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

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