BBC Sessions

Many thanks to DRW for this article
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Background to Radio Sessions

Musicians are pretty much anti-new media inventions, every time some new leap in technology comes along
(for example MP3s not so long ago), musicians will be complaining that it threatens their existence. And so
it goes right back to whenever, the invention of records, the emergence of radio etc. Musician unions
implemented some strange laws in what they saw was a way to protect their livelihood, one of these being
"needle time", the proportion of radio air time that could be used playing records. For the British state
broadcaster the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, affectionately known as the Beeb or Auntie Beeb),
they needed new fresh content of their own to fill up the remainder of their programmes, which is how their
session recordings evolved.

The BBC has a multiple studio recording complex in London's Maida Vale in which artists would typically
spend a day recording three or four songs for broadcast (being a recording studio, multiple takes and
overdubs could be utilised by the artist), and the resultant songs would be played on various radio
programmes, often with the claim that they were being performed "live". Obviously they weren't, a
deception which still continues today with "live" TV programmes such as chat, talent and light entertainment
shows.

The emergence of live recordings began later, at the end of the 1960s with their Sunday Concert series. The
BBC would record bands in front of an audience in one of their two venues, Paris Cinema or Playhouse
Theatre, and the resultant show would be broadcast at a later date. As with other live recordings, the BBC
could, if they so desired, edit and mix the show in the intevening time, so strictly speaking they weren't
entirely "live", i.e. being heard as it happened.

And now? Those strange musician union laws have long since disappeared, but the legacy of BBC sessions
remains, with the corporation still making heavy use of the Maida Vale recording studios for sessions by
even the top artists who understand the importance of their promotional nature, and perhaps enjoy the
opportunity for some extra one-off recording.

And, of course, the BBC is now blessed with an extensive archive of material, much of which gets re-aired
either on their specialist programmes, or released as genuine product by the contributing artist in this age of
cataloguing and collecting (bonus tracks etc). But not all survived, as is also the case with many early
television programmes (eg Pete and Dud) the corporation made. Not knowing at the time that what they
were doing would be deemed so significant many years later, and with the significant cost of tapes and their
storage, many performances have been lost, recorded over or simply junked.


Hawkwind Sessions

Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 18-Aug-1970
Broadcast: John Peel's Top Gear, 19-Sep-1970
Tracks   : "Hurry on Sundown", "Seeing It As You Really Are", "Some of That
         
 Stuff"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Thomas Crimble, Dikmik, Terry Ollis, Huw
       
   Lloyd-Langton
Released : "Hurry on Sundown" on The Text of Festival (Illuminated, JAMS 29,
    
      Jul-1983), "Some of That Stuff" (aka "Came Home") on Hawkwind
     
     Anthology Volume 3 (Samurai, SAMR040, Jun-1986)


Recorded : Paris Cinema, London, 5-Nov-1970
Broadcast: John Peel Sunday Concert, 15-Nov-1970
Tracks   : unlisted, but includes "Paranoia", "Seeing It As You Really Are"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Thomas Crimble, Dikmik, Terry Ollis
Released : "Paranoia" and "Seeing It As You Really Are" on The Text of
      
    Festival [see footnote 1]
Note     : The group were temporarily banned from BBC sessions after a
       
   microphone was stolen at this appearance.


Recorded : Playhouse Theatre, London, 19-Apr-1971
Broadcast: John Peel's Top Gear, 24-Apr-1971
Tracks   : "Inwards Out", "You Know You're Only Dreaming", "You Shouldn't
        
  Do That"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Dave Anderson, Dikmik, Terry Ollis
Released : "Inwards Out" (aka "We Do It") on The Text of Festival


Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 19-May-1971
Broadcast: Stuart Henry's Sounds of the Seventies, 27-May-1971 and
        
  24-Jun-1971
Tracks   : "Master of the Universe", "You Know You're Only Dreaming", "You
        
  Shouldn't Do That"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Dave Anderson, Dikmik, Terry Ollis
Released : All tracks on The Text of Festival


Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 2-Aug-1972
Broadcast: Johnnie Walker, 14-Aug-1972 and on the Brian Matthews Show on
         
 18-Nov-1972
Tracks   : "Silver Machine", "Brainstorm"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Lemmy, Dikmik, Del Dettmar, Simon King


Recorded : Paris Cinema, London, 28-Sep-1972
Broadcast: In Concert, 14-Oct-1972
Tracks   : "Countdown", "Born To Go", "Black Corridor", "Seven By Seven",
         
