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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to the… Screaming Blue Messiahs August 22, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Ah, the Screaming Blue Messiahs. Never quite the most melodic of groups, never the highest achieving, bar what could be termed a novelty hit in the form of I Wanna Be A Flintstone (which, while no favourite of mine, was in fairness to them, part with a career doused in a kind of political critique of capitalism and ironically was later used on the soundtrack of the Flintsones file – pop will eat itself!).

A UK based outfit formed in the early 1980s they were a sort of malign cross between punk and the blues with a side-order of rockabilly. Lots of crashing, clanging. Short short songs – of which one of their best would be the unfortunately unavailable (on YouTube at least) Good and Gone…

There’s not a huge amount more to say about them, they released two albums of varying quality – the sort of albums that one listens fondly to a side and then decides to skip the other one, for my money had one shining moment in Sweet Water Pools (which has a fantastic snippet of dialogue in the intro, culled from where I don’t know), broke up, reformed more recently and so forth. Horror of horrors lead singer and guitarist Bill Carter is now in his mid-50s. Feck. And he’s not getting any younger.

As an aside, it’s amazing in this digital age not so much what is available as what is not. There are scores of albums by groups like the Screaming Blue Messiahs that you won’t find on the iTunes Store, or eMusic or wherever and only a subculture of ripping from vinyl is keeping them alive. What puzzles me is that the appetite – and let’s be honest, it is in large measure shamelessly nostalgic – for 1980s and 1990s bands that fell off the radar is immense. Given the costs of digitising vinyl or master tapes are so low you’d wonder at a music industry that continues to bleat that all is dismal when they do so little to address a constant source of demand.

Anyhow, here they are in all their shining 1980s glory.

Sweet Water Pools

Smash the Market Place

I wanna be a Flintstone

You’re Gonna Change

A Hank Williams cover…

Someone to talk to…


1. Pedro - August 23, 2009

FYI, their albums have just been re-released after selling for quite a bit as out-of-prints on eBay. Plus there’s a fairly new CD with live tracks available.

And you’re wrong about the quality–SBM stuff is VERY consistent and very fantastic and it all sounds like it could have been recorded a month ago, the test of timelessness. Genuine art and not temporary commerce.

And the dialogue at the start of “Sweet Water Pools” is simply Bill Carter talking gibberish instead of singing it. The guy was and is (hopefully still) brilliant.


2. WorldbyStorm - August 23, 2009

I’d completely agree that it sounds like it could be released last month, and in fairness there is a consistency, just to my ears I’ve never quite got through all of it with quite the same affection as I do for certain songs I think are absolute high points, but that’s not to diss the rest (although I never heard the third album which I believe went a bit metal). Fair dues to Bill Carter re Sweet Water Pools. It is genius.

Thanks re the info about being re-released. A copy of Good and Gone will be mine soon then…


3. McMike - September 8, 2009
McMike - September 8, 2009
4. WorldbyStorm - September 8, 2009

Thanks McMike… good to know.


5. Stoom - January 16, 2015

Three albums: Bikini Red, Gun Shy & Totally Religious.


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