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 Darling Buds were an alternative rock band from Newport, South Wales. The band formed in 1986 and were named after the H. E. Bates novel The Darling Buds of May – a title taken in turn, from the third line of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18: "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May". They were considered part of the short lived "Blonde" movement (indie rock band fronted by blonde female singer with all other members being dark-haired males) along with the likes of The Primitives and Transvision Vamp, but also referenced the C86 scene of a few years earlier. They formed in Caerleon near Newport, South Wales, in 1986, by the then 19-year-old Andrea Lewis. Their debut single, "If I Said", was released on February 1987 and was well received. The group re-released the single on an established label, Native Records, receiving radio play on Peel's show. Signing with Sony in 1988, several singles preceded their critically acclaimed 1989 debut LP, Pop Said.... which ultimately reached the Top 30 in the UK Albums Chart. Their second album, Crawdaddy, was not as well received. Their third and final album, Erotica, (issued in 1992) came out a few weeks before Madonna's album of the same name. Despite touring the United States for a year they grew increasingly frustrated by their lack of commercial success, and disbanded. Andrea Lewis moved on to acting, touring with a Cardiff theatre company. She later moved into presenting, hosting The Slate for BBC Wales and, in 1998 and 1999, she co-hosted a Welsh Saturday morning radio show. She now runs her own theatre school, "CAST" (The Children's Academy of Stage Training) alongside husband Jamie Jarvis, based in Cardiff, Swansea and Caerlaeon. this is the first of their three Peel sessions, put down on 29/03/1987.
Medicine Head were a British blues rock band – initially a duo – active in the 1970s. Their biggest single success was in 1973, with "One and One Is One", a Number 3 hit on the UK Singles Chart.
John Fiddler and Peter Hope-Evans met when they attended Wednesfield Grammar School, Wolverhampton, and then Stafford Art School. After both dropped out of their courses they began performing together on an informal basis and around 1968 started performing in pubs and clubs in and around Birmingham. They were seen at the Lafayette club by Peel, who in turn played a tape of their songs to John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend and, at Lennon's insistence, signed them to his Dandelion record label. The demo recording of "His Guiding Hand" was released as a single, Peel describing it as "the cheapest single ever made and one of the classic records of all time" and keeping the single in his box of most treasured records. The duo's first album, New Bottles Old Medicine, was recorded in a single two-hour session and they toured with Peel at many of his gigs, Peel paying them out of his own fee. Their second album, Heavy On The Drum, was recorded with Keith Relf, formerly of The Yardbirds, as producer. The single "(And The) Pictures in the Sky" rose to no.22 on the UK Singles Chart in 1971, the first hit on Dandelion.Hope-Evans left the band for over a year and Fiddler, Relf (on bass), and drummer John Davies recorded the band's third and final album on Dandelion, Dark Side of the Moon. It was released in 1972, the year before the Pink Floyd album of the same name. Pink Floyd briefly changed the name of their piece (which they were already performing live), to Eclipse, until the Medicine Head album turned out to be "a commercial dud". They signed for Polydor Records and Hope-Evans returned for the album One & One Is One, produced by Tony Ashton and recorded with various session musicians. The fab title track became the band's biggest hit, reaching no.3 in the UK in 1973, and they followed it with
the wonderful "Rising Sun" (no. 11). For the next album, Thru' A Five, the duo were augmented on a regular basis by Rob Townsend – previously of Family – on drums, Roger Saunders on guitar, and George Ford on bass. The album featured the slinky, splendid "Slip and Slide", which became their final hit, reaching no.22 in the UK in 1974. Despite consistent touring, often as a supporting act, Medicine Head failed to place an album on the UK Albums Chart. For their final long player, Two Man Band (1976) recorded at Pete Townshend's Eel Pie Studios, they reverted to being a duo. They finally folded in 1977. this is actually a session for bob harris, taped on 17/01/1973.
The Canadian singer-songwriter, painter, genius and goddess Joni Mitchell has deeply influenced fellow musicians in a diverse range of genres. She's known as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. Her lyrics are noted for their developed poetics, addressing social and environmental ideals alongside personal feelings of romantic longing, confusion, disillusion, and joy. She began singing in small nightclubs in Saskatchewan and western Canada and then busking in the streets and shoddy nightclubs of Toronto. In 1965, she moved to the United States and began touring. Some of her songs were covered by folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her awesome debut album in 1968. Settling in Southern California, she helped define an era and a generation. Her 1971 collection Blue was rated the 30th best album ever made in various greatest albums of all Time lists. She began moving toward jazz rhythms by way of lush pop textures on 1974's slinky Court and Spark, her best-selling LP, featuring the radio hits "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris".
Her wide-ranging contralto vocals and distinctive open-tuned guitar and piano compositions grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with influences of rock and roll, R&B, classical music, and non-western beats.
