George "Porky" Peckham

Portland Studio 1978
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George Peckham at Apple Studio

The legendary George Peckham, record cutter for some of the finest groups for some four decades. Peckham is a lacquer-cutting and mastering engineer and has an illustrious career that includes work on The Beatles, Genesis and Led Zeppelin catalogue, as well as helping on the engineering aspects of those artists' work. Better known as “Porky”, as in "A Porky Prime Cut", which is written in the dead/wax lead-out grooves of almost every Punk, Post-Punk and New-Wave record from the late 70's onward that was pressed in the UK. In melodic Scouse Peckham explains:
'''It was a nickname I got in Liverpool during the '60s, cos of all the old slagbags I used to chase and the ale I put away. I was brought up in and around Liverpool and up to the Sixties I played with pals trying to learn guitar and to form a group."
Singer and guitarist with the Brian Epstein-managed 60s’ beat combo The Fourmost, Peckham left the group to work for Epstein's rather more famous charges The Beatles when they opened the Apple studio in 1968.
'The problem the lads were having was, they found they'd record something in the studio and it would sound completely different, really weak. So I said they should do an acetate on vinyl and log the information then transfer the spec when they cut the master.'
Obviously impressed by this rather technical-sounding jargon, The Beatles offered Peckham the position of chief Apple cutter and Porky was born.
'Before you make the final positive,' adds Peckham, 'you have to put a matrix number in the middle, because as far as the factory is concerned it's just another disc. Then I sneak on the old “Porky Prime Cut”...'
Originally, 'Porky' was a reference for the pressing plant should they need to contact the cutter.

'That was the main reason I wrote Porky on The Beatles' records but I was scared to put any weird stuff on their records because their fans were that crazy about them that they'd read something into it.'
He is widely recognised as among the most accomplished in the business, responsible for producing the master discs from which countless vinyl records have been pressed over the last 40 years. His master discs, and the records produced from them, often bear either the motto "A Porky Prime Cut" on the run-off groove of their record.

Later, these signatures varied and often contained cryptic messages. Some examples of signatures are:
  • Porky
  • Porkys
  • Porky Prime Cut
  • Porky Primed
  • Primed
  • A Porky Prime Cut
  • A Porky ‘Oh yes’ Prime cut
  • A Porky Prime Er-Er-Er Goldfish I Think
  • A Porky Prime sniff sniff cut
  • A Porky Prime Tango
  • A Portland Porky Prime Cut
  • A Lively Porky Prime Cut
  • A Porky Prime Cut F' Da Lads
  • A'Nudder Porky Prime Cut
  • Yes A'Nudder Porky Prime Cut
  • Pecko
  • Pecko Duck
Some of the messages include:
‘Ooh George, You’re Such A Dark Horse Luv George.’
‘ONOTHIMAGEN YERRITIZ LA!’
‘Learning How To Love You’, ‘PECKO.’
Found on various George Harrison Apple releases

'A Bunch of Stiffs'
Stiff Records Compilation

'Taking no prisoners'
Archie Brown and The Young Bucks

"Porky Likes To Pokey With Okey Cokey"
"Happy Xmas To All My Readers, Porky"
Slade
One of his most technically demanding achievements was the so-called "three-sided" album, The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief in 1973.

"Matching Tie And Handkerchief was a bit of a bastard. Mike Palin came down and said he wanted to cut this one track with a double groove so you put the record on and depending which groove the needle fell into, you'd get one of two tracks. Ten goes that took. A right bugger of a red eye job. I think I wrote, 'Dear Mum, Please Send Another Cuppa Down, Still Cutting The Python LP, Love Porky XX' on that one.'
In 1978 he joined the Portland Studios team to work for Chas Chandler on his Barn productions., his first cut being Rock 'N' Roll Bolero (released 27/10/1978). He stayed as their cutter through Portland's sale, their comeback and up until they signed with RCA. His last Slade cut seems to be the live album, Slade On Stage, in 1982 although he can be found again on the 1991 'Radio Wall Of Sound' single.

Nowadays, George has retired from the music industry but he is selling some of his own personal memorabilia on eBay.

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He is also writing his life story, having worked with so many famous names from the 60’s onwards, his comical nature and love of life, lived to the full, this book will be full of humorous stories from his times in Liverpool. His antics in Hamburg during the 60’s and his narrow escape from the many gangsters and unbelievable situations they got into, his many years working in Apple studios in London and, of course, his parties and nights out with the stars many of which have been and indeed still are close personal friends. His stories offer deep insights into the swinging 60’s and a small taste can be found at Mersey Beat: The George Peckham Story.

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