The Business – Secret Records – 1981

Harry May

National Insurance Blacklist

South London’s half decent Oi band The Business giving it a go with the original line up (a far poppier sounding line up than the reformed band that emerged a year or so after this single was released).

The tracks uploaded from this debut 7″ single are surprisingly classy. The terrace anthem type A side ‘Harry May’ is a decent piece of street gangster chic about some geezer with a shooter in the boot! Sounds a charming guy…

The standout track is the well thought out B side ‘National Insurance Blacklist’ with the beautifully soft but effective, guitar and bass lines going all the way through the tune. The subject matter is also surprising fare for an Oi band in 1981 to take on. Effectively MI5’s secret (at the time) blacklist of striking workers and communist sympathisers that would find it increasingly differcult to be able to find employment again during the new dawn of Thatcher’s clampdown on the nationalised industry and the workers that were employed who dared to speak out from time to time.

About as far left as one could go regarding a choice of subject to rant about, good on ’em.

Pretty sure the original band that released this single split following the Southall Hamborough Tavern performance (alongside Last Resort and The Four Skins) that turned that area upside down for a couple of weeks in July 1981. The riots of course continued nationwide throughout the remanider of the summer.

Further line ups and releases for this band I know little to nothing about at all.

  1. John Liedown
    John Liedown
    October 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Great single this. Used to be sung down at Cardiff City for a number of years, with the lyrics changed to ‘What’s his Name! Eddie May! I said what’s his Name! Eddie May! Eddie, Eddie, Eddie May!’ (Cardiff City Manager at the time.) The Business pretty much stayed together after the Southall debacle. The 4-Skins disintegrated, with I think only Hodges (an old Glory Boy) remaining after.

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    October 9, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    The ‘first’ line up split a little while after Southall John, although The Business continued in one form or another after Southall. Still performing today probably. The 4 Skins is the wrong way round. Hodges and Steve Quiff left after Southall and a guy called Panther joined as vocalist (followed much later by Last Resort Roi).

  3. John Liedown
    John Liedown
    October 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I know. I post these up then can never get the bloody edit button to work 🙂
    I meant Hoxton Tom, who I think was the old glory boy. Hodges IS currently singing again for a 4-Skins line up of a fashion. I’ve still got a few old ‘Southall Aftermath’ type bits n bobs from Sounds & NME. Hodges get’s a right battering from NME.
    Back to the Crass thing, (which I tried to edit as well) I know the Business asked Crass to play with them, but I think they pretty much turned ’em down. You had all those Oi! against the hunt, Oi! for CND, Oi! against racism gigs going on. Steve Ig goes into The Exploited @ the 100 Club quite a bit in ‘The Day The Country Died.’
    Cheers Penguin.
    Love this site.

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