Saturday, August 30, 2008

- RIP to the old fella

John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, 30th August 1939 – 25th October 2004. Thanks again for all the music.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

- End of the Road to Hell: Orbital's Last Ever Gig - July, 2004

Orbital were the brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, whose career as electronic pioneers lasted from 1989 through to 2004. They took their name from Greater London's orbital motorway, the M25, which was central to the early rave scene and party network in the South East during the early days of acid house. One of the biggest names in British electronica during the 1990s, Orbital achieved the rare distinction of being both critically and commercially successful.

I have to say that they were a band that I admired rather than loved, and that they never repeated the majesty of their first success. Legend has it that Orbital recorded the track Chime on their father's cassette deck. The track became an all-time classic, despite only reaching number 17 in the UK charts at the time (after you download the show, forward to the last ten-ish minutes if you can’t wait to listen to the live rendition). The band had what can only be described as a tremendous 1990s, including a headline slot at Glastonbury in ’94 and being regarded as one of the 50 bands you need to see live before you die.

Orbital do 'Chime' at Glastonbury, 2004

Orbital split up in 2004 after playing a triumphant final series of festival gigs from June to July 2004, concluding with this live Peel Session gig at Maida Vale Studios in London on 28 July, 2004, which you’re about to download.

Click below for downloading pleasure...

Download the file

File size: 123 mb
Length: 1 and a half hours or so

Friday, August 22, 2008

- A Garner Original: 28th September, 1988

I haven't even downloaded this one yet myself, so I feel it's best to use the words of Ken Garner from the Peel Newsgroup:
Well I've finally completed my first rip of my (modest) collection of my own originated complete (or nearly complete) Peel shows, so here it is, a timely surprise for this weekend. I won't say any more about what this show was / represented / contains, or why I chose to do this one first for right now, but it will become obvious, especially if you listen from the start of the sports news. Loaded into itunes the 3 parts will flow together pretty well, but after first listening all the way through once (I really think you might like the completeness of the experience, given the context), you can always detach / discard the first part and just archive parts b and c. I was taping back then using one of those mains plug timers with the pins for 15 min periods, so I must have known I'd be out at the start, and the tape kicked in 5 minutes early. If I get a chance I'll do a full tracklisting for the wiki site over the weekend, but for now, just enjoy it.

There will be about half a dozen more like this between now and end October, I hope. Below is a summary of the route technically. I had to switch the dolby B back on (I suspect like many, until I got a top flight tape deck in 1990 or so I tended to tape with dolby on and playback with dolby off, in the car / walkman etc) because the first go was very hissy. This is my third attempt using different settings etc, and the one that came out sounding closest to the tape, so there. I just look away from the screen and wing the EQ right up and right down, then back up slowly till it sounds right. Shocking, isn't it? Let me know how it sounds. I monitored using various closed / open / in-ear headphones and playout systems, but am assuming most people, like me, will probably listen on an ipod/mp3 player, or a desktop computer linked to a reasonable stereo, but probably not a real audiophile setup. The feature I really like in the software I got is the graphic, neat little kicking analog VU meters: now that, I can understand.


Download details:

Peel 1988-09-28a, R2 Sports Desk & R1 10pm news bulletin, 7' 34"

Peel 1988-09-28b, 56' 15"

Peel 1988-09-28c, incl. start of midnight news, 1hr 03' 53"

- The Complete Beefheart Sessions:1968

Van Vliet and Ravenscroft

It's not as many as you might imagine, with Beefheart and the Magic band completeing just two sessions from Peel, both in 1968, fully a year before before recording 1969's legendary 'Trout Mask Replica', the album that took in every genre from jazz, poetry to minimal R&B and Beefhart's distinctive voice.

Due to a me-based cockup, the tracks have been uploaded seperately, so you'll need to download them one at a time. It's worth it, honestly.

