Monday, February 05, 2007


Peel Sessions 40

When many of you here the words Peel Session, I'm sure what springs into your head is images of that exceptionally fertile period that was the fall out of punk. There are maybe even some of you that think that Peel played his first platter in the wake of the revolution in '76! This is of course false as he had already achieved much more by this stage than many lesser jocks do in a whole life time. By far the great majority of Peel Sessions commercially available date from 1977 onwards and by far the biggest slice of discussion on the subject also concerns this period. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to come across a previously unknown to me Strange Fruit compilation while searching the second hand sites from 1991 with the revealing title 'Before The Fall', no surprise to discover that the 20 tracks, recorded between 1967 and 1977 are from Dinosaurs that were to reach the heights of stardom and offbeat 70' freaks that were obviously never going to hit the big time. Today I've chosen songs from 3 artists who were to go on to taste wealth and fame, another post will be dedicated to those artists of a more leftfield bent.
The early seventies were the boom period for the sensitive singer song writer both in sunny California and in drizzly Britain. A UK artist that was to go on to become a spokesman for opticians and glasses manufacturers around the world, Elton John, was in 1970 just warming up for greater things. In August that year he laid down tracks for what should have been a Peel Session, though purists might disagree as Peelie was absent at the time and replaced by whispering Bob Harris. 'Ballad Of A Well Known Gun' is taken from that second session the first having been aired two years previous and his last was from 1973.
It is hard to believe now but back then a young band such as Queen could easily be programmed in between the likes of Captain Beefheart and T. Rex. And such they also were invited into the studios on three occasions, February and December 1973 and October 1977. 'Doin' Alright' is from their second performance. I must admit that it seems strange to think that Peelie would being playing Queen along side the Pistols, X Ray Sex and choice reggae cuts in '77, this is just the proof that things were not as clear cut as maybe many of you think they were.
Nine sessions is not the record, though I think it must definitely define them as a Peel band, and no surprise really when listening to Phil Lynott's laddish romantic rockers such as 'Dancing In The Moonlight' from 1977 a fine example of the many hits that he was to churn out with such ease with his group Thin Lizzy, a band were one of the first in the UK to deliver street poetry.

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