Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mark Stewart and the Maffia ‎– Learning To Cope With Cowardice" (On-U Sound ‎– ON-U L.P. 24) 1983


There are times when I think that anybody with an opinion shouldn't be allowed in front of a microphone,even worse, in front of a microphone connected to a P.A. system. Politicians are bad enough, but pop stars who think they are politicians,or even, a....gulp!... leader(!?), are far worse.Its a kind of fascism to be screamed at at high volume with no right to reply in a crowd all with the same opinion and dress sense......sound like anything we encountered before,like in Nuremberg for  example?
Having heard about some 'street' accented ginger bird 'tellin' us like it is' at the annual Glastonbury middle class convention, called Kate Tempest (uh?) last weekend.I thought i'd check this rant out on youtube (click here if you ain't seen it). Her scowling Brits academy face turning pink with the strain of projecting her spittle soaked views on how terrible things are. Like one was trapped in a corner being shouted at by a ruddy faced hairdryer. .....yeah I sort of agree with her,but whats the point in that? If she'd have done the same at the local Conservative club she'd have been bottled off the stage. Preaching to the converted was never anything more than a pointless exercise in futility. She don't look a barrel of laffs either.
I used to think the same of Mark Stewart until i saw him on that BBC documentary on Post-Punk, and he seemed like a rather lighthearted and amusing fellow.
The constant barrage of Politics was a major reason that the Pop Group split up.....he just never gave it a rest.He was never going to convert anyone.Those who bought (Yes they sold things,Ma Thatcher would have approved) Pop Group records were already either going to be leaning in that direction politically, or, completely apolitical. An occasional change in subject matter would have strengthened his message tenfold. Really I don't care what an artists Political opinion is,especially if they hammer the same nail for decades......change the fucking record please?.....or in Kate Tempest's case,please don't enter my world again.
On a more interesting subject, "Learning To Cope With Cowardice" is classic abstract inter-racial Dub,that within its existence, conveys a much stronger message than any barked rant. The ironic version of 'Jerusalem' is a fine example of how political music should be; subtly subverting a 'Last night of the Proms' classic, reclaiming it from the Hooray Henry's and giving back to the people it was written for, the serfs of feudal Britain. Very appropriate in this new era of debt driven neo-feudalism that we are trapped inside.......Yes I agree with Mark Stewart on ALL his points(If you're interested???....I wouldn't if I was you!), but I don't like being preached at, even if I am one of the converted.

Tracklist:
1.Learning To Cope With Cowardice
2.Liberty City
3.Blessed Are Those Who Struggle
4.None Dare Call It Conspiracy
5.Don't You Ever Lay Down Your Arms
6.The Paranoia Of Power
7.To Have A Vision
8.Jerusalem


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still sounds as fresh and relevant as it did back in 83, a match made in heaven mark Stewart and Adrian sherwood

Henk Madrotter said...

Thanks for this great album! Saw Mark Steward and the Maffia live, around '83, '84, great concert, the whole band were black guys and they only played super heavy dub and Mark Steward was not preacing that night....

Love the rant :) I remember, early 90's, I can't remember their name but they were a white hip hop act from the States, very political and their front man kept preaching and preaching, people got really fed up with it, then somebody (Wouter, a friend) screamed "D'r moet meer geneukt worden!!!" (there should be more fucking!) and the place just exploded, fights, stuff being thrown at the group, all very, very funny :)

It also reminds me of the punk scene in Rotterdam, the very early 80's and how the whole collective around the group The Rondos (who were VERY preachy) exploded, I don't know if you're aware of what happened there back then but it was VERY violent, very bad and only in the last few years, mainly thanks to Facebook, people talk about it, both sides, two years ago when I was in Holland I was jamming, drumming for the first time in 20 years or so (went amazingly well) with Marja from Bunker Oeso and Maarten from the Rondos (and Niew Hip Stielen and they are getting back together, recording stuff which is GREAT news) and after the jam we had the most amazing discussions about all the stuff that happened back then....

Anyway, thanks A LOT for this one!!!

Chunkrecords said...

@Henk:

maybe it was Consolidated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FSOAFwkpqI
Saw them live once, in Hamburg, Germany, '91 or '92. The discussions were really boring and continued after the show: Vegetarians with leather shoes wanted to convince me to change to vegetariasm, lol. Anyway, Consolidated made a row of good albums..


Jonny Zchivago said...

Fuck!...how dare you bring that memory back into my mind.....i bought one of their albums in the early 90's when i was subject to the rave onslaught.This fact was hidden in the trauma section of my brain for my own sanity and self-respect.I think i also bought some crusty-rap album by some dreadlockedhippies called Senser????.....what pure evil did this to me?

Henk Madrotter said...

Hahahahaha yes it was Consolidated :) Hahahaha, Sorry Jonny to open that old scabby wound!!!

One political hip hop act that I have to mention though....

Disposable Heroes Of Hiphopricy.....

