Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bridget St. John - 2010 - BBC Radio 1968-1976

Bridget St. John 
BBC Radio 1968-1976

01. I Don't Know If I Can Take It
02. Some Kind Of Beautiful
03. Jumblequeen
04. Fly High
05. Sparrowpit
06. Want To Be With You
07. Curious And Woolly
08. Head And Heart
09. Long Long Time
10. Come Up And See Me Sometime
11. Catch A Falling Star
12. Love Lie Easy
13. The River
14. Song To Keep You Company
15. Night In The City
16. Lazarus
17. Curl Your Toes
18. Thank You For...
19. Sparrowpit
20. Nancy Alice
21. Plain And Pearl
22. Make Me Whole
23. She Used To Play Harmonium
24. Crazy, Have You Eton
25. Peel 'sleeping Anecdote'
26. Bumper To Bumper
27. Leaves Of Lime
28. City Crazy
29. The Pebble And The Man
30. Back To Stay
31. Song For The Laird Of Connaught Hall - Part 2
32. Jolie Madame
33. The Spider And The Fly
34. The Oyster And The Flying Fish
35. To B Without A Hitch
36. Ask Me No Questions
37. Many Happy Returns
38. Hello Again (of Course)
39. Rochefort
40. Lizard Long Tongue Boy
41. The Present Song/Pig & Peel

Guitar, Vocals – Bridget St. John

CD1 1-9 Radio 1 In Concert 1st August 1974; CD1 10-12 Top Gear Session 6th January 1976 CD1 13-16 John Peel Presents Top Gear 1969; CD1 17 Peter Sarstedt Session 1969; CD1 18 Bob Harris Session 22nd March 1972; CD2 1-8 Radio 1 In Concert 3rd May 1975; CD2 9-16 Radio 1 In Concert 31st January 1971; CD2 17-22 Night Ride Session 21st August 1968; CD2 23 Top Gear Session 12th August 1974

Fans of singer, songwriter, and Brit-folk chanteuse Bridget St. John will no doubt be delighted by this double-disc, 41-cut selection of her BBC recordings with John Peel and other DJs from the late '60s through the mid-'70s. Peel was hosting Top Gear at this time, and took over the network’s Night Ride program from producer John Muir in 1968. St. John appeared on Night Ride first and that initial off-air rehearsal performance is here, near the end of disc two at her insistence, though its audio quality is not as high as most on this handsome package. The songs she chose for this performance are quite telling: “To Be Without a Hitch,” “Ask Me No Questions,” "Rochefort,” and “Lizard Long Tongue Boy,” to mention a few. This set is not arranged chronologically, which may piss off a few hardcore collectors and bibliophiles, but that’s what remote controls and multi-disc changers are for. It is arranged aesthetically -- the material on disc one is nearly flawlessly reproduced, while disc two has some rougher live spots (that do not take away from the performances). The package, with copious liner notes and an interview with St. John, has been wonderfully compiled and sequenced by Hux with the full cooperation of the artist and was beautifully remastered by Ron Geesin, who appears as a sideman on many of these sessions, as do Mike Oldfield, Bernie Marsden, and David Bedford.
St. John was one of the first artists signed to Peel's Dandelion Records imprint, and some of the tunes she recorded on her five albums were previewed either in these BBC sessions for Night Ride, Top Gear, or the terrific Radio 1 in Concert series.St. John’s performances of her own songs are complemented richly by covers of Buffy Sainte-Marie's “Lazarus,” Joni Mitchell's “Night in the City,” and John Martyn's “The River.” Kevin Ayers duets with St. John on three tunes from a Radio 1 in Concert performance in 1971: “Jolie Madame,” “The Spider and the Fly,” and the co-written “Oyster and the Flying Fish.” A collection like this is pretty much for fans only; part of that is the appeal of her voice, which is limited in range in the same way Nick Drake's was. But there was a reason she was a favorite of Peel’s: she was a talented -- if shy songwriter -- who delivered her material with an unintended aura of mystery, ambiguity, and authority that is uncharacteristic for the era, though it has been oft-imitated since. There are other good compilations available for novices culled from her five albums, but for those dedicated fans, this is the holy grail.

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