Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Moe Tucker - Peel Session 18/02/1992

Post- Velvet Underground break up, two thirds of the key band members eventually found their way into the BBC Maida Vale studios - the excptions being Lou Reed and Doug Yule. Nico got their first in 1971 and was invited back for a second three years later. The latter was recently issued for the first time as bonus material on the deluxe edition of The End; the former was pressed onto a Strange Fruit 12" ep in 1988. John Cale recorded his one and only Peel session in May 1985, but nearly two decades would pass before another Velvet would get the official Peel seal of approval.
Maureen Tucker - with Sterling Morrison in tow - was touring the UK to promote her latest album, 1991's I Spent A Week There Last Night. Three songs from that lp were showcased for the session, along with new track, Trains, that would feature on what to date is her last album of new studio material, Dogs Under Stress from 1993.
Peel Intro
Blue, All The Way To Canada
Fired Up
Too Shy
Nico's debut '71 session can be found @ I Love Total Destruction,
while her second from '74 is on youtube.
Fruitier Than Thou has the John Cale session.

Tortoise - Peel Sessions 1996-98

Both sessions Chicago's post-rock pioneers taped for John Peel in the mid-90s. Cool Britannia may have been sweeping the nation if the brain-pummelling media hype was to be believed, but in the hearts and minds of the more discerning household it was Tortoise and their ilk who ruled the (air) waves.
No new material has been released since 2009's Beacons Of Ancestorship and the last entry on their website was dated September 2011 announcing a score recorded for Blair Witch Project director Eduardo Sanchez.
The Taut And The Tame
Tin Cans And Twine
Aldeia De Olgum
In Sarah Mencken Christ And Beethoven There
I Set My Face To The Hillside
Check out Tortoise live @ ATP 2001 on a post I published in July 2012.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pixies - Peel Sessions 1990-91

I'm afraid I'm one of the dissenters when asked for an opinion on the Pixies comeback album Indie City, but I won't bore you with the details. Instead let us marvel in awe-inspiring wonderment when it seemed the fiery foursome were the only group that (ever) mattered.

The Pixies recorded seven sessions for the BBC which have been much bootlegged, highlights of which were officially issued in 1997 on 4AD's At The BBC compilation. It was Simon Mayo who first gave the band exposure on British airwaves with a session broadcast on 8th March 1988. However, the four songs (Here Comes Your Man, Down To The Well, Break My Body, Subbaculcha) were leftovers from sessions that Come On Pilgrim (aka The Purple Tape demos). These tracks, along with a further five unreleased from tape would see release on an eponymously-titled album in 2001.

By the close of '88 the Pixies had notched up two sessions for Peel in quick session, followed by a third in 1989 - all available from Vibracobra.  The fourth from 1990 was actually a Black Francis solo session. Is She Weird? was made available on 4AD's Pixies At The BBC set, but all the other tracks - including an early run through of Brian Wilson's Hang On To Your Ego, later to grace Frank Black's 1993 debut lp - remain unreleased.

Two months later the full band line-up were back at Maida Vale, this time to tape a set for Mark Goodier, before returning for a final time to nail down their fifth session for Peelie in 1991.

Hang On To Your Ego
Is She Weird?
Palace Of The Brine
Letter To Memphis
Motorway To Roswell

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Adventures In Stereo - Brand New Day (Bobsled 7" 1997)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #7:
Final instalment of our week long wander into lost wonderment.
Adventures In Stereo were formed in 1994 by Primal Scream founder Jim Beattie and his partner Judith Boyle after their previous outfit Spirea X broke up. Swapping roles with Boyle handling lead vocal duties, the pair were initially joined by Simon Dine who created the rather unique samples that acting as the backing track to the short but sweet songs. Dine would leave the group before the eponymous debut album was released in 1996.
Brand New Day was their fourth single and lifted from their second album Alternative Stereo Sounds, both issued in 1997. Three versions of the single exist: a 2 track 7" and 4 track cd issued in the UK by Creeping Bent, and this here 4 track half clear/half purple 7" issued in the US on Bobsled.
Beattie and Boyle continued for a third album, Monomania released in 2000, adopting a sound similar to pre-Sonic Flower Groove Primal Scream. Since that a time both appear to have dropped out of the music business altogether.

