Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Specials


Too Much Too Young


Ghostown

(Written about Coventry, apparently - somewhere I had lived a few years prior to this record's release, and its rise to No1. The video was actually filmed in London not Coventry, though it does give a great sense of the mood in BRitain heading into the pits of Thatcherite early 80s.

"It could be your job next!" --- that was a local landmark. It was stark-white graffiti, written on the last surviving wall of a demolished local steel plant.

It's strange how the demolition people left that wall there, even though the rest of the factory and plant had long ago been reduced to rubble. The mainline local train used to run past the last wall, with its solemn gaffiti warning. Nobody could escape reading "Thatcher was here......It could be your job next......" But still they left it there.

That train ride in the early 80s - Thatcher's Wales - was a trip through a "rust belt". Everything falling to pieces......rusting.....silent.... Grass growing across a dozen rusting train tracks.......and always that wall, with it's white-paint warning "IT COULD BE YOUR JOB NEXT"


A Message to You Rudy

I forgot this one:


I walk along this same old lonely street
Still trying to find, find a reason
Policeman comes and smacks me in the teeth
I don't complain, it's not my function

Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change

They're just living in a life without meaning
I walk and walk, do nothing
They're just playing in a life without thinking
They talk and talk, say nothing
I'm just living in a life without feeling
I walk and walk, I'm dreaming
I'm just living in a life without feeling
I talk and talk, say nothing
I'm just living in a life without meaning
I walk and walk, do nothing

7 comments:

socrates said...

I like that group. Thanks for sharing. They had a Lennon McCartney thing going with two exceptional vocals, though the Beatles also had a third in George, and Ringo belted out some good ones too.

I know Billy Bragg has had a good social conscience, but I never liked his tunes. The Specials are interesting. A reggae beat. The white dude sounds a bit like the guy from The Clash. I could even hear some Elvis Costello and the Attractions similarities with the organ.

Have you heard of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Boston has had some great groups. Boston. Donna Summer. I wasn't a fan of Aerosmith, but they're popular. I liked a group called the Pixies. Ireland has had some great bands. Van Morrison. U2. Sinnead. Clannad. The Pogues. There's a singer I'm trying to remember. Ugh. Sorry I can't. A great guitar band. Maybe it'll come to me later. I didn't really like the Hothouse Flowers. I liked the Waterboys. They were Irish but not born there from what I remember. I liked the British group Stone Roses. I hate to admit it, but I liked the Petshop Boys. Oops, almost forgot Thin Lizzie. Ok, I just googled famous Irish bands. It was Rory Gallagher I couldn't remember. And how could I have left off the Cranberries!

Have you heard of the Pixies?
on Letterman

the_last_name_left said...

Yeah, I know the Pixies! I am un chien, andalucia.......cutting up eyeballs uh uh uh oh! They were the biggest alternative band about for a while (in uk at least). Generally a bit too noisy for me, and not well-enough produced. I was meant to go see live them in about 1990.....co-headlining along with Throwing Muses. Dunno why I never went.

I think my taste was already turning more poppy - I'm a sucker for really nice production too.

Waterboys are responsible for one of my all time favourites: "Pagan Place". Love that song.

Van Morrison, yeah. Pogues - hmm. Hothouse Flowers? Dunno. Sinead - y - I remember I was in poly/uni when The Lion and the Cobra came out. I still love the opening track...."Jackie" Brilliant song. Guitar on the album is by Adam and the Ants' Marco Pirroni. I loved Adam and the Ants. ;)

Petshop Boys were pretty good. I'm a sucker for good pop songs, especially electronica, like Eurythmics, Human League, Depeche Mode....even Erasure.

I've always been interested in tracks rather than albums. Digital music has been a blessing for me - I used to have records out of their sleeves always as I put single tracks on, one after another.

