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
Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s. The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll. Science fiction imagery was common in Bill Nelson's lyrics, along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition (albeit often hidden beneath Nelson's quirky lyrical and musical metaphors). Be-Bop Deluxe were founded in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, by singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Bill Nelson in 1972.
The founding lineup consisted of Nelson, guitarist Ian Parkin, bassist and vocalist Robert Bryan, drummer Nicholas Chatterton-Dew, and keyboardist Richard Brown (who left in December of that year). They started off playing the West Yorkshire pub scene, with one regular venue being the Staging Post in Whinmoor, Leeds. They never played bebop music, but instead came out of the blues-based British rock scene of the late 1960s. At first they were compared to the more successful David Bowie, but Nelson never tried to copy Bowie, and appears to have disliked comparisons or being pigeon-holed. This artistic restlessness eventually led him to disband Be-Bop Deluxe altogether and pursue less commercial paths of expression. The initial lineup of the band only lasted for one album, 1974's Axe Victim, and a short tour. Shortly after this, Nelson dissolved the band and reformed the group with a new lineup, which comprised Nelson, bassist Paul Jeffreys, keyboardist Milton Reame-James, and drummer Simon Fox. However, Jeffreys and Reame-James subsequently departed the band, and New Zealand-born bassist-vocalist Charlie Tumahai joined in late 1974. This line-up recorded the Futurama album, before being joined by supplementary keyboardist Andrew Clark for the subsequent tour. Clark became an official member of the band after the tour, and this lineup existed for all of the band's subsequent albums, and was the last lineup before the band was dissolved again in 1978. Jeffreys died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Nelson was acclaimed as one of the finest guitarists in British rock at the time, and the music confirmed that, with his distinctive tones adorning most tracks. Stylistically, the songs took elements from progressive rock, glam rock (the band had flirted with make-up in the early days) and hard guitar rock. Ships in the Night was their most successful single in the UK and US. Drastic Plastic, recorded under the influence of punk, new wave and David Bowie's Berlin albums was a substantial stylistic change from the progressive/guitar rock of the early Be-Bop Deluxe. Eager to embrace the changing musical landscape, Nelson dissolved the group and immediately formed a new band,
Bill Nelson's Red Noise, retaining Andy Clark on keyboards, and adding Nelson's brother Ian, who had previously contributed to Be-Bop albums, on saxophone. Bill planned to reform Be-Bop Deluxe in the nineties with his brother Ian Nelson, but the reunion never materialised. The subsequent deaths of members Ian Parkin and Charlie Tumahai in 1995, along with the death of Ian Nelson in 2006, mean that a future reunion of the band is unlikely. mr obscure is proud to be able to give you the very first Be-Bop peel session (six more were to follow), taped on 06/11/1973.
It features songs that were never revisited or officially isssued.
Dick Dale is an American surf rock guitarist, known as The King of the Surf Guitar. He pioneered the surf music style, drawing on Eastern musical scales and experimenting with reverberation. He worked closely with Fender to produce custom made amplifiers, including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amp. He pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop new equipment that was capable of producing distorted, "thick, clearly defined tones" at "previously undreamed-of volumes." The "breakneck speed
of his single-note staccato picking technique" as well as his showmanship with the guitar is considered a precursor to heavy metal music, influencing guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. The use of Dale's performance of Misirlou in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction gained him a new audience. There were four Peel sessions, and here's the third, put down on 28/08/2002.
