Friday, 25 October 2013

Peelfest! #2

Today marks the ninth year since the passing of Uncle John, so in what's becoming a nascent tradition here at Maggot Caviar, here are five more sessions, one from each decade of Peel's broadcasting career.

Futile to speculate as it may be but it's curious to think how (and where) exactly Peel would fit in with today's music climate if he hadn't passed away so unexpectedly. Already feeling marginalised at Radio 1 in the final year of his life, it's tempting to think he would have found a home at 6 Music, even if it was at the expense of his youngest son's career, and continue to both delight and confound we the audience with strange sounds from the unknown, much like Tom Ravenscroft continues to do today.

First up is a set from Davy Graham recorded live on air in 1968 during one of Peel's short-lived Night Ride shows. Today the live session is the norm and seems to have consigned the pre-recorded Maida Vale sessions into the annals of history along with decades of accumulated master tapes sealed in the BBC vaults.

Bruton Town
I'm Ready
Rock Me
Good Morning Blues


Jumping forward a decade we have the first of two sessions The Selecter taped at Maida Vale. My knowledge of this Coventry combo doesn't extend much beyond the hits On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Missing Words, plus a vague recollection of singer Pauline Black hosting a children's tv quiz show in the early eighties. However, a few weeks after returning to my hometown after a baker's dozen years languishing in redneck obscurity on the Sussex coast, I witnessed Selector Acoustic perform at the Tudor Rooms -  a venue usually the reserved for wedding-related functions - in Tamworth to an audience of no more than 20 people that were largely made up of the support band Fishnet Parachutes and its spouses. Just last Sunday gone I saw the full line up turn in a superb set at Birmingham Academy as support to Pil. I didn't have this session in my personal archive, so I've unashamedly copped the link from the Museum Of Radio Sessions.

They Make Me Mad
Carry Go Bring Come
Street Feeling

Link above expired. Try Fruitier Than Thou.

Isle Of Sheppey's finest popstars ever to grace the international stage recorded just this one session for John Peel; next Halloween marks the 30th anniversary of its first broadcast. Two of the songs taped at the session would be included on their hair-pulling outingly rare lone album (posted elsewhere on this blog) from 1986. With the formation of the Strange Fruit label a couple of years later many a Peel session became commercially available for the first time, initially in the 12" ep format housed in generic monochromatic sleeves. Amid the first batch of more financially viable releases that included the likes of The Damned, New Order and Stiff Little Fingers, at Peel's behest the Twa Toots session became the fledgling label's tenth release. Fans who may own the compilation Don't Send Me Flowers, the versions of Yo-Yo and A New Depression are not the same as those included on the album, and have been unavailable commercially since.
Please Don't Play A Rainy Night In Georgia
A New Depression
Lovely Day

Admittedly, I've posted this session once before, but upon the realisation I have little from the nineties that hasn't already been splattered across youtube or pressed up on the Satan's Frisbee format and with the release of Euros Childs new album Situation Comedy this week it seems fitting to repost this session here.
Meirion Wyllt
Dwm Ath Sain
Young Girls, Happy Endings
Patio Song

The Wisdom of Harry was the turn of the century nom de plume of former Loft/Weather Prophets mainman Peter Astor. After an unsuccessful dalliance with the majors, Astor found some success in France as a solo artist at the start of the nineties. Towards the end of the decade he began releasing a series of limited edition 7" singles as WoH later compiled of the Stars Of Super 8 album the following year. Continuing with the soporific melodic pop template of his previous outfits but adding subtle electronic beats and unique samples, debut lp proper, House Of Binary,  released in 2000 remains, to these ears, Astor's most satisfying work to date. One more album in under this guise, Torch Division, surfaced in 2003 in a more stripped down lo-fi vein. This is the only session WoH recorded for Peel, which includes a breathtaking cover of The Fall's Rebellious Jukebox, whereby Astor succeeds in making the song his own. The following month Astor was in attendance at the Peel Acres Christmas party where he performed Lawrence's rare Denim song I Will Cry At Christmas.
Shiny Shiny Pimp Mobile
I'm Gonna Make My Life Right
Rebellious Jukebox
Hail Tinseltown


  1. Ta for sharing the Davy Graham session, which I'll download this evening & spend the rest of the weekend poring over... :)

  2. Hey! thank you! i'd just refound WIsdom of Harry in a sub-basement of my hard drives- i'd forgotten even why i was supposed to hold on to it, oh yeah, its Peter Astor, he's good. Then googling it up i discover WoH has covered East river pipe and THE FALL! there is just no way i'll ever be able to hear these things this late in the game. But here they are, 15 years on. unusually lucky tonight

  3. You weren't exaggerating: Rebellious Jukebox is an achievement. its like a vehemently muttered internal monologue. Its louder by being forced quiet.
    the east river pipe is just astraight read, though. not my fav song of his anyway but its only the 3rd cover of ERP i've ever heard- Mac (name?) of Superchunk/merge records covers "i know my life is wrong" (THATS my fav ERP song), and a unrememberd South AMerican band does "Metal Detector"
    You didn't want to know any of that, huh? Blame enthusiasm. thanks again

    1. Hi, thanks for the comments. I had no idea until now that SSPM was a cover! I'm familiar with the name East River Pipe, but not with the music. Will have to rectify that.

      Re-reading my blurb, am puzzled as to why I used breathtaking to describe Mr. astor's rendition of Rebellious Jukebox. Must have got carried away in the moment.