Saturday, 30 April 2016

Oliver: John Peel Show - Radio 1 (Saturday 25 January 1992)

FA Cup 4th Round day.  I know this because Peel remarked on the awfulness of West Ham United's BAC Windows era strip which he probably saw on Match of the Day earlier that evening.  The footballing institution which was girding itself for its full-time return in August with the launch of the Premier League, was at this point still just an FA Cup only affair. ITV held the live rights for a few more months before SKY TV came in to take them away and showcase a near 20 year domestic domination of football by Manchester United.  Cheers for that, Rupert...
I feel pangs of nostalgia for Elton Welsby's last stand given that over the ensuing months they would record United's implosion and Leeds United's chasing them down.  Also on its valedictory run was ITV's football preview show, Saint & Greavsie and I mention this because I know that on this day, while I didn't listen to Peel, I did watch Saint & Greavsie because they did a feature on Ipswich Town, focussing on manager, John Lyall and club legend, John Wark, then in his third spell at the club and playing in his original position as a central defender.  This was the first feature on Ipswich that I had seen in years, and I can still quote most of (all right ALL) of the report.  It was the only action Ipswich saw that day as their cup tie with Bournemouth was postponed due to bad weather. We won the tie 3-0 to set up a 5th round meeting with none other than Liverpool.

Due to timing issues, I skipped the show on Sunday January 19, 1992. The selections come from a recording of the first hour and a half of the show.  The centrepiece of which was Peel talking about his attendance at an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.  Peel had appeared on the programme on 14 January 1990.  The event provided one iconic photograph of Peel in amused discussion with the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, who had been cast away in 1981.
"I said to her, 'Oh hello.  Actually we have something in common which no one else in this room has'. And she looked a little worried, thinking 'Hello, here's a loony'. And I said, 'Not only have we both been on Desert Island Discs, but we've actually both been on The Archers as ourselves' and she was very pleased to have this mentioned.  She sort of beckoned for me to sit down and discuss this with her which I did for some time.  I liked her, I have to admit.  I thought she was an amiable human being."

I managed to track down most of the selections I wanted to include apart from:

The Fall - So What About It (remix) - Mark E. Smith not singing, of course I would have liked it.

Full tracklisting for the show

Peel and Princess Margaret - Desert Island Discs 50th anniversary party - The Reform Club, London, January 1992.
Image courtesy of

Oliver: Sultans of Ping F.C. - Where's Me Jumper? (25 January 1992)

Before we go any further, I should say, unequivocally, that I think this track by the Cork five-piece is rubbish. The type of song that gives "indie" a bad name. It's something only marginally better than landfill indie and that's quirky indie.  A song that plays the eccentricity card so blatantly you want to slap it and tell it to stop being a twat.

I should have had premonitions from the week in April 1993 that I first bought the Melody Maker.  It's inside back page carried the rantings of a character called Mr. Agreeable who would respond to the big music stories of the week by being as viciously insulting as possible.  In that edition of Melody Maker, he was spewing his bile about the revived Bluebells song, Young At Heart, which had gotten to Number 1 in the UK single chart, off the back of being used in a Volkswagen advert.  The Bluebells had been defunct for several years at this point and their return was not celebrated by Mr. Agreeable who lumped them, The Frank and Walters and Sultans of Ping F.C. in together as purveyors of a particularly irritating, whimsical brand of folky indie.  The final line dismissal of The Bluebells - "Die twats! Especially the f***wit with the fiddle!" has stayed with me all these years.  If you watch the video, you'll probably yell the same thing at the screen when he appears.

Things don't actually get off to a bad start here, with some rather clever word-play at the beginnng promising some kind of sub-Fall parody, but it doesn't take long for the track to lapse into teeth-grindingly "wacky" mode.  So, why is it here?
Well, while  I can listen to the track as a 40 year old and carp, I have to admit that the 16 year old me, who would have been making up those mix tapes in 1992, would have been all over this at the time, at least for a few weeks.  And that's the thing about tracks like this: they pop into your ears, thrill you like an early fling and then you go off them when you look back on them in your mixtape photo album.