04/02/1968 (recorded)

-Sure 'Nuffn' Yes I Do
-Yellow Brick Road
-Abba Zabba


Captain Beefhart (Vocals)
John French (Drums)
Alex St. Clair (Lead Guitar)
Jerry Handley (Bass)
Jeff Cotton (Guitar)

12/05/1968 (recorded)

-Safe As Milk
-Beatle Bones 'N' Smoke'N' Stones
-Kandy Korn
-You Gotta Trust Us


Captain Beefhart (Vocals)
John French (Drums)
Alex St. Clair (Lead Guitar)
Jerry Handley (Bass)
Jeff Cotton (Guitar)

Mistakes are all mine and will no doubt be cleared up by those kind enough to leave comments.

- Ranknoodle Search

I love messing around on the internet as much as the next man but when someone suggests to me that there's a new and better way to search for information, I'm usually sceptical without reason. I've tended to stick to that reasonably popular search engine that begins with a g and ends in oogle, although I can't help but notice that you end up more often than not with a list of sites that have paid to be at the top of the search list.

So it was then, with reluctance, that I took a look at the highly recommended (by my brother) My initial caution seemed well-founded as I looked through the 'top 100 Searches' that greet you as you enter the site, with such gems as 'men forced to wear a bra' and 'thug gangsta poems and rhymes'. Although I don't consider myself that much of a thug gangsta, nor have I ever been forced to wear a bra (always totally of my own free will I should mention), I persisted and was pleasantly surprised at the atypical layout of the search results.

Given my recent salivating over the new Verve album, I thought it only wise to enter 'the new verve album' as my search engine criteria. What I was greeted with was the page you can see above: a short description of the band and the album, a list of common FAQs related to my search query, selected pics of the band and the album, as well as the traditional search engine results section. To be honest, I just really like the way it's set out and thought I'd share it with you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

- Verve's New Album on Myspace

About bloody time.

For what it's worth, I love 'em. You can listen to the whole new album on their official MySpace page. Already looking forward to the fifth album in 2020.

-1976: More Delights to Choose from

A lot of you still haven't voted for the all-new 1976 chart. I'll still accept votes until the beginning of December and, while a fairly clear picture is already starting to form, don't for one minute think that your vote won't change anything.

If you're still at a loss for what to vote for, here's a list of songs that I don't expect to graze the top 10, courtesy of Steve W.(of Peel Wiki fame):

'Just in case you've ever wondered what the UK charts were like in the year of punk and the roots reggae explosion of Lee Perry, etc, for a laugh have listed below all the number ones that year, courtesy of these guys. Alas, I have very clear memories of all of them.'

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody 29/11/1975-31/01/1976

Abba - Mamma Mia 07/02/1976- 14/02/1976

Slik - Forever And Ever 21/02/1976

The Four Seasons - December '63 28/02/1976-06/03/1976

Tina Charles - I Love To Love 13/03/1976-27/03/1976

Brotherhood Of Man - Save Your Kisses For Me 03/04/1976-08/05/1976

Abba - Fernando 15/05/1976-05/06/1976

JJ Barrie - No Charge 12/06/1976

The Wurzels - Combine Harvester 19/06/1976-26/06/1976

Real Thing - You To Me Are Everything 03/07/1976-17/07/1976

Demis Roussos - The Roussos Phenomenon 24/07/1976

Elton John and Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart 31/07/1976-04/09/1976

Abba - Dancing Queen 11/09/1976-16/10/1976

Pussycat - Mississippi 23/10/1976-13/11/1976

Chicago - If You Leave Me Now 20/11/1976-04/12/1976

Showaddywaddy - Under The Moon Of Love 11/12/1976-25/12/1976

Johnny Mathis - When A Child Is Born 25/12/1976-08/01/1977

Embarassing confessions removed for the benefit of the author! Come on now, admit it: how many of those were you humming while you read through the list?

- Hi-Tech Audio

As some of you know, I'm something of an amateur muso myself, I stress the word amateur! However, I do dream from time to time of being able to devote time, energy and resources to doing something more than twiddling with samples. One day, after the lottery win, I'd love to invest in a live sound mixing console such as the one's I found over at the Hi-tech Audio website. I know some of you out there are into this side of the 'business' so ı thought I'd divert a little from the norm - bear with me! Hi-Tech Audio is a dealer for what they consider to be the top three manufacturers of digital audio consoles in the world - Yamaha, Digico and Digidesign.