My early love of electronica like Human League etc eventually led me into dance music, mostly Trance-y stuff. I hated it, "it all sounds the same" - until I had some ecstacy, and went to some parties. Then I got it. They were great parties - out in the hills of Wales - "DUSH DUSH DUSH DUSH......" I could always hear that the following day....long after the music had stopped. lol. Everyone was so kind and generous at those parties - it really felt like we part of a new age. The world was changing.....

U2? Y - been to see them live once too. Achtung Baby tour....still by far their best album imo. The start is great....."Are my frigging speakers bust?" Beautiful Day was a major track for me on my journey to Florida, over those brilliant roads built by your CCC.

I'm a Stones man over the Beatles. Paul Mc's stuff is too twee.... Revolver is easy their best. Tomorrow Never Knows sounds like the next 30 years to come - brilliant.

I love classic Bowie too. At least up to Let's Dance.

What else is there? Japan and David Sylvian. Joy Division. The Cure. Sisters of Mercy. Pink Floyd, of course. :) Prince, up to about 1990. I love Radiohead.....I'm amazed Creep is nearly 15 years old. Talking Heads. Massive Attack, Portishead etc (Bristol sound?) I like a lot of Hendrix, Doors, Dylan.....

Sorry - I'm enjoying running through my musical history. :D

Creedence Clearwater Revival! And I always like Neil Diamond too.....(my mother used to listen to it when I was small).

Loads of things. Above all though - The Wailers and Mr Marley. Nothing hits the spot for me quite like Bob. I love the groove, the bass, the politics, the philosophy, the sensitivity and the sentiment. Nothing else puts it all together like Bob did - no-one else has that boundless warmth coupled with such iron-willed strength.

I love classical music too - except when I listen to much of it, I can't listen to anything else. Philip Glass is v good.

The mighty mighty bosstones? Hmm. Maybe I heard of them. I don't know them though.

socrates said...

I tried to find you a Bosstones, but I didn't see much at youtube. There might be a live version of a song if you want to check it out. It has somewhat a reggae beat, more ska rockish. A lot of the groups you mentioned I don't know, a lot I do, probably fifty-fifty. I'm probably more into hard rock than yourself. I am less a poppy type. I saw that Hugh Grant movie called Music and lyrics. Kind of took the piss out of pop.

I liked Aha, the one famous tune anyway. I loved Sineads's Mandinka tune, even though I still don't know what she was on about. Ok, for pop, I liked Squeeze and Madness. Their tunes didn't mean much, but it was tight and sounded like candy to me.

I got seriously into Bob Marley when I was 18, when coincidently or not I developed a strong fondness for weed. The politics did line up. Rasta don't work for no CIA is correctamundo.

I'll take the harder stuff than lighter with my bands. I liked U2's first album, early REM, the Police over Sting solo. Pink Floyd without question. I liked albums where the tunes flowed from one to the next.

One of my favourite Costello tunes is Shipbuilding. Brings a tear to my eyes to this day. But I loved the earlier Costello even more. The hard drums. The rockish organs. Maybe Elvis was into the Doors. I think he married a black chick. Sounds like you are into them too. As is Robert DeNiro and apparently Hugh Grant.

I'm not big into classical, but I do like the theme to Platoon. radiohead is a good one too. I'm always impressed with singers who have more than one voice. Bob Dylan, even Elvis Costello come to mind. I will agree with you on Revolver being the best Beatles album, but I have to disagree with you on U2's. Achtung Baby was solid. Boy was probably their best, their first. If I had to go for their best pop stuff, I'll have to go with Joshua Tree. Too bad people like Bono and Geldoff are such pretentious wankers. They make it tough to root for them. Creedence Clearwater wasn't my favourite, but I'll admit they cranked out more hits in a two year period than probably even Elvis and the Beatles. And while they were a product of their times, they were anything but posers. I would have been a hippie, but I give those guys credit for staying true to themselves and not being something they weren't. I never liked the Rolling Stones except for a few tunes. I loved pinball Wizard by The Who, but there is my bias again, as I love pinball and that tune wasn't too shabby. And kudos to American bands like the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers.

the_last_name_left said...

