220px-The Pig's Big 78s
Release date
  • 2006
  • CD
  • In 2006, German label Trikont released 'The Pig's Big 78s: A Beginner's Guide,' a compilation of tracks played in the Pig's Big 78 slot on Peel's BBC Radio One show, selected before his death by the DJ and his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft (“Pig”).
  • Peel first talked of releasing such an album on 26 March 2003: "Before we came down here to Maida Vale, we went down to our favourite Thai restaurant round the corner [...] and somebody said what a great idea it would be to put out an LP of the Pig's Big 78s. Well, I entirely agree with that." He subsequently contacted the Trikont label in Germany to propose the project.
  • Sheila kicks off the CD with the briefest of spoken introductions, echoing the style of the radio feature, before recordings from Peel's time-worn shellacs arrive free of crackles and other surface noise. Despite the DJ's reputation as a champion of new music, much of the collection dates back to the years before World War II, with the most recent original 78 released in 1958.
  • As noted by Sheila in the CD sleevenotes, many of the vintage songs and artists featured had particular associations for her husband. The DJ's professional name is referenced in the choice of the Olly Oakley version of 'The Jovial Huntsman,' including the traditional 'John Peel', while his Christian name appears in the title of 'John, John, Put Your Trousers On' by Mr Billy Williams. Elsewhere, Peel could hardly fail to notice that the leader of Jack White & His Band had the same name as the guitarist and singer of the White Stripes, his favourite current band.
  • The choice of 'Bradford' by the Besses o' th' Barn Band is a nod to Sheila's hometown, while 'Blue Tango' by Ray Martin & His Orchestra was the first record Peel bought as a child, originally on a 78 (see Peeling Back The Years).
  • Long-time favourite artists who appear on the compilation include Lightnin' Hopkins, Winifred Atwell, Earl Bostic and Ronnie Ronalde. Recent discoveries from 78s for the radio slot include romantic big-band numbers by the Three Ginx and Bob Richardson & His Orchestra. 'My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies', performed by Albert Whelan, is probably better known to many Peel listeners in a later cover version by the Bonzo Dog Band.
  • Among its novelty items and music from distant times and places, the eclectic lineup features football in the form of 'Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!' by Albert Whelan. Less obviously, the selection of 'Tom Hark' by Elias & His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes apparently came after supporters of Ipswich Town used the tune for a chant ("Top of the league at Portman Road..."). The club were Peel and Sheila's local team in East Anglia.
  • Like music-hall performer Albert Whelan, banjo player Olly Oakley makes two appearance on the album, under his own name and also accompanying Miss Agnes Preston on the final track, 'Massa's In De Cold, Cold Ground'.


(Years in brackets are release dates of original 78 rpm records. For play dates of individual tracks on Peel shows, see artist pages where available or Pig's Big 78 year pages for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.)

See Also


  • Wikipedia
  • Trikont Online catalogue listing for 'Pig's Big 78's - A Beginner's Guide', including tracklisting and links for reviews
  • Drowned In Sound: Life still has surface noise: Trikont release Pig's Big 78 album
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