Friday, 14 February 2020

3D (A Fish In Sea) - Alone (1984)

During the 70's, 80's and 90's there was one radio show that I never missed, and that was the John Peel show. I even taped it when I went on holiday, so can say that I probably heard every single show he broadcast from 1975 until he sadly passed away in 2004. One of the highlights of the shows were the sessions that he broadcast, both from well-known bands, but more importantly for me, the new, up and coming groups who had impressed him with a demo tape, and were allowed into the hallowed halls of the Maida Vale studio to get their music out to a nationwide audience. I used to tape a lot of these sessions, and bands like Come In Tokyo, The Balcony, The Nightblooms, and especially 3D A Fish In Sea stick in my mind as outfits that deserved to be much bigger than they ever were. Liverpool band 3D A Fish In Sea (named after the title of a photograph in a magazine seen by one of the members) recorded three sessions for the John Peel Show, and for an unsigned band, the third Peel Session in 1983 was a record. The first one was absolutely brilliant, and I can't believe that no record label could see their potential, and after the second session went out to the same response, the band must have thought that was the end. But Peel obviously saw something in them, and offered them a third session, and this time RAK Records took the bait.
The renamed 3D, who’d started out as a six-piece, signed for RAK as a quartet, with John 'Riff' Reynolds, Fred Palethorpe, Steve Spurgin and Jon Corner making up the group. They recorded an album’s worth of material, and three singles were readied for release, 'Break the Fix', 'Nearer' and 'Dance To Believe'. Things were looking promising, before fate took an unexpected turn. 'Break The Fix' was set to be played on Radio One’s Round Table, where new singles were reviewed by an invited panel of DJ's, musicians and journalists, and on that particular show one of the guests was John Peel. The band thought that they had a favourable review in the bag, with Riff commenting “when we heard Peel was on, we thought we were made.” Unfortunately, it didn't quite pan out that way, as Peel hated the single, calling them ‘a poor man’s ABC’, and Riff had to admit that he was right, as the band hadn't been true to themselves after signing to RAK, producing what the label wanted to hear rather than what they wanted to play, and the resultant material wasn't really representative of the band. This led to an argument between the record label and publishers over promotion costs, which probably cost them a Top 75 single and numerous TV appearances, and eventually RAK lost interest and decided to call it a day, cancelling the album in the process. This post collects all three of those John Peel sessions (plus one song from a Capital Radio session), so you can hear what I heard when they were first broadcast, and later I'll be posting the unreleased album, so you can decide if you think the band had let the record company and producers take over. Finally there will be a mopping up album of the three singles and their b-sides, plus a few oddments from their other recordings. I still think the first Peel session contains the best work they ever did, and it's a shame they never realised their full potential while they were around.  



Track listing

01 Houdini (John Peel session 1982)
02 Some Die For Money (John Peel session 1982)
03 Alone (John Peel session 1982)
04 The Orchard (John Peel session 1982)
05 Dreaming Of You (John Peel session 1982)
06 A Child's Toy (John Peel session 1982)
07 Red Wine (John Peel session 1982)
08 Pantau (John Peel session 1983)
09 Brave Boys' Paradise (John Peel session 1983)
10 Stay (aka 'Houdini') (John Peel session 1983)
11 Loneliest World (John Peel session 1983)
12 Easy Come, Easy Go (Capital Radio session 1984)

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