Whatever John Peel show you use, compiling a complete playlist, or even an accurate one, given the breadth of the music chosen, much of it remaining in obscurity, is nigh on impossible. One of the enjoyable things though, it’s – apart from the cross genre breadth that Peel utilised meaning the music jumps from one edge of a particular spectrum to another, a way of discovering for yourself lost little gems that passed you by, or have been forgotten in the intervening years. So here’s one from June 1988, a show which included a session from crust/hardcore band Doom. Lie in bed with it on, or use it to soundtrack your journey to work – either way, it’ll be one hell of a journey.
Back then President Raegan was desperately battling drug trafficking from the south of the country, while in Europe Just a couple of days before three passengers are killed when Air France Flight 296 crashes into the tops of trees beyond the runway on a demonstration flight at Habsheim, France. England manager Bobby Robson hangs onto his job, despite England being knocked out of the European Championships at the group stage (sound familiar) in Germany, losing every game.
Wonder stuff – A wish away Miles Hunt and co cook up a little gem of wistful indie, which made it onto their Eight Legged Groove Machine album.
The Project Club – Dance with the devil (Balearic Mix) Balearic banger, complete with vocal cut ups, sampled tubular bells and shuffling percussion. Sampled itself by Altern-8 for their track Armageddon.
Doom – (session) symptom of the universes / Multinationals There’s a dearth of decent quality version of the peel session on YouTube, even though it was released by Vinyl Japan shortly afterwards, so these two tracks from the hardcore crust punks are in their original forms.
Johnny Thunders & Patty Paladin – Can’t seem to make you mine An engaging, almost country tinged version of The Seeds song, taken from their 1988 album, Copy Cats.
Courtney Melody – Loving woman Loving Woman is an uptempo and engaging lovers style Reggae cut from Courtney Melody, with a pulsating bassline and synths, that has the stamp of a King Tubby production all over it.
Bongwater – We did it again Brilliant stoner / psych rock track from New York experimentalists Bongwater, as they find a delicious melodic formula and repeat it to death, ramping up the speed until it all falls apart.
Gherkin Jerks – Don’t dis the beat aka Larry Heard delivers some brilliant stripped back Chicago house, that plays with your mind as it crosses from one speaker to another, giving it an almost psychedelic feel.
Doom (session) Exploitation Fine hardcore punk that nails down all the elements and then plants its feet and beats you with it. We’ve grabbed an actual session track for this one.
Amayenge – Lelo Baleisa Taken from an album called Shani! The sounds of Africa, if you don’t dance to this one, or at least want to, there’s something wrong with you.
Beep Beep & The Roadrunners – Shiftin’ gears is a classic, scuffed up surf instrumental from 1965. Short and to the point, it hits you right in the memories.
Dub Sex – Caved in Dark brooding indie rock from Manchesters Dub Sex. Almost gothic, the waves of guitar cascade over the whole thing.
Jungle Brothers – Black is Black Taken from their classic Straight out the Jungle album, it marked the start of their Native Tongues project, with Q-Tip guesting on this funk-filled cut.
Wire – Silk skin paws proves that mid-period Wire is just as good as early or indeed recent Wire. i.e. really good. It’s taken from an EP of the same name.
Doom – (session) circles / no religion couple more tracks from the session guests. Circles is a 45 second face melter, while No Religion has more substance to it, full of punkish Sabbath chord changes and arresting vocals.
Sam and Bill – I feel like cryin’ Sam Gary and Bill Johnson aka Sam and Bill belt out this gospel infused deep soul tearjerker.
Pooh Sticks – I know someone who knows Alan McGee Welsh indie jangle poppers know someone who knows someone who knows Alan McGee. Attractive indie criminally missed off both Spotify and YouTube.
Jewel T – I like it loud Proper old school hip-hop, full of scratching, stripped back beats and emphasis on the rhymes, and sampling Bit Bizarre’s Freddie’s Groove.
Wedding Present – Go out and get ’em boy (live) Peel favourites The Wedding Present, the joyous sounding Go out and get ’em boy, gets a spin, with the boy Gedge ruminating on friendships past and lost “You were a survivor after all / You never even called / I didn’t expect you to” he says
Fred Astaire – Slap that bass Typical Peel to throw something in SO unexpected, but he throws in old-time swing from 1937, and a track taken from his hit film, Shall we dance.
Doom – (session) Relief Is it too far to say, a left turn….Back to the Birmingham lords of Crust, who douse Relief in feedback, before firing it up with adrenalin and anger.
Perfect Daze – Barstool on the floor Ipswich’s Perfect Daze, made something a bit more punk than indie, but not in itself punk. More akin to Birdland and Mega City Four, there’s some great slide guitar work on this little gem.
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band – Hobo Chang Ba Taken from 1969’s Trout Mask Replica, it’s wilfully difficult, experimental music, with almost random things at points (who can clap along with that tambourine) and just as things begin to settle, another left turn is inserted.
Cool C – Down to the grissle more old school hip-hop from the Philly rapper, who lays down his rhymes with skill and conviction. He’s currently residing on death row after murdering a police officer in a bank robbery.
Dwarves – College town From the US bands debut album Horror Stories, it has that punk aesthetic, but College Town has enough of the theatrical to stand alongside The Cramps.
Too Much Texas – hurry on down Not from Manchester at all, but Manchester, Too Much Texas featured Tom Hingley on vocals, before he left to join the Inspiral Carpets. Hurry on down is an enjoyable acoustic fused slice of indie pop.
Vara-tones – Repeto More top notch instrumental surf rock from the 1960’s that features this absolutely filthy sounding saxophone on the melody.
Doom – (session) sold out / War crimes The final two sessiontracks from Doom see the band thrash and clatter through a couple of their staples, and demonstrate what sets them apart from many of their contemporaries mixing up the aggression and attitude with songs that stick.
Leonard Cohen – Sisters of Mercy Taken from his album Songs of Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy (yes, they did take their name from it) is a lovely lilting song, adorned with Cohen’s lovely gravelly vocals. And relax.