Back in 1976 John Peel did a ‘Soft Machine Special’ show on Radio 1. This hour long show featured tunes by Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Gong, Isotope, Euterpe and many other bands. It really was quite brilliant and here you can download it in mp3 format.
I have now got an mp3 audio file from a cassette that I made on the 17th August 1976. The recording isn’t brilliant quality as my radio was an old Ekco Nautilus PT310 and my cassette recorder was a mono Phillips N2225 and I made the recording 37 years ago! I still have the EMITape C120 cassette. On the other side I recorded ‘Livestock’ by Brand X – oh what strange music I was into when I was 14!
I seem to remember there was always a problem with ‘mains hum’ if I ran my radio off mains, it was OK on batteries but I guess I couldn’t afford any at the time. There was also a problem when the motor used to kick in on my parents fridge, so there are a few odd noises in there too. When these momentary blips of interference occurred the automatic gain control on the cassette recorder would temporarily turn the recording volume down. I thought I had the edge over all my friends efforts at recording off the radio in those days as I had an FM radio, so be thankful for that. As I say, the recording of it isn’t brilliant, but I believe it is the only intact copy of the radio show available online today.
This is the most important radio show that I have ever heard in my life, and it changed my life. I really haven’t been the same since, I think that is a good thing. This was definitely my first introduction to the music of Kevin Ayers and the radio show includes; Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes, Joy of a Toy continued, Everyone Knows The Song and lots of other tracks where Kevin was involved.
I’ve stored the mp3 safely in my Amazon Cloud Storage, if you want a copy just enter your email in any of the ‘get updates’ fields on this site and I will send you the download link. Please comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.
Thanks for the offer. It will be wonderful to hear the radio show.
Hey nice to hear from you Curtis, I’ll try and sort the recording out this afternoon.
It’s done – check your email 🙂
Hasn’t come through yet. Will check again later. Many thanks. Nice to hear from you also. Curtis
thanks for the possibility. i am very curious. best john
hello, i still would love to hear the soft machine special but unfortunately i don’t have a link yet 🙁
John you should now have an email with a link you need to click, just do that and you will be sent the download details straightaway.
You´re very nice sharing your appreciated treasure with us.
Thank you very much, i´ll also appreciate it with much respect
First heard Soft Machine when Big L played ‘Love Makes Sweet Music’. I was even more mightily impressed when Jack De Manio interviewed them on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, tho’ I didn’t know that Robert (Wyatt) Ellidge’s mum was BBC scriptwriter & Woman’s Hour broadcaster Honor Wyatt (see also http://www.robertgraves.org/issues/15/6367_article_247.pdf, which sets out her cultural credentials) & that favours had almost certainly been asked. But it was the Soft’s Prom appearance in 1970, on a night programmed by Tim Souster, that set me by the ears. I played my dodgy open-reel recording of that still-stunning set any number of times as a keen ‘teenage avant-garder’. Unfortunately, the ousting of Robert Wyatt (total madness! why, oh why?) knocked most of the individuality & quirkiness out of the group, &, especially after the dead hand of Mr Karl Jenkins had fastened on their throat, they became, to my ears, yet another bunch of jazz-fusion, more-notes-per-minute merchants. I’d love to hear your dodgy Peel tape. Fortunately for you, you won’t need me to upload my crap Proms recording, since the gig has been released at least twice – once on vinyl in the late ’80s by Reckless Records & more recently on the Blueprint ‘Live 1970’ CD, with the music’s origins deliberately left vague to avoid acknowledging the infringement of BBC copyright.
Dear Mr Alien, thanks for the comment. You should have an email by now with a link in it, click that and you will get access to the dodgy tape.
Oh man! No words, it’s just great! I felt like I was in the 70’s and I’m only 17 years old hahah, it’s great! I heard many of these songs but there are some songs that I never heard and they just blew my mind! Many Thanks!
That’s fantastic – I’m so pleased you liked it. Stick around, hopefully we will dig up some other treasures. Keep listening 🙂
I have a recording of Kevin playing at Mr. Kyps in Poole, Dorset on 25th October 2002. I can DropBox it if you like.
Also, please do send me the URL for the John Peel show – I do have all the tracks I’ve heard on the video, but it would be nice to have them all without the gaps!
Hi Terry, I sent you an email with some info in – did you get it? I’m rather excited about hearing the Poole gig.
would love to hear this… can you send me the link to the peel sessions tape please?
You should have an email with a link to click – do that and it will take you to the download page. Please come back and tell me what you think 🙂
Soft Machine was the first live band that I heard in concert when the opened for Hendrix at SUNY Stony Brook in March ’68. I was fortune to catch them again on Aug 23 1968 at the Singer Bowl. Had front row seats! Those two evening are with me to this day.
I’m interested in the Soft Machine radio special MP3 link, as well.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the Softs and Kevin Ayers solo work. I bought “Odd Ditties” on LP in the late-70’s, and it was a life changing event for me also. Please send me the link. I would love to hear it!!!
Cary – check your email, it’s all there 🙂
Thank you, Rick. It’s a wonderful broadcast!!!
Oh my gosh, I would LOVE to hear this!!! I hope it’s not too late! I just found this beautiful, amazing blog moments ago!!!
