The High ‘Box Set Go’

Something reminded me of this song recently, can’t remember what, but I listened to it again and enjoyed it. The Manchester scene (I hate the Madchester word, and baggy’s even worse) was good fun and felt pretty exciting at the time, even if the records havn’t added up to much in the long term. Aside from the obvious (Roses and Mondays), most of the bands managed a couple of good songs but couldn’t sustain it. Don’t know if Northside count in that or not. On the plus side it was surely the last time British bands were inspired equally by white guitar music and black dance music, and used those influences to came up with something else. They were forward looking generally, not totally retro and revivalist (like Britpop, and the post-Strokes bands).

This band featured Andy Couzens (elbowed out of The Roses), and produced some sparkling guitar pop- this song, also Up And Down, Take Your Time, and a pretty good debut album. Box Set Go was also one of the last Martin Hannett production jobs before his death. After the album they lost their way. The singer John Matthews suffered a drug induced breakdown, and the lovely follow up single (More…) got them into trouble for chart rigging. This is all from memory, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. London Records dropped them in 1993 after a disastrous second album. This, though, still sounds good.


Echo And The Bunnymen ‘Angels and Devils’

The tracks I’ve posted over the last few days have received record low downloads for this blog, which is interesting (previous winners- Billy Childish and Crispy Ambulance). Maybe you’ve all got them, or don’t like them, or got turned off by the political content. If so, fair enough. We’ve just queued to vote, which we’ve never had to do before, so looks like it could be a high turnout, so obviously people are interested in the election, which is a good thing. But enough of that…

This is one of the 1980’s finest b-sides from a time when bands saw b-sides as something important. Released as the flip to Silver (off Ocean Rain) it’s a real late period Bunnymen highpoint. Great Mo Tucker drumming, Will Sergeant’s improvised in the studio guitar lines, and great lyrics and vocals from Mac about endings, things falling apart, angels and devils and Jesus. ‘Call it a day’ it begins, and he sounds like he’s ready to. Afterwards Bill Drummond quit as manager, Pete de Freitas went awol, then returned, and they limped on to make another lp, but this song seems to predict Mac’s isolation from the others and the inevitable split. In glorious Bunnymen style.

11 Angels and Devils [#].wma

Election Special Number 3

‘This is a public service announcement…. with guitars!’

Just about as good a way to start a song, or blog posting, as any.

Neil Kinnock, in 1983, speaking about the re-election of Margaret Thatcher:

‘I warn you that you will have pain- when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance-when talents and wit are wasted, and learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty- when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by government. I warn you will be cold when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford. I warn you not to expect work… I warn you that you will be quiet-when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.’

Substitute Thatcher for Cameron.

Joe Strummer ‘Know Your Rights’

‘You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or an aristocrat

You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don’t mind a little
Humiliation, investigation
And if you cross your fingers

You have the right to free speech
As long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it

Know your rights
These are your rights

It has been suggested in some quarters
That this is not enough
Get off the streets

Know your rights’

This song led to a two hour stand up row in the studio between Mick and Paul about the level of the bass, which Mick admitted years later no-one would ever notice.

I’m not suggesting that the Labour Government have been that good- civil liberty campaigners argue we’ve got fewer rights and more surveillance than most people in many countries around the world, rights curtailed and surveillance introduced by a Labour government. One million people protested against going to war in Iraq and they did it anyway. I’m not suggesting Joe would have even considered voting for Gordon Brown. Maybe he’d be right. But we’ve got the right to vote, so let’s get out there and do it.

01 Know Your Rights.wma