Today’s offering is a cover of a song written and released in 1977 by Johnny Moped.
I’ll be honest, the only info I have on the band has been courtesy of t’internet. They have been described as a pioneering punk band but it would seem this reputation is based largely on the fact that so many on the scene in London in 76/77 were veterans of the pub circuit, often not quite as competent as those who took things seriously. They had formed in May 1974, initially as Johnny Moped and the 5 Arrogant Superstars, before changing their name to Assault and Buggery, then the Commercial Band, before reverting to just Johnny Moped, all in the space of eight months. One of their initial members was Ray Burns who would, as punk broke, change his name to Captain Sensible and run off to join The Damned, but in doing so he ensured his old mates got to play a few gigs as support act. They were one of the bands that appeared on a very early punk compilation LP, the Live At The Roxy album in 1977 (the others being Slaughter & The Dogs, The Unwanted, Wire, The Adverts, Eater, X-Ray Spex and Buzzcocks) and that helped them ink a deal with Chiswick Records for whom there were three singles and an album before calling it a day in 1978 (albeit there have been various reunions over the years since).
Were they any good? Well, given that one review has described the cut on Live At The Roxy as “….archetypal Moped: heavy R&B slobbering through a meat grinder and hung out for the fire ants. It sounded incompetent, but the best Moped gigs always did, a fumbling, bumbling, grumbling noise that boasted all the proficiency of a blind man playing poker….”, it’s fair to say they were an acquired taste.
But many music journalists seemed to love them, choosing to make their second 45 as single of the week in three of the weekly papers around at the time. Despite this, it sold miserably, probably shifting very few copies outside of the capital, but it would inspire this take on it:-
mp3 : Kirsty MacColl and Billy Bragg – Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby
It was recorded as part of a BBC Radio 1 session for the Nicky Campbell show that was broadcast on 26 June 1991 and later included as a b-side on the Walking From Madison single.
Kirsty and Billy were great friends, going back many years and it really does sound as if they had an absolute ball working together on this one. Likewise with this, that was also recorded for the same session:-
mp3 : Kirsty MacColl and Billy Bragg – A New England
RIP Kirsty. You’re still much missed