Best tunes of 1990: #2 The Charlatans “Sproston green”

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Here we are at number two on this best of 1990 list and we find ourselves back on the dance floor. But we must’ve travelled back in time because it’s “Sproston green” by The Charlatans, their second appearance (the other being “The only one I know” at #14) on this list.

I mention the time travel bit as a personal joke between me and my friend Tim. We wandered into one of our old haunts, The Dance Cave in Toronto, after a bunch of drinks on my birthday a few years ago. After a few more, Tim went up to the DJ booth to request this tune, or any Charlatans tune, really, and was denied. The DJ didn’t care that it was my birthday and that we had danced many times to that same tune on that same floor, a decade or two earlier. He wasn’t having any of it. He gestured to the crowd of millenials that made up most of the drinkers that night and said that there was no way they would dance to it.

Now maybe I’m getting old and stubborn but I disagreed then and still do today. This is a song that can’t be ignored, you just have to dance to it. It’s a song so immense in scope that the band has continued to use it over the intervening decades to close out their live shows, much to the joy of their fans. It is definitely a personal favourite. And why not? At just over five minutes, “Sproston green” builds perfectly from the echoing, just beyond earshot guitar intro to a more a solidified onslaught once the rest of the band joins in the fun, led by that muscular bass and crazed, swirling organs, all the way to its crashing, ecstatic finale.

I’ve read somewhere that the words are based on the frontman’s first sexual experience and I suppose that could be true: “This one knows she comes and goes, and when she goes she goes.” It’s as deep as they get… But you don’t really listen to the Charlies for the lyrics, do you? No, no, no. It’s all about the groove and this particular tune has that bit down solid.

Go ahead and disagree. I’m ready for you.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1990 list, click here.

13 replies on “Best tunes of 1990: #2 The Charlatans “Sproston green””

Well… yeah. But we were mostly in the bag at that point so we just put up with it. They were playing some good stuff as I recall. Just no Charlies.


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