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  • THE CLASH - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Dec 12, 2019

    THE CLASH - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

    THE CLASH – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS (1982)

    The title of The Clash’s fifth studio album, COMBAT ROCK, could have been read more than one way, just as its blurred, off-handed cover picture showed the band planted at a crossroads.

    At least part of the Clash's directive was to combat the rockist attitude so many accused them of perpetuating, the kind of close-mindedness that marred the band's N.Y. shows in 1981, when their legions of admirers booed opening acts like Grandmaster Flash.

    The rappers inspired the LP's very first cut, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, which laid down the law with an insistent bass drum, punctuated by slashing, metallic guitars on the beat, as Joe Strummer painted a bleak picture of diminishing returns on human freedoms.

    The video here features background images and titles courtesy of Allan Strydom.

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  • TRACY CHAPMAN - TALKIN' BOUT A REVOLUTION Dec 12, 2019

    TRACY CHAPMAN - TALKIN' BOUT A REVOLUTION

    TRACY CHAPMAN - TALKIN' BOUT A REVOLUTION (1988)

    The politically-charged second single from Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut album, TALKIN' BOUT A REVOLUTION might not have set the charts alight in the States compared to previous single 'Fast Car' but it was a big hit overseas reaching the Top 40 in several countries.

    "To start with a question, “Don’t you know,” implies that we should already know," wrote Amelia Martens for ColdFront, "we’re either supporting the revolution or we’re in the way. To sing out about a whisper. To rearrange those armies of salvation."

    "The confidence of guitar and Chapman’s voice: “Poor people gonna rise up/ And take what’s theirs.” The belief that tables turn, that people in power should heed this warning and “run, run, run, run, run…”. The use of 2nd person (you) to implicate all of us: “Oh I said you better run…”

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  • THE SPECIALS - DO NOTHING Dec 12, 2019

    THE SPECIALS - DO NOTHING

    On this date in 1980, THE SPECIALS (Featuring ‘Rico With The Ice Rink String Sounds’) released the single DO NOTHING, (December 12th, 1980).

    DO NOTHING, the second single from the MORE SPECIALS album was a special ‘Ice Rink’ version of the LP track and reached a very respectable #4 in the UK charts.

    Brighter than the album track, the string sounds brought to the fore, ‘Do nothing’ was a mellow treatise on apathy. Whilst restating the class-conscious observations of the first LP, the song was equipped with damning lyrics, 'Policeman come and smack me in the teeth, I don't complain, it's not my function.'

    One of the contrariest of tunes to bring in the season of goodwill, it’s hard to resist singing along to its breezy but nihilistic chorus, "I'm just living in a life without meaning".

    The video here is The Specials’ TOTP appearance for ‘Do Nothing’ followed by a live recording.

    On their Top Of The Pops appearance, the band appeared dressed in tartan trousers and Christmas jumpers. The Beat also appeared on the same episode to promote their single ‘Too Nice Too Talk To’.

    Watch the episode and you’ll see that there’s a bass player swap around, with Horace joining The Beat and David Steele taking up bass for The Specials.

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