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A Witness

A Witness are an English post-punk/indie rock band formed in 1982 in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England, by Rick Aitken (guitar), Vince Hunt (bass) and a drum machine, in 1986 replaced by Alan Brown (of Big Flame fame). Keith Curtis (vocals) and Noel Kilbride (guitar) joined the group in 1983. Their career was brought to a halt with the death of guitarist Rick Aitken in 1989. Founder member and songwriter Vince Hunt revived the band with a new line-up for a series of UK-wide dates in 2014 marking the 25th anniversary of Aitken's death, and the band continues to play live.

Links To Peel

Their first EP Loudhailer Songs and début album I am John's Pancreas brought them to the attention of BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel, for whom they recorded four sessions. I Am John's Pancreas is not a tribute to the DJ, who brought the group to listener's attention, but apparently a series of features in the Readers Digest, which Peel explained in detail on his 01 November 1986 (BFBS) show:

"The LP is called "I Am John's Pancreas," and in case this sounds like a strange title for an LP, as indeed it is, it apparently derives from a whole series of features that were in the Reader's Digest for many years, alongside things like "Pre-Marital Hand-Holding: A Communist Plot," that kind of stuff. There was a series explaining the functions of the human body, of the "I Am John's Stomach," "I Am John's Pancreas," "I Am John's Sub-Navel Delights," that kind of thing, so that simple folk could understand how their bodies worked or didn't work."

After Rick Aitken's death, Peel paid tribute, by playing their Zip Up track on his 17 October 1989 show. After the song, Peel hoped that Strange Fruit got round to releasing some of their sessions, which they did so by the end of the year.

Sessions

Two sessions from 1988 are available on The Peel Sessions album (1989, CD/LP, Strange Fruit)

1. Recorded: 1985-12-15. Broadcast: 06 January 1986. Repeated: 17 February 1986

  • The Loud Hailer Song / Smelt Like A Pedestrian / O'Grady's Dream / Sharpened Sticks

2. Recorded: 1986-11-16. Broadcast: 09 December 1986. Repeated: 12 January 1987, 18 February 1987

  • Faglane Morris Wind / Nodding Dog Moustache / Raw Patch / Hard Day's Love

3. Recorded: 1988-01-10. Broadcast: 19 January 1988. Repeated: 06 April 1988

  • Zip Up / Sunbed Sentimental / Take Me Up To The Earth / Mcmanus Octaphone

4. Recorded: 1988-11-20. Broadcast: 30 November 1988. Repeated: 20 December 1988, 31 January 1989

  • Life The Final Frontier / I Love You Mr Disposable Razors / Helicopter Tealeaf / Prince Microwave Bollard

Other Shows Played

A Witness - A1

A Witness - A1.Lucky In London

1985
A Witness - Sharpened Sticks

A Witness - Sharpened Sticks

1986
A Witness - Hard Days Love

A Witness - Hard Days Love

1987
A Witness - A1

A Witness - A1.Raw Patch

1988
A Witness 'I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors'

A Witness 'I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors'

1989
1990
  • 11 January 1990: I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors (album - The Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
  • 17 March 1990 (BFBS): 'I Love You Mr. Disposable Razors (LP-Double Peel Sessions)' (Strange Fruit)
  • 25 November 1990: I Love You Mr Disposable Razors (v/a 2xLP - Manchester, So Much To Answer For) Strange Fruit
1991
  • 07 July 1991: Tomorrow Never Knows (EP - I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors) Vinyl Drip
2000
  • 24 August 2000: 'I Love You, Mr. Disposable Razors' (LP 'Threaphurst Lane') Overground

External Links