SON HOUSE : Top Gear session - 6th July 1970 (Radio broadcast).

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"Several years ago when I was driving to Frank Freeman's Dancing School in Kidderminster with Captain Beefheart, the Captain told me that the person he most admired was Son House. And if somebody had told me two or three years ago when this programme started thatwe would be having Son House on Top Gear, I wouldn't have believed them, but we do & it's a joy that he is, because Son House basically is where it all began."

Remarkably, Eddie James "Son" House Jr. was 68 years old (& still touring!) when he recorded this session for John Peel's Top Gear show back in July 1970. Transmitted on 11th July - producer John Walters' birthday - Peel appeared both delighted & somewhat flabbergasted to have Mr. House on his show - "the nicest show we've had for as long as I can remember".

Earlier that month, Peel had attended a Son House performance at Oxford Street's 100 Club & was reportedly furious that some factions of the audience were rude enough to talk throughout his set, culminating in Peel clambering on stage to reprimand the culprits, demanding they either be quiet or go home, & offering to personally refund the cost of their tickets so that the rest of the crowd could listen undisturbed.

The session was taped on 6th July at the BBC's Playhouse Theatre in London's West End, & was produced by Walters with engineer Pete Ritzema. A recording of the complete hour-long show is available online if you can be bothered to search for it - replete with further sessions from Kevin Ayers' recently-formed Whole World troupe & Bristol's best-forgotten East Of Eden.

Track-list: My Good Gal / Monologue 1 / Death Letter / Monologue 2 / Grinnin' In Your Face.

(Son House portrait by Robert Crumb from his Heroes of The Blues Trading Cards series.)

Mississippi Department of Corrections


  1. Anonymous22.6.15

    I've wanted to hear a decent rip of this for years, thanks. :)

  2. Thanks, a lot of previous posters have cut out Son's monologues but personally I think they're as important (& as interesting) as the songs.

  3. Completely unrelated but of interest: "Jock Scot is to be the subject of a biographical film, currently being completed by Robert Rubbish and to include new interviews with Shane MacGowan, Peter Doherty, Neneh Cherry, Anna Chancellor, Suggs, Baxter Dury, Keith Allen and many more." This from Heavenly Recordings' website, which is preparing a reissue of My Personal Culloden.

  4. Jock's on his last legs I hear, all those years of unbridled hedonism have finally caught up with him I guess? He has terminal cancer, but has refused to undergo chemotherapy. There's a very good article about him here, assuming you've not already seen it?:


  5. Thank you for sharing that article, I had not seen it. It's very sad to know his condition. I work in health care, and I respect his decision. Often the effects of treatment are worse than the disease itself. Thank you.

  6. Jock Scot alert: poet wins "Idler of the Year" award:

  7. I'm guessing you've already seen this then? :)


  8. Ah! I like the Quietus but I missed that one. There is a page in the new Mojo Magazine about JS, and I discovered today a Youtube channel and a Facebook page for "Services to Rock and Roll", the documentary film.

  9. Anonymous22.9.15

    I finally got a chance to sit down with a bottle of dry gin, and give this one a listen! Thanks for the stunning download!