Four Cracking Singles That Might Have Passed You By

in 7" Singles, Blog, Jazz Rock, New Wave, Post Punk, Power Pop by Mike Warth

I’ve moved out of my late 60’s/early 70’s comfort zone to highlight a few not necessarily well known singles from the late 70’s I think are worthy of your attention. Actually the first of these is a 7″ EP but is a fine piece of jazz rock from a band who swiftly moved on to become a synth pop outfit (sadly).

Many of you, discerning music fans, may well be familiar with a couple of this lot’s later singles – Einstein A Go-Go and Norman Bates – that found their way into the charts in 1981, but this, their first release is in a different class in my opinion. It was brought to my attention on it’s release when a pupil in my class brought it into school saying her parents had seen this great band and wondered if I’d like to hear it. I was amazed. Here is a stunning slab of exciting, edgy instrumental jazz rock with wailing trombone, great drums and superb musicianship throughout. It was recorded live with no overdubs and released on their own label.

After another single put out on Event Horizon namely Worker’s Playtime (pleasant but without the excitement of U2XME), they were picked up by RCA with their self-titled album following soon after. The fact that all their instruments were electric including trombone, sax and drums brought them TV coverage where they were promoted as some sort of novelty band who could be a sign of the future! Whilst the tunes on the album are pleasant enough they do not have anything like the kick of that first release and their two further albums found them becoming just another synth pop outfit and despite the two hits they soon fizzled out.

Here’s a little gem! A piece of post punk moody, broody pop/rock. It was written by vocalist Mark Damron whose voice perfectly fits the menacing feel of this the first of just two releases by the quartet. Picked up by Fontana their second release Survival Kit was simply not in this class. They did a couple of sessions for John Peel’s radio programme playing eight tracks in all but despite that nothing further appeared on vinyl. A great shame in my opinion.

BRAKES – NEVER MAKING LOVE b-side of The Way I See It (Magnet MAG154) 1979
Here’s a punk-ish band from London/Essex appearing a few years after the genre’s peak but with a great song worthy of a mention here. It’s a fine driving piece of melodic rock with a decent guitar break but surprisingly and somewhat disappointingly it does not appear on their crazily titled album – For Why You Kicka My Donkey? whilst the less exciting A-side does. One notably fine track from their album is Blame It On The Brakes which became their second and only other single release.

Another melodic high energy rocker with a punky edge (deliberate pun) by a seasoned bunch including Lu Edmonds & Jon Moss ex-Damned, Glyn Havard ex-Jade Warrior and Gavin Povey ex-Dave Edmunds band. (Nothing to do with the U2 geezer). This was a sadly shortlived outfit who knocked out three singles of which this is the best. Nice keyboard part throughout, great vocals and altogether a very fine slab of 7 inch vinyl.
So there we are, some thoughts on four of my favourites in my own collection. If you have any views yourself on these please let me know.


About the Author


Mike Warth – Retired teacher and Education Officer, old rocker, lover of prog, psych and folk – the latter for which I sometimes take some stick. (Why?) Currently having a ball working in The Sound Machine, Reading – independent Record Store par excellence and now working with Vernon Joynson on an update to Dreams, Fantasies And Nightmares.

3 Responses to “Four Cracking Singles That Might Have Passed You By”

  1. Mark Damron says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the kind words about Kidnapped. It got us a bit of attention back in the day cause it was so anachronistic in a time of speed and spit-flecked anger. Glad to hear it didn’t fall entirely on deaf ears. Best wishes with the blog. Keep writing, Mark Damron

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Mark
      Really good to hear from you and thanks for reading The Sound Machine Blog. This was a great record and as you quite rightly say somewhat different to all that was screaming around at the time. I am intrigued as to the response when you played it live then. As soon as I heard it I had no doubt it would remain one of my favourites of the time and so it does. It was great to be able to share this via the blog. Thanks again for getting in touch and for the great record! Mike

      • Mark Damron says:

        It was definitely a Marmite moment when played live. It was either received rapturously or with complete stunned silence. But there’s no point calling your band The Resistance if you’re not willing to stand for something. Luckily, some of the people who really responded to it were Miles Copeland and The Police which lead to the single being released and some great support gigs.
        Best wishes, Mark

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