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The Faces were Peel’s favourite band in the first half of the 1970s and he appears to have enjoyed their goodtime approach both musically and socially. As well as “playing” mandolin with the band on Top Of The Pops in 1971, the DJ invited them all to his wedding three years later. In subsequent decades, he continued to cite the Faces’s April 1973 gig at Sunderland Locarno as the best he ever attended.
In 1987, Peel discussed the special attraction of The Faces for him with producer John Walters in the third programme of the Peeling Back The Years series:
|Faces - German Single 1970|
JP: Yes, yes.
JW: “No, not that lot again!”
JP: Well, that was very much my attitude. But as I say, I met them and you and my wife at around the same time – all people with very different attitudes to mine, much more realistic attitudes I think than I had. And I met the Faces backstage at a gig in Newcastle City Hall. And I can’t remember who else was on the bill – I think the Nice were, oddly enough. But anyway, they had a dressing room and I was sitting in – I didn’t have a dressing room – and there was a phone booth backstage and I was sitting in that thinking beautiful thoughts. I mean, genuinely thinking beautiful thoughts, in as far as I was capable of doing that.
|John Peel's Rare Album - Front Cover 1970|
JW: So that rather implies that you were attracted socially as a bit of relief. What about the musical side?
JP: Well, because it was – I mean, the music exactly defined the band, you know. There was no sort of pretence in there at all. And I suppose I just got fed up – and as I say, it came about at the same time as I started to work regularly with you and meeting the pig, whose background was vastly different to mine, and as I say, much more rooted in reality. And I just, the Faces for me recaptured the kind of feelings I’d had when I first Little Richard and people like that and Jerry Lee Lewis, in the same way as the Undertones were to a few years later.
|Japan Single 1970|
An LP entitled John Peel's Archive Things was issued by BBC Records in 1970, with a selection of the most popular archive tracks he had played during the show's run, and sleevenotes in which he expressed an enthusiasm for a free-form radio format in which anything might happen. But Peel never again presented such an adventurous programme; the BBC's tight programming schedules made free-form radio impossible and most of the American "underground" FM radio stations which had introduced such open formats gradually turned into commercial stations playing "album-oriented rock". A 1970 article in International Times on censorship in the BBC even suggested that Peel was now working under a "special contract", which forbade him from expressing his opinions on non-musical matters during his shows.
According to Ken Garner's The Peel Sessions , Peel's Night Ride show grew out of an idea by producer John Muir for a "non-needletime" programme drawing on the BBC's store of archive recordings from around the world. This meant that not only were the shows cheaper to produce, but that they also reflected the hippy era's growing interest in exotic cultures.
|Faces Billboard November 1970|
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The LP was enthusiastically reviewed by Richard Williams in Melody Maker (clipping from grang354 collection - date unknown). Williams claimed that Night Ride "was vastly more adventurous and far more rewarding than Top Gear, because it took us into new, unfamiliar realms of music which, like travel, truly broadened the mind". The album "teaches us the international communication and universal beauty of music, and in many cases it provides clues to music's earliest history. Anybody who can see beyond Cream/Taste/Zeppelin can't fail to enjoy it, and get something out of it"
Peel himself commented on the release of the album in his column for Disc & Music Echo of 1970-06-20 (many thanks to Peel Mailing List member Mick for this information): "If you can recall the Wednesday "Night Ride" I used to help with, then you'll remember the curious things from the BBC archives that were played. Some of the best are gathered together on BBC Radio Enterprises REC 68M which will be easily as hard to get hold of as the "Top Gear" LP was. It's called "Archive Things" and is quite a laugh--brings back memories of a programme that I still miss a lot."
June 25, 1970
01. You're My Girl (I Don't Want To Discuss It) 06:17
02. Wicked Messenger 04:18
03. Devotion 06:27
04. It's All Over Now 08:18
05. I Feel So Good 08:39
BBC Transcription Pre-Fm reels
John Peel Sunday Concert
Paris Cinema, London, England
May 13th 1971
01. You're My Girl (I Don't Want To Discuss It) 12:11
02. Love In Vain 08:26
03. Bad N' Ruin 05:45
04. It's All Over Now 06:53
05. Had Me A Real Good Time 07:05
06. (I Know) I'm Losing You 06:30