from the West Country
|1. THE POP GROUP:
"For How Long Must We Tolerate Mass Murder"
BEST remembered now neither for their snappy titles nor their light-heartet rhetoric, but for being
the first post-pun white funk ("white" in the sense that it wasn't all that funky) band in the land, pipping even A Certain Ratio at the post. And for spawing..
"Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag"
WHICH combined post-punk white funk with a big band sound and went to Number One. Our correspondent recalls the cries of pubescent girls: "that record is so cute!" Not the usual response to a daring sonic experiment, which explains why Pigbag were thought of as a novelty and never repeated that success. Of similar lineage were...
|3. RIP RIG & PANIC:
'Bob Hope Takes Risks"
FEATURING Neneh Cherry, daughter of trumpeter Don, who clearly had jazz in her genes, as her band attempted to mlx New Jazz (cf Cecil Taylor, mice on the keys) with, yes, post-punk white funk, or early Eighties Britfunk, as it would come to be known.
|4. NENEH CHERRY:
YOU must remember this one, a girl rap-funk-pop classic teeming with attitude, all about standing your ground like a bison. A big hit for our Neneh, it made her a star long before she took to making agreeable sub-Massive Attack atmospherics with Youssou N'Dour.
|5. MARK STEWART & THE MAFFIA:
"Learning To Live With Cowardice"
OR check out any of his earlier records on Mute, although this stuftering dub/funk cut-up appeared on On-U, a label that can do no wrong, and has other Bristolian connections, as we shall see. Stewart, incidentally, was the man who taped the first version of "Aftermath" for Tricky Kid and a schoolgirl named Martina who Tricky had just chatted up.
|6. GARY CLAIL & ON-U SOUND SYSTEM:
A CHART hit for the Bristol firebrand and reformed crim who used to frontTackhead with his face swathed in bandages; but the original recording, featuring the Rev Billy Graham (who vetoed its release) delivering the rant later performed out of legal necessity by Gary, is a thing of wonder indeed, and may possibly be tracked down via On-U's "Pay It All Back" compilations.
|7. SOUL II SOUL:
"Get A Life"
AS London as they come, admittedly, but included here as the lost great Soul II Soul track to be touched by the genius of ex-Wild Bunch man Nellee Hooper before he went off to polish Bjork's coffee table leaving his former Soul-mates bereft, as their subsequent output demonstrated. Proof once again that Bristol talent will out.
|8. SMITH & MIGHTY:
OFT-cited production duo, sadly underrated for work undertaken under theur own name. This well weird four-tracker from 1992 rose far above the ragga-hardcore crossover (SL2 et al) of the time to pre-empt both raggafied and ambient jungle, which is a pretty smart piece of pre-empting.
|9. MASSIVE ATTACK:
THE track that started the current wave of Bristol genius, which thankfully shows no sign of abating. This was Massive Attack's first single, and a sultry thing of wonder it was too, plus it did the world the favour of introducing...
|1O. SHARA NELSON:
"One Goodbye In Ten"
SHARA'S solo work may not have had the stinging immeddiacy of her Massive Attack classics, but lugged along by deep undercurrents and borne by her remarkable voice, this single became all but overpowering after a few listens. Play before, not after, "Unfinished Sympathy" and let the mood build up. Then have a good cry. We certainly have.
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