Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The Baggy Bad Bunch

Uncut has listed the 10 worst baggy bands as being; Ocean Colour Scene, Northside, The Mock Turtles, The Soup Dragons, Airhead, My Jealous God, The High, Intestella, The Real People and The Bridewell Taxis. As with all lists there will be many people who would argue the errors and omissions, I have one question to ask what does indeed make a good baggy band? Is it the ability to consume large amounts of hallucinogenic drugs? Is it a penchant for dressing up like a football hooligan / brickie out on the piss? Or is to do with the music? Baggy it is largely accepted means psychedelic / acid house influenced guitar music with that funky drummer beat, so in musical terms our 10 unlucky bands were certainly baggy but was their music any good? Have their songs stood up to the test of time? Certain of these bands I still have fond memories of and others I have almost forgotten (The High?), and so it was that I dug out their CDs to give them another spin to see if they really were as bad as the revered journalists in Uncut Towers would have us believe..
Northside, a little bit harsh picking on there age, since when has youth been a problem in rock 'n' roll? And so what if Tony Wilson had proteges, someone had to nurture talent, and his track record is good enough that we should trust him more than the average second hand car dealer! I've given their sole album 1991 's 'Chicken Rhythms' another spin, having been produced by Lightning Seed Ian Broudie it still sounds fine to me and definitely does not suffer from the over familiarity that the closest of the baggy big boys to them, the Stone Roses does. 'Shall We Take A Trip' remains their crowning moment and should be taken as I believe it was intended, tongue in cheek. 'Moody Places' is a good example of why they were good with it's rolling bass line paving the way for the effect heavy weaving guitar lines over which we find the dream like vocals. It is true that they remained minor league, but since when has lack sales equated to low quality?
The Soup Dragons, we certainly can't say they lacked sales as their Rolling Stones cover, 'I'm Free' was a global smash, was it any good? Yes it was though as with many big hits familiarity has taken the sting out of it's tail. When we first heard it, it sounded fresh, with it's lethargic reggae beat, horns and toasting, I can remember it being a very big dance floor hit. The album from which it was drawn 'LoveGod', 1990 really embraced the rave led feeling of the times very well a still to this day sounds like a very good pop album with baggy influences. 'Sweetmeat' with its southern sounding slide guitar pointed the direction to their next album 'Hot Wired' where they took the Stones sound even further but in doing so lost record sales and fans by the truck load, similar to Primal Scream with their Dixie inflicted 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' follow up to 'Screamadelica'.
My Jealous God, are a band that I have already posted on in April last year. I still think that they are a band that could have gone further with their up front psychedelic groove rock if there had been a little bit more interest but by 1992 musical trends were changing and baggy was rapidly on it's way to the revival circuit. 'Everything About You (the Knowledge)' is an extended mix by Manchester's A Guy Called Gerald that shouldn't disappoint dance floor fans.
Undoubtedly some of you will disagree with me and a think that these bands deserve nothing better than a place in the musical scrap heap of forgotten bands, others will think, yes but what about the Mock Turtles?

the higb were good man
like the byrds...just further out
they only seem to have been labelled baggy as a result of their location, the time and the roses connection...well worth checkin out
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