Peel Sessions 1991-2004 Live, Best of
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Harvey joins a list of artists, including Pulp, House of Love and Siouxsie and the Banshees, whose Peel Sessions will be released for the first time during a month of commemorative events to mark the second anniversary of the inspirational broadcaster's death.The twelve tracks, chosen by Polly Harvey herself, span her career - from early versions of the songs on debut album Dry (1992) to her seventh album Uh Huh Her, released in 2004. Harvey recorded many sessions with John Peel over the years. 'John loved the sessions and was thrilled to have Polly record so many for his show. He considered her a wonderful artist and they were great friends. It's fantastic that they're coming out on CD. I think he'd be very proud.' Louise Kattenhorn - Producer, The John Peel Show. Universal. 2006.
PJ Harvey does her best work naked. For all the tantalizing changes in direction over the past 15 years, it was the British songwriter's barebones debut, Rid of Me (and its raw companion piece, 4-Track Demos), that made the greatest impression. These recordings from the late John Peel's celebrated BBC Radio show see her returning time and again to her basic blues roots, offering delightfully bruised takes on both early classics like "Sheela-Na-Gig," from her first performance on the show, through "You Come Through," a track that was recorded at a tribute shortly after Peel's passing. Along the way, there are plenty of rarities, stylistic diversions, and traces of dark humor to make Harvey fans wish the package could have been twice as long. --Aidin Vaziri
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This cd nicely recaps P.J.'s career, with tracks from her debut, "Dry"and most of her projects since then, with the exception of "To Bring You My Love" and "Is This Desire?". All songs were drawn from performances produced by John Peel for the BBC, which gives them a slightly different luster, and a rock solid punch.
P.J.'s songs can be described as little expressionist dramas writ large in black and white, and wonderful balancing acts of dynamics and minimalist sound. She sometimes combines huge shards of grunge rock with absurdist lyrics. Check out "Naked Cousin" , an off-the-wall ditty that paints a picture of a Bacchanalian madman running through the fields in abandon. Sounds weird? Well, it ROCKS like crazy. Her Rainer Ptacek cover, "Losing Ground" is another delight, matching switchblade edginess with Captain Beefheart dissonance. The best track from "Dance Hall at Louse Point"--"That Was My Veil" , is here, along with the prettiest song from "Stories From the City..."("Beautiful Feeling") . The album closes with "You Come Through" done beautifully and sincerely as a tribute to the late John Peel.
This cd is sure to please longtime P.J. fans, and it's a good sampler for the uninitiated.
As for the collection, and songs therein, these are as terse and honest as her live performances. As you listen, you can place the songs in the context of her major releases -- here's Rid of Me, here's Is This Desire? and so on.
I like this one a lot.