In terms of the Peel Show, Where's Me Jumper? belongs in that subsection of his playlists titled, Silly Contemporary Songs.  These aren't the retro nostalgia trips into tweeness or point and laugh silliness like Tony Blackburn albums or the Antipodean Atrocities album with which Peel taxed David Cavanagh's patience as he listened through 1987, but rather the songs of the moment which were devised by bands in the hope of getting play on Peel's show for being quirky.  Half Man Half Biscuit were the template setters for this, but they had considerably more wit, bite and virtuosity than the scores of bands who tried to follow their example.  According to Cavanagh, 1982, in particular, was full of "wacky, play-that-funky music student-boy bands from the East of England".  Peel was always partial to this type of music which came from bands like The Higsons.  Rooted in the ker-aziness of small situations, a spotlight shone on the mundane but trying to use humour and surrealness to blow the lid of the seething mass of absurdity in suburbia.  And you don't get more mundane than lost jumpers.  However, despite the lack of anything inspiring in the track, the Sultans hit upon the age old law of popular music, "If you can't make it relevant, make it catchy." And The Sultans of Ping F.C do
exactly that here...damn their eyes.

Video courtesy of Threeothree33.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Oliver: 70 Gwen Party - The Psycho Beat (25 January 1992)

I'd never heard of 70 Gwen Party before I started on this blog.  I missed their session when Peel included it in one of his Best of 1991 shows.  A look at their page on the John Peel wiki seems to confirm that their opportunities for wider exposure never really took off. Peel stuck with them for the duration of their 8 year career which ended circa 1997-98, a time when I was listening to Radio 1 all day religiously and the period when I discovered Peel's show, but I never heard them anywhere.  They are in many respects the definition of a "Peel act", I can't say "band" as there were only two of them.  Now that was no disbarment to either The Black Keys or The White Stripes, but 70 Gwen Party's mix of punk and electronica went into considerably more interesting territory than either of those duos managed.  1992 era contemporaries like Curve come out sounding more lumpen than they should otherwise have seemed, as well.

Regrettably, I'm not the first person to have conjured up images of horror movie soundtracks when listening to their music and The Psycho Beat sounds like it should be an alternative soundtrack on The Driller Killer for the most part.  But it also put me in mind of Lee Perry in that while one sound predominates, in this case - the black storm cloud of a compressed synthesiser - the shards and offcuts of other sounds (Clanger like whistles here, a harp/finger piano melody there) keep breaking through and pulling the listener into the cloud and up into the skies.  Their low media profile was apparently a matter of huge resentment to 70 Gwen Party, but they promise to be that best of things which the Peel Show sometimes served up: A late night secret, known only to those select few who were happy to sit up from 11pm till 2am, taping their brilliance.  I'm very happy that I've been able to chance upon it, 24 years too late.  Nice sample of Paul Morley at the start too.

Video courtesy of voldinvein97.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Oliver: Shonen Knife - Flying Jelly Attack/Watchin' Girl [Peel Session] (25 January 1992)

"But this was a myth, built upon a fantasy."

"And it had a profound effect on the way we live our lives."

I wonder whether Adam Curtis is an admirer of Shonen Knife?  Given the eclectic music scores of his documentaries, it's certainly possible that he's heard of them.  I've been watching some of his films in the last couple of days and Shonen Knife are a wonderful corrective to the depression one feels after Curtis's dissections on the unlearned and oft-repeated foibles of our world - be it connected to consumerism, our over-reliance cum enslavement to technology or the way in which populations are manipulated by media and government.  Inevitably though, there is a degree of cultural bleeding from one form to another, and in thinking back on the popularity Shonen Knife enjoyed among pop and rock cognoscenti in the early 90s, I can't help but looking, Curtis-like, under the surface enjoyment to see if there was something more sinister underpinning it all.

First of all, there's the elephant in the room - Westeners can't help laughing at South-East Asian
singing voices when the group are singing in English.  I'm sorry but it's true.  I speak as a man whose witnessed a Japanese lady trying to sing Charmless Man by Blur to a Falmouth pub on a karaoke night and then there was Martin Kelner's 1994 Radio 2 documentary on strange cover versions of Beatles songs calle Let It Be...Please which showcased the good (Doo-wop versions of Hey Jude), the charming (The Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da Polka), the curious (Brian Sewell analysing the lyrics to I Wanna Be Your Man - "I've no idea what the music is like but the lyrics suggest a kind of highly erotic pillow talk") and the awful (Joan Collins channelling Margaret Thatcher in a version of Imagine) but the piece de resistance for me, on another plane to anything William Shatner did was a version of Don't Let Me Down sung by a Japanese man who as Kelner put it, proved it was possible to commit hari-kiri and cover a Beatles song simultaneously.  I could cope with the "Don't Ret Me Down" refrains but it was the self prostate examination sounds he made on "Nobody ever loves me like she duzz.  Yes, she duzz. Oooh, she duzz." that finished me off.
When Shonen Knife recorded a song called Space Christmas, I commented that every care had been taken to remove the possibility of low humour as they wished us Merry Christmas.  But on Flying Jelly Attack, we get "jerry jerry jerry jerry jerry jerry jerry jerry cream", not to mention Watchin' Girls's "Oooga oooga oooga oooga oooga" refrain and as I said about Datblygu's Welsh language rapping, the straighter it's presented, the more the temptation to smirk.  Sofia Coppola won an Oscar for the screenplay of a film which used this kind of phonic sniggering as a centrepiece, so it would be naive not to imagine a degree of cultural sneer behind Shonen Knife's ascent.

