I was very very very pleasantly surprised with the positive responses to a previous posting, back in June 2017, on a hit single for the ex-manager of the Sex Pistols.

The interesting thing to note is that, in the UK at least, Buffalo Gals wasn’t the biggest hit for Malcolm McLaren – that accolade was taken by Double Dutch, released in July 1983 (some sources claim that it was the follow-up 45 to Buffalo Gals, but there was a minor hit with Soweto (#32) in February 1983.

Double Dutch was one of those tracks which seemed to hang around for ages – it actually spent six successive weeks in the Top 10, ensuring it was on heavy rotation on daytime radio and that the promo video (or at least snippets of it) got aired every other week on Top of the Pops. It actually turns out that there was an actual performance in the TOTP studio on one occasion – something I can’t recall seeing at the time

It certainly did the trick as it climbed to #3 the following week – its peak position in the charts (it was held off the #1 spot by Paul Young and the #2 spot by Freez)

Wiki informs that Double Dutch is all about the skipping game of the same game, one which really took off as a competitive sport in the 70s in the New York area and became associated strongly with hip hop culture as it was gaining momentum beyond the black ghettoes. The lyrics to the Malcolm McLaren single make mention of a number of NYC Double Dutch teams by name, most notably the Ebonettes which is used as a something of a chant within the chorus and who were also credited as being the co-vocalists.

It turns out the Malc wasn’t just appropriating NYC street culture to bag himself millions of record sales. The Boyoyo Boys, from South Africa, took legal action about the similarity with the song 3 Mabone. The info within the 45 claimed the music was ‘traditional’ but had been arranged by McLaren and uber-producer Trevor Horn.

There was seemingly a lengthy legal battle, eventually settled out of court, with an undisclosed payment made to the South African copyright holders but Malc and Trev being able to retain their songwriting credits.

Judge for yourself:-

mp3 : Malcolm McLaren & The Ebonettes – Double Dutch
mp3 : Lulu Masilela & The Boyoyo Boys – 3 Mabone



The inspiration was not from Nag Nag Nag but the fact that listening to Sensoria reminded me of The Art of Noise which bizarrely made me think of this Top 10 hit from 1982:-

mp3 : Malcolm McLaren and The World’s Famous Supreme Team – Buffalo Gals

Here’s the story as told elsewhere on t’internet:-

“Buffalo Gals” is a traditional song that dates back to the 1800s, where it was often played at minstrel shows. The “Buffalo” refers to the city of Buffalo, New York, but the lyrics were altered to fit the place where the song was performed. McLaren changed the refrain from “Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight” to “Buffalo gals, around the outside.”

McLaren was the manager of The Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow, leading them to the forefront of the British Punk scene. Ever the opportunist, when McLaren heard rap music emerging from the US, he capitalized on the opportunity and released this song, which featured McLaren calling lyrics in a Square Dance style.

This was credited to “Malcolm McLaren And The World’s Famous Supreme Team.” In the 1984 BBC documentary Beat This! – A Hip Hop History, McLaren explains that he was in New York looking for a support act for Bow Wow Wow when he went to an outdoor concert (known as a “Block Party”) by Afrika Bambaataa and Zulu Nation. This is where he was exposed to Hip-Hop for the first time and discovered the scratching technique he would use on this song.

In the liner notes for the LP Duck Rock, McLaren wrote that this track was “recorded with the World’s Famous Supreme Team and Zulu singers backing them up with the words “she’s looking like a hobo.” The performance by the Supreme Team may require some explaining but suffice to say they are DJs from New York City who have developed a technique using record players like instruments, replacing the power chord of the guitar by the needle of a gramophone, moving it manually backwards and forwards across the surface of a record. We call it scratching.”#

This song was groundbreaking because it helped introduce the UK to Hip-Hop culture. Not only did it sound like Hip-Hop (but with a white, British MC), but the video showed breakdancing (courtesy of the Rock Steady Crew) as well as rapping, scratching and graffiti.

It was really the input of Trevor Horn and Anne Dudley that made this bit of music work.  The following year they formed The Art of Noise and when I first heard that group’s music I was immediately reminded of what had been done in tandem with Malcolm McLaren. OK, it has dated somewhat and sounds way more gimmicky than it did back in the day, but there was no denying that it was different and that it did act as a gentle introduction to hip-hop for millions of folk living a long way away from its spiritual home.

The b-side of the 7″might well have influenced Kevin Rowland a little bit:-

mp3 : Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals (Trad Square)