If you're thinking of making the jump and investing in something like a yamaha pro audio console setup, you'll want to make sure that you're going to be getting the best service you can. In my investigations on the net I came across Hi-Tech Audio and their reputation seems to precede them, not just in selling mixing consoles but also in used pro audio equipment. For the moment, my dream of ever moving into live sound audio remains just that, but I guess if I ever abandon the day job this website is where I'll start looking.

Monday, August 18, 2008

- NME Interview: August, 1979

I've had this tucked away in the archives for quite a while now, and must confess to having no idea where I got it from.

This is quite a lengthy interview with NME journalist Paul Morley dated August 18th, 1979. Peel discusses the music scene of the time, which is quite relevant to the recent unearthing of the 'so-called' (Sorry Steve) 400 box.

I've PDFised it for your increased reading pleasure. Download the little gem here. If I got this from you, thank you very much.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

- Lucky, Lucky, Lucky: Faust Session, 1973

"It's really impossible to say which is my favourite… Perhaps Culture - I wish they'd done more. The Slits was something of a classic, and I liked several by The Wedding Present. There's been a few American bands that it would have been nice to have - The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead - for a while it was difficult to get American bands into the country in the Sixties and Seventies."

John Peel in an interview with Interzone magazine

JP may not have got biggies like the Doors or Jefferson Airplane, but he did manage to get this a bunch of beary weirdy Krautrockers. Ostensibly active as a band between 1971 and 1975, Faust have in fact plodded along quite happily in various guises to this present day. On a somewhat unconnected theme, I've finally managed to watch Life on Mars, and am eagerly awaiting the torrent of Ashes to Ashes to finish downloading.

What are you listening to that for, you nonce?

As those of you who drag yourselves to this blog on an alarmingly frequent basis will know, I'm still sans Ken's book and rely on the gap-laden Keeping it Peel website, from which I can find no mention of the three tracks you're about to download. Please leave comments if you can enlighten me. Apparently, this session predates my arrival on the planet by six months or so, being from March, 1973 (dubious connection to Life on Mars now becomes obvious).

Track listing:

- The lurcher
- Krautrock
- Do so

Download the session:

Download the file

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

- The Peel 400 at the JP Wiki

I'm glad to say that the John Peel Wiki that I started (and then proceeded to neglect) is now becoming a valuable resource for documenting Peel's radio shows. This is perhaps the best way to document the the so-called '400 Box' of approximately that number of cassettes featuring material from the John Peel show between 1978 and 1982, purchased jointly on eBay by the John Peel newsgroup in July 2008. The first show from this formidible collection is now available in digitised fromat for your listening consumption. Details of the wonderful 7th July, 1978 show are available here.

- Long overdue Big Ozine Update

The Big Ozine is a fabulous resource for live recording mp3s. Here are the current offerings:

- Van Morrison: Can You Feel The Silence?

- Neil Young: Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World

- BB King: Fillmore East 1971

- Pink Floyd: Madison Square Garden 1977

- Gillian Welch & David Rawlings: Hickory 1997

- Tom Waits: Atlanta 2008

- Erma Franklin & Electric Flag: San Francisco 1968

- Nigel Kennedy with Jeff Beck: London 2008

- Miles Davis: Complete Friday Miles at Fillmore

- Miles Davis: Complete Wednesday Miles at Fillmore

- Nick Lowe: London 2001

- The Band: Lost Tombstone

- Talking Heads: Jabberwocky 1977

- Copperhead: Unreleased LP

- Barry Gibb: The Kid's No Good

- Cat Stevens
: Hollywood 1973

- Arctic Monkeys: Koeln 2006

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

- Bruce Boxleitner Nowhere to be Seen: Ladytron Session, December, 2001

Black is the new black, apparently

This is the first of 2 Ladytron sessions that the band recorded for Peel (NOTE: the zip file is named 2002 - my mistake). Never a personal favourite of mine at the time of this session, they've since grown on me a lot: if they're good enough for Trent Reznor, they're alright by me. Learn about their Festive 50 exploits here.

