Category: The Three Johns

The Three Johns: Brainbox (He’s A Brainbox)


Abstract 1985.  ABS036


Another single from the ever reliable Three Johns, this one being the follow-up to Death Of The European.  I doubt I’ll be posting much else by them, because according to their web site, they’ve bought the master tapes from Abstract and will be re-releasing their back catalogue.  The site also has stuff to listen to including a bunch of radio sessions, and it seems they’re actively gigging again.  If they’re even half as good as they were back in the 80s it would make a good night.  There are a couple of Three Johns tracks on compilations I’ve posted in the past, all of which should still be available.

The Three Johns: Death Of The European


Abstract Records 1985.  ABS 034


Today’s post is a journey into somewhat darker territory than yesterday’s jaunty Robert Lloyd single.  The Three Johns have a more gothy sound than I usually go for, but this is a great song which Peel played quite a bit.  According to Wikipedia it was also an NME single of the week – and deservedly so.  The sound on this 7″ single is decidedly murky.  Whether that’s deliberate or a duff recording I have no idea, but it really works with this material I think.   The sound is also made unusual by the use of a drum machine which is rarely effective with a guitar band I think, but here it adds to the atmosphere created by the murky sound.

Various Artists: Good Morning Mister Presley


Grunt Grunt A Go Go Records 1985. GGAGG 1


In the 80s record shops groaned under the weight of indie compilation albums.  This is a rather obscure one, but consistently strong.  Most of the highlights are on side one – Marc Riley who used to be in The Fall, the always entertaining Yeah Yeah Noh with a different recording of Crimplene Seed Lifestyle (more from them another time), and what is for me is the best track English White Boy Engineer credited here to The Botha Boys who are actually The Three Johns.  The name change is just to emphasise the anti-apartheid message of the lyrics.  If you’re not up on South African history, PW Botha was the last apartheid prime minister.  The Bomb Party track is lifted from The Ray Gun EP which I’ll post another time.

The best known name is probably Microdisney who for some reason completely passed me by.

There’s not much information out there about this complilation so I don’t know how many of the tracks are exclusives, but it’s a worthwhile listen regardless.

Various Artists: Never Mind The Jacksons… Here’s The Pollocks


Abstract 1985.  12 ABS 030


A rare excursion into slightly gothy territory which isn’t usually my thing, but I’ve always rather liked this compilation. The Three Johns are always reliable, and the Bomb Party have a really dirty Cramps sound which works well.  It’s old enough for the New Model Army track to be worth a listen, and there’s an appearance by Five Go Down To the Sea? whose Creation 12″ I’ll post at some point.  According to discogs three of the tracks are Peel sessions, including the rather out of place Joolz spoken word piece the album ends with.

I bought this second hand and it’s a bit crackly I’m afraid.  Still, that’s vinyl for you.