I came across this much under rated (and alas not to commercially successful) band sometime in early 1989. I got a freebie plastic disc that came from one of the music rags at the time (NME/Sounds) and the only track that got me interested was ‘Candlestick Park’ by the Mackenzie’s. I insisted on playing it many times to my friends, but the heathens never dived into this band like I did.
Whatever it was it was enough to get me interested enough to part with some hard cash and buy the CD ‘Good Deeds and Dirty Rags’. I was eventually to own most of their CD output.
This was also around the time when I was deciding on whether or not to buy a CD player, so to force my hand a bought a few CDs (they were indestructible apparently according to the hype at the time!!) without having anything to play them on. I then bought a nice Denon to play them on. The only upside I could see was the fact that I didn’t have to get up to turn the LP over every 18 mins or so. I could lie back and use my remote!
CDs are ok but they fail miserably when it comes to classic albums like Dark Side of the Moon which need to be heard in one continuous no break session. Listening to it on CD is infuriating. Every time a track changes you get a momentary break and that’s it spoilt!! I seem to have digressed from the original topic of this blog somewhat folks, so back on track.
Of the band members I knew of the tattooed behemoth guitarist Big John Duncan (ex-the Exploited) and still looking like he belonged with is old band and eventually most would have heard of Shirley Manson who went on to front Garbage. And they were Scottish, and looked different and sang about interesting topics – the starting lyrics to ‘Face to Face’ are – “raped three times, raped three times, raped three times by the boys from the pub” – now that gets your attention! I found out many years later that they gave the profits of this single to the Rape crisis centre – good on them!
Hey, no internet in those days, so finding out about them was almost impossible. It was the music press only then and given that they were ‘up north’ I’m afraid very little was written about them- small band, small label syndrome. It’s only many years after they disbanded in the mid 90’s that I even got to know of their live album releases, which were promptly purchased!
Their covers were interesting too – check out ‘Fish Heads and Tails’ they look like a bunch of misfits or ‘Hammer and Tongs’ where they are all plasticine models. Never mind that the music was in the most part great and definitely worth checking out. You may need to listen a few times, get the lyrics indulge yourself. Check them out on YouTube – the only place where you can get to see what they were really like. These songs are a good start point – track them down.
- Blacker than Black
- Good Deeds are like Dirty Rags
- Face to Face
- The Rattler
- Carlton Hill
- Knockin’ on Joe (Nick Cave song)
- Goodwill City
I found this website in which they talk about one of their live albums – worth a visit!
16 Feb 2016