Ex-Small Face Steve Marriott goes all languid on this saxy reggaefied 1980 number, the years of excess evident in his raspy vocals. Starting off with a nod to Cream’s ‘Badge’ it lollops on in a funky mantra.
N.B.: Songs that gather cyber-dust within the bowels of the tech-archive-chasm. Finally getting an airing to rapturous applause.
Gaelic legend Dolan (and prolific partners in rhyme Roberto Danova and Joe Yellowstone) goes all Chinn-Chap meets 10CC on this canzone inspiring Feargal Sharkey to pick up the mic and warble. In 1978 Dolan was the first Irishman to tour Russia and his hip bone is the only body-part to date to be sold on Ebay. Rock and roll to the last, Joe.
5 MInutes, Baz Warne, Black and White, Dave Greenfield, Death and Night and blood (Yukio), Enough Time, Jet Black, Jim Macaulay, JJ Burnel, Nice 'n' Sleazy, No More Heroes, Nuclear Device, Sweden, The Stranglers, Waltzin' Black
It has become de rigueur for classic albums to be resurrected and re-evaluated, recontexualised in exercises of nostalgic trips down Memory Lane. Not the Men in Black. Having resolutely remained together and continued to produce new material they are not defined and confined by their past like other bands, this recollection is also an opportunity to breathe new life into less established songs.
Black and white, light and shade, night and day, good and bad, no grey areas, the four-piece set against the bright white stage, monochromatic and magnificent: Burnel, Greenfield, Warne (minus drummer Jet Black since last year, drum stool occupied by Jim) Macaulay.
Black and White from 1978 was the quartet’s first album comprised of new material, not fragments (re)shaped from 1974 – 1977. The album is a sonic document of the austere climate of a year that was to culminate in the ‘Winter of Discontent’ and an articulation of how earlier success was followed by a backlash, a show of strength in the face of criticism and antagonism, responding to accusations of misogyny and violence by writing misogynistic and violent songs. Interpret that!
Entering as always to the greatest intro ever – the haunting carousel ‘Waltzin’ Black’ they launch at breakneck pace through an experimental album that addresses esoterica, technology, alienation, paranoia and identity arguably creating ‘post-punk’, their influence later evident in Gang of Four and Joy Division.
Opener ‘Tank’ is a jibe at the (al)lure of the armed forces, the career path for the recipients of the Monarch’s shilling, bidding Imperial wars of territorial attrition. ‘Sweden’ is based on former singer Hugh Cornwell’s time in Sweden in the early 70s, the ennui of the remote expanse: ‘too much time too little to do’ and also the band’s altercation with the ‘raggare’ (Swedish youth group).
The onomatopoeic ‘Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’, the filthiest gutter thump imaginable cascades imperiously detailing the band’s hook-up and shakedown with Amsterdam’s Hell’s Angels. Without pause the tracks pound on. The prescient ‘Hey! Rise of the robots’ with its ominous warning of sentient machines devoid of compassion or emotion, tech-addicted drones of ‘Metal fashioned into man, no ticker I could drop a tear’, man as machine and vice versa, prophesy and fears realised.
‘Death and Night and blood (Yukio)’ is an example of Burnel’s cerebral eye; the tale of the contradictory Japanese Yukio Mishima, a married homosexual who after forming his own ‘defence force’ took on the army, a decision that ended in his suicide. It’s certainly far from the gibberish of Coldplay or Gallagher’s nonesens-ory overload.
The LP closes with ‘Enough Time’ its Morse Code climax decoded as ‘SOS. This is planet Earth. We are fucked. Please advise’ evidence of their belief in extra-terrestrial life as there must be more than ‘this’. Bacharach and David’s ‘Walk on by’ complemented by the four pronged solo section featuring Greenfield’s ‘Light my fire’ referencing organ-gasm is greeted rapturously.
Minimal flab-chat is followed by a greatest hits/forgotten masterpieces, ‘Mercury Rising’ from 2012’s Giants, ‘I’ve been wild’ from 2004’s Norfolk Coast before the diptych of the incendiary ‘Nuclear Device’ merges into the blitzkrieg of ‘5 Minutes’. Never ones to entirely conform to expectations the inflammatory identity crisis that is ‘(I feel like a) Wog’ crashes in. Burnel’s autobiographical tale of being ‘other’ due to his Gallic roots, his struggles with assimilation and ‘their’ issues of acceptance.
The encore builds towards the timeless ‘No More Heroes’, bookending this visceral performance.
Literate, inveterate and irreverent: often imitated, never bettered.
Landlords and tenants: their fates are bound and their interests opposed. This is no private market. State intervention defends landlords’ rights to charge as much as they desire. The state subsidises landlords to build and to send in its armed officers to evict tenants. The state “records and publicises evictions, as a service to landlords and debt collection agencies”. This exploitation causes poverty to persist. A fortune can be made from the poor. Debt recovery agencies advertise themselves as “the largest and most aggressive”.
The land of the free, the place of opportunity, the melting pot, slumlord overlords in cahoots with the law, first they came for the house owners …
Coming soon to a multliplex hypermarket crash site near YOU! The American Dreamyth curdled for your edification.
So let’s blame this excess
On an American dream
So let’s blame the success
Of an American dream
!!!, Bernard Edwards, Chic, David MacKay, I want your love, Justin Vandervolgen, Lenny Kravitz, Light, Mario Andreoni, Michael Nesmith, Mr Cabdriver, Space Island, Tony Levin, Tyler Pope, Walking on thin ice, Yoko Ono
The last thing to have Lennon’s prints on.
Tony Levin (1980).
The most durable of the neu-post-punk-funkers
Tyler Pope/Justin Vandervolgen/Mario Andreoni (step forward and claim your prize, whomever it was)
Lenny Kravitz (1989)
Bernard Edwards (1978)
Fat AND lazy (well, languid)
David MacKay (1979)
Baby don't you do it, Bass guitar, Blissblog, Celebration Day, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Graham Knight, I heard it through the grapevine, Jack Bruce, Jack Casady. Jefferson Airplane, John Dawson, John Lodge, John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin, Marmalade, My Sharona, Patrick Fairley, Prescott NIles, Question, Reflections of my life, Simon Reynolds, Stu Cook, Tales of Brave Ulyssees, That's the way it's got to be, The Knack, The Moody Blues, The Poets, White Rabbit
This ain’t going away …
As proffered by reader Private Snow, can’t believe I’d never heard this. Bass-o-matic!
Patrick Fairley/Graham Knight (1969)
which kicks off further 60s and 70s bassage:
Jack Casady (1967)
A hint of ‘White Rabbit’ crossed with ‘Keep on Running’
plus this cover of a Marvin Gaye song (apparently produced by Paul ‘Gary Glitter’ Raven/Gadd)
John Dawson (1965)
Another Gaye cover, the bass-chuggernaut
Stu Cook (1970)
Jack Bruce (1967)
John Paul Jones (1970)
John Lodge (1970)
The 60s de-rival
Prescott Niles (12979)
Author and Investigative Reporter
Everything With a Blue Toffee fFavour
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Author, Freelance Journalist, Sub-Editor and Lecturer
Feminist music-making in the UK and Ireland in the 1970s and 80s
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Revisiting and monitoring the crimes of Britain
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