In the early to mid-1980’s, Flowers In The Dustbin, were one of my favourite bands and I would go out and witness performances whenever I possibly could.
The All The Madmen Records 12″ single ‘Freaks Run Wild’ released in 1984 was an absolute classic.
A little over a year later Conflicts record label Mortarhate released the ‘Nails Of The Heart’ 7″ single which also included ‘The Reason Why’, my favourite Flowers In The Dustbin song.
A year or so after that release, ‘Like My Crazy Colours’ was released on Cold Harbour records.
Coming up a close second to ‘The Reason Why’, ‘Lick My Crazy Colours’ both being played back to back on the stereo many times in one listening session!
Some of Gerard’s lyrics seemed to hit the spot for me, with my awkwardly shy sensibilities, desperately trying to figure out a way to change my personal world, and also the outside world for the better!
THE REASON WHY
“People look but they just don’t see
Seem like they’re listening but never seem to hear
Insomnia, pain, won’t stop whirling
Love is a currency, you still use sterling
But some children never grow up
And see the world and see it fucked
And lyrics might be eloquent
But they stop at the skin
Whilst my heart cries tears
For the love wasted within
Like me when I ignored you on the bus
And you even sat next to me on the tube
And the mutual strangers never connect
And people even talk but nothing gets said
I’m reaching for your heart but your skin’s like lead
The whole world goes to work
But nothing is produced
In the out-tray lovers remain
Valium is your only friend
And the world’s got lots of money/love but none to lend
At school standing away from the rest
Crying in the concrete playground cos you’re not the best
And the streets so dirty you don’t want to walk on them anymore
In fields of green lie naked and don’t feel so sore
The sun is shining and your cheeks feel warm
And nature will stand when the concrete’s been torn down
Torn down to the ground
Tear it down
Burn it down
…the most beautiful people in the world”
LICK MY CRAZY COLOURS
“The windswept horizon of hot summer paradise
You realise the truth, you find where your freedom lies
The taste of love on a dear friend’s lips
Feel your vision blur as you give in, so willingly
Is there any tea in the pot?
Is there some left in it for me?
I’m the madman that you forgot
Is there any pot in the tea?
Will you lick my crazy colours?
Cos I’ll lick your wounds baby
The old ones complained and they said they were wiser than us
But us we’re just having a party to last for the rest of our lives
They wised it and sized it and they analysed it through and through
But us we just did it, we had nothing better to do, so willingly
Is there any tea in the pot?
Is there some left in it for me?
I’m the madman that you forgot
Is there any pot in the tea?
Will you lick my crazy colours?
Cos I’d die for you baby
Oh Mr Clean with your nicotine-stained brain
Businesswoman Julie, never felt the beauty, never picked a tulip, just kept fixing Pepsi
But in your business-suits of navy blue
Do you really think your children take any notice of you? Not willingly
Is there any tea in the pot?
Is there some left in it for me?
Is there something you forgot when you gave in so willingly?
Will you lick my crazy colours?
Cos I’d die for you baby”
This 7″ single released on Cold Harbour Records was to be the last offering from Flowers In The Dustbin.
The album that was recorded never saw the light of day, although Gerard sent a cassette of the mixes to me a year or so later.
I still have that cassette of the album, and here it is on this YouTube post, right after the 7″ single…
Accompanying the audio on this YouTube post, I have included a scan of a couple of letters from Gerard..
During the 1980’s, I wrote to Gerard, and it was Gerard (and also Andy Martin from The Apostles) that gave me the inspiration to concentrate more and take a little more time to present a far better writing style on paper. Far better than the scrawls I would normally put onto paper before pushing myself! I was never that great at school, and messy handwriting seemed to go with the territory.
Gerard’s words written on his letters were (and still are) full of beauty and the writing style is of course aesthetically beautiful.The letters that I received from Gerard in the 1980’s could all be framed as a work of art!
One letter from Gerard that I have included on this YouTube post is a generic Flowers In The Dustbin letter to followers that was sent out to explain the split-up of the band.
Another letter I received after Gerard had moved to Brighton. This letter came with the cassette of the album that is uploaded this evening, and expressed some positives for the weeks and months ahead with his new band; The First Of May.
Punk rock from Finland was one of the most intense musical genres around in the early to mid-1980’s.
I wonder whether some of the reason for this was the way of life in the Arctic Circle was infinitely harder (and colder) than the life that their punk cousins in the U.K. Italy, Japan, Brazil or the U.S.A ever had to bear.
The few bands I know who had travelled to Finland in the 1980’s, returned with tales recounting hordes of hard drinking punks (cheap spirits, not cider) marauding the halls with an overtly aggressive attitude.