 "Brainstorm", "Electronic No. 1", "Master Of The Universe",
         
 "Paranoia", "Earth Calling", "Silver Machine", "Welcome To The
         
 Future", "Closing credits"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Lemmy, Dikmik, Del Dettmar, Simon King
Released : BBC Radio 1 In Concert (Windsong, WINCD 007, Oct-1991)
Note     : The Paris Cinema 1972 gig released on the Windsong CD is an
         
 inferior mono sound to the actual stereo broadcast, which is
         
 available on various bootleg CDs.  Some comparisons are drawn on
         
 the BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert CD review page

Recorded : Glasgow Apollo, 19-Oct-1982
Broadcast: Radio Clyde, 1982
Tracks   : "Choose Your Masques", "Coded Languages", "Magnu", "Dust of
         
 Time", "Waiting for Tomorrow", "Angels of Death", "Ghost Dance",
         
 "Golden Void", "Psychedelic Warlords"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Harvey Bainbridge,
         
 Martin Griffin
Released : Golden void (bootleg vinyl, 1983?  Brian Tawn reported it as 1991,
         
 which may be more accurate...)


Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 19-July-1985
Broadcast: Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show, 2-Aug-1985
Tracks   : "Magnu" / "Dreamworker" / "Dust of Time" medley, "They've Got
     
     Your Number", "Assault and Battery" / "Night of the Hawk"
    
      medley
Personnel: Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Harvey Bainbridge, Alan Davey,
     
     Danny Thompson
Note     : "They've Got Your Number" is a Huw Lloyd-Langton composition
     
     released as "Got Your Number" on his "Night Air" album. It was
    
      played by Tommy Vance back to back with Heart's "If Looks Could
      
    Kill" to highlight the similarities between both songs. A copy
     
     can be heard on the official Huw Lloyd-Langton website, along
      
    with "Moonglum" from Hammersmith Odeon 1988.  [See footnote 2]


Recorded : Reading Festival, 24-Aug-1986
Broadcast: Tommy Vance's Friday Night Rock Show, BBC Radio 1
Tracks   : "Magnu", "Angels Of Death", "Pulsing Cavern", "Assault and
     
     Battery", "Needle Gun", "Master Of The Universe", "Arrival In
    
      Utopia", "Brainstorm", "Dream Worker", "Dust Of Time",
   
       "Assassins Of Allah" (aka "Hassan-i-Sahba"), "Silver Machine" /
     
     "Paranoia" medley
Personnel: Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Harvey Bainbridge, Alan Davey,
     
     Danny Thompson
Released : The Friday Rock Show Sessions (Raw Fruit Records, FRSCD 005,
  
        Mar-1992)


Recorded : Hammersmith Odeon, London, 22-Apr-1988
Broadcast: Dec-1988
Tracks   : "Arrival In Utopia", "War I Survived", "Heads", "Shot Down In
     
     The Night", "Mutation Zone", "Tides", "Wasteland Of Sleep",
    
      "Moonglum", "Sonic Attack", "Rocky Paths", "Brainstorm"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Harvey Bainbridge, Alan Davey,
   
       Danny Thompson


Recorded : Maida-Vale Studio, London, 27-Jul-1995
Broadcast: Mark And Lard?, BBC Radio 1, 1995
Tracks   : "Right To Decide", "Assassins Of Allah" (aka "Hassan-i-Sahba")
    
      / "Space Is Their (Palestine)" medley, "Death Trap" /
 
         "Wastelands Of Sleep" / "Are You Losing Your Mind?" medley
Personnel: Dave Brock, Ron Tree, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick


Recorded : 4-Dec-2002
Broadcast: BBC Radio Newcastle's Julia Hankin show, 4-Dec-2002
Tracks   : "Hurry On Sundown", "Saint Dolay" (Tim Blake solo piece)
Personnel: Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake, Richard Chadwick
Note     : Available online
here.  The Tim Blake track is from his
         "Tide of the Century" album.  There is some question as to Huw's
    
      presence -he is not mentioned in the interview.


Hawkwind Related Sessions

This list is a highlight of known sessions and BBC live recordings of acts featuring various Hawkwind
personnel. It can in no way be considered exhaustive.

Artist   : Dave Brock and Friends
Recorded : Maida Vale Studio 3, 21-Jan-1969
Broadcast: John Peel's Night Ride, 29-Jan-1969
Tracks   : "Diamond Ring", "When I Came Home This Morning",
    
      "Hesitation Shuffle", "Illusions", "Ripley's Blues", "Roll
 
         'Em Pete"
Personnel: Dave Brock, Mike King, Mike Griggs, Pete Judd
Released : "Roll Em Pete", "Illusions", "Diamond Ring" may be the
    
      versions on Dawn of Hawkwind (Voiceprint, BP309, Jun-1999)
Note     : Session approved after an audition in front of a panel,
   
       following a written request by Dave Brock


Artist   : High Tide
Recorded : Paris Cinema, London, 9-May-1969
Broadcast: John Peel, 21-May-1969
Tracks   : "Walking Down Their Outlook", "Pushed But Not Forgotten",
  
