The Second Disc

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Start of a New “Movement”: EMI Releases New Peel Sessions Compilation

with 5 comments

Last week’s revelation that American media conglomerate Clear Channel had let go of dozens of local radio DJs made music fans yearn for the simpler times of when jockeys weren’t limited to playlists from on high and could shape the public’s music taste in a positive way.

Ironically, as the Clear Channel news spread, EMI prepares the release of a new compilation devoted to one of England’s most famous radio presenters, the late, great John Peel. Peel, a jockey on BBC’s Radio 1 from 1967 until his death in 2004, was a pioneering force on the British music scene, embracing the cutting edge of music in every new decade, particularly the wild punk, reggae, ska and indie sounds that were emerging as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s.

Of course, playing the singles wasn’t enough: Peel frequently invited his favorite new acts to BBC’s Maida Vale Studios to record live sets for his shows. These “Peel sessions” fast became treasured recordings for serious music fans, and while the BBC often erased their tapes not long after they were done airing them, Peel’s tapes have enjoyed years of commercial release, first on his own label, Strange Fruit, in the 1980s, then on various major labels, either as part of standalone releases or bonus tracks on expanded reissues.

Very little of the tracks on this new comp – Movement: BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979 – are being released for the first time. (At the very least, many of these tracks came out on Strange Fruit EPs and compilations, and are making their debut on a CD distributed by EMI, the project deriving from material commonly controlled by the label and the BBC.) But the idea of a sampler of tracks from such greats as The Jam, Joy Division, The Specials, XTC, Adam and The Ants, The Psychedelic Furs and others is pretty appealing – particularly given EMI’s announcement, which ends with the promise of more Peel compilations in the future.

Movement is available today in the U.K., and the track list is after the jump.

Various Artists, Movement: BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979 (EMI 50999 029496 2 8, 2011)

Disc 1

  1. In the City (4/26/1977) – The Jam
  2. What Do I Get? (9/7/1977) – Buzzcocks
  3. Youth Youth Youth (12/4/1977) – Generation X
  4. No More Heroes (8/30/1977) – The Stranglers
  5. Gary Gilmour’s Eyes (4/25/1977) – The Adverts
  6. Love and Romance (9/19/1977) – The Slits
  7. Science Friction (6/20/1977) – XTC
  8. She’s a Wind Up (9/20/1977) – Dr. Feelgood
  9. Don’t Take No for an Answer (11/1/1977) – Tom Robinson Band
  10. Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll (11/30/1977) – Ian Dury & The Blockheads
  11. Deutscher Girls (1/23/1978) – Adam and The Ants
  12. Hong Kong Garden (2/6/1978) – Siouxsie & The Banshees
  13. Another Girl Another Planet (4/5/1978) – The Only Ones
  14. Get Over You (10/1/1978) – The Undertones
  15. Top of the Pops (5/31/1978) – The Rezillos
  16. Love and a Molotov Cocktail (3/15/1978) – The Flys
  17. Sound of the Suburbs (1/17/1979) – The Members
  18. Alternative Ulster (9/12/1978) – Stiff Little Fingers
  19. The Saints Are Coming – (8/29/1978) – The Skids
  20. We Are the People (10/24/1978) – The Angelic Upstarts
  21. Sus (5/21/1979) – The Ruts
  22. Homocide (10/25/1978) – 999
  23. Reader’s Wives (10/3/1978) – John Cooper Clarke

Disc 2

  1. Movement (2/28/1979) – Penetration
  2. Goodbye Joe/Strange Boutique (8/21/1979) – Monochrome Set
  3. The Other Window (9/11/1979) – Wire
  4. The Light Pours Out of Me (2/14/1978) – Magazine
  5. Transmission (1/31/1979) – Joy Division
  6. Wardance (10/17/1979) – Killing Joke
  7. Being Boiled (8/8/1978) – The Human League
  8. Messages (8/20/1979) – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  9. Sister Europe (7/25/1979) – The Psychedelic Furs
  10. Premonition (12/19/1979) – Simple Minds
  11. Poptones (12/10/1979) – Public Image Ltd.
  12. Jah Pikney (Rock Against Racism) (4/4/1978) – Steel Pulse
  13. It’s Not Our Wish (10/10/1978) – Aswad
  14. Food for Thought (12/12/1979) – UB40
  15. Gangsters (5/23/1979) – The Specials
  16. The Prince (8/14/1979) – Madness
  17. Street Feeling (10/9/1979) – The Selecter
  18. Ranking Full Stop (10/24/1979) – The Beat

Written by Mike Duquette

October 31, 2011 at 13:06

5 Responses

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  1. Oh Man. I WILL be buying this. I love most of these bands and loved John Peel as well. His sessions rank among my favorite recordings of many different artists.

