Having progged out for awhile, although as I type A Trick of the Tail is playing. I thought I would hit the fok-rock extravaganza, especially as Rise Up Like the Sun by the Albion Band had just arrived. Then I spotted it, one of the most important folk-rock albums ever recorded and related to Rise Up Like the Sun in that many of the same players are on it.
Alright Jack by the Home Service was one of the more intelligent albums I was listening to in the second half of the eighties and the depression of Thatcher’s Britain. It really as an album made me think and confront my very comfortable existence.
It was a polarizing album in many ways for me and my friends. Deeply political but not apart from in my memory fixed to a time. Their concerts were as much political rallies at the time as musical celebrations. It was however a time when it was almost impossible not to take sides especially as you watched friends arrested in the beanfield at Stonehenge. Tam’s lyric of “there’s a darkness on the land” really seemed true.
The album is a true folk-rock album, passionate fiery and beautiful all at that same time. My friends preferred the Pogues and their punk sensibility that caused at times lines to be drawn. My raucous friends balked at the brass arrangements of English dance tunes but sang along to John Tam’s scathing lyrics.
As I listened tonight to an album that so defined a time for me I was struck at how true the lyrics were still resonating with me. It is also one of the few albums recorded in the 80’s that managed to avoid some of the more intrusive production techniques. It is really difficult to fathom that it was recorded almost 30 years ago.