These Foolish Things (1973)

It's a very catholic selection, I've given up trying to please all of the people all of the time. Some will like it for one reason, some for another. And some will presumably dislike it for the wrong reasons though I hope the general point of it will be understood. Its amusement value. I think... Bryan Ferry.

Bryan Ferry's first solo LP has a very strong Roxy Music presence (John Porter, Phil Manzanera, Eddie Jobson).
I don't know what Brian Eno's views on the record were!
It's a varied and sometimes camp selection that must have had lots of Roxy fans scratching their heads.

Some points about the originals:
Helen Shapiro recorded It's My Party before Lesley Gore; Big Brother and the Holding Company's version of Piece of My Heart was, at the time, better known than Erma Franklin's; Leslie Hutchinson was the first to record These Foolish Things. Ferry was apparently inspired by the Dorothy Dickson version (which I couldn't find anywhere); Bobby Vinton is usually associated with I Love How You Love Me, but here we have The Paris Sisters original (produced by Phil Spector).

Bob Dylan, Ketty Lester, The Crickets, Erma Franklin.
Elvis Presley, Helen Shapiro, The Beach Boys.
The Rolling Stones, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Four Tops.
The Beatles, The Paris Sisters, Leslie Hutchinson

A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall-Bob Dylan. River of Salt – Ketty Lester.
Don't Ever Change- The Crickets. Piece of My HeartErma Franklin .Baby I Don't CareElvis Presley. It's My PartyHelen Shapiro. Don't Worry BabyThe Beach Boys. Sympathy for the DevilThe Rolling Stones. The Tracks of My Tears -Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. You Won't See Me The Beatles. I Love How You Love MeThe Paris Sisters. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever The Four Tops. These Foolish Things- Leslie Hutchinson.


UB40- Signing Off (1980)

Here is the début LP of Birmingham reggae band UB40.
I was only 15 when this came out and managed to avoid the ubiquitous 'signing on' card from which they took their name for another 4 years (I don't know why I bothered- I stayed on at school , which I hated- hardly attending and continuing to learn nothing, and then went to art college without having a clue what I wanted to do). For my father's generation it was different though, forty year old blokes who had lived generally through times of full employment, working from 15, saving money to give us (their kids) a 'better chance', waiting for the promised opportunity to buy their council houses. To end up on the dole was, for them, a massive blow.

I must confess though, being an anxious type who dreaded being in situations over which I had little control (such as having somebody tell me what to do), being on the dole was a blessing.
Whilst Thatcher was delivering her final solution on the working classes I was quite happy at home, listening to records and looking at jazz mags. I supplemented my income by doing 'hobbles' that I didn't mind- gardening, painting and so on. Because there were three million people in the same position it seemed like a safe alternative to joining the rat race. Sadly of course my anxieties prevented me from resisting the threats of the DSS and after 18 months I surrendered and got a job.

Gary Tyler

The opening track on this LP refers to Gary Tyler. He is now in the thirty sixth year of his sentence for a crime which he almost certainly did not commit. In 1981 the US Court of Appeals ruled that Gary Tyler's trial was "fundamentally unfair", and yet 30 years on he's still inside!
Read about Gary's case here...



PINUPS was really my way of shaking off Ziggy completely, while retaining some excitement in the music. It really was treading water, but it happens to be one of my favourite albums. I think there is some terrific stuff on it...

These are all songs which really meant a lot to me then - they're all very dear to me. These are all bands which I used to go and hear play down The Marquee between 1964 and 1967. Each one meant something to me at the time. Its my London of the time - David Bowie

This was the second of David Bowie's number one albums in 1973, a selection of covers from 1964-1967, the era of his unsuccessful attempts to make it, first in a series of beat bands (Davie Jones and the King Bees, Lower Third, The Buzz) and later as a rather twee Anthony Newley inspired 'all round entertainer'.
Mick Ronson (guitar) and Trevor Bolder (bass) were retained from The Spiders From Mars line up.

And here are the originals:

The Who, The Pretty Things, Them
The McCoys, The Kinks, The Easybeats,

The Mojos, Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds

1. Rosalyn The Pretty Things 2. Here Comes the Night Them 3. I Wish You Would The Yardbirds 4. See Emily Play Pink Floyd 5. Everything's Alright The Mojos 6. I Can't Explain The Who 7. Friday on My Mind The Easybeats 8. Sorrow The McCoys 9. Don't Bring Me Down The Pretty Things 10. Shapes of Things The Yardbirds 11. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere The Who 12. Where Have All the Good Times Gone The Kinks
This is the 500th post on Burning Aquarium- thank you all for your support.


