's lyrics, along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition (albeit often hidden beneath Nelson's quirky lyrical and musical metaphors).Be-Bop Deluxe was founded in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, by singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Bill Nelson in 1972.
The founding lineup consisted of Nelson, guitarist Ian Parkin, bassist and vocalist Robert Bryan, drummer Nicholas Chatterton-Dew, and keyboardist Richard Brown (who left in December of that year). They started off playing the West Yorkshire pub scene, with one regular venue being the Staging Post in Whinmoor, Leeds. They never played bebop music, but instead came out of the blues-based British rock scene of the late 1960s. At first they were compared to the more successful David Bowie, but Nelson never tried to copy Bowie, and appears to have disliked comparisons or
being pigeon-holed. This artistic restlessness eventually led him to disband Be-Bop Deluxe altogether and pursue less commercial paths of expression. The initial lineup of the band only lasted for one album, 1974's Axe Victim, and a short tour. Shortly after this, Nelson dissolved the band and reformed the group with a new lineup, which comprised Nelson, bassist Paul Jeffreys, keyboardist Milton Reame-James, and drummer Simon Fox. However, Jeffreys and Reame-James subsequently departed the band, and New Zealand-born bassist-vocalist Charlie Tumahai (formerly of Australian bands Mississippi and Healing Force) joined in late 1974. This lineup recorded the Futurama album, before being joined by supplementary keyboardist Andrew Clark for the subsequent tour. Clark became an official member of the band after the tour, and this lineup existed for all of the band's subsequent albums, and was the last lineup before the band was dissolved again in 1978. Jeffreys died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Nelson was acclaimed as one of the finest guitarists in British rock at the time, and the music confirmed that, with his
distinctive tones adorning most tracks. Stylistically, the songs took elements from progressive rock, glam rock (the band had flirted with make-up in the early days) and hard guitar rock. Ships in the Night was their most successful single in the UK and US. Drastic Plastic, recorded under the influence of punk, new wave and David Bowie's Berlin albums was a substantial stylistic change from the progressive/guitar rock of the early Be-Bop Deluxe. Eager to embrace the changing musical landscape, Nelson dissolved Be-Bop Deluxe and immediately formed a new band,
Bill Nelson's Red Noise, retaining Andy Clark on keyboards, and adding Nelson's brother Ian, who had previously contributed to Be-Bop Deluxe albums, on saxophone. Bill planned to reform Be-Bop Deluxe in the nineties with his brother Ian Nelson, but the reunion never materialised. The subsequent deaths of members Ian Parkin and Charlie Tumahai in 1995, along with the death of Ian Nelson in 2006, mean that a future reunion of the band is unlikely. mr obscure is proud to give you the second of six sessions, taped on 09/05/1974.
English post-punk legends the fall formed in 1976 in Prestwich, Greater Manchester. With an ever-changing line up, the group essentially consists of its founder and only constant member, the late Mark E. Smith. The singer was famously dismissive of musicians and when asked about the high turnover of Fall members said "if it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's the Fall". First associated with the late 1970s punk movement, the band's music evolved through numerous stylistic alterations, often concurrently with changes in the membership. The Fall's music was characterised by repetition and an abrasive guitar-driven sound and is always underpinned by Smith's typically cryptic lyrics - abstract poetry filled with complicated wordplay, bone-dry wit, cutting social observations and general misanthropy. The Fall have released well over thirty studio albums and more than triple that when live albums and compilations (often against Smith's wishes) are taken
into account. While the Fall have never achieved widespread success beyond minor hit singles in the late 1980s they have a maintained a strong cult following. peel was a big, big fan and gave them vast amounts of sessions. here's the landmark debut appearance, put down on 30/05/1978.
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, Five Hand Reel's 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 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 (Mungo Jerry) 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 taped on 25/05/1977.
The Lurkers formed late in 1976, in Uxbridge, West London, the original line-up consisting of Pete Stride on Guitar, Pete "Manic Esso" Haynes on drums, Pete "Plug" Edwards on vocals and Nigel Moore on bass. Edwards was replaced by Howard Wall after a few rehearsals, with him becoming the band's road manager. Stride was the band’s main songwriter. They played their first gig at Uxbridge Technical College in December supporting Screaming Lord Sutch to an audience of 10. They were one of the early punk groups that played live in the first few months of the Roxy Club in London. Nigel was swiftly replaced by Arturo Bassick. They supported The Jam in February 1977, Eater in March, and Slaughter & The Dogs in April. Their hilarious debut single "Shadow", the first release on Beggars Banquet Records, was voted by Peel's listeners as the twelfth best track of the year in 1977's Festive Fifty. with "Love Story", the B-side, at number 31. Bassick left after this and was replaced by former Saints member Kym Bradshaw, who left before the recording of the third single, 1978's brilliant "Ain't Got a Clue" which saw the return of Nigel Moore. That single was their biggest hit, reaching No. 45 on the UK singles chart. The following month their debut album, Fulham Fallout, reached No. 57 on the album chart. One reviewer described it as "by far their best with production that really makes the guitar kick. It's sloppy and amateurish but that's what makes it so great." "Be My Prisoner", a song from the album, also appeared on Streets, a 1977 compilation album of early UK punk bands from a variety of independent record labels. In January 1979, The Lurkers’ fifth single, "Just Thirteen", was released, and in 2001 it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time. A month after the release of this single, The Lurkers' track "I'm on Heat" appeared, alongside songs by more famous bands like The Jam and The Stranglers, on the punk compilation 20 of Another Kind.
