Saturday, 30 March 2013
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 29 Raytown Revisited.
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 29
Raytown Revisited - The Blades.
It's probably fair to say that this album and band will be very unfamiliar to most who didn't spend the early eighties in Ireland as their wonderful run of classic singles didn't crack the charts outside their home country. They didn't rise too high in Ireland, either, but they got in deep. Lead singer Paul Cleary says in the short potted history of the band below that the records didn't really capture how good the songs were. He might be right but they are still great records.
But the band was even better live, as demonstrated here. I remember seeing them (or not) in an L shaped room in O'Shea's hotel on the Bray seafront. I couldn't get as far as the bend in the L so had to make do with audio alone. It was still great - sweating, pumping, ecstatic soul. There was a real sense of amazement that this band was just ours. It seemed impossible that they wouldn't crack the big wide world but it was never to be. They weren't edgy or avant grade, they were passionate and direct and they had great pop songs. The world of music can be very unfair.
I always remember reading a review of their classic single Downmarket in the NME or some other UK music mag and they mentioned potatoes and not much else. That such casual racism was the stock in trade of Bernard Manning and many other comedians of the era was well known but I hadn't realised this was the case in the NME.
This album is a compilation album but given that their 'first album' was never released I think it can be reckoned as a legitimate album for the purposes of this list. Any album that includes Ghost of a Chance, The Bride Wore White and Hot For You is good by me. Their actual first album, released by The Blades Mk II, with Paul Cleary and two new members, is also well worth a listen. It includes Downmarket, for many the Irish Ghost Town, a song that reflected the greyness of the times when the Irish economy was even more buggered than it is now and emigration was the choice of a majority of school leavers.
Some bands ain't made for stardom. They're better than that. The rest of the world got the short end of the stick, with shades and a god complex, we got these. I'll shake on that.