You loves your music?

my head is spinning after all that name-checking. :D

Bono and Geldof? I am pretty ambivalent. As you say, there's something not quite all there. I really liked the Boomtown Rats (and Blondie whilst I think of it) but......all the millionaire musicians hectoring me about stuff, well, I find it pretty hard to take. Better they do it than they don't, but their very existence as zillionaires - and thus their ability to raise lots of cash and awareness - is actually a microcosm of the real issue causing mass starvation, poverty etc... "stardom" is almost the essence of inequality......boiled down....refined. I find pop-star elightenment hard to take, for those reasons.

I also see it as an example of the absorbtion of genuine resistance.....the absorbtion of popular music by the establishment.

Rock aristocracy - reflects the real thing.

I was astonished to see Brian May of Queen playing a guitar solo - atop Buckingham Palace - on the Queen's 150th birthday, or whatever. OMFG! Hey! John Lennon returned his gong, didn't he?

Brian May soloing atop the Palace. What a joke.

It seems odd to me that you like all that and yet aren't too fussed on the Rolling Stones. I'm thinking you like it a bit more folky, perhaps?

Definitely Police over solo Sting. Police have 1/2 dozen absolutely brilliant songs. Sting solo.....hmmm....none?

Again - Police - reggae/influence.....isn't it?

Clash - Police Officer is my favourite. If that's what it is called. What is that called?

What's the music from (wherever you live) like? I have to go look up the spelling........you can't live in Idaho or something simple?

Massachucetts? I guessed at the spelling :)

Wales is a cultural desert...... (Do you know Roger Waters' Radio KAOS? "Listen to the Welsh kid talk....." There are a lot of references to my locale in that album. I ask because I remember the Pixies bloke saying in an interview that he didn't know that "10,000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire" was John Lennon speaking about a town called Blackburn, in the county of Lancashire. lol)

So I am going to foist two things upon you - 1) a Welsh thing and 2) something I suspect you'll like.

the_last_name_left said...

You loves your music?

my head is spinning after all that name-checking. :D

Bono and Geldof? I am pretty ambivalent. As you say, there's something not quite all there. I really liked the Boomtown Rats (and Blondie whilst I think of it) but......all the millionaire musicians hectoring me about stuff, well, I find it pretty hard to take. Better they do it than they don't, but their very existence as zillionaires - and thus their ability to raise lots of cash and awareness - is actually a microcosm of the real issue causing mass starvation, poverty etc... "stardom" is almost the essence of inequality......boiled down....refined. I find pop-star elightenment hard to take, for those reasons.

I also see it as an example of the absorbtion of genuine resistance.....the absorbtion of popular music by the establishment.

Rock aristocracy - reflects the real thing.

I was astonished to see Brian May of Queen playing a guitar solo - atop Buckingham Palace - on the Queen's 150th birthday, or whatever. OMFG! Hey! John Lennon returned his gong, didn't he?

Brian May soloing atop the Palace. What a joke.

It seems odd to me that you like all that stuff you do and yet aren't too fussed on the Rolling Stones. I'm thinking you like it a bit more folky, perhaps?

Definitely Police over solo Sting. Police have 1/2 dozen absolutely brilliant songs. Sting solo.....hmmm....none?

Again - Police - reggae/influence.....isn't it?

Clash - Police Officer is my favourite. If that's what it is called. What is that called? And Clash is heavily reggae influenced too?

What's the music from (wherever you live) like? I have to go look up the spelling........you can't live in Idaho or something simple?