A1 Brand New Day
A2 Pass Me By
B1 Waves
B2 Nobody's Scared

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Oinklets - The Oink Song (Intape 7" Flexi 1986)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #6
Friday flexi freebie frivolous frolicsome fun!
Oink! was a short lived comic founded by Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers that was first published in May 1986. Devised as a Viz comic for under 18s, it was originally a fortnightly publication that ran for 68 issues until October 1988. Among its staff writers was one Marc Riley.
Oink! proved quite controversial due it's "anarchic" - conservative groups and a chain of newsagents branded the publication unsuitable for children and successfully campaigned to have it "top-shelved" which had a direct effect on sales.
The first issue came with a free two track clear vinyl flexi disc. The identity of the performers has remained a mystery, but vocalist on The Oinklets track sounds like Chris Sievey/Frank Sidebottom, while Uncle Pig (track 2) definitely sounds like Marc Riley, presumably backed by The Creepers. But regardless of whoever was behind them these two quirky pop ditties  are guaranteed to leave you feeling - wait for it - happy as a pig in shit.

A1 The Oink Song - The Oinklets
A2 Oink Rap - Uncle Pig

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The McTells - Jesse Man Rae (Frank 7" 1988)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #5
I previously wrote about The McTells in November 2012 when I posted their debut Bi-Joopiter flexi disc. After several cassette only releases under various guises, the group issued their first "conventional" disc in 1988 on the Frank label.  
The lead track was a radical re-write of Across The Sea from their debut eponymously-titled cassette only release, while the remaining three tracks had all appeared in earlier forms on the aforementioned debut and Expecting Joe cassettes.
The sleeve design was unmistakably Creation influenced with a fold out paper cover housed in a poly bag which included a colour 7 x 7 Bi-Joopiter mail order insert. As far as I'm aware none of the versions of these songs on this ep have ever been re-issued.
The McTells continued to release "proper" records into the 90s and the Bi-Joopiter label has been inspirational to many budding independent label bosses of subsequent generations.
Virginia MC was included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition C86 box set and the group reconvened to perform at the album launch at 229 in London last June.
A1 Jesse Man Rae
A2 If Only
B1 Rotten
B2 M.T.B.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sinister Cleaners - The Gnomes Of Zurich (AAZ 7" 1985)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #4
Hailing from Leeds bedsit land, The Sinister Cleaners were initially a trio of Len Liggins, John Parkes and Andrew Middleton, all sharing instrument and vocal duties, aided and abetted by trusty tinny drum machine. The Gnomes Of Zurich was their debut single, self-financed on their own label (as were all their subsequent releases) and released in early 1985. Astonishingly, it was Record Mirror that first gave them wider exposure with a small feature and interview (I think Gnomes may even have been single of the week). I say astonishing because at this stage the publication had shed its tabloid status rivalling the NME, Sounds and Melody Maker in favour of a colour magazine format almost exclusively dedicated to mainstream chart acts in direct competition with Smash Hits. (By the end of year the publication would do an about turn again and focus mainly on the independent scene).
It's fair to say that stylistically Gnomes doesn't stray too far from The Three John/Eton Crop pop stable, but B side The Architect seemed to demonstrate what was to come in future releases. Eighteen months would pass until they unleashed Lemon Meringue Bedsit, a bumper 6 track 12" ep in summer 1986. By this time they had acquired a "proper" drummer, Simon Smith, and built a bigger, individual sound with stronger vocal melodies and blues-tinged guitar runs suggesting The Magic Band playing Richard Lloyd's lead parts on Marque Moon.
The group toured the UK and Europe regularly and issued two more 12" eps in 1986-87, before calling it a day sometime in 1988. Len Liggins had become increasing involved with The Wedding Present, contributing violin and vocals on their Ukranian Peel sessions. This would develop into side project The Ukranians which later would turn in to a full time affair when Peter Solowka quit The Weddoes shortly after completing Sea Monsters in 1991. Simon Smith took over the drum seat from Shaun Charman in early '88.
In 2007 the group reactivated their AAZ label and released Shine, a 20 track cd collection compiling the latter three eps and five new recordings of previously unreleased songs. Strangely, both Gnomes and Architect were excluded from the set. All the more reason to post it here!
 A1 The Gnomes Of Zurich
B1 The Architect

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Third Eye - Pass Myself (Scarlet International 7" 1982)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #3

Bit of a mystery (and obscurity) this one. The line up consisted of Brad Day (drums), Vulcan Webb (guitar/vocals) and Pete Farrugia (bass). They recorded this "neo-psychedelic|" classic in 1982 which was released in France on the drummers own label Scarlet International, backed with a version of Roky Erickson's May The Circle Remain Unbroken. The single received lots of airplay and sold reasonably well, but no other releases materialised. Apparently the group never played one gig!

