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 email@example.com
14 Iced Bears were a British indie pop band associated with the C86 music scene. Formed in Brighton in 1985, by Rob Sekula and Nick Emery the band featured a shifting line-up of musicians across their seven-year existence, centred around songwriter and vocalist Rob Sekula and guitarist Kevin Canham. Their jangly indie pop was characterised by a fuzzy protopunk-influenced guitar sound, and saw them receive modest critical acclaim in Britain's music press as well as prompting Peel to recruit them to record a couple of sessions. The group released a handful of singles on the influential Sarah label and two full-length albums: the eponymous 14 Iced Bears (1988), and
Wonder (1991). They reformed in 2010 and toured the US east coast, the US west coast in 2011, as well as some concerts in London, including a Peel night with Vic Godard, Viv Albertine and the TV Personalities. here's the first of their sessions for our hero, put down on 28/10/1986.
in 1968, at the age of 17, Steve Harley (real name stephen nice) began work as an accountant with the Daily Express, from which he progressed to become a reporter in a number of local Essex newspapers for a duration of three years. Later, he returned to London to work for the East London Advertiser. Harley started out playing in bars and clubs in the early 1970s, mainly at folk venues on open-mike nights. He also busked around London on the Underground and in Portobello Road. he formed Cockney Rebel in late 1972. they went on to release The Human Menagerie and The Psychomodo albums before splitting up in 1974. However, Harley carried on with drummer
Stuart Elliot, renaming the band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, with whom he had more success. From the next album, The Best Years of Our Lives, came the number one and million selling single, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)". Harley had two more hits during the mid 70's with "Mr Raffles" and "Here Comes the Sun" but he didn't have any further success and in the 80's all but faded from the public eye, relocating to the United States. here's the only peel session by his group, recorded on 22/01/1974.
Culture are a Jamaican roots reggae group founded in 1976. Originally they were known as the African Disciples. The one constant member until his death in 2006 was Joseph Hill. The group formed in 1976 as a vocal trio using the name The African Disciples. They soon changed name to Culture and auditioned successfully for the "Mighty Two" – producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson. While at Gibbs'
studio they recorded a series of powerful singles, starting with "See Dem a Come" and including the hugely successful "Two Sevens Clash" (which predicted the apocalpyse on 7 July 1977), many of which ended up on their debut album Two Sevens Clash.The song was sufficiently powerful that many in Kingston stayed indoors on 7 July, fearing that the prophecy would come true. A second Gibbs-produced album, Baldhead Bridge, followed in 1978, by which time the group had moved on to record for producer Sonia Pottinger. The group entered into a long-running dispute with Gibbs over royalties to the first album. Two Sevens Clash meanwhile had become a big seller in the UK, popular with punk fans as well as reggae freaks and boosted by the support of Peel on his show, and reached number 60 on the UK Albums Chart in April 1978. This prompted Virgin Records to sign the group to its Front Line label, releasing Harder than the Rest (1978) and International Herb (1979). the group went on to record further studio sessions for Peel and their performance at the Royal Festival Hall in July 1998 was broadcast on his show. in 1986 the original line-up reformed to record two highly regarded albums – Culture in Culture and Culture at Work. Several albums followed in the 1990s on Shanachie Records and Ras Records, often recorded with Sly and Robbie. Joseph Hill, who came to symbolize the face of Culture, died in Berlin, Germany on 19 August 2006 while the group was on tour, after collapsing following a performance. His son, Kenyatta Hill, who had acted as the group's sound engineer on tour, performed with his father's band at the Western Consciousness show in 2007, which was dedicated to Joseph Hill, and became the lead singer; the most authentic of traditional reggae acts, at the time of the first Rolling Stone Record Guide publication they were the only band of any genre whose every recording received a five-star review (of bands with more than one recording in the guide). this is the first of those four peel sessions, immortalised on 11/12/1982. sadly, two tracks from the session are missing, for which, my apologies.
