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.


Italian reader Luca has a guest spot over at Acid Ted where he regularly writes about the joys of Italian disco. Recently he bemoaned the lack of the 12″ version of Bodybeat Blues by Yargo anywhere on the internet. I left a comment saying I might have it. I don’t unfortunately, neither in physical format nor digitally. I do have the album Bodybeat though and the album version of the song. Sorry Luca.

Bodybeat Blues

To summarise, and I’m sure I’ve typed a paragraph very similar to this before, Yargo were the classic example of an 80s Manchester band who could pull a thousand people to a gig with an M postcode but were virtually unheard of elsewhere. Singer Basil Clarke (the owner of a golden voice that drew comparisons with Marvin Gaye), Phil Kirby and Paddy Steer (drums and bass) had all been in Biting Tongues (the former home of Graham Massey of 808 State and also a man called Eddie, who I know). Yargo played a Mancunian take on jazz, soul, reggae, ska and dub with a bit of rock too. Andy Diagram (trumpet, later in James) also passed through the ranks. Bodybeat, from 1987, is a lost gem, well worth checking out. They also did the theme tune to Anthony H Wilson’s late night music show The Other Side Of Midnight, Granada region only, and the source of legendary live appearances by Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. Yargo split in 1991. Basil Clarke has made solo records and sung with Future Sound Of London. Listen to this below (or that above) and you’ll see that they should have been much bigger than they were.

The Limit

Yargo were a mid-to-late 80s Manchester band who mixed up soul, reggae, funk and general late nightness to a largely indifferent public although when playing live in and around Manchester they often blew the roof off. Singer Basil Clarke has just released this song. I have no idea what he’s been doing between Yargo splitting up 20 years ago and today but this single is rather fine in a moody, Massive Attack way, wandering around Manchester’s streets in the rain.

Yargo put out an album called Bodybeat (which I think I’ve posted a song from before). I’ve also got this single on 12″, featuring the vocals of Zoe Griffin and a very 1988 Justin Robertson remix. Apologies for the lowish quality of the rip- it’s not the greatest vinyl pressing in the world, more like a flexidisc than actual vinyl and hasn’t worn very well despite being played rarely.

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

>Manchester’s Most Forgotten Band

Remember these? Yargo are possibly Manchester’s most forgotten band, formed in the mid 80s, they released the fantastic Bodybeat album on their own label in 1987. Mixing reggae, soul, pop, and blues and fronted by the rich vocals of Basil Clarke they really should’ve been bigger. A 1989 album on a major label, Communicate, flopped by major label standards although they received widespread coverage in the northwest by soundtracking the titles to Anthony H Wilson’s The Other Side Of Midnight telly show (which had The Stone Roses playing Waterfall live amongst others). They also featured trumpet from Andy Diagram who later went on to James. Criminally Manchester’s acid house/indie band heaven/’idiot-joy showland’ (cheers MES) moved on without them.