WIRE : Peel session #4 - 24th April 1988 (BBC recording)

Another Wire re-up: I've had a root 'round on the 'net &, surprisingly, I can't still find this session anywhere else. As details of this set haven't been listed on the BBC's Keeping It Peel resource, I'm assuming it's nothing like as well known as their initial run of late '70s evening show appearances? Frankly, I'm puzzled as to why that might be - Wire were signed to Mute (one of Europe's largest & most respected independent records labels), & were constantly featured in the European & American music press at the time, after all?

The reconvened "phase II" Wire only recorded this sole Peel session - on 24th April 1988 with celebrated glam rock curmudgeon Dale Griffin producing. It was the band's first Radio 1 commission since their infamous, largely improvised "Crazy About Love" outing from September 1979, after which they drifted apart to pursue all manner of unorthodox extra-curricular projects. As I've always found the A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck album's reliance on imposing electronic textures slightly stifling (though, in all fairness, it hasn't dated anywhere as badly as I expected it might), I much prefer this looser, guitar-centric version of "Boiling Boy" (long since established as a regular part of their live repertoire & an acknowledged Wire "classic"). "German Shepherds" originally appeared on the b-side of their "Silk Skin Paws" e.p. &, subsequently, on the I.B.T.A.B.A. live/remix album, but the BBC take is, in my opinion, the definitive version. Third/finally, a breakneck techno revision of the propulsive "Drill" - a mere 8½ minutes of it on this occasion, but still quite a ride. Incidentally, I've sourced this session from WMO's deleted 1997 Coatings compilation, so sound quality = A+.


  1. I would say the 'definitive' version of 'Shepherds' was that on an ep from, errrrrm, 2009?, sorry I forgot, with the three dogs fucking rather than flying and the old lady pissing not - God forbid - spitting.
    anyway, that was Wire's great and so underrated phase, and the session is superb. thanks.

  2. "German Shepherds" would've been a single if it was up to me - great song, whichever the version...

  3. Ah, Sir Rooksby! We are back to posting Wire again! Excellent!!!! I agree "German Shepherds" could have been a single and with the aforementioned removal of the obscene language possibly a cheeky little minor hit (No. 51 perhaps) - only to be thrown out the charts by the BMRB for being on flashy colour CDs given only to chart return shops like "Outdoor Miner" (replace CD with white vinyl instead). Like you, I also have the "Coatings" LP and a few other little nuggets through WMO. Can I assume you have already pre-ordered new LP "Change Becomes Us"? Going to the gig at Heaven? I still believe "Nice From Here" was a B side that should have been an A side!

  4. "Nice From Here" is one Wir(e) song that hardly ANYBODY seems to know about &, yep, it's a really good 'un - better than anything on The First Letter, I reckon? I've been accumulating various Wire rarities for a while now, with the intention of posting some sort of "obscurity bundle", & "Nice From Here" will defo be included therein...

    I haven't order the new LP yet as I'm waiting to see what other options pinkflag.com throws up as we approach the release date. The bits I've heard sound magnificent though, they've been back on spectacular form since Send/Read & Burn (not that they were ever really "off" form, but I'm sure know what I mean?), but I reckon this new one is gonna be even better than Red Barked Tree? CANNOT WAIT.

    I doubt I'll be at the Heaven show - am waiting 'til they venture North of Luton tbh!

    p.s. #51 "with a bullet", mind you!

  5. Will have to explore whether I've got "Nice From Here," though I suspect I do, if indeed Google is correct in telling me that it was a "So & Slow It Grows" B-side, since I'm 99 percent sure I've got that single. Of course, I rate The First Letter considerably higher than most fans, too.

    Red Barked Tree I need to give a few more listens to, but my initial impression is that too much of it sounds very much in the vein of Mr. Marx's Table. Now, I happen to *love* Mr. Marx's Table (which I first heard when they played it live in Atlanta back in 2002 or so, before a studio recording was available; it must've been quite new, as the lyrics were written down on a sheet I was able to cadge from Colin or somebody after the encore), but I'll take a few Comets & I Don't Understands to break things up, too.

  6. I really liked Red Barked Tree... STILL really like it, actually! Wire had never made an album like that before &, to be honest, if the new one had sounded the same it would've been a damp squib. Fortunately, it doesn't, so it won't be... I honestly can't remember the last time I was this excited about a new Wire album! Send & Red Barked Tree are both as good (better, in fact) as anything they released in the late '80s/90s I think?

    I'm quite a fan of The First Letter, despite Robert's absence. Manscape is the one Wire LP I've never warmed to - perhaps I ought to give it a another go?

  7. Certainly worth the effort, as that's another one I like rather more than most of the fanbase, it seems. If memory serves (as, of course, it often doesn't), I didn't start really warming to it, though, till I picked up the Life in the Manscape EP & immersed myself in the B-sides.

  8. I've only had Manscape on vinyl &, to be honest, it sounds an absolute mess. I'll try & pick up the CD cheap - maybe it makes more sense "in the digital domain"? The additional tracks thereon &, yep, related b-sides (included on Coatings) may shine fresh light on it also?

    It's the only Wire LP I'm not ecstatic about, so I 'spose it's only fair that I make the effort to click with it... however posthumously!

  9. At this late date, I think the only Wire LP I don't have on CD, as opposed to vinyl, would be A Bell is a Cup. Well, & Document & Eyewitness. (Up through IBTABA I've got 'em on vinyl as well; ditto for just about all the various singles & EPs, though offhand I guess I have Eardrum Buzz only on -- ugh -- cassingle.)

    Still waiting for a non-deluxe version of the new one to be offered. The packages offered right now on pinkflag.com are, alas, a bit much for my always-ailing bank account.

  10. I'm a bit confused by the array of bundles, I'm afraid! And this one is downright daft:

    1. Well, time has passed and I hope gentleman you now have "Change Becomes Us"? I have the special edition (which came late because of the book coming from China!) but I didnt get the offer of the chance to be in the pool of guitar players at the Heaven gig where they did "Pink Flag" etc. as encores. Great gig though, sounded really good underneath the arches (cue song). On the subject of "Manscape". I have the CD LP plus an American copy of the "Life In A Manscape" CD with the extra tracks but the 12inch version of LIAM is best thing on it. There are some really great songs on "Manscape" - "Morning Bell", "Stampede" and "Small Black Reptile" spring to mind. Very underrated LP. Oh and "Change Becomes Us" is very very good also. Favourite song is "Love Bends". I'm such a sentimentalist!