The first official BOB release was a flexi disc (HOT 001) recorded by Simon Armstrong, Richard Blackborow and Jem Morris, which was sold primarily at gigs and by mail order. It was played several times by John Peel and led to a friendship with Ally Payne, creator of The Cool Trout Basement at Portlands in London, who also formed Sombrero Records in 1987. The Sombrero label's first two releases were the first two BOB singles, What A Performance in 1987 (with drummer Gary Connors) and Kirsty in 1988 (featuring ex-Jamie Wednesday drummer Dean Leggett following the departure of Connors). After releasing records by label-mates Reserve and The Siddeleys the label found itself in debt, forcing the release of Swag Sack, a compilation LP that brought together songs from the flexi, the two EP singles and a bonus track. Later releases were all on the House Of Teeth label.
The first of these was Convenience in 1989, which was released in 7" and 12" vinyl versions. The single sold well and appeared in Peel's Festive Fifty at the end of the year. An EP containg four tracks Esmerelda Brooklyn, I Don't Know, Sink and Esmerelda Brooklyn (instrumental) was recorded and released in three versions later in 1989: a black-sleeved limited edition fan club 12" vinyl version, a red-sleeved variant intended for international export, and a 7" vinyl promotional version in plain sleeve with BOB sticker. The Stride Up EP was released in 1990, with bassist Stephen 'Henry' Hersom now replacing Jem Morris on bass guitar. The single was 'Single Of The Week' in both NME and Melody Maker. This was followed by a further single Tired, late in 1990.
In 1991, BOB recorded and released its first and only 'proper' album, Leave The Straight Life Behind, which was released in vinyl and CD formats. The album was followed by one final single in 1992, Nothing For Something, taken from the album and accompanied by an LP session out-take Many Strings and a handful of demo recordings. The LTSLB album is now re-released for the first time in expanded form through 3 Loop Music, and available here.
Following the release on What A Performance in 1987, the House Of Teeth offices received a call from John Peel. There had been a cancellation and would BOB like to record a session for his show? The answer was 'yes' and that first session featured Gary Connors on drums and Dale 'Buffin' Griffin in the chair. All subsequent sessions were recorded with the line up that included Simon Armstrong, Richard Blackborow, Dean Leggett and Jem Morris. The session for Simon Mayo was aired only once, and the gibbering DJ overran, so the version of It Was Kevin was never broadcast, hence its re-recording for the second Peel session. The master mix of the live BBC Radio Humberside session was discovered only recently and joins the other four sessions to make BOB's Complete BBC Sessions, available for the first time as part of the new Leave The Straight Life Behind (Expanded Edition) CD, available from 3 Loop Music here.
John Peel Show #1
Brian Wilson's Bed
Simon Mayo Evening Show
Times Like These
Just Like You
It Was Kevin
John Peel Show #2
Who You Are
So Far, So Good
It Was Kevin
John Peel Show #3
Extension 'BOB' Please
Throw Away The Key
Wild West Nine
Radio Humberside Live Session
The new expanded edition of Leave The Straight Life Behind includes sleeve notes by Simon Armstrong and Richard Blackborow written especially for the release. The pair are also currently putting together some extended words for this website, detailing the 'BOB Years' of 1985 - 1995. When these words have been formed into acceptably coherent prose, they will be posted here. In the meantime, here is an overview currently showing on the Internet:
BOB (band) - Wikipedia
BOB were an Indie pop band from North London, England, formed in 1985.
The initial line-up was Richard Blackborow (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Simon Armstrong (guitar, vocals). Jem Morris (bass guitar), joined the duo in 1986, and, augmented with a drum machine, they recorded the band's first release, a flexi disc, released in 1986 on their own House Of Teeth label, and containing three short songs: "Prune (Your Tree)", "Groove" and "Brian Wilson's Bed". The band gave a copy to John Peel in a fortuitous encounter in the Rough Trade record shop, and he played it many times. The drum machine was replaced by Gary Connors (drums) in 1987, and this line-up recorded 1987's What a Performance EP and the first of three BOB John Peel sessions. Blackborow stated in 1988 that the band had a diverse set of songs in their repertoire at that stage and that the songs on the EP were selected from "by doing a quick poll of our friends".
Early in 1988, Gary Connors was replaced by former Jamie Wednesday drummer Dean Legget, and the band recorded their second single, the Kirsty EP, a session for BBC Radio One's Simon Mayo, and their second John Peel session. Both singles received heavy play by John Peel. The two singles were compiled together with the earlier flexi disc as Swag Sack, which was their final recording for the Sombrero label. All later releases were on their own House Of Teeth label.
In 1989, the band released the Convenience EP (which reached no.31 in John Peel's Festive Fifty at the end of the year), followed by a limited edition/fan club release containing three songs: "Esmerelda Brooklyn", "I Don't Know" and "Sink". After their third and final John Peel session, Morris was replaced by ex-Caretaker Race bassist Stephen 'Henry' Hersom, and this final line-up recorded the Stride Up EP in 1990, an LP Leave The Straight Life Behind and the Tired EP in 1991, and one last single, the Nothing For Something EP in 1992. BOB became one of the victims of the demise of Rough Trade's distribution arm, which limited sales of the album and forced the band to tour for an extended period to recoup the album's costs. A feeling of disillusionment with the 'business' side of the music caused a drop in morale, and they disbanded early in 1995.
Disc (1986, House Of Teeth, HOT 001) 7" flexi-disc
Sack (1988, Sombrero, LP, Sombrero Five)
The BOB single "Convenience" was released for the first time in a digital format on the John Peel compilation box set Kats Karavan in October 2009. The BOB, "Leave The Straight Life Behind" album is set for re-release in Feb 2014 on 3 Loop Music, containing the remastered album and a bonus cd of all the John Peel and BBC sessions, as well as extra tracks
Ian (1988) "BOB's Your Uncle", Underground, February 1988 (Issue 11),
More classics than you can shake a stick at!