        "Missing Out"
Personnel: Tony Hill, Simon House, Peter Pavli, Rodge Cooper


Artist   : Third Ear Band
Recorded : Studio T1, Kensington House, Shepherd's Bush, London,
     
     11-Feb-1972
Broadcast: John Peel, 25-Jan-1972
Tracks   : "Air", "I The Key"
Personnel: Denim Bridges, Simon House, Michael Merchant, Peter Pavli
Note     : This listing makes little sense, the broadcast date is
    
      prior to the recording date. Also, Glenn Sweeny isn't listed.


Artist   : Widow Maker
Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 30-Mar-1976
Broadcast: John Peel Show, Apr-1976
Tracks   : "Such A Shame", "When I Met You", "Leave The Kids Alone"
Personnel: Steve Ellis, Luther Grosvenor [aka Ariel Bender], Huw Lloyd-
   
       Langton, Bob Daisley, Paul Nichols


Artist   : Widow Maker
Recorded : Paris Theatre, London, 26-Sep-1976
Broadcast: In Concert, Oct-1976
Tracks   : "Come On Up", "Such A Shame", "Too Late To Cry", "El Doomo",
    
      "Ain't Telling You Nothing", "When I Met You"
Personnel: Steve Ellis, Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender), Huw Lloyd-
     
     Langton, Bob Daisley, Paul Nichols
Released : Straight Faced Fighter (Castle Communications, CMDDD586, 2002)


Artist   : Tanz Der Youth
Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 2-Aug-1978
Broadcast: John Peel Show, 1978
Tracks   : "Delay", "I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry", "Why I Die", "Mistaken"
Personnel: Brian James, Andy Colquhoun, Tony Moore, Alan Powell


Artist   : Dumpy's Rusty Nuts
Recorded : Great Yarmouth, 1984
Broadcast: Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show, 1984
Tracks   : "Rip It Up", "Hot Lover", "Riding My Hog", "X-Keys", "Ain't
    
      Askin' For Much"
Personnel: Dumpy Dunnell, others unknown, with Nik Turner ("X-Keys",
         "Ain't Askin' For Much")


Artist   : Lloyd-Langton Group
Recorded : Maida Vale Studio, London, 25-Apr-1986
Broadcast: Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show, 1986
Tracks   : "Like An Arrow", "So Long Waiting", "Take A Back Step", "I
    
      Could Cry"
Personnel: Huw Lloyd-Langton, Kenny Wilson, John Clark


Artist   : Pink Fairies
Recorded : Maida Vale Studio 4, 10 & 24-Nov-1970
Broadcast: John Peel's Top Gear, 28-Nov-1970
Tracks   : "Lucille", "The Snake", "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds"
Personnel: Paul Fraser Rudolph, Duncan Stuart Sanderson, Russell
     
     Barry Hunter, John Charles Alder (Twink)
Released : "Lucille", "The Snake" on Mandies and Mescaline Round At
     
     Uncle Harry's (New Millenium Communications, PILOT31, 1997)
Note     : Assessed by the board as "a most ugly heavy noise, not for
    
      general use".


Artist   : Pink Fairies
Recorded : Paris Theatre, London, Oct-1971
Broadcast: In Concert, 4-Nov-1971
Tracks   : "Johnny B. Goode", "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout"
Personnel: Paul Rudolph, Trevor Burton, Duncan Sanderson, Russell
     
     Hunter
Released : Mandies and Mescaline Round At Uncle Harry's (New Millenium
   
       Communications, PILOT31, 1997)


Excluded from the above list was anything and everything by Motorhead, as that's too large a subject to be
encompassed in a listing of Hawkwind(ish) sessions.  But the details can be found
here.


Sources

- Trevor Hughes Hawkfrendz newsletter, 1983
- Ken Garner, In Session Tonight: The Complete Radio 1 Recordings (BBC, c 1993, ISBN 0563364521)
- BBC John Peel
website
- BBC In Concert catalogue
- Marmalade Skies website


Footnotes

[1] All of the sources for the tracks that appeared on The Text Of Festival album are taken from a Trevor
Hughes Hawkfrendz newsletter published in 1983, claims that are supported by Ken Garner's "In Session
Tonight" book. However, there are CD-R bootlegs of these early Hawkwind sessions [see
here] that give
the source for "Paranoia" and "Seeing It As You Really Are" as the Playhouse Theatre, 19-Apr-1971 rather
than the Paris Cinema, 5-Nov-1970.

[2] The Maida Vale 1995 session was released on Theta Orionis (bootleg CD, 199095, Dec 1996).