THE BARGAIN BUY: Stiff Little Fingers: Original Album Series

 |   |  1 min read

Stiff Little Fingers: Johnny Was
THE BARGAIN BUY: Stiff Little Fingers: Original Album Series

A few years ago while we were in Belfast one of the local identities, a well-known taxi driver Billy Scott who was taking us around, stopped to point to a door down an alleyway where he said the Undertones first recorded.

But he moved on too fast for me to snap a picture (got Van Morrison's doorway at his childhood home though) but it wasn't much of a door anyway.

At the time of the punk era bands like the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers were the most audible sound out Northern Ireland. 

Stiff Little Fingers were an extraordinary band for their era (a version still tours) because of the fury of their sound and political dissent at the height of what is euphemistically called The Troubles. If the Undertones offered some hope amidst the violence, SLF were relentless in addressing it in songs like Suspect Device (their first single), State of Emergency, Here We Are Nowhere, Wasted Life, Breakout ("and leave this life behind") and Alternative Ulster.

All of those and more (including an eight minute martial and machine-gun version of Bob Marley's Johnny Was) were on their incendiary debut album Inflammable Material.

They were mad as hell and wanted people to know it. If any band epitomised the "no future" ethic of punk it was them and singer-songwriter Jake Burns was blunt in addressing a sense of angry hopelessness, and then later matters such as domestic violence, football hooliganism and entropy among youth.

To be honest, SLF were never an easy proposition and this five CD collection -- their first four studio albums and the live Hanx -- would not be to most people's taste.

JB_HZ_CHEAP_longBut they were an important voice in a pivotal period in Irish (and British) history and so treating these albums more as an aural artefacts might be the best approach.

But at just $20 from JB HiFi stores here, they certainly pack a wallop -- without hurting your wallet -- which you won't easily forget. A Bargain Buy that proves again that UK punk was political at birth.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Quadrophenia, Deluxe Edition

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Quadrophenia, Deluxe Edition

Some argue -- its creator Pete Townshend among them -- for the superiority of the Who's Quadrophenia over its predecessor Tommy. Certainly it has a more coherent and grounded narrative, but... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Iron Butterfly (3CD set)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Iron Butterfly (3CD set)

People over a certain and sensible age know not to mention Iron Butterfly in musically intelligent company because they know they will attract derision. Just the word "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jacques Brel, Infiniment (2004 compilation)

Jacques Brel, Infiniment (2004 compilation)

Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in ... Well, back in his hometown of Brussels, funnily enough. This is odd because Brel (1929-78) was ambivalent about Brussels. "Everyone has to... > Read more

Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

In a previous profile of the German-born musician Stephan Micus (here), I noted that his musical journey has run parallel to a deeply spiritual one and this album -- his 20th for ECM, settings of... > Read more