Thursday, June 01, 2006


Christine Keeler

Multi-nationals don't you just love 'em? You can buy their products but just don't play around with their name or their image. Remember what happened to Kleenex who were forced to change their name it is a surprise that the Pistols never received an injunction for 'EMI'. Another band that suffered at the hands of trade names were the Glaxo Babies whose response to legal threats was to simply replace the 'a' by an asterisk. Forming in Bristol in the late seventies they were along with the Pop Group the inspirational axis for the flourishing Bristol scene, coming along as they did just before other post punk bands we can label them as being pre-post punk. Their music could be described as both sophisticated and primitive being at times avant gard and at others displaying a pop sensibility that other bands would kill for, this side of the band was well exposed on the single that remains their greatest moment 'Christine Keeler'. A song that tackled rare subject mater at the time as the Christine Keeler in question was a call girl that had been involved in a political scandal in the sixties UK that toppled the then government, best line in the song "here come the radicals cheek to cheek". The song opens with a brief guitar intro reminiscent of 'Friday On Mind' before being joined by a good thumping bass line and quickly followed by the song's signature, a seriously funky saxophone. The half shouted half rapped vocals on the song were to point the way for other post punk bands such as Gang of Four, showing how melodic a dead pan voice could be. The song deserved it's place up in the charts but maybe the undeveloped independent distribution network and lack of day time airplay at the time were to hamper it's chances, not forgetting the songs embarrassing subject mater. The B side 'Nova Bossa Nova' was a good example of their more radical side having little in common with the structure of classical pop songs, and despite it's title has nothing to do with Bossa Nova. Both of these songs are available on the excellent Cherry Red double CD compilation of Bristol music from this period 'Avon Calling/The Heartbeat Singles Collection' that you can buy here at a very reasonable price. The Gl*xo Babies were not destined for a long existence and left behind them just one real album entitled 'Nine Months To The Disco' and the demos compilation 'Put Me On The Guest List' both of which have been out of print for a long time. Cherry Red, according to Amazon have a compilation called 'Dreams Interrupted' due to be released though with no date advertised and the labels web site does not even mention it, I for one would be more than pleased were it to see the light of day.

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