Alternative Version, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Peel Sessions

Keeping It Peel 2014


Keeping It Peel is the brainchild of Webbie, who writes the excellent and informative Football And Music blog.  An annual celebration of all things Peel (this year’s event is especially poignant, given that it’s 10 years since John died), it’s purpose is to remind everyone just how crucial John Peel was to enlightening and expanding listening tastes up and down the country; to ‘Educate and Inform‘, as was the motto of his employer. Be it demo, flexi, 7″, 10″, 12″, EP, LP, 8 track cartridge, wax cylinder or reel to reel field recording, the great man famously listened to everything ever sent his way, and if it was in anyway decent he played it on his show. Sometimes, he played the more obscure records at the correct speed. Sometimes he didn’t. And sometimes, no-one noticed.  John Peel is the reason my musical tastes expanded beyond the left-field avant-garde edginess of Hipsway and Love And Money and the reason why my mum stopped singing her own version of whatever it was I was playing (“Take a ri-ide on the Suga Trayne!”) and started asking me to “turn that racket down” whenever she passed my teenage bedroom door. Thank you, John.

This year’s Peel Session selection features Pixies from October 18th 1988.

The PIXIESThe thin ‘n hairy years

Pixies in 1988 were betwixt and between releases. Surfer Rosa (their best album, and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise) was 7 months old and still stuck to the turntables, and Doolittle was but a sparkle in Black Francis’ eye. They were a PHENOMENAL live act around this time; full-on and feral and could do no wrong.

Their session for Peel in October was a cracker. Half of the songs were barely a minute and a half long, little blitzkrieg blasts of wonky time signatures, heavy breathing, strange chord structures and larynx-loosening primal screams from Black Francis – “Uriah hit the crapper! The crapper! Uriah hit the crapper….DEAD!” – what the devil was he on about? Who knows, but who cares? This was a thrilling taster of the new stuff still to come. Tame, Dead and There Goes My Gun would all end up on the Doolittle LP the following year. Dancing The Manta Ray would eventually see the light of day as the b-side to that LPs big single, Monkey Gone To Heaven.

I thought I still had the old TDK of this session with Peel’s introductions, but I fear it’s lost and gone forever. It’s certainly not in the first (and only) place I looked. For authenticity’s sake I was going to post those versions, but instead Tame comes from the Rough Diamonds bootleg and the other three come from the official BBC Sessions CD.

Tracks in order of broadcast;



Dancing The Manta Ray

There Goes My Gun

These tracks and a gazillion more are released shortly on the 3CD Doolittle 25 release, available at the recession-friendly price of £12. A bargain for sure. Available via Pixies’ online shop here.


Hard-to-find, Peel Sessions

O Come All Ye Faith-Fall

Or the Fall-y and the Ivy. Or Mark The Herald Angels Sing. Or…you get the picture. Many bands have bent, buckled and bastardised yer favourite Christmas singalongs into their own unique shape, but none more so than The Fall. Unlike wet farts like Belle and Sebastian who go for that twee primary school choir effect (with bells on) (pass the sick bucket), The Fall know how to do it properly.

Peel Session #18 (broadcast 17 December 1994) saw Mark E Smith and co. tackle 2 festive favourites. Jingle Bell Rock is a cracker (pardon the pun). A clattering, twang-filled garage band run-through that clocks in at a breakneck 1 minute and 10 seconds long, it is especially joyful and triumphant as the lyrics have been changed to reflect the true Christmas spirit -“Post office hell….Friday night on Oxford Street…walking with green M&S bags…(and something incoherent about) sprouts“. Oh yes!


The Fall. Smokin’!

Hark The Herald Angels Sing sounds nothing like the version you sang at school. Complete with a jangling Brix Smith Rickenbacker riff and a skewiff choirboy vocal on the chorus, it sounds, well, like The Fall. It actually sounds like it could be something Mark E Smith wrote last week. “Christ, the everlasting Lord” he drawls, sounding like Jim Royle swearing at the X Factor on the telly. And if you pardon the pun again, it’s a cracker too.

Just a note to explain the lack of activity over the past week or so – a combination of work/home/Christmas stuff combined with the paranoia of being regularly watched over by the internet police has somewhat slowed me down. Hopefully, everything will be back in full working order in the new year. I certainly intend it to be. Keep visiting!