30 Reviews in 30 days: #11
For a time I used to collect Peel Sessions, no matter who the band was. I have several in my collection. Some are on cassette, but we are for the most part sticking with CD’s for now since they are scattered all over my library floor still.
Levellers 5 – The Peel Sessions
Dutch East India Trading/Strange Fruit, Recorded April 19, 1990 & first broadcast May 10, 1990. EP released in 1991.
Levellers 5 are a quintet that are in the alternative genre. The lineup as recorded in 1990 consisted of Ian Almond (African drum, percussion), Carole Fleck (Tom tom, percussion), Terry Walsh (bass), Steven Lindley (guitar), and John Donaldson (vocals, guitar).
1. Warning Shadows – I like Donaldson’s voice on this percussion heavy song. The song has a tribal feel with the percussion performance. Lyrics are kept very minimal with nearly the same phrase repeated throughout the song, “Warning shadows over me.”
2. Mister Tell Me – Hand percussion is prominent, but takes a back seat in the mix as the guitar work is the prominent instrument, with Walsh’s bass making itself heard upon occasion. The song has a late 1960’s, early 70’s hippie feel, with Doors influence, in that there is a feeling that this song could go on for a much longer time than the 4:49 track length.
3. Home – The introductory bars have a more straight rock feel, but with minor chords that juxtapose themselves with the lyrics, “home, such a warm place.” There are many layers to this song, like three different types of music coming out of different bedrooms, but meshing together in a polyphonic way, that is not quite as warm as the one line would imply. But a deeper examination of the lyrics tell you that there is no disharmony and the music conveys what the sarcastic lyrics want you to know.
4. Shell – The song is empty and uses piano and another keyboard type of sample, but the musician is not credited on the liner notes. The tom tom of Fleck is mixed strong, Donaldson’s vocals help to convey the emptiness that is felt in the stark, haunting music.
A nice collection on the ep of the Levellers 5 work to the date of the recording. After I discovered this one, I went on to purchase another one of their discs. The disc is music only with no interview portion from the BBC 1 show hosted by John Peel. The mix is well done with the ability to hear all the layers and musicians clearly, especially on “Home.” I cannot find any reason to dock it any pints.
Listening Notes: It’s been forever and a day since I last listed to this CD, though I may have had a song or two pop up in a computer random playlist. I think the earbuds assisted me in hearing layers I probably had not consciously picked up on before.