Track Listing:

-Holiday 601
-Another Breakfast With You

Download the bugger:

Download the file

File size:18mb

If you're wondering about the sudden flurry of activity, it's a quiet day at work. My students are supposed to be coming to see me so I can help them with their essays that they're meant to hand in today but, sensing that I'd rather be posting on my blog, they've decided to stay away.

- First Ruts Session, January 1979

As far as I know (Ken's book is tantalisingly close to being available in my uni library) The Ruts did 4 sessions, this offering being the first (and best?), featuring the classic lineup of Malcolm Owen (vocals), Paul Fox (guitar), John "Segs" Jennings (bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums) and produced by Tony Wilson. In their early days they were active in anti-racist causes, and their song 'Jah War' is about the Special Patrol Group's violence in Southall in 1979, in which Blair Peach was beaten to death and Clarence Baker was severely injured.

The band came together in '77 and are considered among the best of the second wave of British punk bands, inspired by the likes of the Pistols and the Clash. Not untypically, they were enthusiastically supported by a certain John Peel. For my part, I was too young to appreciate them fully at the time, being more preoccupied with episodes of 'Monkey' and 'the Water Margin', although 'Babylon's Burning' remains a personal favourite of mine. They were also admired by a wide array of rock legends, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page all being ardent admirers.

Malcolm Owen died from a heroin overdose in July, 1980 at the young age of 26. The band continued in a number of guises for a while, but not with the same success. Almost three decades later, in July, 2007, the band reformed for the first time in 27 years and played a special one off benefit gig for Paul Fox, following his diagnosis with cancer. Hardcore U.S. punk singer and long time Ruts fan, Henry Rollins (of Black Flag), stood in for Malcolm Owen. They were supported by Tom Robinson, The Damned, Misty in Roots, UK Subs among others. If anyone has a copy, please let me know!

Track Listing:

-Savage Circle
-Babylon's Burning
-Dope For Guns
-Black Man's Pinch
-Criminal Mind


Download the file

File size:14mb

Monday, August 11, 2008

- The Boys were on their Way out of Town: Thin Lizzy, August, 1977

"There are those who believe that there is in place some system, that meetings are held, that charts are pored over… John and I would list those bands who had not recorded a session for a spell, eliminating those whose work no longer pleased us or, more rarely, whose new-found celebrity status would mean that their agents, management and record companies would come together in holy union to frustrate our attempts at rebooking. We'd also add to the list the names of artists we had heard and liked on demo tape or record or seen and liked in performance."

From Ken Garner’s ‘John Peel In Session Tonight’

Clearly the work of Messrs Lynott et al still cut the mustard in 1977, although it should be noted that this is the final session that the group did for the Peel show, recorded on 1st August, 1977, just as a young Entrailicus was turning the ripe old age of 4.

Thin Lizzy were founded in late 1969 in Dublin by vocalist and bassist Phil Lynott, guitarist Eric Bell, electric organist Eric Wrixon and drummer Brian Downey. After signing a contract with Decca Records, Thin Lizzy's first hit came in 1973, with "Whiskey in the Jar", a version of the traditional Irish song. The group initially had problems matching the success of "Whiskey...", and Eric Bell left the band in 1974 and was replaced with Gary Moore for a short time until Lynott could find two new guitarists. In ‘75, Thin Lizzy recorded 'Fighting', which was a preview of things to come for the band. Songs such as the cover of Bob Seger's 'Rosalie' and 'Wild One' were featured on the album.

In ’76, the band released their breakthrough album ‘Jailbreak’. The album heralded the success of the dual lead guitar, which became a Thin Lizzy trademark. Songs featured on the album are ‘Jailbreak’, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’, ‘Cowboy Song’, and ‘Romeo and the Lonely Girl’. Bear these in mind when you vote in the ’76 Festive 50! Later in 1976, the group released ‘Johnny the Fox’. This was critically well received as a good follow-up album to ‘Jailbreak’. Peel however still considered them artistically sound enough to keep the Peel sessions coming, with two of their nine coming from that year. Punk took its toll on both Peel and groups like Thin Lizzy, however, with this session in ’77 being their last, their first having come in November, 1972.

