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
Jack the Lad were a folk rock/electric folk group from North East England formed in 1973 by three former members of the most successful band of the period from the region, Lindisfarne. They moved from the progressive folk rock of that band into much more traditional territory and were in the mid-1970s something of a northern counterpart to bands like Fairport Convention. They have also been seen
as part of an important roots movement, rediscovering traditional Northumbrian music. After two highly successful albums, Lindisfarne's third album Dingly Dell (1972) was a commercial and critical failure and the band split with main songwriter Alan Hull going off to perform solo projects and eventually reforming Lindisfarne with a new line-up later that year. The remaining members: Rod Clements
(bass, violin, guitar, vocals), Simon Cowe (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals), and Ray Laidlaw (drums) formed Jack the Lad with former Lindisfarne member Billy Mitchell (guitar, banjo, vocals). They had originally thought of calling themselves the Corvettes, but decided it would make them sound too much like a rock 'n' roll revival outfit, and instead took their name from a phrase that Status Quohad used when they and Lindisfarne were touring Australia together earlier that year. The phrase "Jack the Lad" is British slang for a "flashy, cocksure young man". While Lindisfarne without them had become a harder rocking outfit, Jack the Lad retained much of the folksy spirit, warmth and good humour of the original group. Though his talents had previously been overshadowed by the more prolific songsmith Alan Hull, Clements, who had penned Lindisfarne's first hit single 'Meet me on the Corner', continued to write most of their material, which in the view of some fans and critics was the equal of anything Lindisfarne produced at around the same time. Lindisfarne's record label Charisma, decided to keep the band under contract and the first line-up ofJack the Ladrecorded one album for them,
It's Jack the Lad, released in 1974, and two singles, 'One More Dance' (1973), and 'Why Can't I Be Satisfied' (1974). Neither charted, though they received positive reviews for their records and live performances which began to gain a reputation for outlandish entertainment. The traditional roots of the band were evident in an 8-minute medley of jigs, reels and polkas on their first album, which staked a claim to their being in part a Geordie answer to Fairport Convention and a guest appearance on 'Song Without a Band' for Steeleye Span's Maddy Prior. The band toured with Ralph McTell, who was then at the height of his post 'Streets of London' fame. Clements left in late 1974 and was replaced by two former members of northern electric folk band Hedgehog Pie, Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn (guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo, vocals) and Phil Murray (bass, vocals), which inevitably, together with the loss of their main songwriter, gave the band a much more traditional focus. This may have helped them gain greater acceptance in the folk world, and they headlined the Cambridge folk festival in 1974. On the second album The Old Straight Track (1974), six of the eleven tracks were traditional songs, most of the rest written by Cowe. The album was very well received and was voted Folk Album of the Year by Melody Maker. The third album Rough Diamonds, which also featured musical and artistic contributions from Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson, and single 'Gentleman Soldier' (both 1975), were both produced by Fairport Convention stalwart Simon Nicol. The latter, which featured John Kirkpatrick on button accordion, was a new arrangement of a traditional song which borrowed the vocal four-part harmony break from 'Twist And Shout' for the introduction, and featured a Scottish accordion reel back to back with a mock-heavy rock guitar solo. Presenter John Peel chose it as one of his favourite singles of the year, but like all previous attempts it failed to chart. With no great commercial success forthcoming the band were dropped by Charisma and moved to United Artists. Cowe left shortly before the group recorded their final album,Jackpot, (1976). The need for success pushed this closer to pop and rock territory than its predecessors, with only two traditional tracks, it featured Andy Bown on keyboards, and a brass section on some tracks. Despite the return to a more commercial sound chart success still eluded them. The 'Jackpot' UK tour in Sep/Oct '76, bizarrely coupled with the NZ punk/goth orientated Split Enz did neither act any favours. Laidlaw left to join Radiator and the group disbanded soon afterward. here's the second of no less than seven peel sessions by the group, taped on 17/09/1973.
Lene Lovich is an American singer, songwriter and musician of English descent based in England. She first gained attention in 1979 with the release of her hit single "Lucky Number", which peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and made her the lead figure of the new wave music scene. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Lovich moved to England at the age of 13, where she met the guitarist and songwriter, Les Chappell, who later became her long time music collaborator and life partner. She developed an interest in art and theater, enrolling at the Central School of Art and Design where she took saxophone lessons. In 1975, she joined the band The Diversions and shortly afterwards wrote the lyrics to Cerrone's single "Supernature". After the band broke up, Lovich started looking for another band that would let her join and contacted the radio presenter Charlie Gillett, who got her to record a demo of Tommy James and the Shondells' song "I Think We're Alone Now" and played it to Dave Robinson of Stiff Records, who decided to sign Lovich. The song was released as a single and appeared on her debut studio album Stateless (1978), which produced the single "Lucky Number". She released two more albums, Flex (1979) and No Man's Land (1982), on Stiff Records. In 1989, she independently released the album March, before her 15-year hiatus. She focused more on her family but came back in 2005 with the release of her album Shadows and Dust, which remains her latest release up-to-date. In 2013, she established her own publishing label, Flex Music and released a re-mastered version of all her previous albums in a limited edition box set. this is the first of two sessions for our hero, recorded on 21/11/1978.