The Black XI

There were black footballers in the seventies. More than I remembered in fact, as I discovered when looking for information for this post.
But they were still such a minority as to be considered a novelty.
West Bromwich Albion were thought noteworthy in that they had 3 black regulars in the first team, and manager Ron Atkinson (enmired in a racial slur controversy some 25 years later), was, according to Brendon Baston, very supportive of the 'coloured players', which didn't prevent him from labelling them The Three Degrees.

In November 1978, Viv Anderson became the first black player to represent England in a full international . Since Anderson's début 62 black players have played for England, 1 in 4 of England débutantes has been black and in the 367 internationals played by England since there have been only 41 matches that have not featured any black players whatsoever.The last time no black player featured in an England game was in the quarter-final of Euro '96.
When England defeated U.S.A. in May 2005 there were 7 black players in the starting 11; against Japan in May 2010 10 black players were involved for England.

But this picture comes from another age- the age of monkey noises on the terraces and bananas thrown onto the pitch.It's May 1979, and West Bromwich Albion's Len Cantello has a testimonial at The Hawthorns. Len Cantello's XI take on what is now referred to as a Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham XI, although at the time it was billed as a Black XI.

I've struggled to identify the line up, and would welcome any contributions to correct my errors and omissions.
Back Row: ? Justin Fashanu (Norwich City), ? Chris Hughton (Tottenham Hotspur) Brendan Baston (West Bromwich Albion), ?,?, George Berry (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bob Hazel (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Garth Crooks (Stoke City)

Front Row: Winston White (Leicester City), Cyrille Regis (West Bromwich Albion), Laurie Cunningham (West Bromwich Albion) ,?Remi Moses (West Bromwich Albion) , ?.




Datblygu- Ga I Fod Sion Corn?

David R Edwards

Ar yr un pryd, roedd DJ enwoca'r byd - John Peel - yn datgan mai cerddoriaeth Datblygu oedd yr ysgogiad gore i unrhywun i ddysgu'r iaith Gymraeg:

"You'd have to be a bit of a ninny to ignore Datblygu, this is the band that
makes me want to learn the Welsh language."

Here's the best xmas related record ever.
Despite the fact that my father's first language is Welsh, that I have lived in Wales all my life and that I was even (albeit accidentally) placed in the Welsh form in secondary school I can't translate the lyrics in their entirety. My relationship with the language has always been a bit thorny.
And how much money has been spent on implementing The Welsh Language Act 1993 (an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales with regard to the public sector)?
Road signs, electric bills, driving licences, hospital appointments, application forms,everything bilingual?
According to the 2001 census 582,400 (20.8% of the population of Wales) were able to speak Welsh and 457,946 (16.3%) can speak, read and write it.

From the BBC:
When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".
So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.
"When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh," said journalist Dylan Iorwerth.

Anyway, back to Datblygu: Ga I Fod Sion Corn? (Can I be Father Xmas?) here are some of the gems therein, musings of a lyrical genius:

The system causes cancer, not smoking…
I’m sick of feeling like Jesus on the cross, so please, can I be Father Xmas.
3 signs of insanity- talking to yourself, listening to other people, not talking to yourself.
I want Wales to be free, I want every village to be free, I want every person to be free…

Listen here:


Jody McIntyre- Integrity and Courage.

Ben Brown attempts to get Jody McIntyre to say 'it's a fair cop, guv, I was asking for it, getting wheeled along in a threatening manner'.
Unsurprisingly Jody McIntyre shows integrity, honesty and courage.
And he's bang on about the police trying to provoke violent situations.
Jody McIntyre is an eloquent spokesperson for liberty.
The cops are a bunch of cunts in the employ of an even bigger bunch of cunts.

Jody McIntyre's blog is here...

And if you want to complain about Ben Brown's attempts to make him sound like a public menace rather than a victim of police brutality you can do so here.


UB40- King/ Food For Thought 7" (1980)

Just for you audiophiles, a rip of a 30 year old single found sleeveless in a cupboard.
UB40 were hip and earnest. Then, by delving into the archives of Jamaican pop music and covering numbers like Johnny Too Bad, Many Rivers To Cross, Kingston Town and Red Red Wine they became phenomenally successful.
This was their début single.


To the gallows!

