Monday, August 20, 2007

- Frankie Miller's Year: 30th December, 1977

John Peel’s best sessions of 1977

This Peel show is an absolute gem for many obvious reasons (look at the songs he plays), but for those of us obsessed with the annual festive fifty lists, it provides some invaluable new info regarding the mythical 1977 list. The fabulous Rocklist website (, along with John Horne’s page, was instrumental in getting me started on the road to my JP music quest, and was infamously the source of about half of Mick Wall’s banal, insipid Peel biography which, given that it was released in time for Christmas 2004, Wall must have started cobbling together within minutes of JP’s death, the bastard.

Don’t buy this…

Mick Wall: John Peel

Buy this instead…

John Peel: Margrave of the Marshes

Anyway, back to the ’77 festive chart. Very little was known about this chart, apart from rumours that one existed. Peel first did a 50 in 1976, which followed the format that later charts would use, listeners writing in with their favourite tracks, which JP would compile into a chart. Rocklist has full charts for every year bar 1977, for which it currently lists only a top 13. Well, the end-of-year show you’re about to be dazzled by confirms categorically that Peel did indeed broadcast a full festive chart at the end of 1977, although from what he says in this show, he seems merely to have chosen his favourite sixty tracks for that year.

This show isn’t Peel’s festive 60 for the year; it is the show broadcast the night after he’d completed the list. It is, however, an absolute belter, as Peel showcases his favourite session tracks of the year. This was quite an eye-opener: despite Peel’s later admission that he had tended to let punk dominate his shows during this period, there are many other genres represented, although I can’t imagine why that would surprise me to much.

Part One

The Motors – Dancing the night away

JP confirms the existence of a festive chart, a festive 60 which he appears to have chosen himself, and that this track was his number one.

Frankie Miller – Ain’t got no money

The Lurkers  – Then I kissed her

Mick Wall seems to have based his lame Peel biography entirely around a two-minute encounter with Peel during which they discussed this band.

Steel Pulse – Prodigal son

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Mystery dance

Begs for tickets for the Chelsea v. Liverpool cup match

Lone Star – Bells of Berlin

The Fabulous Poodles – When the summer’s through

The Stranglers – Bring on the nubiles

Coliseum 2 – Intergalactic strut

The Boomtown Rats – Looking after number one

June Tabor  – Riding down to Portsmouth

The Slits – Love and romance

The Motors – Freeze

The Lurkers – Freak show

Elvis Costello & the Attractions  – Less than zero

Frankie Miller – Name of the track please! Download failure at this point

Part Two

Lone Star – From all of us to all of you

Steel Pulse  – Bad man

The Boomtown Rats  – Mary of the fourth form (Bob Gelding?)

The Slits – New town

The Fabulous Poodles – Mr. Mic

The Lurkers – Total war

June Tabor – No man’s land

The Stranglers – No more heroes

Frankie Miller – Be good to yourself

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Red shoes

Coliseum 2 – Lament

The Motors – You beat the hell out of me

Frankie Miller  – Be good to yourself (yes, for the second time in the space of 15 minutes)

My eternal thanks to Chris Bussicott for providing this show, and for putting me in my place over the course of our email correspondence, when I suggested that getting to hear this show was right up there alongside the birth of my second son among the very good things to happen this year. Thanks for the reality check, and, admittedly less important in the greater scheme of things, for the chance to use the phrase ‘gloriously washy medium wave’ for the first time in ages.

I’d appreciate anyone downloading this show leaving a comment below to thank Chris for making this available to all of us; he went to some effort to get it onto CD and then mp3ify. Cheers fella, it’s people like you who will help us keep Peel’s legacy alive.

While we’re at it, get yourself over to so it goes site and start reading up on the history of the festive 50. Sorry I’ve not been over for a while, the day job has been inconveniently getting in the way.

Part one:

Download the file

Part two:

Download the file

As ever, comments attempting to correct my glaring errors are welcomed.

A special shout out to John Peel Everyday, glad to have you back in action!

Frankie Miller

Thursday, August 9, 2007

- Unpredictable Porridge finally up and running

I was pleased to receive notice in my mailbox this morning that Unpredictable Porridge is finally about to get started:


John Peel's Unpredictable Porridge page has been a long time in the building process. This site will continue the legacy of John Peel, you can upload your new musical creations and check out other emerging talent.

Regardless of what style of music you are into, or whether you like to play music, create music, or just listen to music; this site will be for you. John's son William, and Universal Music are seeking to further John's commitment by providing real opportunities and potential record deals for emerging acts. This new interactive portal will be all about your ideas, your talent and your passion for music.


