• John Peel's Scottish Sessions
  • BBC Radio Scotland
  • 2009-12-25
  • (k) Produced by Nick Low of Demus Productions, presented by Tom Ravenscroft, and I think it should be quite good, despite the fact that I am in it. I know Nick has conducted new interviews with more than 15 Scottish veterans of Peel Sessions (from Mike Heron of ISB and Ron Geesin, through to the Delgados, AC Acoustics and Camera Obscura), built around their session tracks, and sympathetically edited to tell the story of how a session came about, how it felt, and how the bands feel now about John looking back. There might also be a few session tracks that are not generally known or in circulation.
  • (other) Many thanks to Mark L for the extended tracklisting below. Mark also commented: "Shame no Fire Engines stories – a great early 80s Scottish band. Indeed absence of Postcard Records – Josef K or Orange Juice – sessions odd. I am pretty certain he introduced me to The Proclaimers too but that might have been Mr Kershaw."


  • All tracks from Peel sessions unless otherwise indicated.


(Tom Ravenscroft: “I’ve never heard that record before … My great-grandmother was Scottish, and my father had a great love of football, which stretched to Meadowbank Thistle, Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish, who is fortunate enough to share his surname with my middle name. They are slightly weak links but we are going to run with it.”)
(Samples of upcoming music from Scottish sessions, ending in ...)
  • Bis: We Love John Peel
(Ken Garner tells the story of the first Scottish session artist being surprisingly Lulu. Bernie Andrews was thinking he may be threatened with dismissal for booking Tyrannosaurus Rex so booked a few MOR bands at the beginning of Peel’s career.)
  • Lulu: Love’s Love To Love Love – not the original now-lost session version (first TX 19 November 1967, session didn't include 'Shout')
(Series of reminisces by key figures from Scottish music about importance of Peel to music. The interviews are played over session tracks with occasional whole versions of songs which aren’t always identified and not always played in their entirety with people speaking over them, something that would have annoyed Peel Snr:
- Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thompson (who did early session with Yummy Fur)
- Douglas McIntryre of Creeping Bent Records
- Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian
- George Cheyne of APB)
(Introduction from John Cavanagh of Adventures In Stereo: Ken Hyder’s Talisker – fused influences of Scottish music with free jazz.)
(JP outro: “Thank you - jolly braw, if not to say bonny.”)
(Bill Aitken (BBC engineer) explains JP’s role as a public service broadcaster in bringing new music to attention of public.)
(Talking about Peel and his importance to them and their bands:
- Clare Grogan from Altered Images explains how they wanted JPs attention
- Justin Currie from del Amitri
- Gordon McInytre – ballboy [same as Creeping Bent Records above?]
- Graham Kemp – Urusei Yatsura)
(Ken explores process of session selections, JP's Top Gear era.)
(Reminiscences of Mike Heron from The Incredible String Band)
(Richard Jobson of The Skids explains the story of their first session – includes story about TV Stars, which was made up as one session track short. Made up the lyrics on the spot.)
(Jim Kerr of Johnny & The Self-Abusers and Simple Minds talks about how much better the Skids were than Johnny and the Self-Abusers but that Peel crucial to Simple Minds success.)
(Explaining how they got a session:
- Clare Grogan
- George Cheyne (APB))
(Richard Jobson from the Skids again – Peel was essential to their musical output and how he told him off for being a “rock star” in Notting Hill. “John Peel discovered the Skids.”)
  • Skids: The Saints Are Coming (1/9/78)
(Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian) reminds us that Peel was a great talker.)
(Link to bands with a Scottish connection even if not all Scottish: Faces, Thin Lizzy, Cream, Magazine, Siouxsie & The Banshees, and The Motors, whose singer was Scottish.)

(News from Xmas day 2009 – crazed woman attacks Pope, Queen’s Speech and Scottish Football. Think Peel would have appreciated that eclectic mix.)

Welcome back from “Tom Ravenscroft – one of his four horrid children”
(Stuart Murdoch – knew the significance of having done a Peel session.)
(Mogwai's Stuart Braitwaite explains doing a session at the Hippodrome.)
(Bill Aitken (engineer) reminisces about his own session in 1975.)
(APB talk about the session engineers/producers importance and Mark Radcliffe tells how he persuaded Jesus & Mary Chain to lay off the feedback and regrets it to this day.)
(Rab Noakes explains how the session worked for him.)
(Jim Kerr on producers – Dale "Buffin" Griffin [does this solve the mystery of “U” for Unknown for the producer of the Simple Minds 2nd session record in the bible of Ken?])
(Justin Currie of Del Amitri discusses the session process. Dale Griffin again.)
(JP outro: “That is excellent, very good indeed.” Justin Currie: “One of the proudest moments in my life!”)
(Graham Kemp of (Urusei Yatsura): “Peel session means you are a proper band.”)
(Emma Pollock of The Delgados describes the enthusiasm Peel had for the band.)
(Phil from The Stretchheads - session story and what sounds a pretty wild time in their session.)
(Talking about how important getting paid was:
- Stuart from Mogwai
- James from Urusei Yatsura)
(Ken again! The importance of the session to musical history and youth culture.)
(Justin Currie of del Amitri: “John Peel and John Walters the greatest A&R people in the world.”)
(Clare Grogan: The "pixie of pop" (who was "probably a bit of a prat”) talks about Peel singing on their session: “He probably regretted it for the rest of his life, but he did it! ... I feel hugely proud … when people criticise Altered Images for being a bit fluffy it doesn’t matter because you know, John Peel liked us and he knew.”)
  • Altered Images: Song Sung Blue (with Peel singing (!) and whistling (?) 22/9/81)
(Unidentified Camera Obscura spokesperson – Burns Night at Peel Acres. Sessions helped band keep going.)
(AC Acoustics – Paul Campion, band stayed together for their last Peel session.)
(Ken on Ivor Cutler (sessions 1969-1998) - carried on doing what he did and did it well.)
(Stuart from the Delgados - story about a night out in Motherwell during filming of Sounds Of The Suburbs, doing a pub quiz together (Peel rubbish in music round!) - “an easy conversationalist.”)
(Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai – story about live session at Maida Vale on night of Celtic losing UEFA Cup final and Peel.)
(Peel Acres as recording set up – Stuart from Belle & Sebastian explains how it works.)
(Stuart McIntyre from ballboy)
(Last session was a couple of days after he died. The session went ahead – a strange but sad occasion: “The sense you were singing these songs and he wasn’t going to hear them… a strange type of melancholy … very sad.)
(Ken on what we have lost … again very sad.)
(Ends with Stuart of Belle and Sebastian talking about Christmas session (session #3, live from Maida Vale 18 December 2002)
(John Peel: “A deeply moving experience.”)


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