The John Peel Centre says “T is for Tabor”

John Peel

Few people had as much impact on music in the 20th century as legendary British DJ John Peel. John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE, was renowned for his eclectic taste, his insistence on sharing new and unknown talent, and his uncanny knack for finding the next big thing without even trying. He was also famous for the Peel Sessions, broadcasts of four (give or take) tracks performed live in the studio by acts as diverse as his tastes. These sessions are prized for their breadth and for the way Peel would encourage his guests to stretch.

Peel died suddenly of a heart attack in 2004; he was only 65. Since then his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft, has worked with a number of organizations to operate the John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts. One project of the Centre is John Peel’s Record Collection, an overview of his enviable collection of music with a focus on his particular favorites; it includes a special alphabet of some of the finest aspects of the collection.

June Tabor remembers Peel

With the letter T, Ravenscroft introduces one of my favorites, the unparalleled singer June Tabor, calling her a “constant on John’s programmes.” T is for Tabor is a lovely overview of her long, brilliant career as well as a nice tribute to Peel. Tabor recalls her first appearance on his show, singing The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. She also gives him due credit for her work with Oysterband, performing unexpected covers of songs like All Along the Watchtower; she says simply, “It was all John’s fault.”

Tabor is delightful and humble. She recalls the earliest beginnings of her career and the decision at nearly 40 to take on singing full time. (She had also juggled time as a librarian and a restaurateur with her earlier singing work.) Celebrating her recent success in reuniting with Oysterband, she mentions the numerous awards their 2011 album, Ragged Kingdom, has won. The 64-year-old says simply,

Old people do win things sometimes.

Indeed. Going strong and hardly old, Tabor still has a remarkable gift and a joy in performing. What a delight to see her celebrated by the Peel Centre in this wonderful way.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

One Response to The John Peel Centre says “T is for Tabor”

  1. calmyourbeans says:

    Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.

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