Stuart Adamson was just a month beyond his 20th birthday when The Skids recorded five tracks for their first session for John Peel. Even more ridiculous and incredible is the fact that Richard Jobson was still too young to vote or legally buy a drink in a pub, and wouldn’t turn 18 for another five months (mind you, he looked about 25 years old at the time!)
mp3: The Skids – Of One Skin (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Open Sound (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Contusion (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Night and Day (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – TV Stars (Peel Session)
It’s also worth noting Of One Skin is the sole track of those aired at this session that would find a place on the band’s debut album when it hit the shops just under a year later, an indication of just how fast things were moving and the ability of the songwriting duo to keep churning out tunes and lyrics. All the others would be relegated to the status of b-sides, and indeed TV Stars wouldn’t even be honoured with a studio recording, with just a live version appearing on the flip side of Into The Valley.
There is, as you’d expect, a sense of huge energy to the songs with that very distinctive sound that is can be attributed to the guitar skills of Stuart Adamson. At the time of the session, The Skids had just the one physical release, the Charles EP on No Bad Records, a label that had been the brainwave of Sandy Muir, the owner of a record shop in the town of Dunfermline.
But there was a real buzz among the London-based music industry that this group of young men, who all hailed from a community reliant economically on coal mining and other blue-collar industries, had a guitar prodigy (Peel had proclaimed Adamson as the Hendrix of the generation) and a punk-poet among its numbers (one with a sense of humour as evidenced by TV Stars), as well as a rhythm section in Tam Kellichan (drums) and Bill Simpson (bass) that was as good as any in the punk/new wave scene. Just one week after the session, Virgin Records asked them to support Magazine at a gig in Glasgow, following which they signed them to an eight-album deal, something which in due course became something of an albatross around their collective necks and would play its part in the band’s gradual and messy demise within four years.
If time-travel was a genuine concept, and everyone was allowed one wish as part of it, I reckon getting myself along to that gig in 1978 would be high up on my list.