the great Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen's work has explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships.
he's one of the most fascinating and enigmatic singer/songwriters of the late '60s and has retained an audience across four decades of music-making … Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon), he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still
working at the outset of the 21st century. One of his novels, Beautiful Losers (1966) received a lot of attention from the Canadian press and stirred up controversy because of a number of sexually graphic passages. his successful blending of poetry, fiction, and music is made most clear in Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, published in 1993, which gathered more than 200 of Cohen's poems, several novel excerpts and almost 60 song lyrics. While it may seem to some that he departed from the literary in pursuit of the musical, his fans continue to embrace him as a renaissance man who straddles the elusive artistic borderlines. Cohen's first album was Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) followed by Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded "Bird on the Wire") and Songs of Love and Hate (1971). His 1977 album Death of a Ladies Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, which was a move away from Cohen's previous minimalist sound. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences. "Hallelujah" was first released on Cohen's studio album Various Positions in 1984. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's turn to synthesized productions and remains his most popular album. In 1992, Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest. Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. In 2006, Cohen produced and co-wrote Blue Alert, a collaboration with jazz chanteuse Anjani Thomas. After the success of his 2008–2013 world tours he released the highest charting album of his career, Old Ideas, to positive reviews. On September 22, 2014, one day after his 80th birthday, Cohen released his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, again to positive reviews. on a rare visit to the uk in 1968 he taped his only peel session, for the great broadcaster's top gear show, on 09/07/1968. here it is, for you.
The Monochrome Set are an English new wave band, originally formed in Hornsey, London in 1978 from the remnants of a college group called The B-Sides (whose members had included Stuart Goddard, later known as Adam Ant). The original line-up consisted of Indian-born lead singer and principal songwriter Bid (real name Ganesh Seshadri), Canadian guitarist Lester Square (real name Thomas W.B. Hardy), drummer John D. Haney and bass guitarist Charlie Harper. The band went through several bassists in the next few years, including Jeremy Harrington and Andy Warren of the Ants, a childhood friend of Bid. Experimental filmmaker Tony Potts began collaborating with the band in 1979, designing lighting and stage sets with film projections for their live appearances. The band's early persona was defined by the shadowy, uncertain stage images created by the films to such an extent he is often described as being the band's fifth member. They released several singles for the Rough Trade label before recording their debut studio album, Strange Boutique, produced by Bob Sargeant for Virgin Records' imprint DinDisc in 1980. It peaked at No. 62 in the UK Albums Chart in 1980. Their follow-up effort, Love Zombies, was produced
by Alvin Clark and the band later that same year. Haney left the band in 1981, and was replaced by Lexington Crane. In 1982 they switched labels to Cherry Red to release their third album, Eligible Bachelors, produced by Tim Hart. Square and Crane left soon afterwards, and were replaced by keyboardist Carrie Booth and drummer Nicholas Weslowski. This line-up recorded a 1982 single, "Cast a Long Shadow",
for Cherry Red, before Booth was in turn replaced by new lead guitarist James 'Foz' Foster (later of David Devant & His Spirit Wife). The following year Cherry Red released Volume, Contrast, Brilliance..., a retrospective of the band's early Rough Trade singles, BBC and Capital Radio sessions, and other unreleased early sessions. In 1985, with the same line-up as on Cast a Long Shadow, they recorded The Lost Weekend for WEA. The album failed commercially and after a few singles the band officially broke up, though they served as Jessica Griffin's backing band on the first album by the Would-Be-Goods. In early 1990, Bid, Square and Warren reformed the band, with the addition of keyboardist Orson Presence and drummer Mike Slocombe (who was quickly replaced by Trevor Ready). They toured
extensively, especially in Japan, where Bid had become a star. The band released several low-key albums for during the 1990s before going on hiatus in 1998. Bid has since recorded a number of albums with his new band, Scarlet's Well. The song "He's Frank", appeared on the TV series Heroes. The recording used was a cover version of the original recorded by the Brighton Port Authority (aka. Fatboy Slim) featuring Iggy Pop. The group reunited on 8 October 2008 for a one-off performance at Cherry Red's 30th anniversary party at Dingwalls, London. It also marked the 30th anniversary of The Monochrome Set. Bid, Warren and Square were joined by Jennifer Denitto (drums) and Sian Dada (keyboards) of Scarlet's Well, and performed thirteen songs. In 2011 Bid, Square and Warren reformed the band, with the addition of drummer Jennifer Denitto from Scarlet's Well and keyboard player John Paul Moran. The band played dates in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Japan and The Netherlands. The band continued to tour in the UK, Europe and Japan throughout 2012, playing material from their 2012 studio album Platinum Coils (their first album since 1995's Trinity Road) as well as selections from their extensive back catalogue. In 2011 they were joined by Helena Johansson from Scarlet's Well on violin and mandolin, replacing John Paul Moran. Helena left the band (to have a baby) in July 2013 and the group are currently a four piece with Steve Brummell (formerly of the band Luxembourg) on drums. The band scheduled a short tour of the American east coast, their first in over 30 years, in the Spring of 2013 and toured the UK in Autumn 2013 to promote their eleventh studio album, Super Plastic City, which was released in October 2013. mr obscure is giving you their first peel session (of three) this month, a real classic. it was immortalised on 14/02/1979.
