REDUX: Labor Day Special – Bow Wow Wow – W.O.R.K.

September 1, 2014

EMI | UK | 12" | 1981 | 12 EMI 5153

EMI | UK | 12″ | 1981 | 12 EMI 5153

Bow Wow Wow: W.O.R.K. UK 12″ [1981]

  1. W.O.R.K. (N.O. Nah No! No! My Daddy Don’t) [12″ remix]
  2. C-30, C-60, C-90 Anda!

I remember where I first heard Bow Wow Wow; on RCA’s “Blitz” compilation. I later received the long-winded “See Jungle, See Jungle…” album as a Xmas gift from chasinvictoria in 1981. Actually, I was immediately smitten by “Chihuahua” and had planned to buy the Bow Wow Wow album immediately, just as I did for Landscape, but chasinvictoria cleverly talked me out of it since obviously, he had already done his Xmas shopping, or at least had planned it in advance.

I later received the wonderful album, but I never managed to get any of the singles or subsidiary releases, like “Your Cassette Pet.” It remained until a few years later that I finally got the “Prince Of Darkness” 7″ with poster sleeve! to be the only Bow Wow Wow single to this day in the Record Cell. it was on a later cassette tape letter that chasinvictoria had sent me after purchasing the 12″ single “W.O.R.K. [No No My Daddy Don’t].” If memory serves correctly, he included the “C-30, C-60, C-90 Anda” Spanish language B-side on the tape as well.

To say I was bowled over by the recordings was an understatement! As much as I felt that the debut album was fantastic, the sound and production of the “W.O.R.K.” 12″ was easily Bow Wow Wow’s finest hour. The Alan Tarney production was clean and powerful in ways that left other contemporary recordings in the shade. The massed vocal chants of the male members of band sounded as if they were multi-tracked five or six times, with as many as 30 people chanting “Work,” while the use of digital noise gating gave it an added impact that would not have been there a few years prior. The result was a solid, immense slab of vocal sound.

As usual, the BWW rhythm section propelled the number barreling forward with breathtaking velocity. The 12″ remix was amazing, but the truth is that 33 years later, I have never heard he 7″ version of this song. I was somewhat trepidatious that it would in no way measure up to the unchained fury of this version, so I never made it a priority to hear it. Instead, I kept looking for the 12″ single. Unfortunately, I never saw a copy of this release. I soon discovered that the A/B-side were included on the US compilation “12 Original Recordings” but he thought of this track groove crammed to fit an an LP was just wrong! So years went by until I could listen to this immense track in the comfort and safety of my own home.

It remained until 1993, when Sir Vinny Vero compiled the magnificent “Girl Bites Dog: Your Compact Disc Pet” CD that I finally had this track in house. That CD also helpfully included the original B-side, “C-30, C-60, C-90 Anda.” Which was a kindness because I have never seen this 12″ for sale to buy! When I looked on to mention this record earlier on the blog, I was spellbound when I noticed that the cover seemed to feature a bold, magenta swastika formed out of the cover type.

One should never underestimate Malcolm McLaren’s proclivity for provocation! Speaking of which, the lyrics to “W.O.R.K.” bear mention for their juxtaposition of Old Labor welfare state sloganeering mated with the then-current toil-free Utopianism found within the pages of Alvin Toffler’s “Third Wave,” which I should re-read now that we’ve had a generation to grow into the post-industrial future that he posited in that tome. It’s true that many people are working less than their fore bearers, but that’s because they can’t find meaningful work. On the other hand, there are workers on the third shift in China assembling your smartphones who would beg to differ with his predictions of increased leisure time. When it comes to predicting the future, I’ll put my danger money on DEVO instead.

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Blast From The Past, Record Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to REDUX: Labor Day Special – Bow Wow Wow – W.O.R.K.

  1. Man I loved that record. Still sounds like nothing else.


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