JC with some background…..
Regular readers will hopefully recall the occasional reference to ‘Dubstar Chris‘ in various pieces composed by SWC over the years. Dubstar Chris appeared in many of the autobiographical tales, particularly those involving the antics of a teenage SWC, now and then dovetailing with the misadventures with Our Price Girl. I’ll leave it at that and hand over to the main man….
I just wanted to pay a short tribute to a man that I should have spoken to more than I did. A man that did great things and a man that was a father, a writer, a husband, a traveller and a music fanatic.
A man who when I was aged between 11 and 21 was always there for me if I needed a mate to talk to, or a mate to come to a gig with me, or a mate to sit on a swing with in a park and drink cheap cider with.
A man who introduced me to more new music when I was a lad than anybody else.
A man who I hope somehow, one day, our paths will meet again, and we can shake lampposts together until the lights go out.
“Gang of Four – Entertainment – Review Taken from 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005
Gang of Four formed in Leeds, England, in 1977, naming themselves after the Chinese political faction associated with Mao Tse-tung’s widow. Eyebrows were raised when this avowedly left-wing group signed to EMI, but their uncompromising attitude remained intact.
Entertainment!’s groundbreaking sound is due to the tight funk rhythms laid down by bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham, and Andy Gill’s scratchy staccato guitar. The use of space allows Jon King’s intelligently delivered vocals to be heard, while the gaps are filled with jagged guitar feedback and melodica.
Defiantly anti-sexist and anti-Fascist, the band were lyrically inspired by the looming spectre of Thatcherism and the rise in violence between right- and left-wing factions that they witnessed in their native Yorkshire in the late 1970s. “At Home He’s a Tourist” and “Contract” attempt to challenge men and women’s traditional roles in society; “Ether”‘s Funkadelic-inspired call-and-answer vocals examine the way the media’s exposure of British mistreatment of Northern Irish prisoners was obscured by the discovery of North Sea oil. “Damaged Goods” explores the metaphors between sex and consumerism. Most powerful of all is “5:45,” with its portrayal of graphic war scenes on prime-time television news.
The music is, however, delivered with wit, anger, and raw energy, and the vocals never descend into mindless ranting. Entertainment! is fresh and consistent, the Gang’s “Neo-Marxist funk” inspiring groups as disparate as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Rapture.
Chris Shade, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.