East of Eden were a British progressive rock band who had a Top 10 hit in the UK with the single, Jig-a-Jig, in 1971.The track became something of a stylistic albatross around the band's neck, since it didn't resemble their usual sound or anything else they normally played. Although some might consider this group as being a symphonic prog band, others state that their style is mostly jazz oriented. Combining flutes, violins and tape loops to folk, gypsy and psychedelic music, the East of Eden style was always heavily supported on a pure rock base; strong and experimental. They began in 1967 when they were formed in Bristol as Pictures of Dorian Gray. In 1968 they moved to London, and the group was signed to a
recording contract with Decca's progressive rock imprint Deram label. In 1969 they released the Mercator Projected album, followed shortly after by Snafu (1970), and Jig-a-Jig, a European only compilation, released in 1971. Snafu made it into the
Top 30 in Britain of the UK Albums Chart, whilst a single, Ramadhan, got to number two in France. They jumped to the Harvest label, but their work there never caught on, coinciding as it did with a change in style and a veering away from Eastern music to a countryish sound. The band carried on as almost exclusively a European act, recording and releasing albums in Europe only. this performance was broadcast on 06/04/1970 and takes the form of one long medley, the titles are Nyphenberger, Sphinx and Jig-A-Jig.
Kevin Coyne was a musician, singer, composer, film-maker, and a writer of lyrics, stories and poems. he passed away in his adopted home of Nuremberg, Germany, on the 2nd of December 2004. Coyne is notable for his unorthodox style of blues-influenced guitar composition, the intense quality of his vocal delivery, and his bold treatment of injustice to the mentally ill in his lyrics. Many influential music figures have described themselves as Coyne fans, among them Sting and John Lydon. between 1972 and 2004 he recorded and released 32 albums, with something interesting and passionate on them all. peel really admired him, giving him ten sessions over the years. this one - the seventh - was recorded on 22/02/1978.
The Leyton Buzzards were a British rock band active between 1976 and 1980. They took their name from their home town of Leyton, an area of east London, punning on the name of the Bedfordshire town, Leighton Buzzard. They were initially a Pub rock band but soon adapted to punk /New Wave. Their debut single, "19 and Mad", was released in 1977 by Small Wonder Records. They won a high-profile "battle of the bands" competition organized by BBC Radio 1 and gormless uk newspaper The Sun, resulting in a major-label deal with Chrysalis Records. the first fruits of this deal, "Saturday Night (Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees)", reached Number 53 in the UK Singles Chart in March 1979 and led to an appearance on Top of the Pops. They shortened their name to The Buzzards for the 1979 single "We Make a Noise" and the album Jellied Eels to Record Deals, before reverting back to The Leyton Buzzards for their final single, "Can't Get used to Losing You". The band split up in 1980, with the two main songwriters going on to greater chart success with vomit-inducingly bland pop act Modern Romance. peel liked the buzzards quite a bit, giving them four sessions. this month i'm handing you the third of these, taped on 06/06/1979.
the Zones were a scottish punky power pop band founded in 1977, following the demise of PVC2 (formerly the bubbleglam and soft rock band Slik). PVC2 comprised Midge Ure (future Ultravox frontman) on guitar, Russell Webb on bass, Billy McIsaac on keyboards and Kenny Hyslop on drums. In late 1977, Ure left to form The Rich Kids with Glen Matlock. Then, Webb, Hyslop and McIsaac called in Alex Harvey's cousin Willie Gardner to replace Ure on guitar and vocals, and the Zones were formed. In February 1978 they released a single, "Stuck with You", which attracted peel's attention, leading to the band recording a session for his show, and Arista Records, who signed them and released the rest of their discography. Their next single was "Sign Of The Times" released in 1978. they also toured with Magazine. In 1979 they released Under Influence, an album of post punk power pop. However, shortly afterwards the band split up. minus willie gardner they carried on as science with a single on rialto records but when this failed to register commercially they went their separate ways. McIsaac moved to a piano college in Glasgow and Webb and Hyslop joined The Skids. Webb collaborated with Skids' singer Richard Jobson until 1988 and Hyslop, after collaborating with Skids album, Joy, moved to Simple Minds (1981–1982) and Set The Tone (1982–1983). after a few superb but ignored solo singles, Gardner joined Endgames and years later became a university lecturer in scotland. here's the second, recorded on 13/09/1978. this particular copy comes from a recent re-broadcast from the master tapes, so the audio quality is stunning. the session itself is utterly amazing.
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.