The BBC Sessions

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Belle and Sebastian cut their first BBC session for the Mark Radcliffe Show in July of 1996 just a few months before their seminal If You're Feeling Sinister album was released. The four songs they recorded were live and intimate versions of three of the record's best tracks: "Like Dylan in the Movies," "Judy and the Dream of Horses," and "Stars of Track and Field." Hearing these songs (as well as "The State I Am In," from Tigermilk) in such a raw and unadorned state (complete with vocal wavers and assorted bum notes) isn't a revelation now, though one can imagine people tuned in to their radios that night were thrown for a loop, but it is pretty great. Of course, the songs ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Belle and Sebastian cut their first BBC session for the Mark Radcliffe Show in July of 1996 just a few months before their seminal If You're Feeling Sinister album was released. The four songs they recorded were live and intimate versions of three of the record's best tracks: "Like Dylan in the Movies," "Judy and the Dream of Horses," and "Stars of Track and Field." Hearing these songs (as well as "The State I Am In," from Tigermilk) in such a raw and unadorned state (complete with vocal wavers and assorted bum notes) isn't a revelation now, though one can imagine people tuned in to their radios that night were thrown for a loop, but it is pretty great. Of course, the songs are amazing, but just as impressively, Stuart Murdoch's vocals are heartbreakingly sincere and soulful, and the band definitively belie their image as shamblers by sounding tight and together. If they had never written or recorded more than just these four songs, they still would be legendary, but luckily they didn't quit while they were ahead and kept recording and releasing brilliant pop music. They also continued making trips to the BBC studios and The BBC Sessions collects songs recorded there between 1996 and 2001. The track list is made up of mostly album tracks and singles (highlights being an insistent "Sleep the Clock Around," a folky take on "Wrong Love," and a truly beautiful "Slow Graffiti") but the real treat for fans is the inclusion of the group's 2001 session for John Peel, for which they trotted out four songs that hadn't been released previously (or since) on record. Any one of them could have comfortably fit on a single, EP, or album and a couple even qualify as lost treasures: "The Magic of a Kind Word" pits Isobel Campbell's breathy vocals in the quiet verses against rich group harmonies in the insanely sunny choruses, and ends up as one of the band's brightest and lightest tunes that just could have been a hit single, "(My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique" has a wonderfully relaxed groove built on samples and fleshed out with some wonky synth squiggles and lovely harmony vocals by Campbell and Stuart. It was Campbell's last recording made with the band and she really shines. That session alone is worth the price of the disc, and when you add the 1996 session, it becomes damn near essential for Belle and Sebastian fans.
Billboard - Lavinia Jones
Endearing sour trumpet and recorder notes on uptempo tracks like "Judy and Her Dream of Horses" and a stunning 1998 version of "Slow Graffiti" capture the essence of early Belle & Sebastian, while the four unreleased songs from 2001 find the group experimenting with funky, spoke-sung vocals ("Shoot the Sexual Athlete") and haunting atmospherics ("Nothing in Silence").
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/18/2008
  • Label: Matador Records
  • UPC: 744861084525
  • Catalog Number: 10845
  • Sales rank: 182,776

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Belle and Sebastian Primary Artist
Helen Keen Flute
Chris Geddes Group Member
Sarah Martin Group Member
Isobel Campbell Group Member
Stevie Jackson Group Member
Stuart Murdoch Group Member
Stuart David Group Member
Richard Colburn Group Member
Mick Cooke Group Member
Vuk Krakovic Strings
Technical Credits
Jack Sigler Jr. Composer
Belle and Sebastian Composer
Frank Arkwright Mastering
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