Pixies

Pixies at the BBC

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Between 1988 and 1991, the Pixies performed six sessions at the BBC, playing on a variety of programs. For years, these sessions were hot bootleg items, especially since their first session for John Peel (on May 3, 1988) featured two otherwise unreleased covers -- the Beatles' "Wild Honey Pie" and "(In Heaven) Lady in the Radiator Song," from Eraserhead. It took Elektra/4AD until 1998 to release the six sessions, and when the 15-track Pixies at the BBC did appear, it was a mixed blessing. Certainly, the music itself is pretty terrific -- none of the versions are radically different (although "Wave of Mutilation" is performed in its "UK Surf Arrangement" from the "Here Comes Your Man" single, not the Doolittle version), but each cut is raw and vital, and recasting "Wild Honey Pie" as pure primal dementia was brilliant. What is suspect is the presentation. Instead of keeping each session intact, the compilers have assembled individual tracks in seemingly random order so the disc bounces from 1989 to 1991 to 1988 to 1990. For an archival release, such tactics are infuriating -- the sessions make more sense in chronological order, as most bootleggers know. Still, not every hardcore fan can track bootlegs down, nor is he willing to shell out the cash, which makes Pixies at the BBC a welcome (and overdue) addition to the official Pixies catalog. (Be aware, though, that the full-price disc clocks in at about 35 minutes.)

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