Red Dread Redemption

Erroneous rumours are abound regarding Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall taking a bow and heading off to the big fairground in the the sky, and I’m as guilty as the next man of spreading such fallacious info via twitter. So to make amends I thought I’d give up a post to some of Mick’s early, and downright skanky output.

Way before Hucknall teamed up with dancehall heavyweights Sly & Robbie, before backing reggae repress label Blood & Fire, and even before he cornered the market with that special brand of working man’s soul, Mick’s band The Frantic Elevators were doing the rounds of Manchester’s post punk scene. Releasing a succession of singles ranging from the quasipunk hit Hunchback Of Notredame to the dilapidated disco of Production Prevention, the latter being the b-side to today’s selection.

You Know What You Told Me features the almost unlikely marriage of our favoured punky skank with a waltz-like rhythm section underpinned with a barrage of rhythmically questionable rattles, bells and shakers which could put the Art Ensemble Of Chicago to task in a peripheral-percussion standoff. Released in 1980 to sadly little acclaim, Mick would soon ditch most of the Elevators, don his cloth cap and rework their own scruffy soul number Holding Back The Years for a foot in the door of chart domination.

However you may feel about Mick’s later output, and aside my obvious love for this record, I think the opening lines of You Know What You Told Me sum up today’s death debacle quite sufficiently…

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