Another of their tracks, "Out in the Dark", appeared on the follow-up 20 of Another Kind Volume 2. The second Lurkers album was not as well received, critically or commercially, as their debut and the band split for a few years. Pete Stride collaborated with ‘Honest’ John Plain (of English punk band the Boys) and released an album in January 1980. In 1982, Stride re-formed the Lurkers. They signed for Stoke-on-Trent-based label Clay Records, for whom they released four singles and one album. They
broke up again in 1984. In the years since they have reunited with various members and continue to record and perform around the world to this day although its really just Arturo and some of his mates. Their legacy, however, is primarily based on their late 1970s output. "Shadow", "Ain't Got a Clue", and "Just Thirteen" in particular are cited by punk cognoscenti as classic examples of the style, and still show up from time to time on genre overview compilations. here's their first BBc appearance recorded on 18/10/1977.
Patrik Fitzgerald is a singer-songwriter and an originator of folk punk. The son of working-class Irish immigrant parents, he began recording and performing during the punk rock movement in 1977, after working briefly as an actor. in 1977 he was a regular customer at the Small Wonder record shop in London, and when Small Wonder launched a record label Fitzgerald was one of the first to submit a demo - and got a deal, with the new label releasing his first three EPs, the first being Safety-Pin Stuck In My Heart, still his best-known work, and one which he subtitles "a love song for punk music". Patrik became a regular performer at London Punk gigs, and supported The Jam on their national tour. These early recordings attracted interest from Polydor who signed him up to record his first LP, Grubby Stories in 1979, recorded with established punk musicians including Robert Blamire of Penetration and John Maher of the Buzzcocks.The LP contained 17 tracks, 7 of them recorded with these musicians. After being dropped by Polydor, he continued to play solo acoustic concerts, gradually forsaking the ironic, sarcastic mode for a more deeply-etched, darker formulation. here's the final of his three john peel sessions, recorded on 10/04/1979.
Vice Squad are an English punk band formed in 1978 in Bristol. They were formed from two other local punk outfits, The Contingent and TV Brakes. The songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage (Rebecca Bond) was a founding member. Although there was a period of time when they had a different vocalist, she reformed the group in 1997. The initial line-up was Beki Bondage (vocals), Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambly (bass guitar) and Shane Baldwin (drums) and they played their first gig at Bristol University's
Anson Rooms on 12th April 1979. Bateman and Baldwin had previously been members of the TV Brakes. The first release by TV Brakes was the track "Nothing", which was included on the 1979 compilation Avon Calling. Members of the band were involved in setting up the Riot City label with Simon Edwards, the label becoming one of the major punk labels of the era. Vice Squad took some time to make further impact, only playing six gigs in 1980. The first single, "Last Rockers" in 1981, was well-received, selling over 20,000 copies and spending almost forty weeks in the UK Indie Chart, reaching number 7. The follow-up, "Resurrection", reached number 4 and the band undertook a tour supporting UK Subs. The singles received airplay and support from Peel. In 1981 they signed with EMI (on their Zonophone subsidiary), prompting criticism from many within the DIY punk scene. The debut album, No Cause For Concern, was released in late 1981, reaching number 32 in the Album Chart. A second long-player followed in 1982 and they embarked on a tour of the United States and Canada. On returning from the US Bondage announced she was leaving Vice Squad. She went on to front Ligotage and later Beki and the Bombshells, and, without her, Vice Squad were dropped by EMI. They carried on, however, replacing Bondage with a new singer called Lia (who was previously known as Jools and had been the singer for local band Affairs of the Heart). The new line-up, also including the band's manager Mark "Sooty" Byrne on second guitar, signed with Anagram Records and recorded a session for David Jensen's BBC radio show. Indie hits continued with singles such as "Black Sheep" and "You'll Never Know", but sales dwindled, and they split up in 1985. Dave Bateman died in 2007. Bondage formed a new version of Vice Squad in 1997 along with former members of The Bombshells, after being persuaded to perform the old material at the Holidays in the Sun festival. They recorded several albums and toured Europe and the United States.
There have been thirteen singles and twelve albums issued between 1980 and 2014. Their 2014 album, Cardboard Country was released on their own label with funding from fans via the group's Pledge Music Campaign. This is the second of their two peel sessions, preserved on 28/04/1982.
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.