It could not have been too pleasant to perform in those venues for those bands.
Still these tales could be just unlucky nights, or mass generalisations.
Anyhow, Rattus, Killed By Death and Kaaos had all been formed and all were existing in the harsh Finnish environment, as had Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio.
This debut (only) album by Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio from 1985 has some great material on it, more in line musically (surprisingly enough) with The Ex, Fallout or Big Black than Discharge. Discharge the band that the other Finnish bands favoured as a musical role model to their sound.
Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio were formed in Oulu at the start of 1984 and lasted until March 1986.
Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio only performed about twenty gigs during this time (supposedly) and had this album released on Barabbas Records and shortly after in 1986, a 12″ single released on Fuck Records. There were also some tracks included on various compilation albums and cassette tapes.
The sleeve artwork features a machete seemingly held high in moody black and white.
The title of the album is ‘666’.
I have no clue about the reasons for these choices but if someone could enlighten me, I will add any further details to this post (with a credit).
Incidentally I was told that Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio means Peoples Safety Music Commission in the English language.
Please feel free to correct me if this is not the case!
Anyway a pretty fierce record, and if you are interested in pretty fierce records, then this might be the pretty fierce record for you.
Uploaded tonight for no apparent reason, is a rare 12″ record, on the original Little Luke record label, a record label that Adrian Sherwood was involved with, alongside Hit Run Records.
I have snatched a part of an interview with Prince Hammer below from the reggae-vibes.com site. Thanks to those kindly folk in advance…
Q: And at the time you had struck up a deal with Adrian Sherwood in the UK, ‘Ten Thousand Lions’ came out on a 12″ on his Hit Run imprint I think.
Q: That led up to you being on tour with Bim Sherman and Prince Far I in 1979?
A: ‘Ten Thousand Lions’ came in England as a pre, as pre-release, yeah?
Q: Right, which led to the UK release.
A: Yeah, you used to have a newspaper called the Black Echo paper (now Echoes), and my song was number one in the Black Echo paper as a song that came from Jamaica. They used to like chart the songs, which is the best or next best song from Jamaica or which songs gonna be hits, and my song was the number one song. And people phoned me from England and said, “Listen now, man, your song is really mashin’ up the place here, man!” Other artists came over here and find out what was happenin’ too and come back to Jamaica and explained it to me. Anyhow, Prince Far I knew Adrian Sherwood before I did, he was a friend of his, yunno. And with me and Prince Far I being in the business like we kinda walkin’ up an’ down flatfooted in Jamaica doing the same thing, and with me establishin’ that recording, the story that we talked about before, I was introduced to Adrian Sherwood through Prince Far I. And I said to Adrian, said “Listen, I would like to come to England”, y’know, just to kinda get the chance to be here, get to know the people, and establish my business”. He said to me, say “OK, I’ll try my best to help you come over”. But at the time I did not have the cash, the straight up money, to really buy the ticket. But I had a lot of stuff, a lot of records in Jamaica, y’know what I mean, as records I had been sellin’ from my store. So what I did, you had some cigarette called Craven A, you had some big boxes, some massive boxes when these used to come into Jamaica, and I filled one of these box of lots of 7″-inch records, and send it to Adrian Sherwood them and told him to sell the records, both 7″-inch and 12″-inch records, and asked him to sell it and buy me a plane ticket. And that’s the chance I get was to come to England the first time ever. Adrian buy me the plane ticket, I came over, and then we start doing business together, we start workin’ together as a unit. And when I came over, we came over with Bim Sherman, Prince Far I came over too as much. And we came over and do a tour with…
Q: The Creation Rebel band.
A: Yeah, with Creation Rebel. The tour was called ‘Roots Encounter Part 1′, that was the name of the tour. Which we toured from England right back to Scotland, all over the place, you name it, we’ve been there.
Q: I learned about a story where you apparently fell off the stage in excitement on one of the gigs on that tour (chuckles)? Is that true, or just another one of those rumours or exaggerations?
A: I jump off the stage, and because I like workin’ with my people, so I would jump off the stage in front of the people, stand up in front of them an’ t’ing like that, singin’ in front of the stage, walkin’ around, singin’ from one person to the other, then jump back ‘pon the stage. That’s what I told you before, they used to call me ‘The Legs Man’.
Q: Yes, ‘The Dancer’.
