We live in an age of musical rehabilitation. Acts previously sneered at are now the height of fashion again. The phenomenon probably started with ABBA and we’ve all slowly started to re-embrace musicians that we would previously never have admitted to loving.
So now we all love Showaddywaddy again, Bucks Fizz albums are considered to be pop classics and groups like Dollar for example are being cited as influences on many of the current crop of musical trailblazers.
As if to illustrate the truth behind this theory, I proudly purchased the 1978 Bee Gees classic ‘Spirits having flown’ last weekend (for the princely sum of £2 from a charity shop in Leyburn). Come on, you know you love it. If you’ve got a copy I urge you to dig it out and listen to it with fresh, 2013 ears. I’d also be interested to know if you think the boys’ shorts have been arranged for dramatic effect on the inserts’ silhouette picture.
There is, however, one group whose rehabilitation seems a million miles away. Boney M. Maybe it’s the fact that only some of them performed on their recordings. Possibly the reason is that the musical driver (and major performer) was the German producer behind the Milli Vanilli ‘scandal’, Frank Farian. Could it be that our cassette of the day, their second album, ‘Love for sale’ had a hugely inappropriate cover. (The girls, naked and bound with gold chains, with Bobby (gloriously asymmetrically haired as usual) standing over them, wearing only a gold lamé posing pouch). The fact that an alternative cover was later produced probably tells its own story.
Can you think of a less appropriate act to record, and have a major hit single with, a tune about ‘the troubles’? You can believe it or not, but the evidence is here in side 2’s opening track, ‘Belfast’.
Essentially a singles band rather than an album band, there really only is one other decent track here, and that’s the international mega-hit, ‘Ma Baker’, about a criminal matriarch who met a sticky end in a bank raid.
The only other two tracks of any interest are an ‘interesting’ re-working of the Yardbirds’ ‘Still I’m sad’ which crops up again later on some of the group’s many Greatest Hit collections, and my nomination for the strangest title of a track ever to grace vinyl, tape or CD, ‘Gloria can you waddle’, which is nowhere near as much fun as the title suggests it might be.
I am prepared to accept that I may still be the only person campaigning for Boney M’s acceptance into cheesey pop’s hall of fame.
Label – Atlantic
Year – 1977