I saw them live, must've been winter '93... No speeches but they blew up the speakers, so they had to organize new speakers and that took quiet a while... So what did those guys do? They put up a fantastic acoustic jazz set and Michael Franti (who is now a guitar playing ehrrr well.. some kind of hippy, I actually partied with his son in Bali a few years back) did a lot of poetry and even then, no speeches....

I can't think of any hip hop act that would be able to do that...

Well... The Roots maybe....

And I still love their first and only album....



Chunkrecords said...

haha.. was it "Stacked Up"? Also remember Urban Dance Squad and Asian Dub Foundation?

Man, get over it!!

Jonny Zchivago said...

Not Stacked up...it had a boxing theme on the cover I think.
Seen Asian Dub Foundation, they were on just before the incredibly Boring Massive Attack at some festival in Switzerland....I remember a lot of Political gesturing during their performance......I hate Festivals.

In did get over it until you and Henk opened this shameful wound.

You may have guessed I ain't a hip-hop fan.....I tried obviously,like i did with Soul.....but it just don't do anything for me.

Henk Madrotter said...

I got into hip hop around '88, back then it felt like punk all over again in a weird way, my very first hip hop concert, I think in '89, Public Enemy, EPMD and a few other acts, they didn't want to sell me a ticket, YOU'RE WHITE!!! Said it wasn't a good idea for me to be there. Well, i did get my ticket and yes, there were maybe 10, 20 white folks in a crowd of at least 6000 (Ahoy, Rotterdam) and I had a great time :) Back then, wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt was a bit like wearing an Osama Bin laden T-shirt now....

But I got out of that whole scene, some 8 years ago or so, I just can't stand the stuff that comes out nowadays but every now and then I'll be in a mood and I'll be playing all that good end of the 80's beginning of the 90's hip hop again.....

Doesn't happen often though....


Chunkrecords said...

what? No HipHop? There is nothing an early Schoolly D track would noz cure.
So why you going to festivals? I do get bored by concerts. Had one 2 weeks ago in a small club with some techno woman from NY. Actually .. not so bad. After the show we got into an appartement where she went to sleep.. she is very arrogant and stupid. Maybe because she got an review on pitchfork, and all others didn't :(

Chunkrecords said...

Got into HipHop from the early days OldSchool 82 until ~92 when G-Funk took over the scene. Saw Public Enemy, Run DMC, Derek B (RIP) in Mannheim, Germany in 1988 or 89. I still have lots of HipHop CDs from that days... EPMD, The 7A3, Digiatl Underground, early LLCoolJ, Professor Griff, Sister Souljah, Silver Bullet..

Jonny Zchivago said...

Well, Public Enemy are the exception of course.For me Hip Hop began and ended with "Nation Of Millions".It was more like a musique concret/Noise experiment than Rap........I can even forgive the Malcolm X on speed politics.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Why do I go to festivals?....I Don't,the above occasion was an isolated incident due to doing some business there and having free tickets. Went to an Ozzfest once too for the same reasons....that was more fun.

Henk Madrotter said...

It's funny that you mentioned Schoolly D Chunkrecords :) , I was going to say, his Smoke Some Kill album was and is still an incredible album (not to mention the problems he faced with Led Zeppelin for sampling a tune from them, I think it was one of the biggest amounts of money paid after the court case)....

And there were plenty of other albums that were just amazing, I won't make a long boring list but just to mention a few (for me anyway), Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus album, the Blackstar album from Mos Def and Talib Kweli, that Disposable Heroes Of Hiphopricy album (even just for their Dead Kennedies cover, California Uber Alles).... Rigormortiz from DMG.... And actually... So much more....

When I got married 15 years ago I really needed money, sold all my hip hop vinyl, A LOT but I still have all the cd's, many, many albums...

The stuff that's been coming out in say the last 10, 15 years, I don't even bother and I'm sure there's still nice stuff coming out but I'm so busy with West-Javanese traditional music and blogging about it that I don't even bother anymore to try and find it....

Jonny Zchivago said...

You two are binding me with science! I'm quite pleased to say I am totally ignorant on this subject; the only area I know less about is West-Javanese traditional Music.What I've heard, courtesy of mr Madrotter, is very strange indeed.

Henk Madrotter said...

I've become a total jaipong head myzelf, incredibly wild music, I've been to villages, circumcision parties where EVERYBODY goes wild, unbelievable music, almost like a wild rave party, kids from say 4 years old to the oldest 80 year old people dancing like crazy....

And a few times a year kuda lumping right in front of my house (I live some 20 kilometers outside Bandung in a small village in the mountains), trance music, gamelan, where dancers dance with little wooden horses and go into a trance, they then change into wild animals, monkeys, dogs, tigers etc., they tear coconuts apart with their bare teeth, eat glass, razor blades, it's wild, my wife and daughter lock themselves up in their room on those days, playing with sSatan! is what they say :) Unbelievable music....

Henk Madrotter said...

And by the way.... Company Flow!!! Closest thing to post-punk hip hop you'll find :)

Jonny Zchivago said...

I'm envious!...never been to a circumcision party before!....I think i'll host one sooooon....and i know where i can get the music for it from.