Blur on a Wednesday night. This time it’s a live set from the legendary Peel Acres, hosted by none other than John Peel, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on October 5, 1999.
In addition to their set, they also have a sit-down with Peel and play disc-jockey featuring all b-sides, not of their own singles, but others – interesting choices with everyone from New Order to Lee Dorsey. So it’s an added attraction and stays lively for the better part of 90 minutes. So pull up a chair and go time traveling back 20 years ago.
I’ve said this a lot over the years, but it’s true – John Peel did more to introduce audiences to new and interesting music than almost anyone at the time. That he didn’t manage to become as much of a household name here in the States as he did in the UK is certainly our loss. Although he most closely resembles the mission and attitude of disc jockeys from 60s top-40 and early underground FM here, he performed a service to audiences and helped further the cause of new music that simply wasn’t done here during the same time. He recorded live sessions with bands who hadn’t been signed – and was often seen championing those newly signed acts who desperately needed the exposure. He went out on a lot of limbs and the end result has been a rich and enduring legacy of many thousands of sessions over a period of some 40 years (from 1967 until his untimely death in October of 2004) that are being preserved, collected and shared by fans all over the world and by the BBC who still run session tracks sporadically on various other shows on BBC 6 Music.
John Peel performed an essential service – one that’s been copied in recent years by some of our college and Public radio stations here in the U.S. – in a time where much good music gets buried and overlooked, the examples that John Peel set have been the prototype for DJ’s to keep the spirit alive and well. It’s what keeps music vital.
Crank it up and enjoy.