Counterbalancing that though was the fascination with Japanese mass culture.  It remains the byword for quick, disposable, tacky but enjoyable product.  Open 24 hours and easy to get your hands on anything.  The aforementioned Lost in Translation made it look like hell on Earth to be stuck there with nothing to do, but such was Japan's rise to economic and industrial dominance, at least up to its stagnation and decline that in a sense, we were all Japanese at one time.  Shonen Knife could have spearheaded a Japanese assault on Western pop culture. A shiny, silly, irresistible confection hoovering all up before it, but for those consonant sounds getting in the way.  Maybe it was for the
best.  They were too enjoyable and lovely to be dismissed as the pop music equivalent of those clips of Endurance that Clive James and Chris Tarrant used to make us feel smugly superior to, until we reached the point where such shows became automatic commissions here.

Not only was there fascination about Japanese culture and way of life, there was also admiration as well.  To quote LA Law "Is it the fault of the Japanese that their factory workers can do algebra while many [American factory workers] can barely read". They seemed to have it all: vibrant economy, leading the world in manufacturing, a cultural landscape that went into more areas than any other, with a greater level of edge too and now they were bringing the world a band that made the two and a half minute pop song seem like the easiest thing in the world.  It all seemed so easy for the Japanese.  They may have been making trash, but they led the world in it.  And that automatically lent a surface allure to Japanese bands that wasn't so obviously to be found on bands coming out of Washington State or Manchester.  It was light and throwaway, but irresistible and essential too.  A perfect blend, until the marketplace started to change and rock music's attention span deficit applied itself to a new curio.

Ultimately, Shonen Knife were among the best ambassadors Japan could wish for in presenting another facet of it's post World War II face to the world.  Given the might of China and the sabre rattling of North Korea, Japan seems almost bypassed.  A neon market town locked in its own bubble of fun and unconscious irony.  Having an atom bomb or two dropped on you will go a long way to easing out the tensions in a ceremonial society.  Once it had worked its way back to its feet, Japan dropped out and offered its citizens and bands the chance to kick back and relax - distracted by the deadening quantities of mass market culture.  It needed a musical conduit through which it could project its "always open, always trading," kareoke bar identity and it was very lucky that, with a quirkiness that charmed rather than grated, Shonen Knife were able to carry off being the world's idea of Japanese pop music.

The songs they recorded for this, their first Peel session, have not been well represented in terms of sharing, hence why the two selections (out of three that I heard, six were broadcast in total) come from the studio versions on Let's Knife.  This video contains the session version of Watchin' Girl and a number of tracks from their second and final Peel session in October 1992.  You can beat me to it, when it comes to selections.

Videos courtesy of The Used1995.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Oliver: S.L. Troopers - Systematic Terror (25 January 1992)

Before playing this track, Peel praised Kold Sweat Records for the quality of its output, which included Katch 22.  This track from their label-mates, S.L Troopers promises great things as it starts of with a kickin' drum break and a sampled synth that combines the urban with the alien.  However, its achillies heel proves to be the words which go off into a standard trashing of other MCs and their crews.  Why disappointing?  Well a title like Systematic Terror promises something more substantial than just killing other MCs, but apart from a throwaway line about police stop and search tactics and some self improvement advice, it ultimately doesn't even cut as deep as Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Video courtesy of Zitterfinger

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Oliver!: Wayne Coyne - I Want to Kill My Brother: The Cymbal Head (25 January 1992)

This track by the leader of The Flaming Lips was taken from a compilation album called Guitarrorists, which Peel played selections from over late January/Februray 1992 and had terrible problems pronouncing correctly.
Despite nearly missing out due to excessive feedback wankery at the start leading to a slow start, it won me over through the way it builds until by the end it sounds like the guitar equivalent of a Formula 1 race which may well have appealed to a motor-sports enthusiast like Peel.  I also like the false and abrupt ending.