Track listing:

-Killer Without a Cause
-Bad Reputation
-That Woman's Gonna Break Your Heart
-Dancing in the Moonlight

Download the file

File size: 18mb

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

- Dr Mango Strikes Back: November, 1989

Dr. Mango is back in action over on the Peel Newsgroup with another offering, this time from 1989. Again, his words are undoubtedly better than mine:

Apart from an obvious edit after the first song, this is a continuous segment of Peel show. JP mentions a football score before the last track, which allowed me to date the show as being in the week from Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd November 1989. Sadly, there are no session tracks to allow me to pinpoint which of these days the recording is from.

Track listing:

-Kevin Sizier (?) - ? Soap opera song
-Sly Williams - I Believe in a Woman
-I, Ludicrous - Britische Architect
-Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System - A Man's Place on Earth
-Elvis Hitler - ?
-Jordan Shittaka (sp?) & his Sisters - Dishiwa Denga
-Alan Martin & Bobby Nut - I'm Following Sheffield United

Length: [24:49]
Size: 22.7 Mb

I've also uploaded photos of the track listings of the cassettes from which this show, and last night's 1981 mix, were taken:

1981 tape

1989 tape


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

- Best Videos Ever #4: It's a Fire - Portishead

OK, first of all, a video doesn't have to be an official record company sanctioned accompaniment to a single to make this list, as will become increasingly obvious as time goes on. This particular effort was made by a fan for a college course, and while it's a damn fine effort, I feel I need to go a little bit into my own history to justify this particular choice.

In the summer of 1997, having just been wowed by Daft Punk's outstanding debut and appalled by Beck's lyrics to Devil's Haircut, the lad they - meaning I - call Entrailicus went to live in America. 1997 being three years after the 1994 release of Portishead's monumental 'Dummy' meant that I'd spent three years constantly listening to the bugger. The sojourn across the pond turned out to be pretty darn good, what with meeting my wife and all. Indeed, it was while I was with my better half, just the girlfriend in those days, that I discovered this song.

I know I'm not alone in idolising Portishead's first album, but imagine my joy, firstly at discovering the future Mrs. Entrailicus was also a Portisheadhead, but that while we hung out at her place for the first time, she put on the album and wasn't put off by my running round the room like a nutter when an all-new track six started playing. Let me qualify this a little. this isn't just a bonus track that they bunged onto the US release for the sake of it, this is possibly the coolest Portishead track ever.

What excites me about writing this post is that there may still be a few of you out there who are blissfully unaware that this track exists. How much of a part this had in me getting hitched to my other half, I won't exaggerate, but... it's only a bloody song, after all. However, I cherish the memory of first hearing it with her.

- Thanks Dr Mango: April or May, 1981

I don't need to say too much about this beauty myself as the marvellously named Dr Mango does such a good job on the Peel Newsgroup:

In the aftermath of Peel's passing, I rued my meagre archive of recordings and cursed myself for not having the foresight (or spare tapes) to record more shows, particularly back in the days when I first began to listen to the JP show. I used to daydream about stumbling over a cache of tapes unexpectedly, perhaps through a casual conversation with someone at work. One day, this sort of came true.

A year ago I was sent off to work for another team on loan. A move-around of desks a couple of weeks after my arrival saw me sit opposite a chap called John, who was about 50. We hadn't really spoken much, apart from dull, work-related matters, until we got on to the subject of John Peel, which was sparked off when I came into work on a dress-down Friday wearing a Wedding Present t-shirt. He revealed that he used to be a regular listener from the late 70s onwards and even better, he told me that he had some Peel tapes... you can probably imagine my excitement. I asked him if he had any complete shows, or part shows, or just sessions. He explained that he hadn't listened to the tapes for years, but from what he remembered they mostly consisted of compilations of tracks. I asked him if I could borrow them to digitise, offering to provide him with CD versions in return. A couple of days later he eventually brought in a plastic bag containing a total of 18 tapes. He did warn me that much of the material he'd recorded was just an odd track from here or there, but there were some substantial sections of pure Peel, with plenty of Peel's links captured. I could hardly wait to get them home so I could get to work, listening and cataloguing.

