Thursday, April 5, 2018

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter G, Part 5)

Some of these G selections are pretty damned good... -- George

I'm thinking here's where I might lose our old pal. Hang in there, George. There are a couple of more from letter G that just may strike your fancy.

The plan was to cover Game Theory today, but I featured a song by them on (Mitch) Easter. Moving on, you know the world is unjust when the Beat, or the English Beat, as we say here in America, never had a hit on these shores, but General Public cracked the Billboard Top 40 twice. I can't think about the English Beat and its spawn without comparing them to the Specials and what their roster was doing in the mid-'80s. I definitely veered towards what Terry Hall was doing then, but the record collection doesn't lie. I do have a whole mess of singles and both '80s albums from Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling's band too.

As you may know, in General Public's infancy, Mick Jones was a member, and I can't help but wonder how much influence he had on debut album 'All the Rage'. His name appears on the sleeve, and it is thought he played guitar on many of the songs, including the singles "Tenderness" and "Never You Done That", arguably the best moments on the LP. Regardless, the rest of the band, with member of Dexys Midnight Runners and the Specials pitching in, were very good. What's clear to these ears is follow-up album 'Hand to Mouth', with an altered lineup, was a big drop in quality.

I found out just today there was another American hit single (a cover of "I'll Take You There") in 1994 and a third album in 1995. That's when I was in Japan. Completely missed it. Anybody heard that one? Here are some 12" mixes... mostly from 1984. "General Public" is much more political than pop. The instrumental "Dishwasher" sounds a bit like Big Audio Dynamite, but that might just be a coincidence. I can't find anything that says Jones was involved. The lone inclusion from 'Hand to Mouth' is "Too Much or Nothing". Not a favorite but probably their best from that album.

General Public (Longer)
Dishwasher (Longer)
Tenderness (Special Dance Mix)
Never You Done That (Special Dance Mix)
Too Much or Nothing (Dance Radio Edit)


Echorich said...

It was kind of easy to veer away from General Public at the time. Like you, I was more interested in the branches that grew from The Specials tree trunk. Terry Hall's career has remained of interest to me all these decades later.
Whenever I think of The Beat, I think of a collective, not any individual artists. But General Public traded on it's too main players a bit too much for me. I can't think of songs like Sooner Or Later or Never You Done That in the same breath as the far superior Twist And Crawl and Stand Down Margaret.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks for these Brian.

The Swede said...

I was a Clash fan and a Beat fan, so the first General Public LP was a no-brainer for me. I dug the LP out just a couple of months back funnily enough. A little of its time sonically speaking, but still a thoroughly enjoyable listen.