A: ‘The Dancer’ (chuckles), y’know. Because the stage is where I live. Prince Far I is totally different from me, the three of us there, is three different acts. Bim Sherman, he would just stand up like Gregory Isaacs style, and sing like that. Prince Far I would be like chalkin’ up the place, really movin’, not as fast as I would’ve done, but really commandin’ and demanding these people (emphasising it, the way the late Voice of Thunder would) ‘to accept that I appreciate that they listen to me, I am Prince Far I’, y’know, type of a t’ing. He would’ve been that type of a guy. With me now, I would be more flowing, I would be flying and fly from that side to this side of the stage, as I said before snap-falling, splittin’, jumpin’ off the stage, jumpin’ in the crowd, y’know, doing all these type a mad t’ings and so on, which really excite people. Because in those days – it’s not like the now dance when you have all the bogle and these type a t’ings, those days it was like skank and shuffle and split, and all these type a dance, you remember these type a t’ings. Those were the type a dance them times, so when I’ve gone on stage I would be shufflin’ off me foot (chuckles), y’know, and throwing the mic in the air and split-fallin’ and catching back the mic before I reach the floor and all them t’ings, those were the t’ings I used to do. So, yeah, we had a big tour and that’s when I get the chance was to tour with UB40 and the Boomtown Rats…
Four Came Home were a band that I saw perform on several occasions as the band were pretty local to me and they were pretty good. I am indebted to David, the bassist of Four Came Home, for giving me a nice mint copy of this 7″ single, supplying the flyers, photographs and for writing the text below.
David is undoubtedly, the most traveled gig goer I know about, getting on a train after a shift at his day job in Kings Cross to end up in Leeds or somewhere mad.
With just spare clothes in a bag for company, returning to work for 9am the next day, no doubt bleary eyed from the previous nights gig, and lack of sleep.
Repeat that several times a week, following several bands across the country throughout the years…
That’s dedication for a noble cause!
Furthest I went to a gig was Portsmouth for a Death Cult gig, and that’s only because my brother was living there, and could put me up for the night.
Oh I went to Aylesbury for an Xmal gig.
British Rail must have taken some strain for those two journeys!
Travelling to gigs was a much changed affair once I started helping out at All The Madmen Records in 1985 though.
I would be in the van with different bands, or catching lifts from the dear departed and much missed Raymond, to all kinds of places, North, South, East and West…
Being in the van certainly made up some miles which were woefully lacking earlier on in the 1980’s (and it was certainly cheaper than train fares).
The band was an idea of mine and Wink’s in 1985.
We were not musicians but thought we would have a go.
An advert in the Music Press saw us recruit Paul (Baz) Morea a Guitarist from Enfield who had played in bands and had his own record label which had seen a release from local Enfield band London PX.
A singer soon followed in Sharon Lane.
I played bass and Wink the drums. Wink brought his first kit from Martin of Skeletal Family.
Baz painstakingly helped me and Wink and plenty of rehearsals at Cuffley Youth Centre saw us gradually get ready to play our first gig.
This turned out to be at a friends party in Brentford in May 1985.
We enlisted the help of our good friend Paul Barron as roadie.
Our first official gig was the following month at The Bay Horse Colliers End supporting Petticoat Tales another local Hertfordshire band.
Through people we knew from going to loads of gigs we soon started getting gigs in London at the Clarendon, Greyhound and Bull & Gate supporting the likes of All About Eve, our good friends Shadowland, The Veil and Flag of Convenience.
We also did an all day gig at the Boston Arms in Tufnell Park, called the Mad Bastards Tea Party with Rubella Ballet, Bridandage, Kindergarten and Ausgang and managed a support with the U.K Subs at the Royal Standard, Walthamstow and Into a Circle at Stevenage Bowes Lyon.
We also got to play the Marquee Wardour Street supporting Skeletal Family.
Not sure how that happened!
We still did lots of local gigs playing the Square in Harlow several times.
The Bay Horse again, Cuffley Youth Centre which was a multi local band event we organised ourselves, Cuffley Football Cub and Barclay Hall in Hoddesdon.
We did a few demo’s and started sending them off more in hope to see if we could get some interest.
A call came from an independent label in Oxford called Wounded Knee records which resulted in this split single with an Oxford band called Passion of Ice.
Two tracks were recorded at Jumbo Studios in London called ‘Diamonds in the Sky’ and ‘H’ and these were produced by an engineer from Enfield who we became friendly with Nick. ‘
H’ was written by our roadie Paul.
There was a delay in the record coming out for reasons l can not remember but when it did some kind words from Mick Mercer saw us do a small interview with him in Melody Maker.
That later appeared in his first Gothic Rock book.
We did do a video for the single which is still around somewhere.
We also did some fanzine pieces in ‘Day of The Raygun Cometh’ and ‘Artificial Life’ which were two very good fanzines at the time, and some local press pieces.
