Tuesday, August 5, 2008

- 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.

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