Massachucetts? I guessed at the spelling :)

Wales is a cultural desert...... (Do you know Roger Waters' Radio KAOS? "Listen to the Welsh kid talk....." There are a lot of references to my locale in that album. I ask because I remember the Pixies bloke saying in an interview that he didn't know (until he came here) that "10,000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire" was John Lennon speaking about a town called Blackburn, in the county of Lancashire. Fuck knows what he thought it meant! lol)

Anyway, I am going to foist two things upon you - 1) a Welsh thing and 2) something I suspect you'll really like. Hopefully, at least.

socrates said...

So we're in agreement that Bono exudes a bit too much smugness in regards to recognition of his own altruism. Yeah, it's easy to be such a giving guy when you've enough money to buy whole islands.

The worst is seeing how Yoko Ono sold all those Lennon songs to corporations. She's not the only one either. All these great tunes are being pimped. A week or so after Michael Jackson was dead, we were already being bombarded with ads with I'll Be There the theme song. A great tune, now forever associated with some company.

It sounds like the guy from Queen was trying to copy the Beatles. Now that was awesome when the lads did that. Long hair. Too bad they broke up. They had finally gotten that syrupy early sound out of their system. Oh well. Early Wings was good. The other guys too had success. Damn, if only John Lennon had lived. He'd be a great leader right now. Maybe not politics. But the guy loved to reach out to the masses. He co-hosted a popular talk show here for a whole week. He was a regular guy. He'd have smacked that smirk off of Bono if he could. Ever hear of Pierce Brosnan? I heard he was from an Irish village, but once he became Remington Steele and James Bond, he washed his hands of being a regular guy.

You came close with the spelling of Boston's state. It's Massachusetts, taken from a Native American name or word. I'm embarrassed to say I forget its exact origin and am too lazy to googlify it.

I don't like folk music, but maybe you are close to the few Stones I liked. I get nostalgic for the Seventies. If you know easy, peaceful feeling by The Eagles or the Allman Brothers, the softer stuff, yes, that's what I like. Not too soft. I also like some heavy metal. Not as much as New Age rock. A hard sound I really appreciate is TOOL. You must like TOOL. How about Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden? That's the hard stuff I like. Loud but somehow still pleasant on the ears. Like Sinnead O'Connor. I can't remember how Sinnead is spelled, one n or two. The internet is ruining my spelling. And now that I'm not posting as much, I'm not as worried about it.

(continued)

socrates said...

I can see some reggae in the Police, not much, but a little. I'm sure they listened to the same stuff we all do. I'll check out those bands you embedded and let you know. I probably won't have time to watch the documentaries. But I don't expect you to watch the one on the Civilian Conservation Corps. Maybe there are a few blokes and lasses out there who read our crap and actually enjoy some of our links.

I was going to go into some more more internet fakery, but it's so tiring. I never know who is following it at all or where it is headed. I do like that I explained Agent99 and BradBlog to you. I don't think it's a fluke they are affiliated to Tinoire as she is to Rivero.

You ever hear of Jeff Gannon? He was that male prostitute Republican who had a fake press pass and was allowed to ask easy softball questions to GW at press conferences. Turns out Jeff Wells, a Tinoire buddy, and Andy Stephenson, a friend of Brad, Brett, and that whole milieu were big on spreading some hoax that Gannon was this abducted kid named Johnny Gosch. I mention this because at the queasy looking Rigorous Intuition someone posted on a moon landing hoax thread about how we should be beyond such nonsense as we are with things like Gosch-Gannon. But it was fricken Wells who was at the center of that one. The mendacity out of these people is astounding. They have no shred of accountability. I googled his username from Democratic Underground, Minstrel Boy. He loves Bob Dylan. In a song of that name by Dylan, the minstrel boy asks for people to throw him some money. Funny how it is well known how blogging doesn't pay off for nearly everyone who tries, yet hacks like Wells and Friedman chug along. If you ever read anything from Wells, it is pure rubbish. Totally trite. All creepy junk. He throws in trite cliches but changes a word or two to make him sound original. These people are hacks. And they are well tied in to some of the most outrageous convolution ever produced in the lefty blogosphere milieu.