When I was younger I played in a punk-folk band. After a couple of years I left rock and roll to go to university and inadvertently became the John Major of rock and roll (he famously ran away from the circus to become an accountant). If truth be told I never really felt like I had any real natural musical ability and struggled to keep up with the others. One thing that playing in a band does is gives you the opportunity to meet people far more interesting than yourself, and gives you the opportunity to talk about it loudly in the pub 10 years later.
One such meeting was with the Bhundu Boys, we did a short UK tour supporting them just before they broke through. I have very fond memories of chatting with them backstage, they were the most unassuming bunch of guys you would ever wish to meet. It is quite upsetting to realise that within a few short years two of them would be dead from HIV related illnesses and Biggie, the singer, would commit suicide in 1995.
I still remember watching them from the side of the stage night after night, they were one of the best live acts I had ever seen and listening to this album tonight brings back some very happy memories, but also some sad ones.
The greatest band ever to come out of South Shields. I have very fond memories of listening to this album in what was then Durham’s premier music shop, Musicore. I was with a couple of learned gentleman and together we thought we would go to said music shop and see if the long-awaited (well in our heads it was, our own Makem Sham 69) Angelic Upstarts album was out. Our luck was in and it was on the listening post, so one of us donned the headphones and listened. I mentioned this story recently to the people who were there and none of them could remember it, so this may actually be a false memory. The volume on the album was up fairly high on the headphones so our designated listener was reviewing the songs to us at the top of his voice. It was all going well until he started getting excited and began swearing at a considerable volume, whereupon we were thrown out. But we didn’t care, we were Punk rockers, we lived on the edge, getting thrown out of record shops was what we did, as long as our parents didn’t find out.
Listening to this tonight I can’t believe how rough it sounds, it almost sounds like a demo. Liddle Towers is the sticky, drunken son of Dylan’s Hattie Carrol, and it’s still shocking and quite brilliant.
An aside; I’m an Upstart has the best no-riff of any punk song from the 70s.
Hidden gem; Youth Leader
Best lyrical momnet; 13, 14 It’s a teenage warning. 15, 16 But nobody’s listening. 17, 18 Who takes the blame. 19, 20 The twentieth century.