"The half-witted, idealistic notion behind Dandelion and our other violent, capitalist enterprise, Biscuit Music, is that any profits, if such there be, should go to the artists, not to Clive nor myself. We want to record people whose songs and poems we like and whom we like as people. At the moment this means Bridget St. John, Beau, (Beau Who?), Principal Edwards Magic Theatre and the Occasional Word Ensemble. If people like their records, and I honestly can't think of any reason why they shouldn't, then we'll be able to record a host of other people you've probably never heard of either."
(John Peel, Dandelion Records launch ad, International Times, 1969-07-18)
Bridget St John (born Bridget Hobbs, 4 October 1946, South London) is a British singer and songwriter, best known for the three albums she recorded between 1969 and 1972 for John Peel's Dandelion label. Peel produced her debut album Ask Me No Questions. She also recorded a large number of BBC Radio and Peel sessions and toured regularly on the UK college and festival circuit. Her popularity peaked in 1974 when she was voted fifth most popular female singer in that year's Melody Maker readers poll. An accomplished guitar player, she credits John Martyn as her guitar mentor. The second album Songs for the Gentle Man, was produced by Ron Geesin. St John then recorded another album, Jumble Queen, for Chrysalis Records in 1974. She emigrated to Greenwich Village in 1976 and virtually disappeared from the public eye for over 20 years... (read more at Wkipedia)
Links To Peel
Bridget St. John was a regular guest on John Peel's shows in his early years at the BBC. Her first session was for Night Ride in 1968 and she was also one of the artists featured on the rare 1969 BBC Records LP John Peel Presents Top Gear. She described how she came to the DJ's attention in an interview with the fanzine Liquorice (issue 1, April 1975, p. 15) after John Martyn had encouraged her to make a tape:
When I made the tape, a guy I was going out with, called Pete Roche, knew John Peel. He was a poet....And so he said I'll take the tape to John's producer and if he likes it, maybe he'll give you a session. So, he did and I did! I did six songs. So the producer said come to the programme, because John always likes to meet the people that have done the sessions for him. It was really nice, so I went to the Night Ride programme and John really liked what I did and the next day he rang up and had got me a television thing . Then, somehow he'd take me on gigs. I can't remember exactly how it happened. We'd go to discotheques and things, and I'd play for half an hour....He'd just say to the audience "I want you to be very quiet because she's very shy", just really nice. And they'd really listen. Maybe they weren't into what I was doing, but at least they'd give me a chance....
She became a personal friend of the DJ as well as a favourite artist, and wrote lyrics for him for a song called "Pig and Peel" (to the tune of 'This Old Man') which, she said, reduced Peel to tears when he first heard it. She continued to record sessions for Peel until she emigrated to the USA in 1976 and remained in contact with him after that. Speaking about Dandelion Records on 30 July 2002, Peel says that Bridget was "the main reason why we started the label 'cos nobody else was going to record her stuff".
On the same show he recounts this tale:
"I did a lot of gigs with her and there was a memorable one that we did in Sunderland together. The promoter there assumed that Bridget and I were an item and put us in the same bed. She remained fully dressed all night - didn't even take her boots off (laughs). That's true. She got knee-length boots and they stayed on all night. It makes me laugh just to think of it even now."
Festive Fifty Entries
- Ten sessions. Some tracks available on BBC Radio 1968-1976 and Live At The BBC (1968-1972)
- On Dandelion Albums & BBC Recordings Collection 4xCD Box, 2015 (Cherry Red CRCDMBOX17)
- On Fly High Cherry Red / Dandelion CDBRED 696
1. Recorded 1968-08-21. Only broadcast 28 August 1968.
- To B Without A Hitch / Ask Me No Questions / Many Happy Returns / Hello Again (Of Course) / Rochefort / Lizard Long Tongue Boy
- Curl Your Toes / Night In The City / Hello Again (Of Course)
- (Repeat only) The River / Song To Keep You Company / Lazarus / Like Never Before
