:: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 ::

Angry Young Men

Reds Strike the Blues - A Tribute to the Redskins
Red Star Recordings 2005

I recently got hold of a copy of this tribute CD and thought it worth a review. It is a labour of love from some hardcore fans of The Redskins, a band who don't get mentioned much these days although from 1984-87 they were a popular band with constant music press coverage.

The contributions range from terrible to brilliant, which is not all that unusual for such a compilation. Some of the most striking contributions are those who went a bit further than a straight cover version, who bring their own sound and style to the interpretation. Italian folk-roots band Ned Ludd are by far the best for my money. They perform a rootsy and angry version of 'Names were Named'. You have to love that they have named themselves after a character from English radical history too.

Basque heroes Negu Gorriak, who rose from the ashes of Kortatu to split up themselves a few years later, bring us their version of 'Unionise' - 'Sindikatu' with plenty of style and energy.

The Old Bailey sound like The Arcade Fire on 'You Want It? They Got It!' if you can imagine such a thing.

Of the most straight covers the best are from Eric Blowtorch and the Forces of Victory and the Three Johns. The former is a blistering live version of 'Don't Talk To Me About Whether'. The latter is another live version, this time of 'Reds Strike the Blues', recorded in 1985 by the greatest band to come from Leeds (arguably).

Of the rest some are competent covers, others will have you reaching for the 'next track' button, notably Maninblack.

So if pop songs about seizing control of the means of production are your thing, check it out.

I wonder where the various 'skins are now? And what they think of their SWP past? Maybe like comedian Mark Steel, who today backed George Galloway's side of the Respect split, they have moved on to less sectarian options.

And I swear I read in Jamming that they started out as Maoists.

Listen and order here.

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