In the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians, among them Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Charles Mingus, who asked her to collaborate on his final recordings. She turned again toward pop,
embraced electronic music, and engaged in political protest. Her musical output from 1968 to 1977 beggars comparison - these albums are simply incredible. She describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance". here's Joni's very rare, only
session appearance for Peel, a Top Gear recording immortalised on 23/09/1968.
The Outcasts were a punk rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland formed in early 1977, with an initial line up of Blair Hamilton (vocals), Greg Cowan (bass), Colin Getgood (lead guitar), and Greg's brothers Colin Cowan (drums), and Martin Cowan (rhythm guitar). According to Greg, their name derived from the fact that they were banned from five clubs in one week.
Hamilton left the band within a month of its formation, with Greg Cowan taking over vocals. The band played their first gig in May 1977 playing a mixture of their own songs and covers of songs by The Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and The Ramones. After building a strong local following they were picked up by the local It record label, who released their debut single, "Frustration", in May 1978. They were then signed to Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations label who released "Just a Nother Teenage Rebel" in November 1978, which saw the band receiving airplay on national radio from Peel. A further single and then their debut album, Self Conscious Over You, followed in 1979. Shortly before the album was released Greg Cowan was involved in a serious car crash that left him in traction for fourteen weeks and unable to play bass, so Gordy Blair (of another Belfast band, Rudi) joined, with Raymond Falls also joining on drums, because, according to Cowan, "Colin was such a bad drummer". Trouble seemed to follow them around - they were dropped by Good Vibrations, so their next release was on their own label in 1981, the "Magnum Force" single, followed by the Programme Love EP. In 1982 they released a cover
of The Glitter Band's "Angel Face", which spent over two months in the UK Indie Chart, peaking at number 21. The band were struck a massive blow when Colin Cowan was killed in a car crash. Colin was described by his brother Greg as "the core of the band. He started The Outcasts, he even gave the band its name". The large attendance at Colin's funeral prompted the band to play a thank you gig at the Harp Bar, and the positive reaction convinced them that they should carry on. They released the Blood and Thunder album on Abstract Records which reached number 20 in the indie album chart. A few more singles and the Seven Deadly Sins mini-album followed but the band split up in early 1985. Greg Cowan, Martin and Getty started a new band, Time To Pray, but this only lasted a year. Ray Falls joined the army. Greg Cowan returned in 2003 with an "Irish punk supergroup" along with members of Rudi and Stalag 17, performing at the book launch of It Makes You Want to Spit!, which is still going as Shame Academy. In August 2011 The Outcasts played at the Rebellion festival in Blackpool. i'm giving you their second (of two) sessions for john, put down on 15/09/1982.
Lo-fi anti-folk new yorkers Prewar Yardsale are fairly enigmatic, in that what little information about them that's available is infuriatingly basic. so there's not much i can add here. they are Dina Levy (bass buckets, horn) Mike Reacher (vocals, fuzz box acoustic guitar) and Luke Kelly (being enigmatic). their one and only peel session was taped on 23/04/2003.
Quickspace were a London-based experimental rock band formed in 1994, originally under the name Quickspace Supersport. Tom Cullinan, vocalist and guitarist, was formerly in Th' Faith Healers but developed their punky sound into a more tuneful but experimental style. Quickspace formed their own record label, Kitty Kitty, but while releasing many
of their records through this they also issued other material on other labels such as Domino and Elefant Records. they dropped the 'Supersport' part of their name and started work on their first full-length album, simply titled Quickspace, released in autumn 1996. In spring 1997, a collection of their early singles and rare tracks was released on the low-priced
album Supo Spot. It was followed later that year by the 'The Precious Mountain' EP. Precious Falling, the second album, was released on CD and double vinyl in August 1998. The band then went on tour and covered pretty much all of Europe, including a gig supporting Yo La Tengo in London and a set of gigs with labelmates Novak and Ligament in the UK. In 2000, the band released The Death of Quickspace to much critical acclaim. Tom Cullinan released a complete cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' LP under the pseudonym Dougal Reed, but no new Quickspace songs materialised for over three years. Then, in 2003, an unexpected single was released on the Homesleep label, but it would take two more years until a completely renewed Quickspace released their next single 'Pissed Off Boy' on the Domino label in 2005. After this Cullinan reformed Th' Faith Healers for some concerts in early 2006 but there has been no further activity under the Quickspace label. here's the second of two sessions for uncle john, taped on 27/07/1999.
British indie-poppers Sportique formed in 1997 by Gregory Webster, formerly of the Razorcuts, with Mark Flunder of the Television Personalities and Rob Pursey of Heavenly. Heavenly frontwoman Amelia Fletcher joined the group playing keyboards at the time of their second album, Communiqué no.9. there have been seven singles, too. here's the first of three sessions for the great broadcaster, preserved forever on 31/05/1998.
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.