Cuban Heels to end the week, in a session (their second) recorded for John Peel on October 10th and broadcast on October 15, 1981. The band may not ring a lot of bells, particularly with American audiences, but when you consider they were originally one half of Scottish punk band Johnny & The Self-Abusers and that, upon breaking up, two bands emerged; Cuban Heels and Simple Minds, you get the bigger picture.
Within four months of Johnny’s demise, the Heels already had their first single (Downtown, on Housewive’s Choice) in the shops. At the time of its release, the band was bassist Paul Armour, guitarist Laurie Cuffe, vocalist John Milarky, and drummer Dave Duncan. They set up their own label, Cuba Libre, to release the Walk on Water single in 1980. Armour left and was replaced by Nick Clarke in time for the 1981 singles Sweet Charity and My Colours Fly; the LP Work Our Way to Heaven was also out by the end of the year, as well as a single in support of it.
Ironically, The Cuban Heels released their debut 7″ on their own Housewives Choice records in 1978 but three years later, found themselves signed to Simple Minds’ label Virgin Records. In fact, their sole album has a catalog number just three digits north of Simple Minds’ debut for Virgin Records that same year. Sadly, The Cuban Heels didn’t last as long as Simple Minds and have gone on to achieve a level of obscurity not particularly deserved in the Scottish Punk/Post-Punk/New Wave pantheon. One thing was certain – John Peel was a fan and this was the second of two session Cuban Heels did for Peel in 1981.
So crank it up. The session was produced for Peel by none other than the legendary former Mott The Hoople drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin who produced a string of sessions for Peel from 1981-1984. All the more reason to flip the play switch and have a seat.