Various Artists: Justice Is Our Conviction


State Injustice 1989.  SIJ 1


This is a very rare, but sadly not valuable benefit album released as a fund raiser for Martin Foran who was one of many victims of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, now thankfully disbanded.  Foran finally had his conviction overturned earlier this year, which seemed  too little too late.

It’s a rather odd mix of tracks – from the thrashy indiepop of the Mega City Four through two obscure Welsh language punk bands, an early Shamen exclusive and the majestic Dub Syndicate, here appearing with the silky voiced Bim Sherman.  There’s even some poetry from the ever reliable Brummy Benjamin Zephaniah.  As you might imagine, it’s not the most coherent of albums.  I guess inclusion relied more on support for the cause than anything else.  Despite that, much of the material here is worthwhile, and as far as I can tell, unique to this release.

Barmy Army: The English Disease


On U Sound 1989. On-U LP48


An odd album for me to own because my disinterest in football is total.   I’ve always been a sucker though for anything on On-U, and I like the idea of a thousands-strong male voice choir.

In case you didn’t know, this is the On-U crew with their usual dubbed out genius, accompanied by recordings of football chants which wander in and out of the mix.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s worth it for when it does…

It’s a curious mix of piss-take (donkeys playing football on the cover) and homage – these guys are clearly fans.  It’s about much more than just the game – it’s about how it fits with the English psyche.  I didn’t spot any reference to the hideous racism oozing off the terraces in those days which seems an odd omission, but then I’m hardly in a position to make any sort of comment about football culture.

Side two is a bit crackly in places I’m afraid, but it’s perfectly listenable.