Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Redskins: BBC Sessions (Or: "I Joined a Communist Front Group")


It was back in 1988, the dark, dark year when Conservative leader Brian Mulroney set about selling a divided Canadian electorate on a Free Trade deal with the U.S., that I began attending the meetings of a political action group named Youth Against Free Trade (Y.A.F.T.).

It was lead, not by a youth but by a mustachioed middle-aged man named Nigel, who eventually turned out to be not just some Bizarro leftist version of a youth pastor but a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of Canada. (If you're of a certain age, you may read "card-carrying member of the Communist Party" words with that McCarthyite Southern slur).

Now I was young, idealistic blah, blah blah but I was not a communist. To begin with, it was a little late to be jumping on that bandwagon, what with the wheels clearly coming off in the USSR. More importantly, the Communist nations contempt of human rights made all their rhetoric less than useless to me. Nowhere was this more obvious to me personally, then in the pages of the impossibly well-packaged (read: Kremlin-funded) Communist Party free paper which regularly contained bald-faced denials of the Ukrainian famine (The Holodomor). As a wanna-be historian and a proud Manitoban (our province was built by different groups fleeing Russian malfeasance) this Orwellian revisionism was truly deplorable. Plus, I'm just a contrarian by nature and not much good with party lines.

Nonetheless, in the election campaign of '88, I fought for what I believed in, alongside guys with nicknames like "Trotsky" and "Lenin". Really, they were just kids my own age, kids who listened to lots of Billy Bragg, Dead Kennedys and The Redskins (but not SNFU who'd dared to slam the postal union in one song) and were into politics. We confronted Mulroney himself at two Conservative rallies. ("The only good Tory is a Supposi-tory" the man nick-named Trotsky shouted out during a pause in The Big Chin's speech and, at another, a picture of me and "Trotsky" screaming at some Tory lackey made the front page of The Winnipeg Free Press). But we, and Y.A.F.T. was just a tiny group in a very broad-based opposition, lost that election due to vote-splitting by the two left-leaning parties.

Mulroney, Bush the Elder, Thatcher et al - dark times, readers, dark times.

Then, in 1992, after the Tories suffered the greatest defeat in electoral history, came a Liberal government, who, with all their attendant faults, were not content to just auction off our natural resources, our banking system and our social safety-net to the highest bidder. So, as a result, some of our darkest fears about this Free Trade Agreement were kept at bay for the next thirteen or so years.

While I may not grown much wiser during this interim, I did come to see that resistance to the corruption inherent in power is a human necessity and one not beholden to any single ideology. After all, world developments after the collapse of the Soviet Union muddied the ideological waters far more then the Reaganites have ever let on. Capitalism hardly made Russia a safe, open democracy and communism didn't stop the Chinese march towards becoming an economic superpower. I came to be less worried about the specific ideology of those who seek office and more concerned with what actions they took with whatever power they did have.

Now, Stephen Harper's Conservatives has brought the darkness back to my country. Here in the 21st century, tariff policy seems less significant when compared with this government's intolerance towards the weak, its deliberate attempts to divide the people, its rapid concentration of power in the Prime Minister's office and its creep towards plutocracy. It is this sort of skullduggery that makes this regime repellent to me and not their public commitment to the ideals of conservatism (individual responsibility, smaller governments, lower debts et al) which is merely a fig-leaf.

So in these bleak times, even those of us who will never be Trotskyists or pamphleteers can agree that eighties British band The Redskins kicked up a righteous soul-punk racket that evinced one of the universal principals of the never-ending fight against the darkness of corruption - don't mourn - organize!



Peel Session 09/10/1982

The Peasant Army
Kick Over The Statues
Reds Strike The Blues
Unionize & Pickin' The Blues (Outro)

* Chris Dean (Guitar, Vocals)
* Nick King (Drums)
* Millicent Martin (Hewes) (Bass)
* Steve Nichol (Trumpet)
* Lloyd Dwyer (Saxophone)
* Dagenham Pete Pixie (Backing Vocals)
* John Mekon (Backing Vocals)
* Colin Car (Backing Vocals)


Peel Session 08/08/1983

Young And Proud
Hold On
99-And-A-Half
Take No Heroes

* Chris Dean (Guitar, Vocals)
* Nick King (Drums)
* Millicent Martin (Hewes) (Bass)
* Steve Nichol (Trumpet)
* Lloyd Dwyer (Saxophone)

Kid Jensen Session ???

A Plateful of Hateful
It Can be Done
Keep on Keepin' On
Complete Control (Bonus Track)

* Chris Dean (Guitar, Vocals)
* Nick King (Drums)
* Millicent Martin (Hewes) (Bass)






Holy Hell, that was laborious. Some COMMENTS (where the BBC Sessions link can be found) on The Redskins, political activism or Punk-Soul Brothers checkin' it out now would not only better the world they might inspire me to unleash the (almost) full force of The Redskins discography upon you...