Probably the most encouraging image of the century so far...
If the people who long for change can keep this momentum up then there is indeed hope.


Sparks- Kimono My House (1974)

I was astounded and frustrated, nine years old.
Top ten countdown- at number 2 this week it's ...Sparks...
Number one records are significant when you're a kid. and this was the era when getting a number one involved selling a seriously eyewatering amount of singles (at least that's what the mythologists of seventies culture would have us believe).
There was , I concluded, no justice in a world where such a masterpiece as This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us could be kept from the 'number one spot' by the faux do wop and awful caps of The Rubettes - no white man should ever wear a cap like that.
And of course, the appeal of the group could only be enhanced by Ron Mael- forget the piquant wordplay which characterised his songwriting genius - here was a guy, 28 years old with the coolest job in the world, a pop star, whose image rested on not appearing cool. He was a schoolteacher, a librarian, Hitler, Blakey from On The Buses...


Hate Racism? Boycott Pizza Hut...

Muhammad Ali describes a visit to a diner in Louisville, c.1960:
I walked in and tried to order two hamburgers, and I was told, "We don't serve Negroes." I said, "Good—because I don't eat them either."



Google vs Piracy latest....

See Totally Fuzzy:


A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.

Emma Goldman

I have , from a young age, been intrigued by the flamboyant displays of athleticism displayed in the dancing of Northern Soul devotees.
Was this a white working class precursor of breakdancing?
I have read that an influence on the evolution of 'b-boying' was Get on the Goodfoot by James Brown, a record that did not appear until 1972, and in fairness, Northern Soul was such an obscure cult, having very little influence on the culture outside of the dancehalls of Manchester, Wigan and Stoke on Trent, that the likelihood of it having in some way shaped events in New York is beyond the bounds of possibility.
I can only assume that there was some (almost) parallel and yet unconnected development, a reflection of a primal urge in the dance culture of the soul obsessed Mods (and those who followed in their wake) of the north of England and the African American culture of the Bronx.
Here is a selection of 29 soul records which compel you to move, even if like me you are long past your sell by date and the prospect of an all nighter makes your spinal column freeze.

01 - The Charades- Key To My Happiness; 02- Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do); 03 - Velvelettes - He Was Really Saying Something;04- R. Dean Taylor-There's A Ghost In My House; 05 - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles- The Tears Of A Clown;06 - The Flirtations -Nothing But A Heartache; 07- Marlena Shaw- Let's Wade In The Water; 08 – The Dells - It's All Up To You; 09 – The Carstairs - It Really Hurts Me Girl;10 – Earl Jackson - Soul Self Satisfaction; 11- Jackie Wilson- (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher;12 – The Impressions - Can't Satisfy; 13 - The OriginalsSuspicion; 14 - Mill Evans - Why, Why, Why; 15 – Willie Hutch- Love Runs Out; 16 – Chris Clark- Love's Gone Bad; 17 – Tony ClarkeLandslide;18 – The Prophets - I Got The Fever;19 - Velvelettes - Needle In A Haystack; 20 - Marvelettes - Too Many Fish In The Sea;21- Gladys Knight & The Pips- No One Could Love You More;22 – Dusty Springfield -Live It Up; 23 –Dobie Gray- Out On The Floor; 24- Gloria Jones - Tainted Love; 25 – Eddie Holman - I Surrender;26- Al Wilson - The Snake; 27 – Jimmy Ruffin- He Who Picks A Rose;28- Geno Washington- Michael (The Lover); 29 – The Barrino Brothers - Trapped In A Love.


Skinhead Month Pronounced Success!

Our monthly average for hits is about the 6,000 mark. This month we topped 9,000. Thanks for your support and keep on enjoying the music!


Trojan Skinhead Reggae

What are we for? nothing really. We're just a group of blokes. We're not for anything.
A Skinhead quoted in You'll Never Be 16 Again: An Illustrated History of the British Teenager by Peter Everett (1986).

For all its aggression , skinhead was a curiously passive phenomenon with no obvious interest in interacting with, let alone changing society. And, in a first for a post- war youth cult, it didn't even produce its own music, preferring to dance to the early versions of reggae that were coming out of Jamaica.
From Crisis? What Crisis? Britain In The 1970's by Alwyn W. Turner (2008)


The Truth About Skinheads- Man Alive (1969)

Half of a Man Alive documentary from 1969 (the other half was about 'them greasers what calls themselves Hells Angels, but they ain't Hells Angels, not proper ones. Not the ones you get over here...')
Brilliant insights into life, habits and manners of 40 years ago.
Credit to MrSkinheadof69.