Well…either way….thank you so much! I’m loving the blog!
Check your email MG 🙂
Wow !! I’ve been a fan of Kevin Ayers since the seventies, the Soft Machine and Canterbury scene too. Finally got to see Kevin in Norwich in 2005.
Would love to hear this radio show. Could you send me a link ?
Sorry about the delay there Jim – check your email now.
thanks for sharing….looking forward to hearing the show.
does it include anything from when percy jones was in the softs?
If you’re still patiently sat at the other end of this email address (!) & are able to send me a link for Peel’s Soft Machine Special then yes, please do, I’d really love to hear it.
Many thanks sir,
I just sent you an email, there’s a link in there that will send you all the downloads we have so far. Sorry it took so long for me to spot your comment.
It would be so nice to receive a message with link to the Peel’s Soft Machine Special 🙂
Canterbury is my main inspiration
Luke, bassist of Tatvamasi (Cuneiform)
On its way 🙂
why are you sleeping???
should I have to wait 100 years?
Many thanks for making this available. I first came across Kevin’s music in about 1980 when I bought Soft Machine vols 1 &2 and Kevin’s Joy of a Toy & Shooting at the Moon, both as twofers on vinyl. I absolutely loved those albums, I was 18/19 years old and they were part of the soundtrack to a delightfully misspent youth! Saw Kevin play a gig sometime in the late 1990s in Southampton with the Wizards of Twiddly. Great night.
Just listened to Dr Dream for the first time in a long time, and with the links you provided offering more for me to hear for the first time, I’m well happy. Thanks.
That’s very cool Brent. I still chuckle a bit every time I look at that old cassette. That John Peel show really did change my life, almost overnight. I’m really glad that so many people are enjoying the download 40+ years later. It sounds like you are a similar age to me (I was born in 1962).
I look forward to hearing a copy of your dodgy John Peel Soft Machine Special cassette 😉
It would be wonderful to have a copy of this recording. Do share the link with me please.
Thanks in advance & much appreciated. 🙂
Check your email RS 🙂
Would very much like to hear this stuff
Check your email JJ you will find links to some great stuff. The Poole gig is wonderful 🙂
Thanks for the access … it’s a great opportunity to revisit a past era
I would really like to hear the 1976 John Peel Show special, and the Poole gig if possible.
Check your email Jason, all will be well 🙂
Oh I got the links to the MP3 – thanks you very much.
Thank you, Rick! I’m just listening to the 1976 Soft Machine special. What a treat!
Enjoy Kurt – I listen to this quite often 🙂
thanks so much for the share, i look forward to listening to it
Wonderful offer. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to hear it.
Thanks a lot!
Would love to hear 🙂
Check your email Vince – there’s a link there you need to click to take you to the download page.
I would be pleased to receive the link Rick.
I love Kevin Ayers music. Since hearing it first in the 70s. Joy of a Toy he signed for me – ‘with best Fishes’ !! Brilliant songs and I loved his lacksadaisycal manner. Yes please would love to hear this show
I would really love to hear this show again, after so many decades. I taped it at the time, and played it many time over, but the tape did not survive….
Very curious to hear this recording; thanks for the opportunity
Can I have it, please?
You should have an email about it now Luke.
would love a complete unsabotaged mp3 of this if still available – thanks and happy new year
Yes sure, check your email now – enjoy 🙂
Would love to receive a link to the1976 John Peel Show special. Thanks a lot.
Sure Jos, check your email 🙂
a very good offering well pleased,
this is fantastic iam well pleased and gratefull for it, if i could offer you a medal.
Thanks for the link and for preserving an important moment in time.
as a longtime collector of The Police I would like to know if Andy Summers palys on some of the tracks that were featured in the John Peel Show.
Yeah, John Peel was a big influence on my listening to music as well. The show was also (here in Germany) oon the FM channel BFBS (British Forces radio) so once a week I listened to/recorded John Peel with my little tape recorder.
A very diverse style of music – and finally I found my 2nd best band of all times there: Hüsker Dü!
Hi Rüdiger, as far as I am aware Andy Summers is not on any of the tracks from the John Peel show. He was however playing with Kevin when I saw him at Keele University in 1977… see https://www.kevinayers.org/blog/my-first-kevin-ayers-gig
Any chance for a listen? 🙂
Check your email, there will be a link that you need to click to access the downloads.
Hi, Thanks for this great resource. I’d love a link for the John Peel show!
No probs – check your email now
Hello and many thanks for this…good to know that someone else was in the same frame of mind as me at this time. I was 16 and did that classic thing of listening to JP under the covers. But there must have been lots of us or the records wouldn’t have sold.
Thank You for All You Do regarding Kevin Ayers.
I have been following him since I bought June 1, 1974.
I saw him in the 1980s in NYC on 72st Street. It was a wonderful and rare experience.
Once again, thank you for spreading the gospel of Kevin to the world to keep him alive in everyone else’s mind (he’s already on ours)
Like you I recorded this broadcast but it got lost overy the years so it’s great to hear it again in such good quality, I’ve reduced the hum and it sounds very good indeed so many thanks for uploading it