Thursday, June 22, 2006



As I think is the case with many of my fellow bloggers I use the web as a source for research for my posts and I must say in general even when I had thought the band to be too obscure that I have up until now come up with something. So you can imagine my surprise when a Google search for Yargo came up with nothing more than second hand web sites selling their wares, an AMG search actually listed the band but with neither commentary or discography, I then had the bright idea of using the blogger search engine and again nothing, as a last chance after having remembered that the band were from Manchester I tried Pride of Manchester and again came up empty handed, I even looked in the index of 'Rip It Up And Start Again' and was again disappointed, what I had discovered on my journey is that there is a DJ Yargo and something called Fort Yargo!!!!
So who were Yargo and why am I yapping on about them. A four piece made up from Basil Clarke; vocals, Tony Burnside; guitar, Phil Kirby; drums and Paddy Steer; bass. I became aware of them in the late eighties probably 1987/88 when they were touring their first album 'Bodybeat' at the time I was living in Toulouse and I can remember seeing them on the traveling festival Rock En France. I was suitably impressed that I bought the album, a subtle mix of Jazz, funk and reggae with pop sensibilities at times making me think of Prince, It had already been obvious to me when seeing them live that they were no spring chicks and had a firm musical background this was to be bared out by the album which was augmented by the tasteful addition of horns. One of the songs that benefited from this treatment was 'Help' with trumpet played by ex Diagram Brother (anyone remember them?) Andy Diagram.
There was a second album in 1989 still on the London imprint 'Communicate' which while keeping all the good points of the first album added a more upbeat sound even displaying latin and Caribbean influences. 'Free' is one of my personal favorites from the album, a song that illustrates well how the vocal is used very much as an instrument itself, just listen to the play off between the vocals and the guitar. As with the first album sales were not up to the required level for a major, I seem to remember that they also got very little space in the musical press maybe because they were so difficult to fit into a category and that they were part of no musical movement, and this coming so soon after the changes that the spirit of '77 brought. I personally can testify to their power on stage and the enjoyment these two albums still give me almost 20 years later. Their was a third album a live which if I remember correctly was self released, and as is the case with so many similar projects the resulting album is a poor substitute for the real live experience. Somewhere along the way the band petered out and just disappeared from view, I have no idea what they did afterwards and for that mater if they are still involved in music today, if anyone knows feel free to let me know. Anyone thinking of picking up one of their albums should be prepared to fork out or wait to be lucky as the going rate would appear to be around 40 euros. Good hunting!

Have a look at these links :
Basil Clarke :
Paddy Steer :
Paddy Steer & Tony Burnside :
Paddy Steer & Phil Kirby (before Yargo) :
Yeah man. One of the most under-rated bands ever.

'Bodybeat' I have on finally have on vinyl after searching for some 15 years since my cassette vanished into the post-party ether and 'Communicate' I have on CD.

Been searching for some MP3s since becoming temporarily separated from my music collection.

Some interesting artifacts here if you're interested.
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I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

I think I did the same Google search as you for Yargo, and, like you, came up pretty much empty-handed. Except for this post! Nice one.

Saw them on two occasions in the late 80s, and was greatly impressed. I remember thinking, "Hmmm. Sounds like A Certain Ratio produced by Bill Laswell." Basil Clarke did some vocal work in the mid-90s, after Yargo's demise, with Adrian Sherwood and his On-U Sound chums. I'll gladly send you some MP3s of the Strange Parcels with basil's vocals if you want. Or just try and find their Disconnection CD. Not quite as rare as Bodybeat, so should be considerably cheaper!
Hoping to book Basil Clarke..... Limetree festival end of August 2011 check out

He was the singer of Yargo back in the day and he is relaunhing with a neo soul album
look up Homelife - - that's Paddy Steer and Tony Burnside if I'm not wrong.. done a few albums, all wildly eclectic, but never hit the awesome heights of Yargo IMHO
Check out Basil Clarke at on the JBs stage Limetreee festival
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