Video courtesy of lavawood.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Oliver: Nirvana - Sliver (25 January 1992)

Peel gave this a surprise spin on the 25/1/92 show, ostensibly to showcase to any late converts what Nirvana had been doing in the years before Smells Like Teen Spirit.  Commissioned as a standalone single by Sub Pop in 1990, and with Dan Peters of Mudhoney playing drums, it's a catchy thrash through a child's protests at having to spend time at Grandpa Joe's and eating food you don't like with a side order of potential child abuse thrown in - what other reason could there be for the "Grandma, take me home" refrain?

It ends happily enough with Kurt back in his mother's arms but with enough unease filtering through that the listener hopes that there will be no immediate return to Grandpa Joe's.

Video courtesy of All Nirvana albums and songs in high quality (do you think that's a real person?)

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Oliver: King Tubby - Casanova Dub (25 January 1992)

In a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted, I thought about demanding a recount after my last King Tubby post.  Maybe it was my time of the month or something, but in listening back to it, I found myself snorting, "There's no skill there.  He's just mucking around with volume and faders.  What a con!"

However, a listen to Casanova Dub, Tubby's work on a track by the Observer Allstars, restores faith.  Starting out with a snatch of guitar twist that sounds like it's come from a 1973 Stax acetate, we're plunged into a phased and echo soaked lope through brass and a guitar line which sounds like relentless bump'n'grind, before stopping off to serenade the world famous lothario of the title with a burst of trumpet notes to celebrate his latest conquest.  Throughout the track that Stax-twist guitar pops up, evoking Casanova working the moves on his next target.  It even made me fall in love with Rebel Dance again.

Was it good for you?

Video courtesy of Rootslove.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Oliver: PJ Harvey - Sheela-Na-Gig (25 January 1992)

You can already find the Peel Session version of this track on the blog.  I include the record version which Peel played on 25/1/92 as her new single, here for reasons of completeness.  How many versions of an artist singing a song should you have?  Do bootleggers ever find themselves tormented over this, especially if they're just collecting them for their own benefit?  I had initially thought one version, whether recorded or live would be fine, but found my opinion changing thanks to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I recorded three-quarters of their 2002 Peel Session, and declared my favourite track to be Y Control, feeling it pretty much unimproveable in its live form.  However, the version recorded for  Fever to Tell sounded equally stunning, so like ebony and ivory, you can expect where necessary to see studio and live living side by side in perfect harmony.

Video courtesy of TheSampler2010.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Oliver: Sir Mix-a-Lot - One Time's Got No Case (25 January 1992)

Lord Finesse and now Sir Mix-a-Lot.  The honours system held a real fascination to the rap/hip-hop community, didn't it?  Reginald D Hunter nailed it.

This was my first exposure to the work of the man born Anthony Ray, and it caused me once again to walk face first into the upsetting realisation that I have spent so long focussing on culture from the past, over quite a long time now, that I have got hopelessly adrift of what is happening now.  The past informs the present, but there has to be a reciprocal arrangement in place too.  For me, the killer is that there are Nicki Minaj fans who discovered Sir Mix-a-Lot before I did through the fact that she used large sections of his enormous U.S. hit, Baby Got Back in her rip-off of it, Anaconda.  One look at the dispiriting sleaze presented as "empowerment" in the Minaj video makes me wonder whether I'm actually missing out on anything at all these days, but nevertheless, I had heard Sir Mix-Lot's famous refrain of "I like big butts and I cannot lie" from the unlikely source of British tennis player, Laura Robson when she had to perform it as an initiation ceremony at the Fed Cup.  You see, I can keep you up to date on a comprehensive rundown of what's gone on in British women's tennis since about 2008, but when it comes to contemporary pop music since 2012, I can name Avicii (and I had to look up the spelling to be sure) and that's about it.  Even Huw Stephens has been neglected since about mid 2014, but that could be due to me losing a car which had a cassette player in which I could play mixtapes in rather than any failing on his part.

 I do need to change this.  My wife and I have not been blessed with a child yet, but if the day comes and it becomes interested in the fads and music of the mid-late 2020s, I don't want to find myself a decade and a half divorced from contemporary culture.  Baby steps are required I think, and try not to get depressed about modern life/culture.  Don't compare it either.  Comparison does so much harm in this respect.  The present is always hard and "long" in modern parlance; the past is a highlights package with the tedium edited out and the good bits on constant loop in the mental cinema.  Only by living and grabbing the present can that fund of memories be replenished.  Please forgive the introspection, I only turned 40 the other week....

