So here’s yet another tune in this list that I discovered while recording music videos off MuchMusic’s Friday night alternative show, “City Limits”, back in 1991. I’m pretty sure the VJ for the show at that time, Simon Evans, might have even been wearing a Northside “Chicken rhythms” t-shirt that night, he was so stoked about the band.
I loved “Take 5” immediately and replayed the video on my VCR constantly after that. And later on, when Simon Evans played the video for “My rising star”, I knew I had to get a copy of that album. The problem was that I couldn’t find it anywhere on cassette tape, not in my small town of Bowmanville, nor even in Oshawa, the next city over. “Chicken rhythms” ended up being my first ever CD purchase for this reason, it just happened to be the only format I could find the album in. And because I didn’t yet have a player, I had to record a copy to cassette using my parent’s stereo so that I could then play it ad nauseum in my Sony Sports Walkman.
Northside formed in Manchester in 1989 by Warren “Dermo” Dermody and Cliff Ogier, and Timmy Walsh and Paul Walsh later filled out the band to a quartet. They were very much part of the baggy, acid house scene in the early nineties that included Inspiral Carpets and The Happy Mondays. I had thought they were so full of promise, given that “Chicken rhythms” was their debut, but it was not to be. A second album was recorded and the release was imminent before their record label, Factory Records, went bankrupt and everything fell apart. I remember hearing at the time that Factory’s collapse was a direct result of Happy Mondays blowing their budget partying while recording their follow up to “Pills ‘n’ thrills and bellyaches”. It was for this reason that I bore an irrational grudge against the Mondays for many years.
“Take 5” was actually slightly bigger here in North America, cracking the alternative billboard charts, than it was in England, where the two previous singles, “Shall we take a trip” and “My rising star” did better. I always liked the way it started off the album with that fantastic bass line that tore this way and that, the funky drumming kicking everything into high gear and then those wicked jangly guitars. It wasn’t a deep song. The lyrics are really secondary to the exuberance of the music. Every time I hear it, I just want to get up and freak out on the dance floor, which is kind of inconvenient on the morning bus ride. It’s been known to get me some strange looks as I bop along.
Have a listen and see that your toes don’t tap a bit.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.