BBC Punk Sessions

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Like many other '77-era punk bands, the Lurkers had an ideal outlet in John Peel's show, which allowed them to bash out material in a relaxed atmosphere. There were few overdubs -- "just some extra backing vocals usually," according to guitarist Pete Stride's booklet notes -- followed by broadcast (and taping, by more astute listeners). Peel sessions, as they became known, offered ideal ways of trying new songs, minus the pressures of a proper recording studio. October 27, 1977, and April 24, 1978's sessions put a premium on velocity, as the group's rampage through the '60s girl group classic "Then She Kissed Me" shows. The latter session features crackling versions of Bo Diddley's "Pills," and the Lurkers' best-known song, "Ain't Got a Clue." The third session (August 7, 1978) is more of a transitional affair. Catchy sing-along choruses still predominate, but the group is now willing to take chances -- compare this version of "God's Lonely Men" to its recorded cousin -- while Stride's writing is getting more melodic and self-assured. By its next session (June 30, 1979), the group feels confident enough to tell miniature stories ("Whatever Happened to Mary"), while flashing that Dolls-ish swagger on "Take Me Back to Babylon." Boys guitarist John Plain's influence is evident on the unissued 1979 session. "Move On" and "Schoolgirls" retain the old brattiness, only with a poppier sheen, and steadier tempos. Most of the Fulham Fallout and God's Lonely Men material appears here, making this disc a good starting point for casual fans, but if you already own albums, you won't mind having BBC Sessions, too.

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