But one element of the past is non-negotiable and that is Peel, who played this, the opening track from Sir Mix-a-Lot's early 1992 album, Mack Daddy on the 25/1/92 show.  Being a hip hop track from early 1992, I am almost legally obliged to write the words, "The shadow of Rodney King hangs over proceedings" but that's the case here, punctuated by bursts of humour and doubtless a sense that what the L.A.P.D did on March 3 1991 in Lake View Terrace would lead to justice being served on one of the Western world's worst police forces.  The tone is set by the dramatisation of young
Leroy/Jerome/Muhammad being pulled over for no reason by a police officer, albeit one with his tongue in his cheek though we're left in no doubt that the driver's attempts to be tongue in cheek will be brought about by a nightstick embedding it there.
Then Sir Mix-Lot comes in backed by samples of Stevie Wonder in his funky technick piano phase, so memorably captured on Superstition but here taken from You Haven't Done Nothin'.  Over this Sir Mix-a-Lot takes us through various run-ins with police determined to nail him for gun possession, driving under the influence and various other misdemeanours, but our hero is "legit" and manages to outsmart them at every turn, until he discovers that within the police force, colour will never win out over careerism.  However, a happy ending is had by all, doubtless labouring under the impression that the King case would deliver a similarly optimistic outcome....

Video courtesy of eazyone23.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Oliver: Bongwater - Love Song (25 January 1992)

It's always a mistake to judge bands by their names.  OK, if they're arch ironists then it's possible that you could be persuaded into thinking that Extreme Noise Terror are actually a bunch of beard stroking folkies or blank-eyed shaven headed synthpoppers.  But nevertheless, you should always wait till you've heard a band first before forming any judgement on what they are going to be like.  I maintain an open mind and wait to be enchanted by Prosthetic Cunt for example.

All right, I'll come clean - I was as prejudiced as a UKIP voter in Clacton about this sort of thing until hearing Bongwater's Love Song on the 25/1/92 show.  I'd seen their names before on Peel websites.  Indeed, I spent a lot of time thinking that they and Bogshed were the same band.  I knew all about Bongwater without having to hear them though.  Hippies from Gloucestershire singing sub Magic Mushroom Band ditties while sporting dreadful Levitation style haircuts. Ug and indeed h.
Well I was right about the psychedelic element, and one half of Bongwater, Mark Kramer, sports a dreadful haircut - attempting to channel both Brian May AND Anita Dobson - in this astonishing performance of a Roky Erikson song, You Don't Love Me Yet.  But they weren't hippies from Gloucestershire, they were art Dadaists from New York with a highly developed sense of the ridiculous, a bucketload of psychedelic classics that they wanted to cover, a finely tuned knack of writing their own great songs and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ideas that gave their songs the feel of mini-theatre of the absurd epics.  They struck me as what Half Man Half Biscuit would have sounded like had they been metropolitan Americans with a liking for acid pop.

Starting out with a string interlude that sounds like the players have been tranquillised, the song proper starts with a guitar riff that fuses together MonaFaith and  Not Fade Away before Ann Magnuson begins her plea to be loved as she is and not made to change or forced to do so.  It put me in mind of one of the great songs that takes the need for warts and all acceptance by a lover, Don't Make Me Over.

I love this song and given the few other examples of their work I've heard before writing this, including the nine minute drugs/Richard Gere/Pretty Woman baiting Folk Song, (which according to the ever accurate barometer of YouTube comments is from an album showcasing Bongwater at their most accessible) I think I'm in love with Bongwater, who have grabbed my interest and attention in a way that few acts have since I started this blog.  I'm only grateful that I wasn't falling under this spell in early 1992 given that Bongwater disbanded that year after releasing their fourth album, The Big Sell-Out.  I can't imagine how gutted I would have been by that.  Whether they turn up on this blog again is in the lap of Peel's running orders.  Remember, The Pixies pretty much turned their toes up as a going concern in 1992, and Peel didn't revisit them very often afterwards.  But one day, Box of Bongwater will be in my record collection, and I will thank them and John Peel for that.

