Crony! Croni! Toné!

We’re remaining in Manchester, or thereabouts, for today’s choice which combines 3 of my favourite things in the world – dub, tea and film-making.

This record gained some notoriety over the years due to speculation over producer Martin Hannet’s involvement, and so it goes that copies of the 7″ exchanged hands for princely sums until it was revealed that the Cro-Tones were simply guilty by association.

Tea Machine Dub was in fact recorded by filmmakers John Crumpton & Michael Bowe for their short film The Tea Machine and released on the flip of the John Cooper Clarke taunting I Married A Cult Figure From Salford, which is the root of the Martin Hannet myth.

Hannet had a long association with JCC, producing his LP’s and creating backing tracks under the guise of The Invisible Girls with fellow Girl, Steve Hopkins, who went by the name of Smudgeboy from time to time, just to confuse things further. Turns out Smudgeboy was integral to the Cro-Tones sound, co-producing and co-penning both sides of the single.

So what’s an Invisible Girl doing on a John Cooper Clarke piss-take record you ask? Well, Bowe wrote the poem for a standup routine and JCC himself suggested they record it, Cathy Le Creme aka Jenny Eclair was roped in on vocal duties and the rest is (fairly convoluted) history.

If you’re still with me you’re probably well in need of a good brew now, so dig out the digestives, get the kettle on, and have a listen to this…

And let’s not forget the feral funk of the aforementioned A-side.

I was hoping to find a clip of Bowe and Crumpton’s The Tea machine but sadly it doesn’t appear to be on line, though you can grab it on DVD from Crumpton himself.

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