Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

 |   |  2 min read

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

It's entirely possible that this British pop duo (with the svengali figure of Paul Caplin guiding their brief career) spent more time in make-up than they did on the charts: they knocked out four singles and an album  . . . but their chief feature was their risque glam-raggamuffin look which was used to greater effect by their contemporary Boy George.

However their album Battle Hymns for Children Singing is certainly worth grabbing when it is in secondhand record shops for around $10, as my copy was.

Their singles Shiny Shiny (about money grabbers) and John Wayne is a Big Leggy (about his tough, racist image in movies) are annoyingly memorable and Caplin (partner of sexy singer Kate Garner) clearly listen to what Malcolm McLaren had been up to with Adam and the Ants, Bow Wow Wow and Ten Pole Tudor.

2480912135_5f63e7056b_o

But there was more: his lyrics are wry and allusive (you never quite know whether they are kids' songs as empty as Toni Basil's Mickey of the same period or suggesting something deeper) and he hooked in some fine players who gave the album crisp touches of broody, Afro-percussive pop (The Sabres of Paradise which shaves off a little Iko-Iko) and -- in the case of this track -- hot West African juju guitar (akin to King Sunny Ade) by John Sherwood.

Svengali Caplin was also connected: Bowie producer Tony Visconti produced a couple of tracks and played guitar on two others, and the Clive Langer/Alan Winstanley production team (Madness, Teardrop Explodes, Elvis Costello etc) also did the honours on two tracks.

There is also a track I Lost My Dodi ("Dodi dead lying on the ground . . . don't get riled cos the killer's on the loose") which weirdly anticipated by 14 years the deaths of Lady Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed and the subsequent conspiracy theories.

This track however is kind of Paul Simon's Graceland underpinning catchy adolescent pop.

haysiBy the way, if you wonder why Caplin replaced himself in the original duo with the dreadlocked Jeremy Healy you need to look at the back cover of the album where Caplin poses, towering over cartoon likenesses of Kate and Jeremy.

Or better, score the version of the record which comes with the booklet of colourful and artistically black'n'white photos of the duo -- some of them in seductively, semi-nude poses.

Have a look at this photo (left) and tell me . . . which one wasn't cut out to be on Top of the Pops?

But maybe for a part in The Sopranos?

Chris-ta-faaah!

For more unusual songs, one-off or those with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Frank Zappa: The Talking Asshole (1978)

Frank Zappa: The Talking Asshole (1978)

Here's a rare and odd one, taken from the vinyl album You're A Hook: The 15th Anniversary of Dial-A-Poem (1968-1983), a record which came through the label Giorno Poetry Systems. The idea... > Read more

Hambone Willie Newbern: Roll and Tumble Blues (1929)

Hambone Willie Newbern: Roll and Tumble Blues (1929)

The provenance of some blues songs is so obscure as to be impenetrable. Many would know Rollin' and Tumblin' from the rock version by Cream in the late Sixties where the credits simply had it as... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

There are no written records of the event, but we can speculate: the interior of the Tuff Gong Studio in Jamaica on a hot afternoon in 1980. Bob Marley and the Wailers are putting the final tracks... > Read more

Various Artists: 135 Grand Street New York 1979 (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

Various Artists: 135 Grand Street New York 1979 (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

New York's short-lived No Wave movement was sort of punk with pretention: the untutored would collide with instruments, throw up "art statements" or aggressive political and/or social... > Read more