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
English prog-rockers Barclay James Harvest were founded in Manchester, in 1966. After signing with EMI's Parlophone label in the UK for one single in early 1968, they moved to the more progressively inclined Harvest label. Their self-titled debut album was released in mid-1970 to positive reviews, but few sales. Their second, Once Again, gained more favourable reviews and the third, Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories, was an even greater achievement. By the release of their fourth album, Baby James Harvest (1972) the pressures of touring were beginning to have an impact and the album's inconsistency was noticed by fans and critics alike. After this they signed to Polydor, the move immediately resulting in greater sales. The next album, Everyone Is Everybody Else (1974), is viewed by many as their artistic high point. Time Honoured Ghosts (1975), recorded in the USA, followed and this also charted in the UK. Octoberon followed in 1976 and then they finally broke into the mainstream European market with their 1977 set Gone to Earth. At the height of their success they played a free concert in front of the Reichstag in West Berlin with an estimated attendance of 250,000 (30 August 1980). They were also the first Western band to play an open-air gig in pre-Glasnost East Germany, in Treptower Park, East Berlin on 14 July 1987. here's a full live appearance - not a session - by the group, taped on 19/10/1976 at the hammersmith odeon, london. it comes in the form of one long mp3. the track titles are: Crazy City,Out of Sight, Hymn For the Children and Mocking Bird.
Black Roots are a roots reggae band from the St. Paul's area of Bristol, England, formed in 1979. They toured extensively in the UK and Europe in the 1980s and early 1990s releasing several albums and singles during that time before disappearing from the music scene for about ten years. Their comeback began when Soundicate/Makasound, a record label in France, released an album in 2004 and followed it up with another in 2007 (both were compilations made up from their extensive back catalogue). In December 2010 they performed their first live show for some twenty years at the Trinity Hall in Bristol and since then they have been active once again, playing live dates and releasing a new album. this is the second of two sessions they whipped up for peely, put down on 07/11/1983.
The english singer-songwriter, poet and musician Carol Ann Grimes spent her early life as a busker. She eventually realised her talent one day in 1964 outside a pub in Hastings Old Town. Carol Grimes came to prominence in 1969 as a member of Delivery, associated with the Canterbury Scene. During the 1970s she performed regularly on the London blues circuit with her group The London Boogie Band. At the same time she released her first solo album Warm Blood, the first release on the Virgin's Caroline label (CA2001), backed by session musicians in London and Nashville. The cover was taken in her Notting Hill flat. The following year saw the release of a follow-up blues album recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis and Goodyear Studios in Nashville which pictured her on the cover alongside her son Sam. By the end of the decade, Grimes had moved to a more jazz-inspired style, including a lot of scat singing. In 1984 she formed Eyes Wide Open. Now known mainly as a solo artist she also does theatrical work and teaches voice. carol taped just the one, now rare, session for our hero, on 04/07/1974. and here it is. blimey.
Marc and the Mambas marked the start of Marc Almond's career outside of Soft Cell. In 1983 Almond and Soft Cell were very close to the avant-garde scene around Foetus, Psychic TV and Einstürzende Neubauten. Almond also took part as one of four members of The Immaculate Consumptive, a group initiated by Lydia Lunch; they never released any album but did a few shows in New York and Washington D.C. at the end of 1983. Further members were Jim Foetus and Nick Cave. Marc and the Mambas very much belonged to that scene, and continued the dark themes explored within Soft Cell, but musically used different instruments and more complex rhythms. The group's line-up was fluid, with members changing with each recording or performance; the only consistent members were Almond, Annie Hogan and Steve James Sherlock. Further members included Billy McGee and Martin McCarrick, who also later joined Almond when he formed Marc Almond and the Willing Sinners. Almond's Soft Cell partner David Ball was an associated member for the Mambas' first single "Sleaze", and Matt Johnson from The The was a member for the first and second album but did not join for the last concerts in 1983 (put to vinyl and later to CD as Black, Bite & Blues). Jim Foetus was an associated member, and did guest vocals and percussion on "A Million Manias" and "Love Among the Ruined." The Mambas' second Some Bizzare released album, Torment and Toreros, contains a mix of ballads, both with and without dance beats, and is a mix of vaudeville, French chanson, and goth sensibility, using guitar noise, piano, and string sections. Almond later described this recording as an "attempted suicide put on vinyl." the one and only session appearance for mr. ravencroft by the mambas occurred on 01/02/1983. now you can have it, for free!
Stef Petticoat started singing at the tender age of two and was later occupied with 'the recorder, and a little bit of guitar'. she auditioned for vocalists in the Bonn-Aachen-Cologne area in 1977 and 1978 but this proved fruitless and she moved to London and formed Necessary Evil in 1979. A few months and a few gigs later the band split up due to 'political, personal and musical differences'. stef went solo and recorded the single Normal/I`m free/Allergy in 1980. In 1981 she formed Amy and the Angels in London, playing several gigs in England and Germany before finally relocating to Berlin where she formed 69 Lies in 1987 until the group split in 1993. this is yet another one-off session, taped on 15/10/1980.
Sophisticated Boom Boom provided backing Vocals for a radio session by The Dreamboys Session on Radio Clyde in 1980. The Dreamboys featured (future Dr. Who) Peter Capaldi on Vocals. Sophisticated Boom Boom were an all-girl group from Glasgow in the early to mid ‘80s who took their name the fab Shangri Las song and who later mutated into His Latest Flame. there were two peel sessions and this month i'm giving you the first, put down on 28/10/1981.
The English 2 Tone and ska revival band The Specials formed in 1977 in Coventry. Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude", and had a "more focused and informed political and social stance" than other ska groups. In 1980, the song "Too Much Too Young", the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached number one in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single "Ghost Town" also hit number one in the UK Singles Chart. After seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981, several members of the group abruptly left to form the Fun Boy Three. Continuing on as "The Special AKA" (a name they used frequently on earlier Specials releases), a substantially revised Specials line-up issued new material through 1984, including the top 10 UK hit single "(Free) Nelson Mandela". Afterwards, founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers dissolved the band and pursued political activism. The group reformed in 1993 and have continued to perform and record with varying line-ups (but without Dammers). there were four peel sessions by the group. here's the third, recorded on 29/10/1980.
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.