I suspect that John's (the chap from work) experience was common to many people. He said that he'd start recording a show, and if he liked the sound of a track he'd leave the tape running. If not, he'd stop and rewind and them start recording again. What I found on his tapes bore this out to some extent, but there were some great contiguous sections without too much evidence of a hasty finger on the pause button.

So now you're probably thinking, "enough of the waffle - where's the goods?". Quite so. I've started with the earliest tape in the collection. This is actually a compilation of 3 chunks of Peel that straddles the sides of a TDK cassette, interspersed with contemporary chart hits and what sounds like the typical output of Radio 2. I don't have a scanner, but when the light's better tomorrow I might take a photo of the tape listing so you can see what a jumble it is. The Peel content may not even be from the same show, but I suspect they're not very far from each other in origin. Unfortunately, I don't have the broadcast date of this show. The contents of the tape didn't give me much to go on. The biggest clue is that Peel plays a New Order session track, "Dreams Never End". Although he doesn't announce it as such, I've checked and it's definitely the Peel session version. According to Ken's book, the debut New Order session from which the track is taken was broadcast on the following dates: 16.02.81 / 05.03.81 / 16.04.81 / 14.05.81 (and possibly in Dec 81 for the 'best of' yearly roundup). This is definitely not from the first date, as this show has been shared out on here recently. Having looked into the release dates for some of the other tracks on the tape, both Peel and non-Peel, I'm of the opinion that this is either April or May 1981. Perhaps the full shows of these are lurking in the box of 400, so we can confirm this in due course. The sound quality is very good. I suspect it's FM mono.

Track listing:

-Eddie Fontaine - Nothin' Shakin' (But the Leaves on the Trees)
-New Order - Dreams Never End (Peel session version)
-Black Uhuru - World is Africa
-Peel chat introducing Ian & the Muscletones [side A then runs out]
-? - Surfin'
-The Notsensibles - The Telephone Rings Again
-Gregory Isaacs - Front Door
-Magazine - The Great Man's Secret
-? German song
-The Fall - No Xmas for John Quays (frag.)
-Girls at Our Best - I'm Beautiful Now
-Anyway AKA - It's my Party
-Gang of Four - To Hell With Poverty

31.87 Mb [34:48]

Looking forward to his November 1989 offering soon.

Monday, August 4, 2008

- Efes Extra Strongly Recommended: 13th March, 1993

One of the advantages of working in a university is that you get a sizeable summer holiday. A small drawback of this is that you - meaning I in this instance - go away for weeks on end to places without internet connections and miss loads of goodies from the Peel Newsgroup, including this belter from 1993.

Right now I have a can of Efes Extra (Turkey's finest beer offering) in one hand, the keyboard in the other, a pot of steaming hot chilli on the stove and a Fall compilation on the CD player, hopefully filtering through to my Turkish neighbours who can't fail but be impressed by the likes of 'Yeah, yeah, industrial estate'. I did a workshop for other teachers recently and was genuinely pleased when the Fall CD I was using for incidental background music was nicked - another one converted. Anyhows, back to business.

This show comes courtesy of dontsleepinthesubwaydarlin on the newsgroup, who has the following to say:

Session guests include Oil Seed Rape (1st session) and PJ Harvey (3rd session), John also premiers the new Fall single "Why Are people Grudgeful?" and generally appears to be having a grand old time. It's thanks to this recording I discovered The Nectarine No 9 LP "A Sea With Three Stars", which is one of my favorite discoveries. Hope you enjoy this recording as much as I do.

I'm sure we will. Here are details for your full downloading pleasure:

(Tape 1 Side 1)
(Tape 1 Side 2)
(Tape 2 Side 1)
(Tape 2 Side 2)

Friday, August 1, 2008

- Wray Ousts Hendrix

Conclusive proof, if any were needed, that Link Wray was better than Jimi Hendrix, has been provided in this poll of polls. Hendrix proved no match, receiving 13 votes to Wray's 17, as can be clearly seen in this somewhat pointless graphic.

Ideas for the next poll greatly appreciated.

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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