Seeing as how the midnight hour impends, I thought I'd exercise my privileges and offer my two co-pilots, our fellow bloggers (you know who you is), and all our visitors all my best and all the brightest of hopes for the new year.
Happy new year, everyone!
And now, If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . kicks off its New Year's Eve John Peel extravaganza:
In June of 1968, the singer/composer Tim Buckley recorded this set for Peel's broadcast
Sometime in the early 1990's our friends at the BBC decided to raid their archives and put out a series called DJ Heaven profiling some of the leading DJ's. This clip from the begining of the show serves as a sort of potted history of John Peel.
Further recommended links:
John Peel introduces Orange Juice's Rip It Up link.
What's in John Peel's legendary record box? This is the box he would have saved had his house ever caught fire, link.
For your listening pleasure:
Sandie Shaw sings Cool About You, composed for her by Jim and William Reid from Peel Session, 27th November, 1988) link.
Billy Bragg sings for his supper.
For your listening pleasure:
Billy Bragg covers John Cale's Fear is a Man's Best Friend
-- Peel Session (27th July, 1983) link.
Billy Bragg gives us his unique take on Bobby Troup's (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 with his A13 Trunk Road To The Sea from the same Peel Session, link.
Mike Joyce, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke and Sandie Shaw.
For your listening pleasure:
The Smiths: This Charming Man - Peel Session (21st September, 1983) link.
Billy Bragg: Jeanne - Peel Session (28th August, 1985) link.
Sandie Shaw & The Smiths: Jeanne - Saturday Live, Radio 1 (14th April, 1984) link.
Michael Clark and Mark E. Smith, collaborators for The Fall's 1988 I Am Kurious Oranj album and ballet production.
The Fall performed more Peel Sessions than any other band.
Black Monk Theme from one of them (1st January, 1990), link.
John Peel and Laura Cantrell
Peel declared Laura Cantrell's first album one his favourites of the last 10 years. Cantrell record Legend in My Time from John Peel's (February 2001), link.
Could there have been a more anachronistic album cover in 1973 than that of The Velvet Underground's final LP, Squeeze? Not only was there something embarassingly passe about its Psychedelicized artwork, but what in hell was the Empire State Building doing on an album that wasn't even released in the United States? Lou Reed had taken that New York after-hours aesthetic with him when he quit the band during the recording of their Loaded LP in 1970. Undaunted, the Velvets (what was left of them) soldiered on, with mystic Drummer Maureen 'Mo' Tucker and Bassist Doug Yule taking up the moribund standard by touring overseas. They had to add a couple of new faces to the act (Guitarist Sterling Morrison seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way), and it all would have ended with as little fanfare as it started if Steve Sesnick, the group's manager, hadn't wrangled a recording deal with Polydor in Great Britain.
When the time came to record, another Pop music tradition was observed: With the exception of Doug Yule, who contributed the vocals, none of the Velvets (even the recent additions) participated. There would be no feedback workouts, no lyrics about all that gamy and beautiful subject matter infesting the earlier albums. This was a Pop exercise produced by the Drummer from Deep Purple (Ian Paice), and rendered with dispatch by a fleet of anonymous session players. Quick-buck textbook stuff; just like a Paul Revere and The Raiders LP.
When it was released in Europe, Squeeze failed to break open the album charts (but then, of what Velvet Underground album can this not be said?). It was, in fact, dead on arrival.
And that was, for all intent, the end of The Velvet Underground.
Joseph Lamb (1887-1960)
Though the vast majority of his work was composed prior to 1920, and though he long outlived such contemporaries as Scott Joplin, James Reese Europe and James Scott, Joseph Lamb did not record any of his compositions until August of 1959; a little more than one year before his passing at the age of 72.
The results were issued as an LP on the Folkways label, A Study in Classic Ragtime, and it is our offering today.
Between 1977 and 1980, Elvis Costello recorded four sessions for Radio 1 eminence John Peel.
Each session consisted of four songs.
On all four he was accompanied by The Attractions.
All four sessions constitute today's offering.
Poets are both clean and warm
And most are far above the norm
Whether here or on the roam
Have a poet in every home! #14
Alfred Lord Tennyson
In the early morning hours of January 26, 1966, Bob Dylan (accompanied by unnamed members of The Hawks) lurched into the studios of New York's listener-supported radio shrine WBAI-FM for an unscheduled appearance on Radio Unnameable, the weekly cavalcade of music and merriment hosted (then and now) by one of the great men of our time, Bob Fass.
It was an interesting period for this troubador; having spent the preceding six months letting it be known far and wide that he wasn't returning to the Protest song racket, no matter how forcefully the middle class white folks (who just adored songs about underclass misery) screamed their heads off or held their breath. By January, Dylan had at least managed to convince everyone that he wasn't kidding, and the volume of catcalls and boos appeared to be growing more faint by the hour (this would soon change later in the year as he faced one exceedingly ugly UK crowd after another during the course of his 1966 world tour). He could afford to take a momentary breather.
In a sense, this recording documents that brief moment of repose.
There's no music in these 93 minutes (save for a few notes from a Lightnin' Hopkins record) . . . there isn't even an interview in the conventional sense. Some back-and-forth between the host and his mystery guest (who seems to be under the influence of . . . something), a good deal of moving about (anyone who's worked in listener-supported radio knows how cramped a studio can get when more than two souls occupy it), and then Bob Fass opens up the phone lines.
The less said about what ensues . . .
Suffice it to say, all Talk Radio should sound like this.
Act One (49min.)
Act Two (44min.)
On December 18, 2002, Belle and Sebastian performed an extended set at John Peel's Christmas bacchanal, broadcast live over Radio 1 in London.
Now, those of you who've been visiting this blog for more than a year will, in all probability, be scratching your heads (with some justice), asking yourselves if this is some kind of joke; if this year's Christmas Day offering could really be the same one as last year.
Well . . . it is; but for two very good (I think) reasons:
1) A regular visitor to this blog asked me to repost it this year.
2) I doubt if I've ever heard a better, less widely known musical Christmas bash than this. Of course, there is the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas from 1965, but beautiful and haunting as that LP is, and will always be, it's so well-known and easily obtainable that posting it here would constitute laziness on a scale that outstrips my reposting the sublime Belle and Sebastian set.
Departing from last year, however, we are bringing you the broadcast in a single archive file, rather than track by track, and . . . to ameliorate our guilty conscience over throwing old material your way . . . tossing in another Belle and Sebastian Peel session from June of the previous year.
We here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . would like to close by wishing all our visitors, be they regular, random or yet-to-come, and all our fellow bloggers (too numerous for words) all the best we can wish for this, the season of wintry holidays.
Merry Krimble to y'all!!
Unhappy word crosses the wires this Christmas morn' of the passing of James Brown, Mr. Dynamite, Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Soul Brother Number One, the Amazing Mr. 'Please, Please' himself; his age (a matter perpetually in dispute) given as 73. He was rushed last evening to a hospital in Atlanta, GA, with what was reportedly a severe case of Pneumonia, yet at this hour the cause of death is said to be in doubt.
Not the most cheerful news on any day; particularly if you, like me, have spent more than a few hours of your life contemplating the deeper beauties of Live at the Apollo (or Live at the Royal, for that matter). And while this Obit from the Mail & Guardian summarizes the case for his immortality neatly (if artlessly), a cursory listen to either of the aforementioned LPs (and about a half-dozen others I could name), would render all doubt to ash.