    It’s a damn shame the corporatocracy is hurrying as fast as it can to kill the spirit of radio for good. Even the best podcasts don’t hold a candle to the thrill and immediacy of an adept DJ spinning a great set on the radio- especially one that listens to the listeners. I am fortunate enough to be of an age that I remember when most radio was regional, and it was a regular occurrence for me to call my favorite DJs and request songs. It makes me sad to know that era is truly over now.


    October 31, 2011 at 15:20

  2. The BBC always had great hosts/DJs, John Peel being one of them and possibly not even the best of them (I’m thinking of Andy Kershaw for instance), even if certainly the mostly featured. Peel’s main gifts were to be there at the right time (1967!) and to be there for a long time (until his death in 2004). To use Linda Thompson’s words (I wouldn’t dare to use mine) “Peel’s taste got wackier and wackier” over the years. He recorded 4,400 sessions, hundreds of acts, some great of course, and lots of not-so-greats (to be euphemistic).
    When I read of a JP anthology I smile as it seems to me like trying to sample an ocean with a teapoon.
    The only reasonable thing to do with his legacy is regrouping the single artists’ shows in monographical releases, as it’s already been done, over and over, for the main acts at least. I suggest you check out THOSE.


    November 1, 2011 at 17:13

  3. I was surprized to see an article on Movement, this site is certainly on the ball. I listened to John Peel nightly from 1977 to 1983 and recorded what I liked (most of the sessions) on cassette. The quality of the sessions was extremely good, some tracks sounded better than the studio/LP recordings. After 83 I lost interest in the music Peel was playing but by then I had about 20 cassettes of music. I played the tapes back during subsequent weeks (getting satisfaction from the fact that it wasn’t commercially available) and then periodically until the early 90s when the BASF cassettes started to squeal like crazy and I trashed them. By then I’d started to buy the Peel Sessions on CD. I moved to America in 85 and lent my tapes out to a couple of people who I thought would enjoy the music, they were amazed at the diversity of music. As it says in the liner notes to Movement, for most music fanatics, if you can say you where there at the start of a movement, consider yourself lucky, if you’ve experience two movements, you’re blessed.
    I ordered Movement, it came yesterday, I havn’t listened to it yet, I hope the mastering isn’t too loud so that it destroys the immediacy of the music, I’ll report back on sound quality later. Of course, the next 2CD should cover 1979-1981, an equally thrilling period.
    Regards, Trevor.

    Trevor Bartram

    November 5, 2011 at 06:46

  4. I’ve now listened to Movement and it certainly brought back fond memories. It’s kinda eerie listening to these tracks without hearing John Peel’s comments at the end.
    As for sound quality, Movement is not loud, a couple of the early tracks on CD1 have very splashy cymbals, and the tracks at the end of CD2 have more bass than I remember but I cannot be sure if the EQ has been tweaked but overall I enjoyed the sound. The remastering engineer is Sean Magee at Abbey Road.
    Each CD clocks in at 70 minutes, there is room for at least 4 extra tracks and I know there is plenty to choose from. For me the standout tracks are Being Boiled followed by Messages, the only disappointment Love And Romance, I couldn’t hear Ari Up’s vocals too well.
    Have fun, Trevor.

    Trevor Bartram

    November 6, 2011 at 11:40

  5. Speaking of the Slits sessions, another thing I don’t understand about this harphazard collection of track (most of them already released) is the choice of material. From the same Slits sessions they could have picked any other track, there’s an outstanding version of New Town for instance, but any other track would have been better.
    As said, much of the material on this CD has already been released (or should be) in a systematic way, one-or-plus CDs grouping sessions from the same artist. I really can’t imagine many people interested in this…


    November 6, 2011 at 13:30

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