Proper Music – According to FLS
The Music I Grew Up With.
I have little interest in most of the modern day ‘noise’ that’s referred to as music. Personally, I enjoy a band being able to play their own instruments, read and write their own music. A lot of the modern stuff is mass manufactured crap. Now don’t get me wrong, this list is just the first part, but The Clash and The Jam were the bands I listened to when at school and still do to this day. One of my favourite ever tracks is Down In The TubeStation At Midnight, by the Jam, hence the escalator image above.
Here are a few thoughts on my look at music.
I was fortunate to grow up in an age where music was amazing in my opinion. Groundbreaking bands came to the fore, the advent of Punk Rock came about, New Wave and then we moved onto Electronica and House, Brit Pop/ Madchester which in turn went on to bring about dance, garage and all the other diluted versions.
People associate Punk with the Pistols often the first name that people come out with when asked who was the best punk band. As good as the Pistols were, they were not the best, not by a long shot. My own nomination for this accolade would be without a doubt the brilliant Clash. There are good bands and then there are brilliant bands. The Clash was pure brilliance. People will have heard the singles such as London Calling, Bankrobber etc, they’re also aware of the famous I Fought The Law tune. Tracks from the albums that weren’t made into singles were just as good. Safe European Home, is an iconic piece that is a must for any Clash playlist.
Three young men who expressed themselves not by swearing on television but through their music. Angry young men in the Going Underground and Down In The Tubestation At Midnight singles, who expressed their feelings through powerful lyrics and chords.
Softer yet still heartfelt lyrics in album tracks such as Smithers Jones and When You’re Young showed how passionate the writing was. Paul Weller really made people sit up and listen to the tracks they made. Album followed album, hit followed hit and although classed by a lot of people as a Mod group, my personal feeling is they were mod influenced through their dress sense especially at the start but their leanings were also akin to some of the punk bands to a degree.
There’s a lovely track called To Be Someone, which really does hit home through the words, as a real down to earth look at people and their attitude as fake friends who like to hold onto your coat tails when they think you can benefit them by your own success.
The label which produced several great groups as well as other Ska bands who also were about but not on the actual label. I’ve clubbed the ska bands here under the Two Tone heading.
A seven-piece group who had iconic initial singles, such as The Prince, which was a tribute to Prince Buster, this really grasped the ska beat and was a great first single. Night Boat To Cairo had a catchy beat to it and the ever popular My Girl talked about the trials and tribulations of a relationship in the late 70s. Who cannot recognise this;
Don’t watch that watch this
this is the heavy heavy monster sound
the nuttiest sound around
so if you’ve come in the off the street
and you’re beginning to feel the heat
well listen buster you better start to move your feet
to the rockinest rock steady beat of Madness
ONE STEP BEYOND!”
Personally, I thought Madness lost their way after moving from Two Tone to Stiff, the huge selling Our House was, in my opinion, the turning point of the band. Driving In My Car was another upbeat tune, but again moved further away from the ska base of music. The pork pie hat wearing, suited and booted boys had lost their way, they were more mainline pop music focused now, which from my point of view was a shame.
Another great band who really grasped the ska beat, the initial singles were brilliant. Sadly when they split and rebranded as Special AKA, I had lost the fondness I once had. Free Nelson Mandela was a popular chart track, however, it wasn’t a ska track, so I stopped listening to their stuff. A million miles away from the Too Much Too Young EP, that really did get the beat that the rude boys and rude girls were wanting, expecting and enjoying. Dance floors throughout the UK were alive with the sound of ska, then this damp squid appeared.
Rat Race, Gangsters, just a couple of the iconic singles that sparked the ska scene.
Neol Davies & Pauline Black were the voice of The Selector. Lively tunes, Hammond Organ adding to the authentic tunes, Out On The streets, Carry Go Bring Home and Street Feeling were among the album tracks that stand out for me. If you liked the singles such as Three Minute Hero or Missing Words, you need to explore more and enjoy the tracks.
Mirror In The Bathroom & Tears of a Clown are probably the best-known singles by this Birmingham band, although Stand Down Margaret was popular thanks to the Prime Minister at the time being Mrs Thatcher.
Frontman Fatty Buster Bloodvessel was the life and soul of this London band. From the fun and lively tracks including My Girl Lollipop, Lip Up Fatty, & Special Brew. More of a fun band, they were never considered a serious Ska band my some ( myself included ). Best track – Sally Brown,
They released the double A-side single ‘Easy Life’/ ‘Too Experienced’ but their best track by far was Let’s Do Rock Steady. An all-girl band who also featured in the film Dance Craze.
Dance Craze The Movie.
Documentary type film looking at Britain’s 2 Tone Ska Era from the late seventies to the early eighties. I was still at school when this was released in February 1981, but recall older kids bunking off to go to Bradford and Leeds to see this. This film brought together the best of the UK ska bands and is still available on streaming, MP3 and vinyl. Want to get it quickly, then order it today.