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All play no work!
on 23 October 2012
When Working Week released their first single "Venceremos" back in 1984, with memorable vocals from Tracey Thorn and Robert Wyatt, it felt like a breath of fresh air. While a lot of the so-called "nu jazz" crowd who cluttered up the pages of The Face and iD looked like glorified clothes-pegs, WW seemed like the real deal. Their early shows with huge line-ups were manic fusions of Funk, Latin and Jazz performed with a frantic post-punk, dancefloor-friendly energy.
By the time of their first album, Working Week had evolved into one of the classiest jazz-soul acts in Britain at the time. Although they'd simplified the group - Simon Booth and Larry Stabbins (both ex-Weekend) and singer Julie Roberts - to concoct something more akin to a smoky jazz cellar than their earlier carnival romps, the album came with a bonus 12" of the amazing "Stella Marina" with electro beats and a rap from Jalal fromthe Last Poets. Two sides of the same coin, then? Songs like the pre-album single 'Storm Of Light' (with Julie Tippetts), the gorgeous 'Sweet Nothing' and the jaunty "Who's Fooling Who" just oozed class. They even pulled off a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" - a brave choice.
Working Nights has been out-of-print on CD for some time so Cherry Red should be commended on reissuing the album, complete with a whole bonus disc of B-sides, two previously unheard live tracks and fresh input from the band in the sleeve-notes. The sound quality is noticeably improved and there's even talk of them playing live again to tie in with their 20th anniversary next year. Doesn't sound like work, really!