Album: Various artists

John Peel & Sheila: The Pig's Big 78s, TRIKONT
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The Independent Culture

In the rush to memorialise him as the champion of the young, fresh and innovative, most of the posthumous tributes to John Peel tended to overlook the breadth of the great DJ's tastes. It wasn't all teenage kicks round at Peel Acres, as was most clearly shown in The Pig's Big 78 section of his show, where his wife Sheila introduced one of the bizarre musical antiques they had turned up in dusty record shops or neighbours' attics.

This compilation of shellac oddities reveals the range of his affections, from the blues of Sonny Terry and Lightnin' Hopkins to the uncharacteristically "straight" sounds of such Light Programme mainstays as Winifred Atwell and Ray Martin - the latter's accordion and strings number "Blue Tango" apparently being Peel's first-ever record purchase.

In between can be found rockabilly, crooners, sax honkers, yodelling whistlers, Dixieland and a smattering of bafflingly unfunny music-hall "comedy" from the likes of Clapham & Dwyer, Albert Whelan and Mr Billy Williams. Best of all is the South African township tin-whistle groove of Elias & His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes' "Tom Hark", a big British hit in the late Fifties, its infectious charm undiminished half a century on.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Tom Hark', 'Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula', 'The Yodelling Whistler'

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