Some dates were played with Passion of Ice in Swanley, Luton, London and Oxford to promote the single.
We later became a five piece in 1987 with the addition of Chris a second guitarist.
More gigs followed in Lowestoft, where we played three times thanks to some good friends Kevin and Amanda and we actually got a good following there.
Two were headlines the other supporting Fields of the Nephilim.
We also played in Bristol supporting Ghost Dance.
The Band came to an end in late 1987 with me and Sharon leaving.
Baz, Wink and Chris carried on with a new singer and bassist as FF Bombz.
I joined a band called the Raindogs and Sharon ended up in a band called Benediction.
Me and Wink would end up playing together again in a punk covers band called the Ware Allstars with Nick and Bob from Clampdown and Ric Blaxill from Sound Service and the Thirsty Brothers.
Satta Massagana is one of reggae’s most endearing riddims, most notably showcased on dozens of records released on the Clench record label, the record label the Abyssinians were involved with.
The history of the Abyssinians begins when Bernard Collins arrived in Kingston from St Catherine in the early 1960s. Bernard met up with the Heptones’ Leroy Sibbles, who also introduced him to Carlton Manning & The Shoes. Two of Carlton’s brothers, Donald and Linford, became members of the Abyssinians with Bernard.
Carlton Manning had written a song called ‘Happy Land’, released as the B-side of the first pressings of Carlton And The Shoes’ classic 1968 hit ‘Love Me Forever’ on Studio One Records.
‘Happy Land’ begins with two lines which are also the first tow lines of ‘Satta Massa Gana’, although the latter’s melody is completely different to the earlier song. Donald Manning was studying the (Ethiopian) language Amharic at the time, and ‘Satta Massa Gana’ was said to mean ‘Give Praises’ in that language.
Donald Manning from the Abyssinians recalled.
“We record that song ‘Satta’ in March 1969, and it wasn’t until about 1970 that producer Joe Gibbs actually remade a recording of it. He was the first one who did a re-recorded version, which he called ‘A So’, an instrumental with the Destroyers that him do with Tommy McCook, Bobby Ellis, and him come by some other horns men. And it playing on the radio. It was just an instrumental. But instrumental versions just bring back the record right back to the people, because when it was released first, it used to just play in the dancehall, because ‘Satta’ is really a dancehall tune in those days. Home buyers never have it. It was just sound system people, but it wasn’t until Joe Gibbs brings out this version that everybody start going at this song”.
“When we sing ‘Satta Amassa Gana’, I was giving thanks to God, but you can’t give thanks to God and say ‘Satta Amassa Gana’. So when I go back and read the Amharic books and I realise that, I go back and say ‘You think a so?’ (‘Mabrak’ version of) ‘Satta’ now, I say ‘You think a so? It no so. Tena Yi Stillin. Dina Ifzhabhier Y Mas Gan. Satta Amassa Gana’. When I say ‘Dina’ mean ‘good’, ‘Igzhabier’ mean ‘God’, ‘Yi Mas Gan’ means ‘he may be praise’, so correct the mistake that I made by singing ‘Satta Massa Gana”.
The ‘Satta’ versions that were released as 7″ singles on the Clench record label uploaded this evening onto this YouTube post are:
1/ Mabrak – The Abyssinians conceived as a riposte to the ‘versioning’ of the original ‘Satta’ rhythm by Joe Gibbs & The Destroyers instrumental ‘A So’, this has all three group members declaiming various phrases from the Amharic, as well as sounding off about the practice of copying another’s work. When Donald Manning says ‘This is it, originally…’ at the beginning of this third version of ‘Satta Massa Gana’ it’s no idle boast. The original ‘Satta Massa Gana’ has gone on to become the greatest Rasta anthem and a genuine roots classic…
2/ Satta Me No Born Yah – Bernard Collins from the Abyssinians solo version with reworked lyrics, voiced at King Tubby’s and originally released on the Clinch 7″single.
3/ I Saw He Saw – Dillinger, recorded just before he became one of the most successful deejays of the mid-1970s via his Channel One hits. His lyrics incorporate both biblical story sources and nursery rhyme elements into a satisfying humorous style that he subsequently made his trademark.
4/ Thunderstorm – Featuring Bongo Herman, the renowned percussionist who had played for Haile Selassie I on his arrival at Kingston Airport in 1966 with Donald Manning on repeater
5/ Wisdom – Prince Far I – The voice of thunder delivers some great lines – ‘By wisdom he made the heaven and stretched out the earth above the water and made a great light: the sun to rule by day and the moon and star to rule by night; a thousand years in thy sight is like an evening gone’, in his truly inimitable style. Prince Far I was senselessly shot to death in 1983.
