Saturday, 27 April 2013

Cassette experiment day 65 - Sailor 'Checkpoint'

The 1970s were a very weird and wonderful time. Generally, if you wanted mainstream musical success you had to be prepared to dress the part. The Bay City Rollers dressed like tartan ‘bovver boys’, The Rubettes loved their wide-lapelled white suits and flat caps and Showaddywaddy liked nothing better than to turn up in their brightly covered ‘Teddy boy’ suits and ‘brothel creeper’ shoes.
Our subjects today, Sailor, weren’t averse to raiding the dressing up box themselves. While punks raged in safety pins and bondage trousers you could often find our boys on Top of the Pops dressed as slightly seedy sailors trotting out their finely honed pop nuggets.
By the time of their fourth album, 1977’s ‘Checkpoint’ their star was pretty much on the wane, but, while it’s not their best there are still some very good tunes to be found on today’s cassette.
My ‘track No 7 theory’ holds good here, with ‘Put your mouth where the money is’ not only being representative of the album as a whole, but also probably the best on offer – the cautionary tale of Iron Man McGuinn who challenges all-comers to a round in the boxing ring, only to lose when his drink is spiked. I think there’s a lesson there for all of us.
Others of note are the energetic ‘My girl (she knows what to do)’ and ‘Joe’s pianola’ the sad tale of a relationship break-up set to the mournful tinkling of a tinny upright.
Interestingly, group member Phil Pickett, who wrote absolutely nothing on this album, went on to co-write ‘Karma Chameleon’ with Culture Club.
Label – Epic
Year – 1977

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