Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

FSK - Last Orders EP - first Peel session

FSK
Last Orders EP - first Peel session


Released 1985 on Zickzack
Reviewed by dave clarkson, 31/10/2004ce


12 inch vinyl - 4 tracks:

1, A Swingin' Safari
2, Lieber Ein Glas Zuviel
3, Drunk
4, Trink Wie Ein Tier

Recorded 6/8/85, Maida Vale, London.

Musicians:

Wilfred Petzi - trombone, guitar, percussion, vocals.
Thomas Meinecke - cornet, guitar, percussion, vocals.
Justin Hoffman - electric piano, guitar, xylophone, vocals.
Michaela Melian - bass, vocals.

Since the sad and shocking news of John Peel, the past few days have been spent rediscovering many wonderful sessions recorded for his show throughout the years. Among the Ivor Cutlers, Fall, Smiths etc, one session by german band FSK ('Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle' - named after a self censorship institution), which was also released soon after on german label 'Zickzack', was worth playing and found to be a deeply rewarding listening experience. Peel always championed the band and they recorded six sessions for his programme. This review concerns their first session for his show.

FSK were formed in 1980 and consisted, at the time, of various members from Hamburg, Munich and the Bavarian regions. The band were incredibly rich musically (and still are) with each members' backgrounds extending to chamber music, jugbands and bavarian dance bands. The band experimented with a Euro American crossover sound, often covering traditional American songs and bringing back the Texas blue yodel to it's original source in Bavaria.

'Last Orders' is a collection of three beautifully crafted drinking songs and one cover (Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra's 'A Swingin' Safari) which is the first track. The band perform well on their version and add colour, vibrancy and a great deal of zest to the original - a joyous tribute to a wonderful standard.

'Lieber Ein Glas Zuviel' features the gentle xylophone playing of Justin Hoffman and is a great song in the traditional style of verse, chorus, verse. Michaela Melian provides a mellow bass line to the proceedings and the brass playing defines the roots of the band.

'Drunk' is a real stomper of a tune and wouldn't sound out of place as muzak accompanying Munich's annual 'Oktoberfest'.....a real bavarian dance sound with big brash brass and a driving march feel to it.

'Trink Wie Ein Tier' is simply sublime. A gorgeous melodic cocktail jazz experience. The bass playing and electric piano work on this track creates a wonderful backdrop for a mourning and beautiful vocal style and a soulful trombone solo not heard since John Martyn employed Rico Rodriguez on 'Certain Surprise'. I could listen to this track over and over for the rest of my life.

FSK went on to record two memorable Peel sessions consisting of yodal songs (1986) and post-war songs (1991) amongst other Peel sessions and countless LP's and appearances on compilation tracks.

The 'Last Orders' EP reminds myself, and will do everytime I hear it, of a certain part of my life devoted to discovering new sounds from Europe via the John Peel 'wingding' and taped by means of a cassette player brushed up against a transistor radio. I lost my copy of the EP some years back and have had to listen to the rough radio copy for the purpose of this review. If anyone has a good clear recording of this session (preferably from the vinyl), then I'd happily renumerate them generously.

'Last Orders' is a great record to toast the legacy of Peel.

Here's to John.


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