Farrugia later went on to play in Danielle Dax's backing band. Other than a brief mention on Farrugia's website, there is no other information to be found on them. Unless of course you know different.
A1 Pass Myself
B1 May The Circle Remain Unbroken

Monday, 21 July 2014

3-Action! - ...On The Journey Of A Lifeline (Ediesta 7" 1986)

Seven 7 Inch Singles In Seven Days #2
Another great lost group from the C86 era where there is very little info about them on t'internet. Formed in Hull ca 1984 and initially operating as Reaction, the trio (Gary Action - bass/vocals; Graham Grasshopper - guitar; Artful Dodger - drums; with occasional poetic contributions from Swift Nick ,promoter and editor of the fanzine New Youth) emerged from the Grafton Street stomping ground which spawned The Housemartins vowing to entertain audiences "with a grin on our bottoms and a bogey on our nose".
Signed to  Ediesta Records - also home to Eton Crop and Buy Off The Bar - by the time this there debut was released in summer 1986 they adopted the snappier 3-Action moniker. The 12" counterpart contained two extra tracks. Around the time of this release the group embarked on a lengthy tour of the UK supporting The Housemartins, then experiencing their first taste of mainstream success with Happy Hour.
3-Action! released two more 12" only eps for Ediesta (Stealin' Feelin' and A Breath Of Fresh Air-Gency) in 1987 until their lifeline snapped before they had chance to release an album. A shame as an early demo tape that circulated among fanzines had a great anthemic politico-sing-a-long track entitled Mile Apartheid (From South Africa We're Not So) that was otherwise unreleased.
A1 What You Gonna Do When Your Lifeline Snaps
B1 Matter Batter


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Eton Crop - Don't You Want Me (Megadisc 7" 1989)

Seven 7" Singles In Seven Days #1.
First up in this hotly anticipated Maggot Caviar special series that has had readers around the globe on the edge of their seats tremulous with trepidation is Eton Crop's 1989 version of The Human League's 1981 mega-hit. Quite why The Crop's version didn't scale - or possibly exceed - the same commercial heights is beyond me. Poor distribution and record label apathy are usually the easy targets when blame needs to be apportioned, so let's keep pointing the finger. The striking thing about this version is that it sounds like it could be an EC original, and when Erwin Blom sings "I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar" he manages to sound convincing!
B-side The Modified Martingale would feature on third album And The Underwater Music Goes On. The song started life as Pavel Morozov The Bastard and was first recorded for their fifth and final Peel session from May 1988.
Eton Crop played their first gig in eons on their home turf back in January of this year and are coming over to the UK this October to perform at Peel Regenerated in Stockton-On-Tees.
A1 Don't You Want Me
B1 The Modified Martingale
More cosmic Crop sounds on Bandcamp.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Vibes - Peel Session 2/4/1985

My introduction to The Vibes came in early 1985 when Peel gave several airings to I'm In Pittsburgh (And It's Raining). Because of the title I at first assumed the group were from the States, until I later discovered the Pebbles series and, moreover, Volume 1 which contained the original version by The Outcasts.

The group hailed from Peel's childhood home turf, releasing their debut single on Big Beat in1984 before signing to Chainsaw for a further two singles and an LP What's Inside, all of which will set you back a few nicker on the collectors market.

By 1986 they evolved into The Purple Things and released several albums until the end of the decade. This was their only session for Peel which was transmitted twice in April and June 1985.

Other than that I don't know much about the band, but for more information check out The Vibes and Purple Things fan site on Facebook.

Inside Out
Looking In The Mirror
Egyptian Thing
Judgment Day

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bogshed - Peel Sessions 1985-88


1st 27/10/1985
Packed Lunch To School
Oily Stack
Hell Bent On Death
Can't Be Beat

 2nd 25/02/1986
Adventure Of Dog
The Fastest Legs
Summer In My Lunchtime
Morning Sir
Little Car

3rd 15/07/1986
Champion Love Shoes
Tried and Tested Public Speaker
Little Grafter
Gather In The Mushrooms

4th 14/04/1987
 Raise The Girl
No To Lemon Mash
The Gourmet Is A Baby

5th 18/10/1987
Six To One And Likely  
 Into Me  
 From The Stubble To The Rubble
    Duck Fight/US Bands/Wally Walla.
 Lord Smutty Lips  
Inspector Of Crime
 Prepare To Change Sandals 
 Purchase Nicely
Are You Real
Who Are The Sane
Prepare To Change Sandals
Inspector Of Crime
Master Life
Purchase Nicely
Yeh Yeh
Dirty, Filthy Pop Presenter

Friday, 11 July 2014

Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Peel Session 26/05/1992

The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama have now been together for a staggering 70 years. Making their first public appearance in June 1944, with some members still in their early teens, the group soon became a popular attraction on the gospel circuit.

