These BBC session recordings have been floating around for a while. Brian Eno has never seen fit to release them or include much, if any, of this stuff amongst his reissued catalogue. So, the Italian bootleg source is necessary here. And, what’s here is fascinating, certainly the most tough and punked-up junk he ever committed to tape. Shortly after Eno left Roxy Music in 1973 or 1974 he enlisted an unlikely group as his backing band, a glammed-out pub-rock combo called, rather unfortunately, The Winkies. Despite their name, The Winkies rocked hard—burly and brawny rock and roll with generous amounts of rhythmic space. They were cut from the same cloth as the early-1970s Rolling Stones or The Flamin’ Groovies, but tighter and more taut, quick focused blasts of stunning rock and roll heat. Eno was wise to enlist them as his backing band. The versions here all come from recordings for DJ John Peel’s Top Gear program for BBC Radio 1 in 1974. The songs are radically rearranged from the studio versions, recalibrated for maximum rock action.
“The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch” from Eno’s first LP, Here Come The Warm Jets, is here cheekily remade and re-modeled into something sounding pretty much like a version of the Rolling Stones in which heroin and the blues are replaced with pharmaceutical amphetamine and musique concrete. In other words, it just sounds sonically badass. The LP is really worth buying for this track alone. Other Eno warhorses get the makeover treatment, too —“Baby’s On Fire” sounding like Doctor Feelgood with a Vocoder and an oscillator, “I’ll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoes)” like more speed-laced proto-punk, The Winkies somehow managing to presage the righteously stiff, white funk of Gang Of Four and The Au Pairs. There is also a nifty version of the Peggy Lee standard “Fever” that’s nothing short of riffed-out magnificence.
|A1||The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch|
|A4||The Fat Lady Of Limbourg|
|B1||Baby's On Fire|
|B2||I'll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoes)|
|B4||Seven Deadly Finns|