I received this message having already subscribed to the Unpredicatable Porridge website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

- Big Ozine UPDATE #5

This week's free mp3s over at the Big Ozine:

-Rolling Stones: Shanghai 2006 (yes, they're still alive, apparently)

-Jimi Hendrix: Randall's Island, 1970

-Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue: Sant'Anna Arresi 2004

-Bobbie Gentry: TV Soundtrack

-Loggins & Messina: Kansas 1972

-Neil Young: Living With War Live

-Linda Ronstadt: Keeping Out Of Mischief

-Van Morrison: Inner Mystic Remastered

-Ornette Coleman: Rotterdam 2007

-Elton John: Dubai, 2002

-Girlschool: London, 1980 (!)

-Joanna Newsom: Munich, 2005

-Jimi Hendrix: Miami, 1968

-Thurston Moore / Rashied Ali / Ginger Baker / Art Blakey: Improv

Remember to read the articles too!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

- An A to D of Independent Music: 26th May, 1980

I've kept you waiting for quite a while for a new Peel show download, and here it is. Peel is in good form in this show having returned from a stint in Holland, where his gig was met with blatant indifference, so he claims. This show was to be followed by another which would form an A to Z of independent music at the time. I only hope it exists in a shoe box at the back of someone's wardrobe waiting to be rediscovered, because a lot of these songs are absolute belters, no doubt most otherwise lost forever.

Track Listing

Athletico Spit 80 – No Room (rough trade)

The Bongos – Telephoto Lens (fetish records)

Classic example of Peel being caught by surprise by end of record

Charge – You get what you deserve (ycafo records)

Classic example of next track starting early

Cheeky – Don’t mess around (woodbine street records)

Collective horizontal – Edward’s lear (dolman records)

The Cramps – Garbage Man (illegal records)

Crash course in science – kitchen motors (gogo records)

The craw daddies - lolette (voxx records)

The cult figures - I remember (rava records)

The Ds - My toy (optimistic records)

The dambusters - Production line love (deep water records)

The deadbeats - Choose you (red rhino records)

Peel monologue on the importance of independent labels

The decorators - Twilight view (new horizons records)

The denizens - Frontier (citizen records)

Mild rant about hippies

The details - Keep on running (energy records)

Digital dance - I sleep on the waves (digital records)

Discharge - After the gig (clay records)

Despite the fact that you've undoubtedly never heard any of these tracks (the cramps being a possible exception) I highly recommend this show. I actually thought that I'd cracked some Peel masterplan when I was making the track listing for this one, until Peel admitted that it was a purposeful A to Z list, not that A to Zing the songs you play would be much of a masterplan. Any luck with the jelly bellies yet?

Download the file

While we're at it, although where the direct connection is I'm not sure, here's Mrs. Ravenscroft accepting JP's lifetime achievement award in May:

Friday, August 3, 2007

- Peel talks about punk

I'd never seen this before, but actually it's very similar to the discussion that Peel has with John Walters in episode four of the Peeling Back the Years series (does anyone want me to post these on the blog? Let me know).

'I am not really into the idea of cloning people', notes cedricimagelimited on YouTube, 'but John Peel may be the only person who could be subject to that kind of experiment! he 's so unique! What a voice! What a career! Absolute respect!' Quite well put, I think. 

ColonelWalterKurtz makes another good point, suggesting 'I could listen to John Peel talk about music all day!' Couldn't we all, Colonel, couldn't we all.

I promise I'll get back to the real business of posting Peel shows next week. Things have been a bit hectic after the month of work.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

- Free Jelly Belly

Have some free sweets while you read my blog.

Every day, Jelly Belly's website gives away 100 free samples to people in the UK. I used to get a free sample about once a month, more often than that and I thought they might have cottoned on.

My recommendation is for you to download one of the Peel shows available on this blog, get yourselves some free sweets and play the legendary  John Peel sweet eating game.

Go here for the jelly bellys.

- Nick Drake on John Peel's NIGHTRIDE show, 6th August, 1969

The best thing about mp3s and the like are that you can have a listen to music before you buy a full album. I wonder how many crap albums I’ve bought down the years, and how few times, in contrast, I’ve put on a record and been truly dumbfounded by what I’ve heard. One of those few times was when I first heard Nick Drake.

Highlights of Nick Drake’s performance on John Peel's NIGHTRIDE show, Wednesday, 6th August, 1969.

As far as anyone knows, no moving image of Nick Drake exists, hence the lack of video accompaniment. The music alone is enough, however. John Horne used to have this available for download over at Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Speed, pester him via email and it might return!

Who was John Peel?

The philosophy of this blog is a celebration of music in the spirit of the late John Peel. For those of you who want to learn more, click here.

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