Eclection were a British-based folk rock band, originally formed in 1967 in London by Norwegian-born Georg Hultgreen (later Georg Kajanus), Canadian Michael Rosen, Australians Trevor Lucas and Kerrilee Male, and Briton Gerry Conway. They released one album on Elektra Records before singer Kerrilee Male left. Rosen and Hultgreen met when Hultgreen - who had grown up in Canada - was playing songs in a Bayswater restaurant. They decided to form a group, and recruited Lucas, who had previously recorded in Australia, and in Britain as an accompanist to A. L. Lloyd, after seeing him perform at the 1967 Cambridge Folk Festival. Lucas in turn recommended Kerrilee Male, who had previously worked as a singer with Dave Guard, formerly of The Kingston Trio, on his Australian TV show Dave's Place. The four rehearsed together and acquired the name Eclection - a back-formation to describe their "eclectic" style and origins - at the suggestion of Joni Mitchell, who was playing folk clubs in England at the time and who was a friend of Rosen's girlfriend. On a visit to New York, the group approached Elektra Records owner Jac Holzman, who then heard them rehearse in London, and offered them a record deal. The quartet made their first public appearance at the Royal Festival Hall in late 1967, supporting Tom Paxton. The group then added drummer Gerry Conway, a member of Alexis Korner's backing group. Despite their backgrounds, the band regarded themselves as being a "progressive rock" group rather than playing "folk rock", a term which had not yet come into widespread use. They began recording at IBC Studios in London in December 1967, with Australian record producer Ossie Byrne and arranger Phil Dennys, who had both worked on The Bee Gees' first hit "New York Mining Disaster 1941". The songs were recorded as rehearsed, with vocal harmonies and ornate orchestral arrangements overdubbed later. The band released their first single, "Nevertheless", written by Rosen, in June 1968; it received some airplay in the UK but did not chart. They also appeared on Dutch TV, BBC radio, and the BBC TV show Colour Me Pop. The band's self-titled album, Eclection, was released in August 1968. Eight of the songs were written by Hultgreen, and the remaining three by Rosen. Hultgreen and Rosen also shared the lead vocals with Kerrilee Male. The band's style drew comparisons with The Seekers, Jefferson Airplane, The Mamas and The Papas and We Five. Hultgreen later said: "The musical direction of the group was probably closer to American folk-rock than anything else. I must confess, having spent my formative musical years haunting the folk clubs in Montreal, Canada and watching all the current folk and folk/rock programs on TV, I was strongly influenced by this music. The most influential artists for me at the time were people like Dylan, the Byrds, Fred Neil, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, and Gordon Lightfoot. Pre-Eclection, I was a purist fighting the acoustic battle versus the electric "demons" creeping into the scene. I remember being shocked when Dylan went electric. It is therefore ironic that I should end up a few years later playing an electric 12-string in Eclection." After the album was released the band began to perform at festivals and in clubs around Britain. Their second single, a version of American band Kaleidoscope's song "Please (Mark II)", was released in October 1968. However that month Kerrilee Male decided to leave, and returned to Australia. Gerry Conway said: "Once we started playing live, it was very soon apparent that Kerrilee didn't want to stay with it. I think she decided she didn't want to be in the music world." The band immediately replaced her with Dorris Henderson, an African-American singer who had moved to Britain, performed in folk clubs, and recorded a 1965 album with John Renbourn. The single was re-recorded with Henderson's vocal replacing Male.
In December 1968, Eclection supported The Beach Boys on a 10-day tour, and afterwards they continued to tour clubs. The band performed (along with Bob Dylan and The Who) at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1969, but Hultgreen then decided to leave. Lucas, Conway, Palmer and Henderson continued to tour for several months, finally agreeing to split up in December 1969 when Palmer decided to join Family. Georg Hultgreen, now calling himself Georg Kajanus, hung around various music publishers in London where he met one of the men who he would later form Sailor with. Sailor would go on to have two top ten hit singles (1975 and 1976) and amass an enormous cult following across europe. there were two peel sessions by the Eclection: here's the second, immortalised on 21/04/1969.
The Fire Engines were a post-punk band from Edinburgh, Scotland. The band was a part of the same literary art-punk scene as the Scars and Josef K. They comprised David (Davy) Henderson (vocals/guitar), Murray Slade (guitar), Graham Main (bass), and Russell Burn (drums), the band name inspired by a 13th Floor Elevators song. Henderson, Main, and Burn had previously been members of The Dirty Reds, along with Russell Burn's brother Tam Dean Burn, while Slade had played in Station Six. The Fire Engines' debut release was the "Get Up And Use Me"/"Everything's Roses" single, released on manager Angus Groovy's Codex Communications label in 1980; The band had recorded their entire set twice in a Fife bungalow with producer Wilf Smarties, at a cost of £46, with these two tracks selected for release."Get Up and Use Me" was given 'Single of the Week' in both NME and Sounds. The band's live shows rarely lasted longer than twenty minutes — Henderson said of the early live shows: "We played to our strengths which were minimal, but somehow, as a band, it worked. We never played chords and Russell didn’t use cymbals or hi-hats. It was very violent although no-one got hurt. Pure aggression, attitude
and hate was what it was." The band were offered a deal by Postcard Records, but opted for Bob Last's Fast Product label. Further singles followed and a largely instrumental album, Lubricate Your Living Room (subtitled 'Background Music for Action People!'), in 1981, released on Fast subsidiary Pop:Aural. Their most successful single was "Candy Skin", released in 1981, but after the follow-up, "Big Gold Dream" failed to repeat its success, the band split up on 31 December 1981. Henderson formed the short-lived Heartbeat with Bob Last's partner Hillary Morrison, the band's only release a track on an NME compilation cassette. Burn formed Everest the Hard Way with bassist Ian Stoddart and guitarist Stephen Lironi (who later joined Altered Images), the band releasing a single in April 1982. Henderson and Burn went on to form Win with Stoddart in the mid 1980s, the band continuing until 1989. Henderson and Burn then worked together on Burn's Pie Finger project, releasing an album on Creation Records in 1992. Henderson then formed The Nectarine No. 9, which continued from the early 1990s until 2004. In 2004, the Fire Engines reformed to support The Magic Band at The Liquid Room in Edinburgh, and released a limited edition collaboration single with Franz Ferdinand; The seven inch single contained a Franz Ferdinand cover of the Fire Engines song "Get Up and Use Me" with Fire Engines covering Franz Ferdinand's "Jacqueline". The band continued to play occasional concerts until 2006. On 2 October 2007, the Acute label issued Hungry Beat, a collection of the band's
original studio recordings, making them available for the first time on CD in the US. Here's the second (of two) sessions they did for the great broadcaster. It was taped on 14/11/1981.
