I’ve posted some great live clips here over the years and this is one of the best. This is from the 1985 American Music Awards and I think that’s The Revolution playing with her but I’m not 100% sure.
I’m getting really fed up of writing obituary posts. The latest sad addition to the death toll of 2016 is former Faith Brothers lead singer Billy Franks.
The Faith Brothers made soulful and political pop-rock that owed something to late-period Jam with a pinch of Springsteen. But despite releasing some excellent records between 1985-87 they weren’t successful and the band broke up after two albums.
They meant more to me because they came from my manor of Fulham and Billy was something of a local hero because of his commitment to the area, playing benefits to raise money for people and causes, and generally being a top bloke. He was also loved for writing a song about the council estate Fulham Court which he lived on as did people that I knew. It was the b-side of their second single and is a beautiful song about a place that had a bad reputation but was the sort of working-class community that has been destroyed in London by the Tories. If Bruce Springsteen ever wrote a song about a council estate it would sound like this.
Download: Fulham Court – The Faith Brothers (mp3)
Sadly the news of his death has only been noted so far by the local West London press which is a real shame.
I could have sworn I’d posted this track before but it appears I haven’t so here it is, one of the best singles of the 1980s. A lot of you will know this well but lots won’t as it wasn’t a chart hit.
Working Week were part of a whole wave of early 80s bands influenced by Jazz and Bossa like the Style Council, Sade, and Everything But The Girl — a trend they helped start as former members of Weekend. For a time Jazz was the trendy thing among London scenesters, centered on the Jazz Room at the Electric Ballroom in Camden whose dancers are featured in the video of this track. I remember clubs back then playing Art Blakey and Astrud Gilberto while girls were dressing like they just stepped out of a French New Wave film, but I don’t know how much of a big deal it was outside of London.
Usually the “Jazz” influence on these bands went no deeper than a smoky saxophone and shuffling beat, but Working Week were more serious about the genre than the rest as shown on their 1984 debut single “Venceremos (We Will Win)” which was made to raise money for the Chile Solidarity campaign protesting the regime of Pinochet in that country.
There was a lovely 7″ “Bossa” version of the song but the real action was in this 10-minute “Jazz Dance” edition. Starting with melancholy vocals by Robert Wyatt and Tracey Thorn it segues into a passionate turn in Spanish by Claudia Figueroa (who doesn’t appear to have done anything else), then it’s off to the races with fiery solos by Larry Stabbings and Harry Beckett. It still sounds dazzling today.
Download: Venceremos (12″ version) – Working Week (mp3)
This was The Bangles’ follow-up single to “Manic Monday” but it was only a minor hit. One of my favourite records of theirs though.
Download: If She Knew What She Wants – The Bangles (mp3)
Photo: Julie Christie by Michael Ward, 1963.
It’s Labor Day here today, the holiday when America celebrates the crushing of working people by unfettered capitalism. Or something like that.
Download: Crushed By The Wheels of Industry (Parts 1 & 2) – Heaven 17 (mp3)
Nick Heyward looks like Edwyn Collins for the Smash Hits set in this video and the group often sounded like it too. Still bloody marvelous though, and the girls in the audience look like they’re loving every minute.
Download: (I Love You) When You Sleep – Tracie Young (mp3)
Photo: Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Suddenly Last Summer, 1959
Not had any Prefabs here for far too long. Pardon the pun but this song makes me swoon.