A Leap In The Dark

To boldly go…into obscurity.

With 4,400 Peel Sessions in the roster, it was not always a guarantee of fame and fortune to be offered one: in fact, today’s offering is of three neglected items, all from 1982, that are in many ways typical of their time, but were a dead end for each of the bands concerned. They never made another one, and do not even seem to have been offered recording deals.

Dance Fault trod the same frantic choppy guitar semi-funk path as their contemporaries Haircut 100, but apart from drummer Graham Cusak were composed entirely of females. Perhaps their nemesis lay in the fact that the clipped style very quickly dated and there was little variation in their material. The other members were deep-voiced Jan Smiley, Susan Jones, Debbie Knapp (all vocals), Jade Campbell (bass), and Penny Pooley (guitar).

Christians In Search Of Filth, despite their name, were not 10-second hardcore grebos who went ‘BLEEEEAAAUUURGH!’, but a fusion of sax-driven fast-paced funk and quirky minor-key excursions eschewing sung vocals for chorused hectoring, who obviously had some kind of message latent in their oeuvre. The most interesting track here is the long workout on ‘Super Rich’, but for all that, they sound like a band who would have gone down better live than in the studio. They were: Alex Usborne and Dan Rubinstein (guitars); Simon Lewis (drums); Akinola (percussion); Dave Benady (bass); Reed Pimlot (sax); and Rick Walker (clarinet).

Perhaps the most intriguing of the three sessions here is that by the Crabs, who came from Norwich. Nothing to do with the punk band who produced a memorable session in 1978, this group, who Peel saw and recounts that they were given a lukewarm reception, offered tales of love either unfulfilled or grown cold and boring. Uncomfortably, one of the tracks is called ‘Rape Rap’, and is not at all one would expect, not being given the serious and harrowing treatment as in ‘The Boiler’, for example. However, these Bananarama wannabes had some promising ideas, and allowed Peel to talk them into a version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (apparently, he encouraged artists in those days to make their own version of the Liverpool terrace favourite in the hopes of releasing an LP, which apparently never materialised). Personnel: Sarah Smith, Jeanette Purcell, Karen King, Phil Emby, David Cuff.

None of the artists here appeared to have gone on to any other ventures, which in its way fits in with the ethos of the whole enterprise. John once said that he liked the idea that bands would produce one single or one session and then split up, having made their statement. Maybe this is what happened in the case of the artists here, maybe not, but the lack of any career information in general seems to say: We did it, and that’s that.

Christians In Search Of Filth, Peel Session 1982-08-11
Fast Food/Work/Gorilla/Super Rich

Crabs, Peel Session 1982-04-21
Love’s Not That Great Really/Please Ask Me Out/Rape Rap/You’ll Never Walk Alone/Stalemate

Dance Fault, Peel Session 1982-08-23
Tell Me It’s Fine/Toys/No Surprise/Stop

8 thoughts on “A Leap In The Dark

  1. Wow! These are amazing! Your blog/website just gets better and better. I was one who voted for Peel Sessions only when you asked a while back but I realise that I was very very wrong indeed because these are absolute gems. Can I be a little cheeky and ask for more please? I understand your frustration over lack of responses to your considerable efforts but please don’t be disheartened – I for one think is the best site on the web. Thanks loads for your efforts.

  2. The kind of comment I only dream of getting. No, you weren’t wrong to vote for what you liked as opposed to what you hadn’t heard yet. That is what John was all about: no doubt if you voted now the choices might be radically different, and I would be flattered to think that I had played any part in this. There are many corners of the sessionography that I feel are unfairly neglected, and I’ve come to realise that TK can extend its remit to cover this.
    And it’s not cheeky to ask for more! That just makes me feel I’ve done my ‘job’, if you can call it that. I hesitate to ask you to provide a list, though, since I’ve said before I don’t do requests: let’s just say that your plea hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, and please return, as there’s plenty more where that came from. All the very best to you!

  3. Great stuff, as ever. Been on my summer hols, hence not been dropping by too much. Hope all is well at your end.

  4. To Whom It May concern,

    This is Rev. Robert Wright, Editor for http://www.Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian’s needs. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice and to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward for your response regarding the matter,


    God Bless

    |Rev.Robert Wright|Christian.com|
    |1 International Blvd.|Mahwah, NJ 07495|

  5. Dance Fault session seems to have been deleted.
    Any chance you could please re-upload it?
    A big, big thank you for the other sessions.
    I love this blog.

  6. Hi PeelFan, my apologies for the dead link: not my ‘fault,’ I assure you. It’s now been restored, so download at will. I will also work on the other files you asked about elsewhere. Thank you so much for the kind comments: this has led to a revival of my interest here. Watch this space….

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