Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Beta Band - The Breezblock 2/3/1998

Only two more years and it will be the tenth anniversary of The Beta Band's lump in throat-inducing demise. Assuming the satan's frisbee format hasn't met the same fate as the News Of The World and white dog poo, I'm fantasising that 2014 will see multiple cd reissues of their original albums, with out-takes aplenty, of which this session would be worthy of inclusion. 

Broadcast two days after I first witnessed the band live for the very first time at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. I was lucky enough to track down a copy of the Champion Versions 12" from Tempest (RIP) in Brum, after hearing the session version of Dry The Rain on Steve Lamacq's show. Other than that, I knew little about them. The Patty Patty Sound EP had yet to be released, but Inner Meet Me had been on heavy rotation on Mary Anne Hobbs show for some time. (There seemed to be a trend around this period where record companies would send promotion copies of impending singles for broadcast several weeks in advance.) Curiously, John Peel never championed them.

If you never saw The Beta Band's early live shows, this is the closest you will get. Starting off with Circus Song (basically samples of fairground music accompanied by the group bashing out percussive rhythms on anything to hand), the band then easing in to a completely unrecognisable version (to it's later studio counterpart) of Dr. Baker, followed by She's The One and The House Song, both far superior live than the Patty versions, all interspersed with amusing sketches from their Old Jock Radio pals.

Single MP3 file.

As a bonus here's their second session for Mary Anne Hobbs. Strictly speaking, not a conventional session as such, more an exercise in on the spot songcraft. Listeners were invited to supply their own "soundscapes" over the phone. The band then had 90 minutes to fashion the telecommed samples into something vaguely resembling a song. Not sure how regular a feature this was, but I dimly recall Roni Size also taking up the mantle.

Recorded live on air on 9/6/1999


  1. Hello, do you have the full Breezeblock session from 9th June 99?