I Like That, Turn It Up

Yargo have appeared in my social media timelines a couple of times recently so it’s time to revisit them here. I’ve written about them before, a band barely known outside Manchester but who really should have been bigger. There’s a dearth of decent pictures on the internet too and while searching for an image for this post I found the one above, a ticket for a 1990 gig at Manchester International 1 where they were supported by Rig (who I wrote about at the start of this year here and who had my mate Darren on guitar).

Yargo were a four piece who defied pigeonholing mixing blues, soul, funk and reggae, and a singer (Basil Clarke) with the voice of an angel. Several of them had previously been in Biting Tongues, another unsung Manchester band. This song, from the album Bodybeat, has brushed drums and jazzy guitar licks before moving into a sort of dub/film soundtrack area.

Another Moss Side Night

In 1988 they put out a single with singer Zoe Griffin called The Love Revolution (Manchester, 1988- ‘ten thousand people committing no crime… we’re dancing away’). Basil’s voice floats over an ACR style house groove on this very nice Justin Robertson remix.

The Love Revolution (Justin Robertson’s Scream Team Remix)

They received their most widespread coverage in 1989 when their song The Other Side Of Midnight was used as the theme tune to Tony Wilson’s late night Granada music TV show of the same name. As well as some legendary appearances by some definitive Manchester guitar bands OSM enabled Tony to broadcast a party from Victoria Baths soundtracked by A Guy Called Gerald (starting at 6.15 with Voodoo Ray).

And from the end of the series in July 89 a stunning show from the old Granada Studios building, a live rave with Gerald again, T-Coy (Mike Pickering and ex-ACR man Simon Topping) and the Happy Mondays at their chaotic peak. But you know,  it’s 1989, the crowd are the real stars.

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Rig

Social media has been taking a battering recently. Twitter is full of trolls, Nazis and Donald Trump. Facebook is awash with pictures of cats and kids. Instagram is populated by pictures of celebrities dinners. And yet if you look only at what your friends/people you follow post you can also imagine that the world is made up entirely of people like you. It has its good points though- I got in touch with several people from my past last year which led to real life meetings, which was good. One of them was the young man on the left in the photo above, Darren Jones. We were friends at school, knocked around with the same group of people and then lost touch in the 90s. He was the guitar player in Rig.

When The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays gatecrashed Top Of the Pops and a nations kids began wearing baggy jean and casual wear the record companies sped up north to sign groups. From this second wave of Manchester bands came The High, Northside, Paris Angels, World Of Twist, Intastella, Rig and others. Rig didn’t sound like a stereotypical Madchester band- in fact all of the bands listed above sounded pretty different from each other. Rig had an industrial, indie, mutant funk sound and imagined they sounded like a south Mancunian Talking Heads. ACR’s Martin Moscrop produced a single. They put out a cover of E.S.G.’s Moody and did a cover of Adolescent Sex by Japan. In 1990 and 1991 they released a handful of singles (and some songs on ‘scene’ compilation albums). Two of the singles, Big Head and Spank, came out on Dead Dead Good, home of The Charlatans. Through  Facebook I found this recently, a remix of their song Dig by DJ Blue which sounds a bit like Tackhead remixed by Weatherall.

This video captures Spank played live in Stockport. After thirty seconds the studio version comes in on the audio, Martin Moscrop at the desk. The funky guitar and fast dub bass sound pretty fresh all these years later and the vocals and sax show that late 70s/early 80s New York art-punk scene coming through.