Chloë Alper is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She began her music career in 1996 with girl punk band Period Pains, she was the singer and bassist in the British New prog rock group Pure Reason Revolution and is currently performing as half of the British rock duo Tiny Giant. Her solo release, "Juno", features on the original motion picture soundtrack to the 2013 film "Maniac". From the age of 13 Alper fronted girl punk band Period Pains, based in Reading. The band formed in 1995 with Alper on vocals, Felicity Aldridge on guitar, Laura Warwick on bass and Laura Viney on drums. Viney was later replaced by Magdalena (Magda) Przybylski. Their 1997 anti-Spice Girls single, "Spice Girls (Who Do YOU Think You Are?)", was released on Damaged Goods. The disc received airplay from Peel. The band were covered by publications including The Daily Mail and Just 17 but only played a few live shows, notably opening in the Dr Martens tent for the 1997 Reading Festival. Alper then joined Reading-based band The Sunset Sound, which eventually became Pure Reason Revolution. the only period pains peel session was preserved on 19/08/1997.
Scritti Politti are a British pop band, originally formed in 1977 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, by Cardiff-born singer-songwriter Green Gartside. He is the only member of the band to have remained throughout the group's history. Initially a left-wing-inspired post-punk British rock group, Scritti Politti developed into a more mainstream pop music project in the early to mid-1980s, enjoying significant success in the record charts in the UK and the US. The group's most successful album, 1985's Cupid & Psyche 85, spawned three UK Top 20 hits with "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)", "Absolute", and "The Word Girl", as well as a US Top 20 hit with "Perfect Way". The band's 1988 album Provision was a UK Top 10 success, though it only produced one UK Top 20 hit single ("Oh Patti"). After releasing a couple of non-album singles in 1991, as well as a collaboration with B.E.F., Gartside became disillusioned with the music industry and retired to south Wales for more than seven years. He returned to music-making in the late 1990s, releasing a new album, Anomie & Bonhomie, in 1999 (which included various rap and hip hop influences). In 2006, another new album was released, the stripped-down White Bread, Black Beer which returned to the more experimental era of their history. this is the first of three sessions they taped for our man, recorded on 05/12/1978.
The Skids were a Scottish punk rock and new wave band, formed in Dunfermline, Fife in 1977 by Stuart Adamson (guitar, keyboards, percussion and backing vocals), William Simpson (bass guitar and backing vocals), Thomas Kellichan (drums) and Richard Jobson (vocals, guitar and keyboards). Their biggest success was with the 1979 single "Into the Valley". four studio albums and eleven singles were issued between 1978 and 1981. Soon after the release and live concert tour of The Absolute Game two members left the band - one of these was Stuart Adamson, who went on to launch his new band, Big Country. This left Richard Jobson and Russell Webb (ex-Zones) to write and record the band's fourth and final album Joy, which Russell Webb also produced. The pair played multiple instruments on the album, and also invited a collection of musical friends to
perform on various tracks with them. Skids dissolved in 1982, with the compilation Fanfare posthumously issued by Virgin. It was a mixture of most of the band's singles and some B-sides, though omitted any tracks from the Joy period. Jobson and Webb went on to form The Armoury Show. The group recorded just one album, Waiting for the Floods in 1985 before splitting up. Jobson went on to pursue a solo career
as a poet, songwriter, television presenter and most recently as a film director. He released albums on the Belgian record label Les Disques du Crepuscule and the UK's own Parlophone Records. Webb proposed a solo career and, according to an Armoury Show fan page, later joined Public Image Ltd. in 1992 (but played only on their last tour), and is now a videogame designer. here's the skids' fifth and final session for john, taped on 01/09/1980.
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.