Another example from the many releases on Strange Fruit from the late ’80s into the ’90s that delved back into the BBC Radio 1 session recording archives. This one is on the ‘Nighttracks’ imprint which was reserved for the sessions that were recorded for the BBC Radio 1 evening shows other than John Peel’s show – sadly, that sun-label only released a fraction of the possible sessions compared to the main label.
Slightly different titles on these two releases, but the same session. Dating from the period of the ‘Yummer Yummer Man’ single release, the tracks chosen range from the then current single back through the previous ‘Jesus Egg That Wept’ mini-album and ‘Pop Eyes’ album.
‘Live In London 1986’ is a curious yet appealing release I spotted amongst the racks way back in the day, styled to fit in with the UK single releases of ‘Left Of Center’ and ‘Marlene On The Wall’ (1986 re-release) by the looks of it. Turns out that it was only issued in Australia, New Zealand and Japan and it is made up of a variety of live recordings that in some cases found themselves spread across various B side and 12″ singles in the UK – but also a couple that look to be exclusive to this release. My copy is the Australian vinyl mini-album, picked up on import.
The Strange Fruit label series of John Peel Sessions was a real godsend… so much good stuff made available from a fate of home recorded cassettes taped from (at best) occasionally hissy FM or dull and crackly medium wave radio broadcasts. This particular release of Xmal Deutschland and their spring 1985 John Peel session is an interesting one in a number of respects.
The first single to be lifted from PiL’s 1987 album, ‘Happy’, ‘Seattle’ was a a lively, punchy track that sadly failed to provide much of a hit to match the momentum that the previous year’s ‘Album’ and ‘Rise’ releases had. Bolstered with a resurgent John McGeogh on guitar, its a highly polished production, courtesy of Gary Langan, and his high-tech, meticulous touches are one thing, though how well it fitted with earlier PiL sounds is a point of debate.
Much like 1985 had been, 1986 was another productive yet non-standard year, with the band shying well away from the traditional album and accompanying singles music business way of doing things. This year saw a stripped-down duo version of the band release a unique, subsequently well-loved minimal sounding album, one full-band, full-blooded EP and a collaborative album that didn’t even mention the band by name… plus a few more compilation releases yielding different versions or exclusive tracks once more…
1986 got off to a start with the first ever CD release by 4AD (apparently), in the form of the compilation album ‘The Pink Opaque’ – this CD version was issued in the UK with a release date of 17th January 1986 and I’m unsure of the US release date – the significance being that this was a joint pressing between 4AD in the UK and Relativity in the US. The CD has an identical track listing to the vinyl/cassette release of this compilation from the previous year. So, it is primarily of interest as far as versions go of containing the remixed/re-recorded ‘Wax and Wane’ and the non-album previously cassette-only ‘Millimillenary’. It’s worth noting too that the version of ‘Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops’ is the 7″ version. Continue reading “Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1986”