Friday, August 14, 2009


Bought a bag of old Slade seven-inchers in Glastonbury last w/end. Been mostly listening to them and, uh, Schoenberg. Never much liked Slade back in the day, tbh; Bolan and Bowie were my boys. Still, they've grown on me over the years and that's not a bad thing 'cos it means they still sound pretty damn fresh to me now 35+ years on. They aren't too over-familiar to my ears.

I finally watched "Slade in Flame" a couple years ago and it's a really terrific film; I totally recommend it, especially to any American readers as it's a window on a little piece of Pre-Thatcher England that's long gone. The band are surprisingly good actors - tho they're basically just playing themselves - and the film is quite seedy, dark and existential in places, not some glamorous celebration of the music biz. It features Diana Dor's husband Alan Lake (amongst other assorted beloved 70's Brit character actors). The soundtrack is a very underrated album and also recommended.

"Cos I Luv You" is a particular favourite of mine; the one that started a run of big hit singles for them. There's a weird echo of The Beatles running through this, I think - mostly the vocals and strings - despite the big, big glamstomp beat (a throwback to their Skinhead Moonstompin' days as Ambrose Slade). I also like the way - certainly in their early break-thru days - they still kept their long hair short on top: another Skinhead Throwback.

The lyrics are simple, but oddly touching in an unpretentious blokey kinda way. There's a wonderful atonal-but-jaunty fiddle solo that plays off the stompbeat turning it into an Almost-Jig. But my favourite bit is the slap-back whipcrack hand-claps that producer Chas Chandler brings in on the middle-section to underpin the violin (there's some great hand-claps on the second verse of "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" too. Recording good/great handclaps is an artform in itself and Chandler was clearly a master of the form. Lawrence from Denim was particularly adept at Pop Handclaps; tho he often favoured a Claptrap box rather than human skin palms). And on the outro the band all join in on some whooping wordless backing-vox that sound like a cross between stereotypical Red Indians from a 40's Hollywood Western and some drunken cossacks.

The B-Side's not bad either.

I keep meaning to buy some early (Ambrose) Slade records but they're usually overpriced whenever I do see them.

Just to confuse you, here's a video for "Look Wot You Dun" (complete with yet more big slappy whiplash sounds and rowdy outro chanting; we're on the edge of some sort of Canonical Definition here):

I wonder who "Rose" - the record's original owner - was?


At 2:56 am, Blogger Daniel Poeira said...

The way they wrote their song titles is an art form by itself.

Once I bought a "blindfolded" batch of 7 inches for 10 brazilian dollars, and it was mostly rubbish, but "Cum feel tha noize" was amongst them and it now holds a very special place in my dusty records collection. Great band, the kind of funny-but-not-retarded stuff it's almost impossible to find these days. They were... uh... pre-... post-911 irony...?

The extreme opposite of Coldplay. That's what they represent.

At 10:31 am, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

It's almost impossible to imagine now that music was once just music...not buried under layers of irony, referentiality and marketing.

These days, Coldplay have to actually give a series of magazine interviews telling their demographic that this season's product (new album) is meant to be either 'funny'/playful or 'serious' depending on how they intend to market/brand themseleves that year.

At 3:13 pm, Blogger Jason Gusmann said...

"slade in flame" was cool, as you said, especially to americans like myself. but, honestly, nothing touches "slade in residence"! "where's me cup o soup, noddy?"

At 5:09 pm, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

LOL! You've seen "Slade in Residence"?

Outstanding, Jason! I'm impressed...

At 7:57 pm, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Actually I'm frequently amazed how clued up Americans are re: 'cult' Brit comedy; you really wouldn't think some of that stuff would travel/translate.

And there was a surreal moment a few days ago when William Gibson started dropping Might Boosh references on Twitter.


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