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19 comments:

  1. .

    ALRIGHT SO I AM HOPING FOR SOME COMMENTS FOR THIS UNBELIEVABLY WORDY POST.

    .

    I MEAN I'M NOT SURE HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THIS BUT EVEN IF YOU JUST SKIMMED THE FUCKER YOU PROBABLY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY

    .

    AND YES I KNOW THIS POLITICAL STUFF IS REAL TROLL-BAIT BUT I'M WILLING TO RISK SOME ANONYMOUS INVECTIVE TO MOVE THE CONVERSATION FORWARDS.

    .
    AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T GIVE A RAT'S ASS ABOUT POLITICS THERE'S STILL THE MUSIC...


    .


    http://www.mediafire.com/?vpcg44lsvo2bwgp

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  2. Cant argue with a word you've written. To become dogmatic in your opposition to a single party and a single ideology will cause you to blindly oppose good policy from them and to blindly accept despicable policy from parties which you broadly support.
    The Redskins did help lead the line. I remember their appearance on The Tube in the UK - it rocked my world as they say. Thanks for these session tracks.

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  3. great stuff. i was at a Greater London Council free gig in 1984 watching the Redskins with Miki Berenyi from Lush, James Brown from Loaded mag and Mitch the bass player from Hagar the Womb when it got attacked by a mob of Column 88 nazi skinheads, one of whom picked up Nick King's entire drumkit and threw it at me and Miki's heads. missed us luckily...ah, the joys of youth. strange that all the police disappeared 10 minutes prior to the attack. the skinheads got battered later tho...yay!!!...thanks for the music, the dylan covers have been excellent

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  4. Thanks for all the post been some excellent stuff taking me back to my youth its great to annoy the kids in the car singing along to some great songs cheers bud keep it up

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  5. Thanks for this and the great site, been after the K.J Sessions for a while so cheers. I have a couple of live recordings on

    www.ivomit4u.blogspot.com

    including the GLC festival !!

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  6. CallPastorJerkfaceMay 29, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Excellent, excellent words (by yourself) and words & music (via Redskins) my friend.

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  7. thank you comrade!

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  8. Good shout! This was part of our soundtrack to dealing with the Combat 18 boneheads back in the 90s.

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  9. Haven't heard 'Kick Over The Statues' in years.

    I can tell you, from experience, no amount of "kicking" will knock over the statues of Parliament Hill.

    I am, however, all for decorating the lawn of Parliament Hill by putting the heads of our unelected senate (...and those who put them there...) up on spikes, irregardless of party politics or provincial appeasements.

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  10. Thanks a lot for this. I too was at the GLC gig and remember well trying to get my then girlfriend away from the front as quickly as possible when it all kicked off. As I remember it, it all started with someone throwing a Party Seven at Chris Moore, followed by a chorus of "Seig Heil" from just behind us. We didn't hang around. The rest of the day was, as you say, fine... Misty In Roots in particular.

    For our American friends - a Party Seven was a can containing seven pints of beer (I say beer, it was usually Watneys or some such piss).

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  11. Cheers for all The Redskins stuff - only have the singles on vinyl so appreciate the uploads.

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  12. A great post about a band who genuinely mean a great deal to me.
    Thank you.

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  13. i can still taste the vomit that rose into my mouth when that halfwit traitor mulroney sang 'when irish eyes are smiling' with reagan. there was nothing i wanted more than to be on that stage with a hatchet in each hand so i could have hacked those evil fuckers to death. now we're stuck with this soulless realdoll harper, whose only evident talent is an ability to constantly conceal his lizard form.

    thanks for the redskins.

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  14. Not sure to have checked out all the references correctly but Keep On Keepin On!is one of my favourite singles,thanks for all this series of posts!

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  15. MRML Readers - thanks for all the comments!

    and...

    Mpmcgowan
    Yeah that was a bold move of them on The Tube.

    Anon
    Great (if scary) story and glad to hear from someone who likes Dylan covers and the Redskins

    Ivomit4u
    Good extra Redskins stuff!

    CPJ
    Thanks!

    str8edgegav
    Those dipshits needed better music!

    Biopunk
    Now there's some rabble-rousing talk!

    Styeneboy
    That show was evidently one hell of a riot!!

    Mr, Suave/Anon/Martin/ Anon II/
    Welcome!

    It's a...
    Thanks for the kind response.

    Postbear
    I was going to try to put a quote up here but since I agree with every single word you said, I'll just say a cold and bitter "Amen".

    Roberto
    Glad you enjoyed the series and yeah K.O. K.O. is a highlight.

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  16. Thanks for the Redskins songs, they really were the greatest (alongside Bragg of course)!

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  17. Great post!!! Interesting read, including the comments. Unfortunately, I'm way too late for the download. Radio6 played the first session a few days ago, but they didn't play Peasant Army ; they played Kick Over twice instead!!! Any chance for a re-upload? I'd love to get the other sessions as well.

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