Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Black Arabs




Don't remember this scene from The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle at all...

Remember the song(s) very well indeed, though, from the album: The Black Arabs's fabulous discofunk medley of Pistols tunes.

Not much info out there about Black Arabs.

They were proteges of Bernie Rhodes, who did even less with them than he did with Subway Sect.

(Actually at one point they appear to have become Vic Godard's backing band).

A proper Britfunk outfit, judging by the clip, in the mold of  Hi Tension and Heatwave...   the high harmony vocals as crucial to the groove as the bass and drums and percussion



The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle was as important to me and my brothers as Bollocks and the single B-sides like "Satellite" and "No Fun"

We pored over the double-LP gatefold album inner sleeve, drinking in the graphics


Listened to the contents, over and over.... usually skipping certain tracks (the orchestral "EMI", the French "Anarchie dans le UK", the proto-Professionals Steve Jones-on-vocals numbers like "Lonely Boy", the Sid Vicious Eddie Cochran covers, "I Wanna Be Me", Tenpole Tudor's "Rock Around the Clock", the Biggs version of "Belsen Was A Gas", ) and fixating on other: the "Johnny B. Goode"/Roadrunner"  live rehearsal demo stuff, "No One Is Innocent", Tenpole's "Who Killed Bambi", "Friggin", the title track with its Rotten-replacement audition punx taking turns on the mic', "My Way" of course, "Don't Give Me No Lip Child" and "Substitute",  the Rotten version of "Belsen Was A Gas").

And Black Arabs was a favorite, much-played in the big bedroom at 113 Bridgewater Road.



Loved reading about the film in advance. Read and reread the various clipped out cuttings of interviews that Julien Temple did...  pieces about / with McLaren, who was still excited about its ideas-in-potential but already starting to disparage the end result (having being kicked out of the directorial chair).

The soundtrack came out way in advance of the film,  It was a long wait, and all the while the scene was changing... punk was turning into / being displaced by postpunk. Oi! was making punk seem silly / retarded / passe.

Meanwhile there was an endless string of singles off of Swindle, getting increasingly poor by the end. Not to mention the Sid Sings album, the Some Product: Sex Pistols Carri On album of radio interview excerpts (we got that too), and then Virgin's exploitative nadir, the compilation Flogging A Dead Horse.



Still, I followed everything that Malcolm did with great interest...  Bow Wow Wow etc. Waited for the film.




 
Finally it came out. The film itself, while disappointing - largely through execution, the deficienciess of acting, direction, editing, etc -  is still crammed with ideas.

At very least, it's about 1000 times better  - entertaining, essence-capturing - than Sid and Nancy.

(Very much regret not having bought the odd little Swindle novelisation, put out in newspaper-like format, by Michael Moorcock.)







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