John Peel’s Dandelion Records

Ozit DVD 007

This mammoth tribute to Peel’s Dandelion label is a real mixed bag of material: interviews ranging from insightful to rambling, archive footage mixing film with static photography and new material principally consisting of rehearsal and studio footage.

Dandelion was conceived by Peel and Clive Selwood as a not for profit label where they could release music without contravening their own commitments. Selwood was managing the European side of Elektra. As this production confirms , they managed to pull together a roster of national treasures which bubbled under rather than broke through their patronage.

Sheila Ravenscroft’s gentle anecdotes about John’s life are sublime, whereas the inclusion of Bill Oddie’s proggy rendition of “On Ilkley moor Baht ‘At” is ridiculous. In between perhaps is Kevin Coyne’s reunion with Siren filmed in 2003. You have to be dedicated to absorb the full six hours of the DVD, though it’s fascinating to see old stagers such as Stack Waddy rehearsing. That said, as Stuart Banham from Stack Waddy notes, “Getting back together to be filmed for this is a testament to the integrity of the one and only John Peel.”

Ian Abrahams