Richard Allen

A documentary about 'Richard Allen' ( James Moffat, 1922-1993), the pulp author responsible for the New English Library's phenomenally successful Skinhead books of the early 1970's.


One Original Step Beyond

The 2Tone scene revived an interest in Jamaican sounds of the sixties and early seventies amongst young white listeners.
The Specials LP contained covers of songs by Dandy, Prince Buster and The Maytals; Madness began with a tribute to Prince Buster and followed it up with a cover of One Step Beyond.
Consequently Skinhead classics like Longshot and Liquidator reappeared in the UK charts, and acts like Derrick Morgan and Laurel Aitken enjoyed popularity with new audiences.
The original Trojan LPs became much sought after and a steady stream of compilation albums featuring the ska/ rocksteady/ reggae classics loved by the Skinheads of 1969 appeared.
This compilation was much later, 1992. From a personal point of view it was a Friday night favourite through which many of my younger friends learned about the music, whilst the older members of our gang wallowed in nostalgia.
The back cover gives the track listing along with the reasons for inclusion.


Skin Flicks...

Oi For England (1981)

Directed by Tony Smith, written by Trevor Griffiths. Adam Kotz as Finn, leader of an Oi band caught up in race riots in Manchester's Moss Side.
Watch online here.

Made in Britain (1982)
Directed by Alan Clarke and written by David Leland. Tim Roth plays Trevor, a skin on a crash course with authority.
Can be seen on YouTube.

Meantime (1984)
Mike Leigh's look at the impact of unemployment in Thatcher's Britain sees hapless Colin Pollock (Tim Roth) coming under the wing of Skinhead Coxy (Gary Oldman).
Widely available on DVD.

Romper Stomper (1992)
An unlovable group of Melbourne skins led by Hando (Russel Crowe) and his lieutenant Davy (the doomed Daniel Pollock) crumble in the face of progress and internal strife fuelled by sexual jealousy. This mob are racist bullies and cowards. Hando has a Hitler fixation. Geoffrey Wright apparently got the idea when he saw some Skinheads in a pub in Cardiff.
Widely available on DVD.

This is England (2006)
The Skinheads in Shane Meadows' film include a Jamaican, listen to ska, not Oi, and right wing politics divides the group. There is also romantic conflict between the two leading skins ( Combo and Woody, as opposed to Romper Stomper's Hando and Danny. The gang in Romper Stomper had also 'adopted' a young boy, Bubs).
Widely available on DVD.

Россия 88 (2009)
Pavel Bardin's movie, which was banned from cinema and TV release in Russia, follows the eponymous Russian skinhead gang as they prepare a video for the internet. When the gang leader finds out that his sister is dating a man from the Caucasus ( people from the 'non European' former republics are the objects of hate to right wing Russian skins) the shit really hits the fan.
Can be seen on YouTube.


4 Skins- The Good, The Bad and The 4- Skins (1982)

Tony 'Panther' Cummins - vocals
Hoxton Tom McCourt - bass
John Jacobs - guitar, keyboards
Pete Abbot - drums
Gary Hitchcock - vocals on Plastic Gangsters

Tom McCourt became a Skinhead at the age of 16, disillusioned with the commercialisation of punk. He also wanted a more stylish mode of dress. Hoxton Tom, as he was known to his mates in the West Ham ICF (he was Tottenham, so hanging out with Cas Pennant and the ICF seems like exceedingly dodgy behaviour), was a leading light in the Skinhead revival of 1977-1978, the Mod scene of 1978-1979 and the Oi! movement from 1979 to 1984. Unsurprisingly he then embraced the casual look.
Hoxton Tom was one of the founding members of the 4-Skins in 1979. Switching from guitar to bass he was an ever present in their many line up changes.
4 Skins are the archetype of the streetpunk Oi style - fast 3 chorders with rousing terrace chant choruses focusing on social injustice, class war and the good life.
This is a CD reissue of their first LP.

Here's a 4-Skins website.


Skinhead - Nick Knight (1982)

Nick Knight's photographs of Skinheads in the East End of London in 1981. Includes a history of the fashions associated with skins from the sixties onwards and a discography.



We stand for punk as bootboy music. Oi! is working class, and if you’re not working class you’ll get a kick in the bollocks. – Stinky Turner, 1980.