In 1948 they released debut album I Can See Everybody's Mother But Mine and have since clocked up over 60 albums in their seven decade career, the most recent being 2013's I'll Find My Way.

The group have been Grammy Award winners five times with an additional Lifetime Achievement Award presented to them in 2009. At 83, original founding member Jimmy Carter is still performing with the group today.

Surprisingly, this was the only session The Boys recorded for Peel, at the height of grunge mania in summer 1992.

Deep River
Didn't It Rain
Look Where He Brought Me From
Changed Man

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Buy Off The Bar - Peel Sessions 1986-89

Google Buy Off The Bar and inevitably you get a million and one entries referring to Sugar Minott. Aside from an article of a first hand encounter with the Dutch combo by Crayola Sarandon on xPQwRtz, and a (presumably complete) discography and a tiny photo (the pic I have used is on the back of the 1987 Peel session 10" ep) on discogs, I can find no information about them.

The four piece came from somewhere in Holland, the line up consisting of Michel (vocals, sax), Paul (guitar), Marcel (bass) and Loet (drums). Their first release was a self financed cassette entitled Billy At The Bar in 1985, followed in 1986 by a split 7" with Golden Strings. They released two long players, It's Up To Billy (Ediesta 1987) and Parboiled (Bi-Joopiter 1989), the aforementioned Peel Session 10", and also contributed a track (Free Beer) to a Dutch compilation album 13 Great Bands From The Lowlands.

Four sessions were taped in the space of 33 months for Peel, the first featuring a cover of That Man by The Fall, the second tackling In The Back, a Steve Diggle-penned song for Flag Of Convenience. Sadly I only have two songs their final session from 1989.

Peanut Butter Boy
Commie Come Back
To Shy To Die/That Man
Papa's Music
There's No Fridge On The Bristol Bridge
No Progression
Keyword Control
In The Back
No Money For The Lavatory
Illegal Shed
Go Away
Pleasure Machine
Big Sleep

Monday, 7 July 2014

Michael Smith - Peel Session 24/04/1982

Michael "Mikey" Smith was a Jamaican dub poet active in the 1970s and early 80s. A social worker by day, he came to the UK in 1982 for a brief tour supporting Linton Kwesi Johnson, who also produced his sole album Me Can't Believe It. He died in 1983 aged just 29 from a blow to the head following an argument with three men at a political rally. This was the only session he recorded for Peel.

More details about Smith's life on Wikipedia.

Me Can't Believe It
Long Time/Black And White
It A Come/Stuck/ Picture Or No Picture

Friday, 4 July 2014

Number One Cup - Peel Sessions 1996-1997

John Peel Session 11/03/1997

One and only bonafide Peel session by Chicago's Number One Cup. Although the Keeping It Peel site lists two sessions as having been recorded, the 1996 sesh was in fact a live broadcast for a holidaying Mark Radcliffe in which Uncle John was guest presenting.

Their fleeting brush with mainstream pop stardom behind them, the group returned to the UK to promote second album Wrecked By Lions. But as this session demonstrates, they were already forging ahead by showcasing tracks from what would turn out to be their last long player, People People Why Are We Fighting, as well as a bizarre re-arrangement of The Monkey Song, a track the group had recorded twice previously, the first version as a limited edition 7" single, the second as b side to Malcolm's X-Ray Picnic and as a hidden track on the vinyl edition of Wrecked By Lions.

Vintage Male Singer
The New Virginian
The Monkey Song
Mark Radcliffe Session 18/03/1996

Uncle John guest presented the show for the week while Radcliffe was holidaying in Kenya. For those of us who first discovered and grew up with Peel in the 70s/80s, it must have been heartwarming to hear him return to his old 10pm-midnight slot - a position he'd been ousted from in 1988 after a conservative rescheduling which saw him replaced by Nicky Campbell and briefly moved to a 90 minute early evening show four days a week.

