Having heard the LP version back in the late eighties, I was well and truly hooked. From the opening violence of Chickentown to the wonderfully depressing view of life on a back street of Manchester that is Beasley Street, Clarke's penetrating and disturbingly accurate portrayal of everyday life can be both alarming and humorous. Once you have played it, you will not only never forget it, you will always find it near the top of your collection. A classic album from the North's greatest streetpoet.
That young Johnny Clarke's been at it again. More 'produced' than his first outing, but a fine performance from himself and his Invisible Girls. As I get older I tend to prefer his raw unaccompanied solo live rants, but there's a hazy pleasure to be had from the studio tracked backs as well. I used to think he'd be back.
This is an album of prophetic genius. "Chickentown", with its barely concealed undercurrent of restive urban violence, sits up there with some of the "Jam's" early vitriol. "Conditional discharge", with its seemingly humourous lyrics, is a poignant preamble to the AIDS epidemic. JCC's picture of sheer hopelessness and despair in the gritty, no holds barred "Beasley Street" underlines the the caustic spite about to be poured on ordinary, working class people in the rampant, right-wing eighties of Thatcherism. JCC had 'em all sussed!
This his third album from 1980 finds John Cooper Clarke th his poetic best. Here he describes life in late '70's britain, the high unemployment and the class gap, fans in the south yorkshire area should check out Phil Murray and the boys from Bury who perform similar ditties, with the legendary Steve Carter at the helm!!!!That's Right
Just to add to other reviews already here. This is the best JCC disc and has some of his best poetry here. They actually study his work in schools now so it's a good job hes gone straight. Other JCC discs are not as consistant as this. But what stands out here is that the music is quality too! Thanks to the Invisible Girls and including people like Pete Shelley.
Just buy this one and possibly the one I'm named after.
this is probably his best cd and its well worth buying....i have seen him live and he is funny and charming....this cd is powerful and reminds us of the late 70's and early 80's feelings of despair in thatcherite Britain...it is also very funny and witty...if you can go and see him perform live....if not then buy this cd....
When this came out in 1980, I was excited. Performance poetry with a twist of punk from someone who looked like a beatnik/Dylan disaster crossed with a hair drier and Ian Hunter's (of Mott the Hoople) sun glasses. Live he was something else. I still have a print from a photograph from a gig in Auckland New Zealand where it is hard to separate the white surfaces of his face from the black frazzle of hair and clothes. But as fast as he burst, motor mouthed on stage he was gone. Bit like Shane McGowan in the Pogues. You can only burn so brightly before incineration takes hold. This album still has the anthem of the Thatcher years "Beasley Street". Not just a bitter, splintered rant at poverty but music backing that stretches the sound as taut as skin about to burst. And the lyric "Keith Joseph smiles and a baby dies in a box on Beasley Street". In 2012 it plays like a memory of something past. But good backing band, still as tight as the duck's bum. Clever man but with words and his delivery of rapid fire. The Salford nasal wine gives life to a talent at its apex. Reminds me of how funny he was, mabe is live. Good on ya Johnny Clarke.
The Bard of Salford's most satisfying and complete work; Snap, Crackle (&) Bop contains tracks that went on to become part of the GCSE curriculum. Ably backed by The Invisible Girls, the tracks are delivered at a slower pace than Clarke's superlative live shows to fit the music, which in some cases elevates the ac appella versions. Originally containing 10 tracks but now extended to 13 with the addition of some live bonuses, "Evidently Chickentown" gets things underway with Clarke's nasal delivery to the max. Every track is worthwhile, with pin sharp lyrics painting pictures with broad strokes, none less than on the album's masterpiece "Beasley Street". Decay seeps from the speakers with not a word wasted, not a sneer misplaced. It's worth the purchase price alone.
That this national treasure hasn't got a recording contract is unfathomable, but enjoy this 1980 album for capturing both a moment in time and contrarily being simultaneously timeless.
A fantastic album that I once owned in vinyl and now happy to be listening to again. Iconic tracks that shames the current batch of non entities posing as poets and musicians. Keep going Johnny; we need you.