From The Archives – Peter Gabriel – D.I.Y. (Test Pressing)

I always thought the second Peter Gabriel LP was an unsung hero album. An intimate record that came from the heart, a love letter to the smaller viewpoints. From the painstakingly sad (Indigo), to the tragic (Home Sweet Home), to the darkly humorous (A Wonderful Day In A One Way World), to the desperate (On The Air) and outright intimate (Mother Of Violence), each track is a valuable journal entry; contrasting perfectly with the larger than life feel of the later albums Gabriel would write. It’s blanket-like, and raw Robert Fripp production does this form of songwriting many favours , making for a listen quite unlike anything Gabriel would make before or after. The warm quirk even bled its way onto the record sleeve (this album was produced by Robert Fripp for Peter Gabriel). Sadly, these days only few of these songs appear on Best Of compilations, and many critics still let the following records overshadow this one. While this critic will openly call Peter Gabriel 4 one of the best albums ever made, he still has almost as much fond love for number 2. It pains me to see it given the black sheep treatment.

I’m celebrating it’s lead single today. A loose and intricate piece, which I must mention includes one Tony Levin’s best bass moments, his performance bouncing off one of Gabriel’s simplest, but most sui generis statements of his career. The closest we’ll get to artistic punk, given the time signature is way too expensive for punk!

This article comes about from an adventure I’m currently on. Lately I have been going through Ron Atkinson’s (my friend, and the overseer of this paper) epic record collection. This 10 inch test pressing in a paper bag stood out from among the crates. It comes from London’s Trident Studios, and has some ever quirky handwriting on it.

Ron worked with Gabriel at Charisma on the early self titled albums, and got to know him in person. A funny anecdote left his lips when we found this, one about being chased down Wardour Street in London by Peter himself. Peter shouting “Frank” “Frank”, and still thinking Ron was Frank (another Charisma worker) when he caught up to talk to him. This became one of Ron’s warmest memories of Peter, and an ongoing joke for some years.

This particular recording of D.I.Y was an alternate take, with more instrumentation than the more sparse album version. Gabriel wasn’t completely satisfied with the album take, and this version would later be released on 7 inch for mono releases. It’s interesting to hear, and a piece of history that we wanted to share, especially in the light of the new Gabriel LP, I/O, which is his first in some years.