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41 tracks, 21 unreleased
Black Flag 519 BLCD2005 

Good German set with many BBC recordings from the early days, plus other "trax", all on one CD.

My Babe (Dixon-Stone)
Johnny talks to Brain Matthew
Magic Of Love (Kidd-Dale-Robinson)
Growl (Heath-Robinson)
Johnny talks to Brain Matthew
If You Were The Only Girl In The World (Grey-Ayer)
That's All You Gotta Do
Johnny talks to Brain Matthew
Weep No More, My Baby (Arnette-O'Dell-Murphy-Paterno)
Never Mind  vocals by MIKE WEST
Mike West talks to Brain Matthew
A Fool Such As I  vocals by MIKE WEST
Setarip  The Pirates
Dream Lover (Darin)
I Go Ape (Sedaka) vocals by TOM BROWN
Tom Brown talks to Brain Matthew
Teenager In Love  vocals by TOM BROWN
Please Don't Touch (Heath-Robinson)
Johnny talks to Brain Matthew
Restless (Wadmore-Kidd)
Shakin' All Over (Heath) 1960
So What (Crompton-Jones) 1962
Feelin' (Robinson-Heath) 1959
Please Don't Touch (Heath-Robinson) 1959
Shakin' All Over (Heath) 1960
I'll Never Get Over You (Mills) 1963
Longin' Lips (Heath) 1960
Yes Sir, That's My Baby (Donaldson-Kahn) 1960
More Of The Same (De Angelis) 1961
Restless (Wadmore-Kidd) 1960
Some Other Guy (Glick-Glick-Barren) 1963
Please Don't Bring Me Down (Kidd) 1961
Growl (Heath-Robinson) 1959
Big Blon' Baby (Robert-Jacobson) 1964
Let's Talk About Us (Blackwell) 1964
Oh Boy (West-Tilghman-Petty) 1964
Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-yo (W. Perryman) 1964
Ecstasy (Pomus-Spector) 1963
I Want That (Williams) 1962
Please Don't Touch (Heath-Robinson) 1964
Hungry For Love (Mills) 1963

"The Lost BBC Sessions" (1994)

1994 saw the release of this 41-track set from a German label, Black Flag which comes complete with a nice 16-page booklet containing plenty of rare photographs - some autographed by the Guv'nor.  This makes this CD's desirability all the more for serious collectors of the groups material and although copies turn up here and there, it is getting quite scarce. 

The first twenty-one tracks are taken from the legendary BBC "Saturday Club" shows hosted by Brian Matthew which were recorded between 1959 and 1961.  They exist today on "transcription" discs that were recorded at the time for possible overseas sales and from which some good restorations have been made.  Matthew, by the way, still hosts "Sounds Of The 60's" on BBC Radio 2 today.  These BBC tracks later appeared on a single CD from the mysterious "Blakey Records" under the title "At The BBC" in about 1995, but here saw their first release.  The second half (or nearly two-thirds) of the CD contains twenty studio tracks, all are in mono, and are a good cross-section from the group's EMI career which compliments the radio recordings well. 

And it is the BBC recordings we are primarily interested in here as they represent much of the group's stage material of the time, the often single-take nature of the recordings giving a live feel.  They took some time to see the light of day despite the suggestion being made by Roger Dopson in his copious sleeve notes from the back cover of the "Rarities" LP from 1983.  He believed the BBC seemed to have most of the "Saturday Club" shows in one format or another.  A few years earlier the suggestion was also made by Alan Wheeler in the first edition of his Johnny Kidd Appreciation Society" newsletter.  It was reasonably well-received - indeed the reply he got made mention of the original "Oh Boy", "Drumbeat" and other LP's that could do with a timely re-issue.  (Listings can be found on the Internet of all existing shows of "Saturday Club" and even some of the pop TV shows.)

There is a wide variety of material here, of the groups' "regular" tracks here, "Weep No More My Baby" is as good as the recording laid down for the "Saturday Club" LP, and is one of the highlights of the early Pirates career.  The quality leads one to speculate whether it was even considered for single release.  "Please Don't Touch" is taken at breakneck speed, but both "Shakin' All Over" and "Restless" are closer to their 45 counterparts.  Tracks never attempted in the EMI studios include "My Babe" with Johnny at the helm, plus "That's All You Gotta Do", "A Fool Such As I", "Dream Lover", "I Go Ape", "A Teenager In Love" and the Cliff Richard hit "Never Mind" as tackled by Mike West.  The Pirates also have a "solo" spot with an instrumental, "Setarip" ("Pirates" backwards - geddit?).

In one of the incredibly short "chat tracks" where Johnny talks to Brian Matthew mention is made of their debut disc "Please Don't Touch" making the charts at no. 20, and the question is asked whether a follow-up had been recorded yet.  The answer is no, but on being asked what he would like to record, Johnny answers "If You Were The Only Girl In The World" before the group break into their version of the song, proving that if it wasn't already in their stage act, it would soon be as the song was under active consideration even then.

Mike West and Tom Brown - his co-singers from the very first line-up of the Pirates - get a share of the limelight and take centre-stage on a few numbers between them, which is more that they normally got at EMI, hidden away as backing vocalists on the early 45's.  Mike West tackles the Cliff Richard number "Never Mind" after which he briefly chats with Brian Matthew who asks him whether the eye-patch he wore that morning was part of the Pirate uniform.  West was in fact wearing it due a stye in his eye, and the rest of the lads had taken the mickey out of him something rotten.  Maybe Matthew's suggestion wasn't totally forgotten.....

These recordings sound reasonably good despite their vintage and a few dropouts here and there, and forgiving the fact that the whole running time of these 21 tracks is a mere 35 minutes.  These excellent archive recordings - for which we should be extremely grateful that they have survived at all - appear to have been derived from BBC Transcription discs, probably recorded live as the original program was being played live on-air for possible overseas sales.  Off-air recordings from the groups' later years on the radio are known to have been recorded off-air by fans but sadly appear not to have survived.

The rest of the tracks on the CD present a good cross-section of EMI material.  These kick off with "So What", a neglected minor classic slice of pre-Beatles UK Rock 'n' Roll and running the gamut through to the 1963 single "Hungry For Love", and all are mono mixes thus retaining the power of the original singles.  This also means it doesn't make the BBC recordings seem out of place.  "Big Blon' Baby" and "Let's Talk About Us" appear here from the "lost Album" sessions, they previously appeared in mono on the "Rarities" LP/CD.  For "Oh Boy", "Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-yo" and "Please Don't Touch" - I may be wrong but as far as I can see this release marks their first appearance on CD in mono.  All in all a good collection - get it if you can.  See also "...At The BBC".

P.S. - Anyone notice the photo is the wrong way round, as was the one on the last vinyl "Best Of..." LP?


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