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
Capital Letters were a reggae band from Wolverhampton, England. A move to Shepherds Bush, Middlesex in 1977 set them in place to become one of the Greensleeves label’s first signings. Their single Smoking My Ganja blew the woofers out of UK soundsystems throughout ‘78, and propelled them into the studio to record a full-length. The resulting LP, Headline News, was Greensleeves’ seventh release and one of the more critically acclaimed reggae records of 1979 with its finely balanced blend of African, Jamaican, and English
influences and songs that covered topics ranging from religion to marijuana legalization to the bloody reign of Idi Amin. Capital Letters were a big band - eight musicians comprising four vocalists, two drummers (one on congas) and two percussionists. In Jamaica, brass and/or organ filled out the arrangements. Unfortunately they were also a relatively-short lived band. After Headline News they only released one other LP, Vineyard, on a minor German label in 1982 and it is rarely in print. this is their one and only peel session, put down on 16/01/1979.
Cinerama were a UK indie pop band, headed up by David Gedge, the frontman for The Wedding Present. Originally formed in 1998 while on a break from The Wedding Present, Cineramastarted as a duo of Gedge and his then-girlfriend Sally Murrell. The initial releases were a break from previous Gedge records as they featured soundtrack-like arrangements and string and woodwind accompaniment. Live performances included a lot of musicians to play these orchestral/pop songs. Over the years though the sound changed back to more of a rock sound, especially once some of The Wedding Present songs were incorporated into the live set. Around 2003 Murrell and Gedge split up and she then left the band. Eventually during the recording of what became
Take Fountain, Gedge decided that the sound had changed so much that it would be better released under The Wedding Present name, and so Cinerama were finished although the same musicians carried on. Most Wedding Present set lists in recent years have included at least one Cinerama song. Although they officially no longer exists, the band perform a short set under the name at each of David Gedge's "At the edge of.." festivals. The line up usually comprises the current Wedding Present lineup but with the musicians switching their usual instruments. peel was a massive Gedge fan, and gave Cinerama ten sessions. this is the seventh, preserved on 13/05/2001.
Apart from two facts - they contained two members of the then-recently split-up Undertones - and their line-up, I have no information on the frankly mysterious Eleven. If you can help, please email me with the info or a link to a relevant web-page. They were Frederic Ravel (Drums),
Michael Bradley (Bass), Damian O'Neill (Guitar) and David Drumbold (Lead Vocals). their one and only peel session was recorded on 05/06/1984. here it is.
Scotland's Little Big Dig were formed at the tail end of 1982 by singer-songwriter Tom Murray, who had moved from Ayr to Edinburgh. They practiced in the former basement of the long-demolished Regent Cinema. After early lineup changes they were joined by Jack Crawford (drums, percussion), Mark Fleming (originally on bass, before switching to guitar and keyboards), Colin Cairns (bass) and Susan Hope (backing vocals). This lineup is the one featured on this BBC Radio 1 session. Colin and Susan left in 1985. Donna MacDougall became backing vocalist, and Kenny McMillan bassist. During this time their sound altered and they stopped playing any of the original material, including the session songs. Tom moved to London in the summer of 1987 and Little Big Dig disbanded shortly afterwards. Their only vinyl output came with the Wide Open album, a compilation featuring various Scottish bands including Shattered Family, A Whole New Jungle and New York Pig Funkers. Little Big Dig (with Tom’s mum on vocals) provided a track called Dr Buck Ruxton, under the nom-de-plume Leith Band Agnes. This is a actually a Richard Skinner session, but due to its rarity and obscurity value I felt compelled to give it to you all. It was preserved forever on 24/06/1984.
Polvo are an American indie noise rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group, formed in 1990, is fronted by guitarists/vocalists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski. Brian Quast plays drums, and Steve Popson plays bass guitar. Eddie Watkins was the band's original drummer but did'nt rejoin the band on its 2008 reunion. Polvo are widely considered to be standard bearer of a genre which came to be known as math rock, although in interviews they disavowed that categorization. Their sound was defined by complex and
dissonant guitar harmonies and driving rhythm, complementing cryptic, often surrealist lyrics. Their sound was so unpredictable and angular that the band's guitarists were often accused of failing to play with correctly tuned guitars. Polvo's songs and artwork frequently featured Asian/"exotic" themes and references. The name means "octopus" in Portuguese and "powder" or "dust" in Spanish; in Spain it's also slang for sex. There were six albums, issued between 1992 and 2013. there were two sessions for the great broadcaster: this is the first one, immortalised on 06/10/1992.
