|Jun. 25th, 2007 03:22 pm All Aboard: The C81|
Catalogue Number: COPY 001 (NME/Rough Trade co-release; later released through shops on Rough Trade)
Released: Spring 1981
Side 1: Scritti Politti The “Sweetest Girl”/The Beat Twist and Crawl Dub/Pere Ubu Misery Goats/Wah! The 7000 Names of Wah!/Orange Juice Blue Boy/Cabaret Voltaire Raising The Count/DAF Kebab Traume/Furious Pig Bare Pork/Specials Raquel/Buzzcocks I Look Alone/Essential Logic Fanfare In The Garden/Robert Wyatt Born Again Cretin
Side 2: The Raincoats Shouting Out Loud/Josef K Endless Soul/Blue Orchids Low Profile/Virgin Prunes Red Nettle/Aztec Camera We Could Send Letters/The Red Crayola Milkmaid/Linx Don’t Get In My Way/The Massed Carnaby Street John Cooper Clarkes The Day My Pad Went Mad/James Blood Ulmer Jazz Is The Teacher Funk Is The Preacher/Ian Dury Close To Home/The Gist Greener Grass/Subway Sect Parallel Lines
Sometimes called “the start of indie”, but it’s actually the end of an era: the last hurrah of post-punk puritanical eclecticism associated in particular with the early days of Rough Trade, who provide around half the tracks from their own catalogue. Six months later the NME was obsessed with what Alexei Sayle called “shiny new yellow pop CACK!” as its most high-profile hacks sneered at the type of stuff to be found here. The signs are there, if you look hard enough: Scritti Politti’s decision that a tune is ideologically acceptable after all, the romanticism of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, and above all the Linx track, which made everyone ask “What the fuck is this doing on here?”. Most of what was meant to “challenge” is simply irritating these days, and what once seemed impossibly demanding (Ulmer) now sounds rather amiable.
So, this seemed incredibly vibrant at the time, but it’s archaic now. You’d never think of sitting down to play it unless you were a hopeless nostalgic.
Best Tracks: Scritti edge it, closely followed by all the Postcard stuff, the Blue Orchids, Wyatt, and, surprisingly, the Buzzcocks, with the last thing they recorded before their long rest period.
Don’t Think You’re Here To Enjoy Yourself, We’re The NME And We Know What’s Good For You: Cabaret Voltaire, Furious Pig, The Red Crayola, Virgin Prunes
Someone’s Manager Got These Terrible Old “Rarities” Released To Make A Fast Buck: Specials, Ian Dury, Subway Sect
Terrible Old Rarity That’s Actually Quite Good: Subway Sect
Hey, We May Be The NME, But We Down With Da Brothers: Linx
Groups You Haven’t Thought Of In Twenty Years: The Gist, Furious Pig, Virgin Prunes
Best Title: Kebab Traume
Worst Title: Bare Pork
Most Pleasant Surprise: Buzzocks
How Of Its Time Is It? If it was any more Spring 81, it would go off to form the SDP
Most Dated Concept: Sending letters (Aztec Camera)
Special Memories: None in particular, though I saw the Blue Orchids around this time and they were phenomenal
Still At The Coalface: Scritti Politti (who made my favourite album of 2006), Pere Ubu, The Buzzcocks, Robert Wyatt, Roddy Frame (presumably), John Cooper Clarke, David Grant (a voice coach for “talent” show contestants!)
No Longer With Us: Lord Upminster. Thankfully, Edwyn Collins continues to recover.
The kitchen had been ransacked, ski-marks in the hall
A chicken had been dansacked and thrown against the wall
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