Monday, 9 September 2013

Working Week.

I should be getting my questions and research ready for Wednesday, which is when I get to see the clinician from Accident and Emergency at St. Peters Hospital to discuss my ankle. And because I’m not looking forward to it I’ve been putting it off.
Instead I’m already looking forward to seeing Larry Stabbins on the saxophone again after so many years.

The 1980’s were two decades, no actually it was just one decade; it was the people who were divided into two. There was the ‘loads of money’, Thatcherite/Raygunite 80’s and then there were people like me who were on the other side, broke and fighting back.

Simon Booth and Larry Stabbins seemed to bridge both worlds – a dangerous place to be. ‘Working Week’ was a jazz/soul collective that became a really trendy outfit. It started out attracting a young crowd of jazzers who didn’t go for the rather studious (and boring) world of British jazz. This was a whooping, Latin, afro-Caribbean, jazz dancing, left wing, influenced bunch of people interested in a new kind of jazz – lively and full of life.

Their best work was the 12 inch version of ‘Venceremos’ a piece in celebration of the life of Victor Jara (singer/songwriter murdered by Pinochet’s fascists) and intended as a fundraiser for The Chile Solidarity campaign.

Apart from about 4 minutes of frantic percussion, there’s also great lyrics, and guest vocals from Tracey Thorn, Robert Wyatt and the Chilean Claudia Figuerra.

Amongst their greatest hits are ‘Don’t touch my friend’ an anti-racist anthem written for a French campaign which saw the band play in front of a quarter of a million marchers on the Place de la Concorde, ‘Sweet Nothing’ an anti-capitalist anthem, Stella Maris which was fantastic live and many more besides.

I saw them at Ronnie’s and a couple of other times. I didn’t see them at the Wag club or the other fashionable places they also played.

Really they were a live band – the records don’t cut it. You can check them out on you-tube although those are mainly TV studio performances.

In the end they disintegrated – as did the ‘jazz revival’. Simon Booth got into financial problems and escaped to live in the German Democratic Republic for a while before he changed his name and came back.

I lost track of Stabbins – now I’ve got a chance to catch his new band.

As long as I don’t lose my temper on Wednesday.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

No comments:

Post a Comment