Dolly Mixture BBC Radio Sessions

Sealed Records
29th September 2023

Stephen's Pick

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl
Limited to 1200, one time pressing.

At its best the BBC was for a moment a cultural colossus with John Peel and a few allies providing the Maida Vale studio as a platform to a brilliant wave of new and not so new groups. Dolly Mixture are caught at their absolute peak here on three sessions recorded between 1979 and 1983 for John Peel and Kid Jensen. This is the first time this music has been made properly available so forget about cherished cassette tapes and YouTube uploads – here are all the tracks remastered from original sources, and as an added treat featuring John Peel introducing them and three jingles the band recorded for Kid Jensen.

The first session was inevitably for John Peel in August 1979 and features the unreleased Dolly Mixture Theme Song where the band introduce themselves 1960s soul group / hip-hop style. There’s a dynamite cover of Goffin and King’s The Locomotion and four DM classics from the time – Dream Come True, He’s So Frisky, New Look Baby and Ernie Ball. You can hear the group’s sheer joie de vivre and the sounds are perfectly recorded by a team of BBC boffins with clipboards and top of the range studio gear.

Almost a year later, in September 1982, the group are growing into itself ready to break hearts and sometimes even mend them again. This is the era of their incredible Demonstration Tapes and the songs have a more 60s girl group energy with vivid takes of Side Street Walker, Dead Rainbow and other masterpieces. Their voices are so rich, their blend is unbeatable, this is Dolly Mixture in the realms of the pop gods.

There’s a final session for Kid Jensen October 1983. Maybe there’s a sense of lived-in experience coming into things – Whistling In The Dark could almost be a Zombies Odessey & Oracle ballad. I’ve always loved this mid-20s melancholy – the point that you start to realise that being an adult is more complicated than you realise. Dolly Mixture songs like Grass Is Greener and Winter Seems Fine catch this perfectly – they’re so 3-D compared to most of their contemporaries.

So many extravagant claims are made for Dolly Mixture these days but here’s fourteen reasons why they’re totally justified. Up there with The Undertones and Orange Juice. Essential pop nuggets wrapped in a beautifully designed sleeve and poster by Paul Kelly. Dolly Mixture forever.

SP / Glasgow 2023

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