The second ever single released by The Housemartins, the fourth-best band in Hull:-
mp3 : The Housemartins – Sheep
mp3 : The Housemartins – Drop Down Dead
Released in March 1986 (fuck me……that’s more than 30 years ago!!!!) this excellent and jaunty bit of music with its attack on those who just conform and never question why, stalled at #56 in the UK singles charts. A couple of months later, the equally jaunty Happy Hour, with its attack on laddism and leeriness, climbed to #3 in the UK charts (thanks in part to an excellent animated promo video which was a bit ground-breaking at the time).
Sheep still sounds great all these years later, as does the b-side which as a tune reminds me in a way of a lighter and more jaunty Boys Dont Cry….(the word jaunty is perfect for The Housemartins).
I had this 7″ single in the collection for a while but like many many others, it was lost in a disastrous moonlit flit from one flat to another in the late 80s. Luckily, I picked up a mint copy of the 12″ a few years back:-
mp3 : The Housemartins – I’ll Be Your Shelter
mp3 : The Housemartins – Anxious
mp3 : The Housemartins – People Get Ready
The first of these is a piano and gospel choir driven cover of a song originally performed by Stax artist Luther Ingram (the sleeve gives credit to The Inspirational Marxist Choir of Grafton Street, East Yorkshire) while the second track is a Housemartins original that many others would have been delighted to have available as a single far less just an extra track on a 12″.
The final song was something that at the time marked out the band as being different from most of their contemporaries – an a capella cover of a much covered track written by Curtis Mayfield that was a hit for The Impressions back in 1965 and is considered to be one of the most politically important songs of all time, raising the profile of the civil rights movement. The Housemartins did their version for a Radio 1 session. Little did we realise that some six months later another a capella effort would give the band their only #1 hit.