Thursday, 16 March 2017

Oliver!: John Peel Show - Radio 1 (Sunday 8 March 1992)

After this broadcast, Peel got his Sundays back to himself until 1996.  He surveyed a studio in which Andy Kershaw, refraining from dashing off "in search of pizza" was being interviewed by some French people.  His records included a number of discs which played from the middle outwards prompting a reminiscence over his attempts to track down a range of 78s which did the same thing.  He only managed to lay his hands on 3.  It was a rather mistake strewn show, which he put down to recovery from a cold after a family holiday to Center Parcs.  If it was the one in Thetford, I went there too in 2005.  He claimed the catarrh he was suffering was of a type that made him feel like he was standing outside his body, looking at himself.  "And I don't like what I can see, I can tell you."

Selections for this show were taken from the first 2 hours of the programme.  Of those I would have liked to include but couldn't, it's hello again to:

Abana Ba Nasery - Mabingwa - More acoustic wonderment from their !Nursery Boys Go Ahead! album.

The Flaming Lips - All That Jazz/Happy Death Men - "You don't see many covers of Echo and the Bunnymen songs" noted Peel after playing this fusion of the penultimate and final tracks from their 1980 debut album, Crocodiles.  Why would anyone think themselves up to the task of trying to match the peerless brilliance of the originals?  Credit to The Flaming Lips though, they get as close as anyone could do with overloaded fuzztone guitar and a vocal that sounds like an enormous Death's Head swooping down on the listener.  If it lacks the brittle elan of the original, it adds a thick coating of chaos and the inclusion of a train effect that caught Peel out as he started to talk over it.  "Bit weird" he surmised, but to me it's the aural equivalent of what happened after we left Baron Samedi at the end of Live and Let Die.  Spine-tinglingly good.

Wingtip Sloat - Aspermicle - unpromising name both for the band and the track, but Peel introduced it by reading a sample from an article on them in Your Flesh magazine which was pretty on the money: "'The basic rock trio format is used by Wingtip Sloat as a licence to chug across a lo-fi landscape peppered with songs that slip in and out of catchiness with an inspired lack of coherence. Grab it' I recommend that you do".  Superior jangle to clangle angular rock in other words.

Macroesh - Life and Death (Minima Mix) - This starts off by channelling the spirit of Delia Derbyshiremusique concrete and the floating head of Zardoz to create something which sounds monumentally awesome.  Then the aural equivalent of a tropical rainforest creeps in at the edges as the Zardoz substitute talks about a king taking to the skies, like a "zerid bird".  All is set for something amazing....and then Peel chips in about how, listening to it at home during the week, he had felt that it was suspiciously slow despite the label saying it should be played at 33rpm.  He makes the change on-air to 45rpm and everything returns to normal.  I agree with him that it sounded better at 33rpm.  Not quite on a patch with what it looked like being but still a great example of high minded Euro Techno.

TPOK Jazz Band - unknown - Peel following Kershaw's lead from earlier in the evening and playing a track by TPOK Jazz Band. Fails to name it though.  Listening back to it just now, I'm not devastated.  A pleasant time-passer but little more.

Exposure - Our Worlds - "Something of a Twin Peaks influence" running through the track in Peel's estimation.  Clearly having an influence in dance circles at this time.  This could also be found on the flipside to Exposure's Peak Experience.

A couple of tracks fell from favour, mostly because of what they weren't:

The Jive Five - My True Story - "How wonderful to have made a record as good as that" surmised Peel after playing this slice of "names have been changed to protect the innocent" doo-wop from 1961 (a year which will be the subject of the next post here).  Certainly that opening "Cry! Cry! Cry!" refrain grabs the attention early on, but the more I listened to it, the less enamoured I was of it.  It didn't move me as much as Sonny Til and the Orioles.

Spawn - Infiltrator - a piece of throbbing techno drum and bass, but all a bit by the numbers I felt. Nevertheless, I was going to include it until the YouTube auto player followed it with a track by Nico called Field of Vision and I found myself wishing that I could write about that instead.  Never a good sign.

John Fahey - 101 is a Hard Road to Travel - the artistry and the pleasantness on show here in this track from Fahey's 1965 album The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death were obvious but, again the 40 year old me trumped the 16 year old me (I should stop that) and thought, "Yeah, but Leo Kottke's better."  Kottke clearly pushed Fahey to change his style.  This 1978 interview shows that he didn't altogether appreciate it.

See you on Friday 13!

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