Backs To The Wall

This was written before the result of the general election was known but in gloomy, pessimistic anticipation of a Johnson win. Maybe I was wrong and he’s been turfed out into a cold December Downing Street, the door banging shut behind him.

Music is important isn’t’ it? It brings us together, gives us shared experiences (personal listening experiences and shared ones at gigs or on the dance-floor). It gives a voice to people. It allows us to recognise ourselves in the art others have made. Music gives us something to dance to in the face of disaster and disappointment, both personal and political. Lifts us up and brings us down. Makes us laugh and smile, cry and sigh. Makes you feel like you can face the world.

A Certain Ratio have been celebrating their 40th anniversary this year with a tour and a box set and two new releases (an old one in their unreleased version of Houses In  Motion and a new one in the Chris Massey remix of Dirty Boy, both featured here previously). In 1989 they were only ten years old and had left Factory for the major label environs of A&M. 1989’s The Big E album had several songs I’d consider to be keepers but didn’t sell well. The single Backs To The Wall was remixed by Frankie Knuckles, one of the originators of house music. He adds a chunky house beat and pumps up the disco elements of the song although in 1989 terms this remix feels quite slow. Nice job though, the symphonic stabs are good, there’s some funky guitar riffs and housed up piano chords, a bubbly bassline and several vocal lines that jump out given the current situation, not least the ones about the economic hard times and money talking, ‘we’re going nowhere, nowhere fast’, ‘we all need friends to help in the end but nothing lasts forever’ and the chorus…

‘Backs to the wall
Stand up tall
Don’t let ’em get you down’

Back To The Wall (Frankie Knuckles Remix)