The Frankie Machine MP3 Blog of Choice

Saturday, May 03, 2008


An obscure band from Liverpool, Barbel released one mini-album and a 12" single, recorded two excellent Peel Sessions and then disappeared.

I reckon it was about 19 years ago that I first heard this song (on John Peel of course) and it still sounds as good today as it did back then. The first track on their mini-album "One Horse Planet" on Pink Moon Records which I bought in Crash Records (Merrion Centre Branch) in Leeds and promptly fell in love with.

"House By The Airport" is a kitchen-sink love story that just gets sadder and sadder, but the tune is relentlessly up beat and has some great lines - "he had a foot in every pie and a finger in every door". I love everything about this song from the great one-finger organ line to the bum notes they weren't afraid to edit out.

Aside from my gushing admiration I must admit that part of the reason for blogging this is because there is virtually no information on the web about them (or maybe there is if you're prepared to wade through page after page of Anglers Weekly content?) and I reckon they deserve to be saved from aforesaid obscurity. They remain to this day one of my favourite bands.

According to Ken Garner's "The Peel Sessions" book, the line up of Greg Milton, Alison Williams, Roger Sinek and David Morgan was augmented on their second session by Simon Breed (who I assume to be the same Simon Breed from..erm.. Breed who did 4 Peel Sessions of their own). I also know that Greg Milton went on to be in a band called Dead Cowboys with members of Benny Profane releasing two albums (the last being in 2004).

I recently pestered Andy at Pink Moon records about re-releasing the One Horse Planet album on CD as quite frankly my vinyl copy is knackered (as you can hear on the vinyl rip below) and got a nice reply that was more of a "maybe" than a "piss off you have to be joking" so we live in hope.

Oh and they did a cracking version of "Winchester Cathedral" on one of those Imaginary Records 60's covers compilations - but I'll save that for another time.

Barbel - House By The Airport

"he became mesmerised by the sadness of life, incapable of action....too bad"


  • At 8:52 PM, Blogger stevedomino said…

    this is the sound of the john peel show in the 80s - bands with this sound were everywhere - dour vocals, jaunty keyboards - i can imagine this being the opening track in the show - ah, fair takes me back!

  • At 8:23 PM, Anonymous said…

    I just made a mp3 of One Horse Planet. Greg Milton did sent me the album by request in 1989. In a note - which I found in the sleeve - he asked 5 pounds for the record. I hope I did pay him. Great record!


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