Twenty years ago I was in France, and so were the Field Mice. During their September tour they (or rather two-fifths of them) stopped off to record a live acoustic ‘Black’ session for France Inter’s Bernard Lenoir, a.k.a. ‘the French John Peel’.
I was in the studio while the show was live on air, and during ‘Between hello and goodbye’, Bernard – mistaking me for someone who knew anything about sound engineering – passed me his headphones so I could hear what France was hearing over the airwaves. Sounded pretty damn impressive to me, so I grinned inanely at him and put my thumbs up in the direction of the rest of the group. But I also remember how dangerously, intoxicatingly fragile Bobby and Annemari’s performance was, as if it could fall apart at any moment, despite Bobby’s underlying assurance as both a guitarist and a prodigious songwriter. And sadly fall apart is what the Field Mice did not long after the end of a tour that had been troubled by Annemari’s stage fright.
Of the other songs they played, there is a version of ‘Sundial’ which was otherwise only recorded for John Peel, ‘Willow’ from For keeps, and a lovely cover of Neil Young’s ‘Birds’ – a song made to measure for the Field Mice, really – which I’ve posted over at Nightingales, not being one to miss a trick.
And because 16th September was Monsieur Lenoir’s anniversaire, I also got to (help) sing ‘Happy birthday’ live on French national radio. Fortunately audio evidence of this has disappeared.
Thanks must go to my friend whose finger was poised over the pause button that night – merci Jean-Philippe!
- The Field Mice – Between hello and goodbye (Bernard Lenoir)
- The Field Mice – Birds (Bernard Lenoir) (via Nightingales)
- The Field Mice – Sundial (Bernard Lenoir)
- The Field Mice – Willow (Bernard Lenoir)
- You can pick up the Peel session at Victorian squid or Skatterbrain.