3. Recorded 1970-11-09. Only broadcast 21 November 1970.
- Back To Stay / The Leaves Of Lime / City Crazy / If You’d Been There
- Thank You For … / Happy Day / Silver Coin / Fly High (first broadcast 27 June 1972
- Fly High / To Leave Your Cover / If You've Got Money In Your Pockets Ask Me No Questions
- Sparrow Pit / Passing Thru / Jumble Queen / The Road Was Lonely On My Own
- Curious And Woolly / Choosing You Lose One / Jumble Queen / Sparrow Pit / In The Bleak Midwinter
- Want To Be With You / Song For The Waterden Widow / Some Kind Of Beautiful / I Don't Know If I Can Take It Anymore / Present Song/Pig & Peel
- Come Up And See Me Sometime / Catch A Falling Star / Untitled Song / Bumper To Bumper
10. Recorded: 1976-11-04. Only broadcast 26 November 1976.
- Moody / Grow / Crazy Have You Eton / Song For You
- ↑ According to an interview the singer did with John Tobler for Zigzag 27 (unnumbered pages), this appearance was on How It Is, the BBC show on which Peel was one of the regular presenters.
Other Shows Played
- 11 October 1969: Ask Me No Questions (LP - Ask Me No Questions) Dandelion
- 14 November 1970: If You’ve Got Money (single) Warner Bros
- 05 December 1970: If You've Got Money (single) Warner Bros
- 24 April 1971: unknown
- Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 2: Fly High (single) Dandelion
- Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 2: Fly High (single) Dandelion
- Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 5: Nice (LP –Thank You For... ) Dandelion
- Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 6: To Leave Your Cover (LP – Thank You For) Dandelion
- 01 January 1972: Song For The Laird Of Connaught Hall
- 01 January 1972: Love Minus Zero
- 15 February 1972: Fly High (single) Dandelion
- 25 February 1972: Fly High (single) Dandelion
- 16 June 1972: Love Minus Zero, No Limit (LP – Thank You For) Dandelion
- 04 July 1972: To Leave Your Cover (LP – Thank You For…) Dandelion
- 21 July 1972: Fly High (LP – Thank You For...) Dandelion
- 17 May 1973: Passing Thru’ (single) MCA
- 22 May 1973: The Road Was Lonely On My Own (single - Passing Thru' b-side) MCA
- 06 June 1974: I Don't Know If I Can Take It (LP - Jumble Queen) Chrysalis
- 05 September 1974: St John appears to be in the studio with Peel
- 11 October 1978: (JP: "And that begs the question, is there another track called Ask Me No Questions? And indeed there is, by Bridget St John, and it includes a ridiculous two-minute break for birdsong and church bells. And my considerable affection for the track nothing to do at all to do with the fact that I produced it myself back in 1969.")
Ask Me No Questions (LP – Ask Me No Questions) Dandelion
- 05 October 1988: Many Happy Returns
- 15 April 1999: Ask Me No Questions (LP: Ask Me No Questions) Dandelion
- 07 November 2001: After an email query from Lianne Hall, emerges that a few days earlier Peel had called her a modern-day Bridget St. John. Claims that if Dandelion Records had been commercially successful he’d probably be “living a fantastic life” somewhere in America, “and be a cocaine addict, among other things.”
- 15 November 2001: Remembers producing the title track from Bridget St John’s debut LP for Peel’s Dandelion Records: “I was allowed my head on this one, so there’s an unparalleled number of birdsong on there. Because we weren’t quite sure about the copyright on the original recordings, we just stacked loads and loads on top of each other … so you probably hear things like corncrakes existing in an environment along with meadow pippets – are there such things as meadow pippets? And someone will tell you that they can’t coexist and don’t live in the same part of the world … but on this record they do. There are also church bells and kind of wind effects, and two guitars, the second of them played by John Martyn. And a bit of a masterwork, I see it as being. I am almost entirely certain that I am unique in this.”
Ask Me No Questions (CD – Ask Me No Questions / For The Gentle Man) See For Miles reissue
- 25 July 2002: Ask Me No Questions (LP - Ask Me No Questions)' (See For Miles)
- Record Collection: S
- Record Boxes: Pete Paphides
- John Peel Presents Top Gear
- ABC Of Beauty
- John Peel Section