I know there are recordings of John Peel’s shows elsewhere on the internet but some July 1967 shows have been uploaded to Mixcloud recently. Fascinating to listen to although it confirms my long held view that most people bought the Incredible String Band’s ‘The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of The Onion’ for the sleeve rather than the actual music.
I’ve compiled two audio montages – around 80 minutes’ worth in total – from various fragments of Peel’s late-night episodes of ‘Night Ride’ from 1968, from a couple of off-air reels. Poets, ethnographic oddities, folk, blues and beyond. Some of the music is from LP, most is from session recordings – full details in the blurb under each video. Most of the poets are live in the studio, a few are poetry recordings from unknown stage performances. Session tracks include Stefan Grossman, Marc Brierley, John Renbourn & Jackie McShee, Fairport Convention, Pentangle and others. Poets include Adrian Mitchell, Brian Patten, Roger McGough, Pete Morgan, and Adrian Henri with Andy Roberts. Enjoy.
I’ve been posting various John Peel Night Ride and Top Gear sessions from the late 60s as montages on YouTube recently. There’s 16 sessions or bits of sessions there so far. Feel free to investigate. Here’s one, a very atmospheric Michael Chapman session on Night Ride in 1968 (his first of a dozen for JP):
Someone on a forum I’m in asked that question earlier today. In fact, there were SIX ‘first Peel sessions’… and they were all actually John Peel/Pete Drummond sessions. I’ve compiled a snapshot of that first 1/10/67 ‘Top Gear’ and the following few shows in a montage.
The six ‘first Peel sessions’ were by The Move, Big Maybelle & the Senate, Tomorrow (featuring Keith West), Tim Rose, Traffic and Pink Floyd. All were broadcast on ‘Top Gear’ on 1/10/67. The first three of those acts recorded their sessions on 21/9/67, the other three on 25/9/67.
Strictly speaking, ‘Top Gear’ didn’t become ‘John Peel’s Top Gear’ until 4/2/68. Between 12/11/67 – 28/1/68 John co-presented the show, and thereby its exclusive session recordings, with Tommy Vance. There were six shows between 1/10/67 (the first episode) and 5/11/67, and these were co-presented by a pool of presenters. John Peel and Pete Drummond did the first one. John co-presented two of the other five with Drummond, while Drummond co-presented the other three with Tommy Vance, Mike Ahern and Rick Vane. Yes, a case could be made that several legendary early ‘Peel sessions’ were actually ‘Drummond sessions’.
In this montage, I’ve assembled tracks from three » Continue Reading.
In between doing far too many other things I’m making my way through reels of recordings from BBC radio in 1968, identifying and digitising everything (mostly session recordings), which will be passed back to artists and eventually the British Library sound archive. In between Denny Laine’s Electric String Band and torrents of indecipherable songs from Tyrannosaurus Rex that all sound the same , the odd quirky vignette from presenter John Peel has been preserved. Here are three of them, beginning with John’s hitherto undocumented fascination (and rightly so) with JRR Tolkien. Alas, Tolkien never did a peel session, but he did release a record of readings, from whence this except derives…
I was digitising an inherited reel of tape with vintage off-air BBC radio recordings recently and while I can identify almost everything with a combination of arcane knowledge, guesswork (checked against known audio of the suspected artists) and reference to Ken Garner’s two books on Radio 1 sessions, this one eludes me.
The closest I can get is a guess at the seemingly otherwise unknown Patrick Dickinson – the name being listed in Garner’s ‘The Peel Sessions’ as a guest on Peel’s ‘Night Ride’ on 4/12/68 alongside John Renbourn & Terry Cox and the Sallyangie. Parts of both of those sessions are on the reel, close to the mystery one. (The reel in question is not necessarily in chronological order though – it is a reel comprising mostly session recordings that have been copied on to it from original source reels, presumably of whole programmes, near the time. That said, other sessions on it seem to follow more or less chronological order, spanning Dec 1968 to May 1969.)
While Ken’s book gives Dickinson’s name in his programme by programme list, it is absent from his subsequent detailed alphabetical list of sessions and their contents, so one cannot guess the song » Continue Reading.
I was chatting at a party last weekend to a friend who organises gigs in Northampton. He was reeling off the names of all sorts of interesting artists that I’d never heard of. Like the Kings of the South Seas, whose modern take on sea shanties is right up my street.
It struck how much excellent music there is out there that is just under the radar or known only to those who are into a particular genre. Everything is so very compartmentalised these days. It made me nostalgic for the days of TOTP, the OGWT and the John Peel Show where there was a whole range of different styles and I could surprise myself by liking something that was far from my normal comfort zone.
I’m a died-in-in-the-wool Peelite. The great man taught me that you can have a radio show (or a playlist) where the likes of Can, Laura Cantrell, the Inkspots, HMHB, Fela Kuti, Sandy Denny, Hildegard Von Bingen, Belle & Sebastian, Slayer, Billie Holliday, They Might Be Giants, Tangerine Dream etc etc can happily co-exist.
Where can I find that musical eclecticism today? NPR’s wonderful Tiny Desk concerts perhaps? And here on the AW of » Continue Reading.