Loud, raw and violent, Oi-Oi is the musical battle cry of the skinheads, and like them it pulls no punches. News Of The World, 1981.

Punk Rock a la 1976 was a middle class movement that had more to do with art colleges and fashion designers than working class youth.
The original guttersnipe sneers of The Sex Pistols in the UK and the dumbed down cartoon personae of the glue sniffin' Ramones in the states were carefully crafted rather than being a spontaneous reaction to their situation. The Pistols might have been ordinary estate kids, but the band was all about McLaren.
And of course, punk appealed to the ordinary kids- with bands who swore on TV and caused spluttering outrage amongst the elders. Anarchy and chaos were quite appealing propositions to the boot-boys of the 70's, and Jimmy Pursey's Sham 69 introduced the populist terrace mentality to punk, engaging Skinheads in the punk scene.
The way in which punk diversified from 1977 onwards is very telling. Many of the original bands either disappeared or came clean about their more 'serious' musical aspirations. We got the earnest 'post punk' of bands like Joy Division and Gang of Four. The DIY punk ethos gave us Scritti Polliti as well as Crass.
On the other hand the myth of punk as the music of the streets, the highrise and the disaffected youth became a reality in the hands of groups who actually were made up of dead end kids with knocked off instruments and three chords.
I've slagged Garry Bushell off before, and I can't take to the bloke- he's a gutter patriot, but he does provide us with a comprehensive if rather apologist (it was the other side wot started it) history of Oi!

By 1983 the chances were that if you saw a young Skinhead he would be listening to fast three chord punk, not reggae or ska, and that the image would be less 'clean' than that favoured by his forebears. The original skins had placed great emphasis on the need for smartness and sharpness, but now came the tattered jeans patched with beer towels, the totally shaved heads.

Chris Killip- Angelic Upstarts at a Miners’ Benefit Dance at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland, Wearside, 1984.

I've knocked this compilation together from a variety of sources- if there's one thing Oi wasn't about it was hi- fidelity!

Sham 69- If The Kids Are United, Angels With Dirty Faces, Hurry Up Harry, Borstal Breakout.
The Cockney Rejects- Flares and Slippers, War On The Terraces.
Angelic Upstarts- Teenage Warning, Upstart.
Cock Sparrer - Take 'Em All.
The Adicts- Bad Boy.
Red Alert- In Britain.
Peter & The Test Tube Babies- Banned From The Pubs.
Combat 84- Violence.
Action Pact- London Bouncers.
The Business- Harry May.
Blitz- Someone's Gonna Die, New Age.
The Oppressed- Living With Unemployment, Riot.
The Ejected- I'm Gonna Get A Gun.


The 2 Tone EP (1993) Toni Tye- 2Tone Archive (1980)

Released in 1993 to promote a Best of 2 Tone compilation this EP brought together the début singles from 4 of the label's leading acts:
The Special AKA- Gangsters
Madness- The Prince
The Selecter- On My Radio
The Beat- Tears of a Clown
In the case of Madness and The Beat these were their only releases on the label.

Photographer Toni Tye documented the 2Tone scene in early 1980, when it was having a massive impact on British pop music. Her archives can be viewed here.


The Cult of Trouble (1980)

Ian Walker (1952- 1990) was a journalist who wrote for The Leveller magazine in the 1970's. He later wrote for New Society and the Daily Mirror. His account of life in 1980's Berlin, Zoo Station, is highly regarded.
Walker's New Society article, in which he observed Skinheads at a UB40 gig in London , interviewed Skinhead schoolboys in Somers Town and skins with National Front connections , was illustrated with photographs by Homer Sykes. It appeared in June 1980.

You can read the article here-http://invereskstreet.blogspot.com/2009/09/skinheads-cult-of-trouble-by-ian-walker.html (credit to the original poster).


The Specials- Specials (1979)

Obviously no feature on Skinhead culture would be complete without an acknowledgement of the role that the 2-Tone label/ movement played in bringing the sounds of ska and the fashions of the Skinhead era to a new generation.

I thought that posting this LP might be viewed as something of a cliché, and I was sure that it was available in loads of other places. Not so, apparently.

So I dug out my 31 year old vinyl copy, bought in Boots for about £2.50 in November 1979. It's an absolute belter. Amazingly the next record that I invested my pocket money in was London Calling by The Clash. What a great time to be 14!

Here's some info on the record.
And here are some other posts on The Specials.