I'm a great lover of the historical accident that is the radio session. John Peel introduced them into his shows in the late sixties purely for licensing reasons and they remained a feature of the Peel programmes right up to the end. In latter years he'd schedule everything else in his show around the session tracks and deliberately not listen to them before they were being aired, giving them a particular eminence and status. There are many bands (I'd venture Stiff Little Fingers, The Slits and The Only One for starters) whose finest recordings still remain those they recorded for the Peel show.
When Dandelion Radio came along, we decided the session was one feature of the Peel shows we'd rather like to continue, so we did. For me, they've provided some of the most memorable moments of the station's history, highlights including the live set Errors recorded for Andy Morrison, the amazing mix Fun-da-mental put together for Matt Jones and, perhaps best of all, Tender Trap's session for Rocker's show in late 2011.
Rocker's been one of the more proficient session broadcasters at Dandelion. He also has the distinction among our DJs of having the facilities to invite bands around to his house and record them at home - most of us, including me, rely on the artists to record themselves and send in the results. He's now begun to put some of them out via his Local Underground label and the early releases are, predictably, an absolute delight. They consist of the excellent session from Leeds band T.O.Y.S. broadcast in March this year, and the memorable debut from Bristol's The Short Stories that appeared in 2012.
Soon to be released is the session currently being broadcast on Rocker's Dandelion Radio show for April, courtesy of the The Carbon Manual. If you haven't heard it yet, give it a listen before the monthly schedule finishes on Tuesday - it's another fine addition to the series.
All the EPs can be purchased from the Local Underground site for a minimum £2 a throw - all proceeds go towards the running costs of Dandelion Radio, and therefore go right back into the pot for producing more great stuff like this. But the best reason for getting them is that these are bands that deserve to be heard and, given the consistent excellence of Rocker's sessions over the last few years, I guarantee there are plenty more where they came from.