Video courtesy of Virgil Pink.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Oliver: The Mighty Avengers - Blue Turns to Grey (25 January 1992)

Over the weekend of 25/26 January 1992, the long running Radio 4 series, Desert Island Discs celebrated its 50th anniversary.  To mark its golden anniversary, the programme got in a suitably heavyweight guest in the shape of then Prime Minister, John Major.  If David Cameron and chums are mocked as the Bullingdon Club running the country, Major was held up as the grey man who stepped out from behind the Iron Lady's skirts. In background, he was a million miles away from the ruling elite we now have, although the issues that were to plague his Premiership, notably Europe remain as relevant now as they did then.
Peel, who as a former castaway and a man who gave the impression at times that he spent more time listening to Radio 4 than he did Radio 1 in early 1992, marked Major's appearance with a suitably topical choice of record.  A 1965 non-hit for Coventry based band, The Mighty Avengers, Blue Turns to Grey was written for them by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, with whom The Mighty Avengers shared a manager, the incomparable, and at times unbelievable, Andrew Loog Oldham.

I was still a year or so off discovering The Rolling Stones music in any great depth, when Peel put this track into the show on 25/1/92.  When I did so, and went around armed with a copy of High Tide and Green Grass, I told anyone who would listen that I considered the Stones the better band between 1964-66 and The Beatles better between 1967-70.  I've stopped seeing things in quite such dogmatic fashion in the years since, but nevertheless, my thinking at the time was that Jagger and Richards's writing In those years cut a lot deeper than Lennon and McCartney's seemed to.  In retrospect, this isn't really fair because Lennon and McCartney wrote and recorded warts and all.  Even if it was a filler or a work song as McCartney called Hold Me Tight, they were still getting it out there.  Jagger and Richards came up more slowly, practiced and honed their skill before they took total control of the music they recorded.  And why not?  There were plenty of R'n'B standards they could record while they waited to get confident enough in their own material.  The merits of their own respective tracks can be debated ad infinitum, but a key advantage that Jagger and Richards had was in the songs they wrote for others.  Not for them the moon/June simplicity of Bad To Me or I'm In Love (which I actually really like) but rather a more angsty take on heartbreak and the ennui that sets in and devastates when you try to convince yourself you're over someone before you really are.  It may be a minor song, but all the psychological acuity that they would bring to Satisfaction/Get Off of My Cloud etc is still there.  Crucially, you could see the Stones actually performing this in a way which you never pictured The Beatles performing the tracks that they gave away.  Brilliantly performed by The Mighty Avengers, with lead vocalist, Mike Linnell clearly modelling himself on Jagger for the "Find her. Find her. Find her" refrain and with the charming flute part acting as a smile raising reminder of how one of Loog Oldham's obsessions in the 60s was to try and get as much work for the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra as possible.

Video courtesy of haulofrecords.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Oliver: Lucien Bokilo - Tchao Je Me Casse (25 January 1992)

You will have gathered by now that I'm not exactly Gilles Petersen when it comes to expressing a scholarly appreciation of "world music" despite the fact plenty of examples have featured on the blog so far, and doubtless will for years to come given that Peel played it virtually until he died (and we haven't even reached the Kanda Bongo Man years yet).

Nevertheless, it was while listening to Tchao Je Me Casse (which literally translates as Cheerio, I Break) by Lucien Bokilo that I made what could almost be termed a musicological breakthrough when it came to considering the merits of this track.  On my first listening, I wasn't overly impressed. I should clarify here, I mean my first listening outside of the Peel show on which it was broadcast.  On that recording, the patina of radio waves picked up by the tape, smothered the track in ear-heart goodness but listening to it on YouTube, so it could be shared, it all sounded a bit undistinguished.  Nothing on the track to compare with the plangent arpeggios of a track like Leonore.  But it struck me after a while that so much African music falls into 2 camps.  On the one hand, you have those tracks which lay out their wares in the first few minutes solely to set up the virtuoso work of players like Diblo Dibala or Dally Kimono who played all the way through Bokilo's album The Game is Over.  These are more ear catching and exciting, often they are the pay off if the track has got off to a rather dull start.  Tracks to wake you back up or re-double your efforts to dance.
But Tchao Je Me Casse belongs to the other camp.  There's no particularly flashy solo here, nothing breaking through after an uncertain start.  Instead, it's all based around an insistent, anchoring groove.  I suspect that its intended for the dancers who would be supporting this track when played in live gigs.  Usually, the groove is the preserve of the bassist but here it's done by a guitar and it works surprisingly well.
So much so, that I'm now wondering whether this is the better of the two Bokilo tracks that feature on this blog.

Video courtesy of soukousnostalgie.