Return To Brixton

Paul Simonon realised after a while that the money was in songwriting. During the sessions for what became London Calling he worked up a tune into what would become one of the group’s most recognisable and best-loved songs, thanks in large part to ‘the bassline of the twentieth century’. The swagger of Guns Of Brixton comes from the swing of the bassline and Paul’s rough and ready vocal, the ripping sound at the start (velcro being peeled off the studio chairs apparently) and the chanted backing vocals. One of my favourites.

In 1990 Norman Cook borrowed the bassline for his number one hit Dub Be Good To Me. Without asking permission. Paul and Norman settled in a cafe and according to Paul at the time the cash injection was much needed. I happen to love Dub Be Good To Me, an updating of The SOS Band’s Just Be Good To Me with harmonica pinched from Ennio Morricone and the rap half-inched from Johnny Dynell.

CBS, sensing a hit, decided to get a top dj to remix Guns Of Brixton, for the club scene. Jeremy Healy was the dj and a 12″ single with three new versions (two are below) was put out. It stormed into the charts reaching number 57. I don’t remember the clubs and bars of 1990 being awash with this version either. Well done CBS, good work.

To be honest I quite like the remixes, they present the song a bit differently, give it something else. They’re not as good as the original no, and yes, they’re probably for completists and the curious only.

Return To Brixton (Extended Version)

Return To Brixton (SW2 Dub)

Jeremy Healy was in Haysi Fantayzee previous to his dj career. I’ve been watching the Top Of The Pops re-runs from 1983 this year and the January editions had Haysi Fantayzee on several times doing Shiny Shiny,a sort of pirate, nursery rhyme, tribal, glam, anti-nuclear thumper. Having recorded it, I re-watched it a few times too. Two words- Kate Garner.

Advertisements

Sabres

Also from Mr Weatherall’s 6 Mix show the other night, Haysi Fantayzee’s seven minute dub-pop song The Sabres Of Paradise, from 1982. Haysi Fantayzee are best known for the A-side hit John Wayne Is Big Leggy (which coincidentally I was talking to someone about on New Year’s Eve. You can’t say I don’t know how to have fun at an NYE party) and for one half of them being Jeremy Healy, 90s club dj and ‘face’ (and several other less complimentary words according to a friend of mine). Healy took the phrase Sabres Of Paradise from a novel about Cossacks by Lesley Blanche, which a different friend gave me a copy of about fifteen years ago, which I still haven’t read. Weatherall took the name from the record, and the book, for a group and a record label. Got all of that?

Top song by the way.

The Sabres Of Paradise