Radio Stars are an English new wave group formed in early 1977. They released three albums and had one UK Top 40 single. They were formed by Sparks-exile Martin Gordon (bass, songwriter), ex-John's Children vocalist Andy Ellison and Ian MacLeod (guitar) in 1977, following the end of their under-achieving glam supergroup, Jet, the previous year.
The band signed to Chiswick Records and released their debut single, "Dirty Pictures", in April 1977. In October the single "Nervous Wreck" backed with "Horrible Breath" peaked at No. 39. The B-side, "Horrible Breath", was a song written by Marc Bolan from his time with John's Children. The band performed the single on BBC's Top of the Pops on 19th January 1978. The debut album, Songs for Swinging Lovers, named in reference to the Frank Sinatra album, finally appeared in December 1977. They toured with Eddie and the Hot Rods and Squeeze and played the Reading Festival in 1978. The second LP came out in 1978, entitled Holiday Album. They undertook an extensive UK tour in 1978, which also featured Trevor White (a former member of Sparks) and Chris Gent (saxophone/backing vocals) but Gordon left soon after. The second album flopped, effectively ending the group although Ellison attempted to revive the name to little success in the 1980s and 1990s. Their recordings have been anthologised three times; on 1982's Two Minutes Mr. Smith by the Moonlight record label, on 1992's band-approved Somewhere There's a Place for Us on Ace Records and in 2017 a 4CD box set containing all the band's recordings including a handful of singles and B-sides was released by Cherry Red under the title 'Thinking Inside the Box'. here's the second of three Peel sessions, recorded on 07/11/1977.
The Teardrop Explodes were an English post-punk/neo-psychedelic band formed in Liverpool in 1978. Best known for their Top Ten UK single "Reward" (which is still a staple of 1980s alternative pop compilations), the group originated as a key band in the emerging Liverpool post-punk scene of the late 1970s, the group also launched the career of group front man Julian Cope as well as that of keyboard player and co-manager David Balfe (later a record producer, A&R man
and the founder of Food Records). Other members included early Smiths producer Troy Tate. Along with other contemporary Liverpudlian groups, The Teardrop Explodesplayed a role in returning psychedelic elements to mainstream British rock and pop, initially favouring a lightly psychedelic West Coast beat-group sound (sometimes described as "bubblegum trance" and later exploring more experimental areas. In addition to their musical reputation, the band (and Cope in particular) had a reputation for eccentric pronouncements and behaviour, sometimes verging on the self-destructive. after three albums and seven intriguing singles they split up in 1982. this is the second of three sessions for uncle john, preserved forever on 16/04/1980.
This one-off recording by an aggregation labelled 'The Top Gear Carol Singers' featured a group of musicians commonly associated with Peel's Top Gear show, augmented by JP and Sheila ('Peel and The Pig'). Sheila recounted the event thus:Top Gear was the venue for some inspired one-offs well loved by listeners, such as the 1970 Christmas Carol Concert, at which all the usual suspects - the Faces, Marc Bolan, Ivor Cutler, Sonja Kristina (of Curved Air), John Walters, Robert Wyatt - squeezed into the studio to contribute their own idiosyncratic versions of 'Silent Night', 'Away In A Manger' and 'Good King Wenceslas.' David Bedford (piano), and the vocalists Marc Bolan, June Child, Ivor Cutler, Sonja Kristina (& friend), Rod Stewart, Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Peel & Pig, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan. Walters is listed as being producer (although he probably sang as well), and the majority of the carols are played on an electronic organ, presumably again by Bedford. 'Away In A Manger' was sung by Stewart solo (although John Walters later recalled that he was not keen to do this), backed by Bedford on the piano: 'Silent Night' was sung by Kristina solo, with the choir humming along: and 'Good King Wenceslas' featured solo lines by Lane and Wyatt. it was recorded on 12/08/1970 and first broadcast on the 26th December 1970. then it was repeated on the 22nd of December 1971 and then
on the 26th December 1974.
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.