Tom Robinson Sings “War Baby”

war_baby_coverListen to this track by British folk-rock-with-sophisti-pop leanings singer-songwriter Tom Robinson. It’s “War Baby”, a 1983 single which also appeared on his album Hope and Glory released by the next year. That full-length record is also known as War Baby: Hope and Glory in some quarters.

This single performed exceptionally well on the British charts, reaching number six and serving as a positive turn in Robinson’s fortunes. By 1982, Robinson had moved to Germany in a fit of low feelings in part brought about by debt and by the end of his former musical outfit Sector 27. It was a significant move. Relocating to a new country and social context shook up his worldview, bringing out certain geopolitical dynamics in his music. This was particularly when doing shows in Berlin, a place known for the infamous wall that bore its name; a physical metaphor for the cold war itself.

This political edge is very evident on this song, which is about war and about love at the same time. Maybe too, it reveals just how similar love and war are emotionally speaking, or at least how disturbingly interchangeable they can be. Read more

80s Can-Con – Pukka Orchestra ‘Listen to the Radio’

Pukka Orchestra Listen to the RadioHere’s a clip from days of old – Pukka Orchestra with their Canadian radio hit Listen To The Radio“.

I was scouring the blogosphere for interesting music sites and was reminded of this band. As soon as I remember which site did the reminding, link-love will follow. My memory isn’t what it used to be – well, my short term memory, anyway.

Pukka orchestra came out of the same Toronto Queen Street West scene of the late 70s and early 80s as the more widely known Martha & the Muffins. A number of bands on the scene centered around funk-flavored new wave, with a distinctly British feel to it. This particular song, put out in 1984 on the self-titled the Pukka Orchestra album, was a cover of a Tom Robinson tune.

They would follow-up this one with another song, “Cherry Beach Express” from the same album. But this first song, and the Pukka Orchestra in general, would be relegated to the 80s Can-Con (that’s Canadian Content to you non-Canucks…) file once the group broke up before the end of the decade. Actually, since composer Robinson is a Brit, I wonder if the Can-Con label even qualifies.

Oh, well.