6/ Satta A Massagana – The Abyssinians – This is NOT the original two track vocal cut featuring Bernard Collins, Donald and Linford Manning that was recorded in March 1969 at Studio One in Kingston.
One of life’s ironies is that I do not own this 7” single although I am sure it is easy enough to source!
The version that I do own is the eight track recording featuring Bernard Collins, Donald and Linford Manning, engineered by Clive Hunt at Harry J. Studios in Kingston and released in the U.K as a 12” single on Different Records in 1976.
So this is the version ending this Satta Massagana showcase!
Diatribe; two brothers from Reading… I have not seen any live performance references so presumably they did not gig much, I have never seen anything in print about them apart from a rave review in Zig Zag magazine which prompted me to buy this record..
One incident did happen to add to the non-legend that is Diatribe.
One of the members brought a gun into the NME offices and fired a shot, luckily the gun only shot blanks, but no one saw the funny side. Criminal Damage Records were left fielding calls from an angry NME editor and the police for a couple of days. In the end the record label blamed enthusiastic fans but the E.P had already been given the media kiss of death
Two great tracks in ‘Seventeen And Dying’ and ‘Stop Dancing’, the more traditional sounding material, a little like a Southern New Model Army. The other two tracks are voiced over a drum beat and minimal instrumentation.
Criminal Damage history below courtesy of greeninconline.com
Hardcore or ‘real’ Punk was the big seller in 1983, the younger kids determined to create a harder, faster ‘77. I never liked any of it but when Illuminated (forever with an eye on the next money spinner) offered the chance to set up a hardcore label I didn’t think twice.
The Stills Yaron Levy joined me as fulltime partner and we named it Criminal Damage, a suitably hardcore name even though we had absolutely no intention of releasing anything like it.
From the start I was determined to leave the whole Reading thing behind and as luck would have it, the first couple of groups to interest us were the Stunt Kites from Sheffield and Twisted Nerve from Edinburgh. We still didn’t have a clue what we were doing and had no idea how tough it would be to establish the label as a viable entity but that was probably just as well.
The Membranes were our first long term signing and certainly helped our cause in the murky world of fanzines and DIY dogma if nowhere else. Their leader John Robb was, indeed still is, incredibly charismatic and would speed talk for hours in his Blackpool twang before sitting back and cackling like a loony, a kind of Northern Indie John Lydon.
During those early days I was still holding down a full time council job. When I wasn’t running the label from the work phone or making full use of the giant photocopier I was in the pub scheming and dreaming. So it didn’t come as a huge shock when I was finally asked to resign in the autumn of 1983. I was more than happy. For the first time I would be able to devote all my energies to what I loved doing. I didn’t need to worry about the lack of a regular wage either. Signing on proved remarkably lucrative and with the black market economy in full swing there was never a shortage of cash in hand jobs. And with the label also starting to earn a few quid it felt like I’d never had it so good. I could even afford a phone at home.
Together with a handful of smaller labels, Illuminated were based in 452 Fulham Road, a ramshackle collection of old warehouses. It was a rabbit warren of offices and storage rooms packed with records. Eventually we were given our own small office on the first floor and for the next year practically lived there; meeting groups, taking in gigs by potential signings and hovering up anything we could get our hands on.
I guess we were lucky because musically the early mid 80’s was the best of times to be running an Indie label. As we were hitting our stride, styles that had once been subsumed within the larger post punk rhetoric emerged from the genius of the early years to be named and identified as such, not least goth which had remained deep underground until the NME proclaimed the arrival of ‘positive punk’ in February 1983. Goth in all but name, while it was a manipulative attempt to connect the new rising groups resonating the most with the nations disenchanted youth, it did spark a massive surge of interest the likes of Southern Death Cult rode for all they were worth. In fact, goth became such a dominant force that almost every label had a likeminded group on its roster and we were no different.
By the summer of 1984 we had gained the reputation of being almost exclusively goth with records by Look Back In Anger, Ausgang, Anorexic Dread and Geschlecht Akt. We didn’t care, it was all rock’n’roll to us. Renowned genre historian Mick Mercer gave us the nod on some signings and eventually worked part time for the label scribbling nonsensical press releases to bemuse his fellow scribes. Through Mich Ebeling we befriended Billy Duffy who bizarrely offered his services as a producer in exchange for tins of baked beans!
Ironically, despite our supposed reputation, the most successful of our largely black hearted roster were The Membranes who were about as far from goth as it was possible to get. ‘Spike Milligan’s Tape Recorder’ and ‘Death To Trad Rock’, are still the best records they ever made and had a massive influence on the Independent networ