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This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Godfathers April 2, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Straight from London, late 1980s, infused with sarcastic and world-weary lyrics, founded on the ashes of the brilliantly named Sid Presley Experience, the name of which at least partially positioned their sound in a brew of garage and pub rock inflected by punk. It has to be The Godfathers.

Someone I know hung out for a while with some of them back in the day and can attest that for all the slightly camp sharp suits, gelled back hair, gangsters on the make stylings, they were at heart nice lads who loved their mothers. But isn’t that always the way with rock’n’roll? And they were tuneful too. A good mix. Their St. Valentines Day Massacre annual gig became a well known event. Hard as nails, guitar based, pounding drums, fast enough to be punk, just not quite loud enough to be metal. Some cracking riffs in there too. Listen to their early material, from the rather fine ‘I Want Everything’ to Stepping Stone rewrite ‘This Damn Nation’ and you’ll see and hear what I mean. Though truth is their records never quite captured the power of the live versions.

An EP and a single, produced by Vic Maile of Motorhead [and the NWOBHM – to ask what the acronym stands for is to probably indicate it’s best not to know] fame, preceded their excellent debut album which while a fraction more polished was no less energetic [let’s not count the compilation Hit after Hit which is also excellent]. One not bad follow up. One so so third album [though the track ‘This is War’ is a classic in my book] and after that a few releases, some of which attempted ill-advisedly to lock into Stone Roses like dance/rock crossovers, which were off my radar. ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’ is a classic, thumping drums, crunching guitar riff and half shouted, half sung vocal. Said vocal namechecks Michael Caine too – natch. But it’s far from the only one. The catchy obduracy of the chorus of ‘Cause I Said So’, the almost but not quite Johnny Marr like riff that underpins ‘The Strangest Boy’ and the insistent speedy guitar on ‘S.T.B.’ before it assumes an almost countryish air…

It’s all there. I tend to dismiss a lot of guitar based music from the late 1980s, and perhaps for good reason. There was an empty aspect to a fair bit of it, all empty retrievalism and formulaic excursions – though God knows, I clearly had no premonition of the hell that would be indie after the mid 1990s, with a few notable exceptions. But there were exceptions in the late ’80s too.

I Want Everything

This Damn Nation

Birth, School, Work, Death

Cause I Said So

S.T.B.

If I only had time (Live)

This is War (live)

Comments»

1. Chet Carter - April 2, 2011

I had lost interest in rock music by the mid eighties but the Godfathers were the last in a line of bands that were linked to the great London Pub Rock boom of the early seventies. Strong traces of Dr Feelgood’s DNA in the mix, which ain’t bad.

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WorldbyStorm - April 3, 2011

Big time. As I mentioned above, live they were a serious proposition. Never quite translated to album, though Birth… was pretty damn good. And yes, that Feelgood, etc attitude is well in there. They did an excellent anti-apartheid track too, entitled IIRC Sunrise.

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2. EamonnCork - April 3, 2011

Does your namechecking of the NWOBHM mean that you’re going to be listening to it next weekend. I’ve always thought the main drawback of CLR was its lack of input from Saxon and the Tygers of Pantang. Or indeed Wrathchild. The de facto folk music of West of Ireland youth for one brief glorious spell.

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Worldbystorm - April 3, 2011

😉

I still haveSaxon on my iPod, someDiamond Head, bits of early Def Leppard, and in all honesty while it’s silly stuff in many many ways it’s still enjoyable.

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3. EamonnDublin - April 4, 2011

Seen them in Germany supporting the Stranglers and the Ramones. Now theres a line up.

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WorldbyStorm - April 5, 2011

Excellent.

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