Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Unashamed Publicity

And in my opinion deservedly so! The album in question dates from 1979 and originally saw the light of day on the Jake Riviera set up and Warner Brothers financed Radar Records, which was of course the home to Elvis Costello. The album has long been unavailable excepting a very expensive Japanese import, and now 28 years after its original release it has been put back on the shelves by Rhino and for a very modest sum for such an important work. The album was the first from the Bristol based noise warriors the Pop Group who had a strong radical left agenda to preach. As AMG so rightly state the name of the band is to say the least ironic, the band's love of word and sound play was also evident in the title of this album, 'Y'. Their sound definitely had it's roots in intellectually radical free jazz, and as such song structures would often be sacrificed for random ideas the sort of thing that might look great on paper or after a joint, their saving grace as far as our ears were to be concerned was their use of both funk and reggae that made their abrasive sounds exciting and if my memory serves me well, danceable to inebriated students. The reggae edge was well exploited on this album as it was produced by UK reggae producer Denis Bovell in his down time between producing chart artist such as Janet Kay, it goes without saying that the Pop Group were never to disturb the charts, one of their early singles was called 'We Are All Prostitutes', Marxist dogma was not a staple of Radio One in the late seventies. Listening to the album 28 years down the line it sounds every bit as fresh and rewarding if one takes the effort to listen to it as it did, it back then. It has also sent the memories rushing back of my youth and above all crazy anything can go gigs at London students union bars and halls!
By 1983 the adventure was over and the bands foghorn soapbox vocalist Mark Stewart had formed Mafia and released his excellent debut alum 'Learning To Cope With Cowardice', Stewart's political rantings and dub heavy musical soundscapes were to become one of the many outstanding features of Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound label. His fellow band mates were also to play with numerous bands of note including Rip Rig And Panic, Public Image Ltd, The Slits, Guided By Voices, Pig Bag and the Gl*xo Babies.
Of all of the songs on the album probably the most accessible was 'She Is Beyond Good And Evil' that unsurprisingly enough was also the lead single despite it lacking a sing along chorus and so it was destined to linger in the then ghetto of the Indie charts. Do yourself a favour and but the cd now before it disappears for another decade or so.

Here are The Slits from their show in San Francisco. We sent them copies, they liked it so much.



The movies are QuickTime, but the platform is Flash.. ya need a player.

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