English Bowie-clone Gary Numan is most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (as Tubeway Army) and "Cars", with which he achieved his peak of mainstream popularity in the late 1970's and early 1980's. he maintains a loyal cult following. Numan, whose signature sound consists of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. He recorded four sessions for uncle John. this is the second, immortalised at the very height of his fame, on 29/05/1979.
The American singer/songwriter and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis is often regarded as part of the antifolk movement, foremost because he was one of the many bands and performers (including The Moldy Peaches, Major Matt Mason USA and Lach) who played in the 1990's at New York's SideWalk Cafe and its bi-annual antifolk festivals and open mic events. His music also possesses certain traits of a perceived antifolk style - a downbeat self-deprecating humor, an off-kilter singing style, a mixture of acoustic and 'punk' songs which feature themes of everyday occurrences and feelings. Lewis himself does not mind the 'antifolk' tag: "I think it's a cool title. The fact that no one knows what it means, including me, makes it kind of mysterious and more interesting than saying that you're a singer/songwriter or that you play indie rock." After being signed by the British record label Rough Trade in 2001, Jeffrey Lewis released his first official album The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane. Also that year (in February), Lewis was visited by Kimya Dawson while living in Austin, Texas. Over the week she stayed there, they wrote five songs. These songs were later re-recorded with a full band and released under the moniker
"The Bundles," on an album of the same name, in 2010. In 2003 he released the album It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through, with drummer Anders Griffen. His third record, City and Eastern Songs, was released in the UK in November 2005 and in the US in September 2006. All three of these albums also include his brother, Jack Lewis, who wrote and sang a number of the songs. In October 2007, Lewis released 12 Crass Songs, an album consisting entirely of songs written by the anarcho-pacifist British punk band Crass, reworked to match Lewis's antifolk style. The New York Times has published his writings and graphic works. his only session for the bbc was for our hero, put down on 31/07/2002.
The Weather Prophets were a British indie band formed in London in 1986 after the break-up of The Loft. After two studio albums, the band split up, with singer Peter Astor going on to a solo career. Following the breakup of The Loft, Astor (vocals, guitar) and Dave Morgan (drums) formed The Weather Prophets (named after a line in the opening paragraph of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer) in 1986. An early incarnation saw Creation Records head-honcho Alan McGee playing bass, but he soon reverted to manager as new members David Greenwood Goulding (bass) and Oisin Little (guitar) were recruited to complete the line up. The debut single, "Almost Prayed" (Creation, 1986), seemed to carry on where The Loft had left off; consequently both interest and critical approval were high for the record, and a second single was issued on Creation that same year. After a German mini-album, for the release of their debut album proper, McGee had successfully managed to sign the band to Elevation Records - the WEA subsidiary with which he was associated. Expectations were high when the Lenny Kaye-produced Mayflower appeared in 1987, but the album was greeted with a mixed response by the critics and the band were
eventually dropped from the label. All was not lost, however, as they eventually returned to Creation for a further album, Judges, Juries and Horsemen in 1988. By this time, Oisin Little had departed, and interest in the band had waned. A final single, "Always the Light", was issued before the band decided to split up. Following the split, Peter Astor embarked upon a solo career while the two remaining members joined The Rockingbirds. An odds'n'ends compilation, Temperance Hotel, was released by Creation in 1989, with '87 Live appearing in 1991. Blue Skies & Freerides – The Best of 1986-1989 was issued by Cherry Red in 2004. this session, taped on 02/11/1986, might actrually be for Andy Kershaw. it's a fine session, anyway.
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.