FABRICLIVE 07 - John Peel
magine, a DJ waiting 40 years to release a compilation mix album. Impossible, isn’t it? Normally, as soon as someone adopts the tag, a mix album is in the works days after. The legendary John Peel doesn’t really think that way, but he’s never really done things in a conventional mode. He broadcasts his shows from his home, he’s almost petrified of making live and club appearances, and he’s as good at beat matching as your Mum and Dad would be. He is in his 60s, for chrissakes.
Fabric has finally convinced him that it is a good idea. But is it? Anyone who knows of Peel, knows that he is legendary because he plays what he likes, not necessarily what you or I might like. That side of him was obviously at work when he was compiling FABRICLIVE 07, because it flows like a smooth glass of sharp, ridged pebbles.
His taste is really impressive for a man his age, but he’s always played “too cool” music. While you can’t knock his taste, you can knock the way he has tried to mix his songs. There are some great tracks on this comp, but next to each other, the majority of them sound completely ridiculous and out of place. The Soledad Brothers, an extremely cool band, start the tunes of with a pretty groovin’ track, yet what is it mixed into? “Night Time (Late Night Blues)”, a reggae number by Don Carlos. Does it fit? Hell no, but that’s nothing really. Next is some jungle, mixed with 60's soul sisters The Velvellettes, followed by the Hee Haw stylings of Bad Livers, who cover “Lust For Life” with a fiddle and banjo. Humorous? Extremely. Then, a vocal harmony group serenade mixed with The Fall’s “Mr. Pharmacist”. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment. How about soulful funk united with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, which contains a footie sample? Not funny.
The best thing about this compilation, though, is the introduction: a sample of his longtime hero, Kenny Dalgish, scoring a goal for his new team. It seems to be an important part of him, as is the inclusion of his all-time favorite song, “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones.
It’s hard to put Peel into a situation like a mix album, because he just doesn’t fit the format. Yeah, it’s a great idea, but a simple selection of songs he likes, for an unmixed comp, might be a better idea. Stick the beat-matching and mixing to someone with a little more skill.
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01