A Bird In The Hand, etc.

"What a good place to be/They speak a different language, but it's never really mattered to me". Superb.

To say that this post has been a long time in the making would be, I think, the understatement of the century, but I hope you’ll agree it’s been worth it. Given the material, let’s call it an early Christmas present from me (and a fairly hefty sized one, so have patience with the download).

The Housemartins have appeared here previously, as their immortal song Flag Day was their sole Festive Fifty entry in 1985. However, they recorded  four Peel sessions, which have infuriatingly turned up over the years piecemeal on different compilations, the most recent of these being Live At The BBC. What is worse, none of these did the job properly, and left out a fair chunk of material. Therefore, the fourth best band in Hull have never had all their recordings for Peel available in one place.

Until now. The zip file below contains all of them, the quality of some better than others, but all listenable. The reason why I waited so long to make this available to you was that I have only just managed to get hold of the one track that has never been released from their first session. So enjoy a healthy dose of pop (two versions of ‘Happy Hour’, thier glorious condemnation of yuppy culture) mixed with rather more than a little Christianity (‘When I First Met Jesus’. a cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Heaven Help Us All’, ‘Sunday Isn’t Sunday’ and so on).  The second session includes the first recording of what nearly became their Christmas number one for 1986, Caravan Of Love, and the third is entirely accapella, and is an example of their Fish City Five alter ego.

Peel repeated all of these over Christmas each year, but then when the band fragmented, showed no interest in the work of any of them save Norman Cook, who of course hit the dancefloor and had monster smashes with Beats International and as Fatboy Slim. Presumably The Beautiful South was just too commercial for him, but you can hear the roots of that style in these recordings.

Housemartins, Peel Sessions

#1 (recorded 1985-07-21)
Drop Down Dead/Flag Day/Stand At Ease/Joy Joy Joy
#2 (recorded 1986-04-06)
Happy Hour/Get Up Off Our Knees/Over There/Caravan Of Love
#3 (recorded 1986-06-03)
Pickin’ The Blues/Happy Hour/When I First Met Jesus/Heaven Help Us All/He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
#4 (recorded 1987-11-03)
There Is Always Something There To Remind Me/Sunday Isn’t Sunday/Build

4 thoughts on “A Bird In The Hand, etc.

  1. Well, if a job’s worth doing!

    Many thanks Steve. That extra little finesse is so essential.

    With all the due care and attention of the blog artizan that you are – and the kind of attention to detail we’ve come to expect.

    “Something’s going on, a change is taking place
    Children smiling in the street have gone without a trace
    This street used to be full, it used to make me smile
    And now it seems that everyone is walking single file
    And many hang their heads in shame
    That used to hold them high
    And those that used to say hello
    Simply pass you by”.

  2. Aah, ‘Think For A Minute’, a piece of dazzling gold nestling in a cache of diamonds. Thanks for the comment, Dick, and glad this met with your approval, old friend.

  3. Love this band still, caravan of Love was the very first 7″ single I ever bought, and the London 0 Hull 4 album one of the first albums. Happy memories…

  4. Hard to think of many better bands from that era. I was very happy when Hull City won their first four games against London opposition last season.

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