Approximately a year after this show was aired, Radcliffe and Mark "Lard" Riley would decamp to an ill-fated stint on Radio 1's coveted breakfast show, allowing Peel to return to his more familiar slot for the remainder of his broadcastig career.

At the time of this session, the UK was still on amber Britpop alert: limp-wristed verbal sparrings between Blur and Oasis hit the headlines; Jarvis Cocker mooned at Michael Jackson on national television; Ash turned down world tour support slots with Pearl Jam in favour of completing college exams. Amid all this overbloated melee, Chicago-based Number One Cup, seemingly out of nowhere, managed to grab a piece of the limelight and score a minor UK Top 40 hit with Divebomb.

Unfairly lumbered in some critical circles as the poor man's Pavement, N1C, amid the lo-fi noodlings that padded out debut album "Possum Trot Plan", proved to have a more melodic ear for pop songcraft and a lyrical humour that didn't require frying the listener's brain cells to appreciate.

As this live session proves, the band had already moved on from that debut album's sound, turning up the volume and souping up a blend of crunchy garage pop, diy grunge and cheesy psychedelia, which would eventually be preserved on 1997's Wrecked By Lions album.

Sadly, Divebomb proved to be the group's commercial peak, and, perhaps inevitably, will be the one track they'll be remembered for - or possibly the song will be remembered rather than the band itself. But here at Maggot Caviar we feel the Number One Cup revival is long overdue, and their three albums, without doubt, worthy of re/investigation.
Malcolm's X-Ray Picnic
Waiting For The Lions

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Stars Of Heaven - Peel Sessions 1986-87

The Stars Of Heaven were formed in Dublin in 1984 by Stephen Ryan (guitar, vocals), Stan Erraught (guitar), Peter O'Sullivan (bass) and Bernard Walsh (drums). The influence of the Velvet Underground and The Byrds was rife in the early to mid-eighties among indie guitar pop aspirants, but the Irish four piece seemed to favour the Gram Parsons-era Byrds creating a warm country/folk vibe for their mellow melodic pop which set them apart from the shambling, undernourished jingle jangle jumble.

The group released their debut 7", Clothes Of Pride, on local label Hotwire in 1985 which was picked up and aired by John Peel. Rough Trade offered them a recording contract and Peel offered them a session, recorded in January 1986. The four tracks would make up side one of their debut mini-LP for Rough Trade, Sacred Heart Hotel, released later that year, and would see an expanded reissue in 1987, retitled Rain On The Sea, to include the Holyhead 12" ep.

Speak Slowly, the group's first full length album proper, eventually surfaced in 1988. Geoff Travis was reportedly unhappy with the album and no single was lifted to promote the record. Band and label parted ways soon after the album's release, but a new deal was quickly struck with Mother Records. Studio recordings were financed for a proposed single which never materialised and the group called it a day in 1990. Ryan went on to form The Revenants, who would release two albums in the mid-nineties.

In 2005, Independent released a best of cd, Unfinished Dreaming, which featured many of the Peel session tracks.

The Stars Of Heaven recorded a total of four sessions for the Peel programme. The first two were taped in the space of just four months, while the third nine months later would showcase their influences, the session consisting entirely of covers of songs by The Seeds, Richard Thompson and Gram Parsons. Their last session was taped in January 1988 (time to hand out the begging bowl again: if anyone out there has a recording of it, please leave a comment below).

Sacred Heart Hotel
Talk About It Now
So You Know
Every Other Day
What Else Could You Do
Paradise Of Lies
Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Calvary Cross
Still Feeling Blue

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Age Of Chance - Peel Session 23/6/1986

Second (and final) session from 1986 that the Leeds-based quartet recorded for John Peel. No doubt bedroom-bound, pallid and emaciated youths across the backwaters of the land raised eyebrows until they were obscured by the floppy fringe upon hearing for the first time that Indie warriors of the C86 clan of underachievers dared to cover a song by - gulp! - Prince, and a many a tear was would have been shed into sodden anorak that the real world was beckoning and mother's bosoms would soon cease lactating.

For a more accurate and sensible history of the group, why not pay a visit to the Official Age Of Chance website.

Be Fast Be Clean Be Cheap
From Now On This Will Be Your God
How The West Was Won

Listen to the debut '85 session @ Fruitier Than Thou.