Rock G.P.A.: The Blow Monkeys [part 2]

Parasol Records | UK | 7″ | 1981 | PAR 1

The Blow Monkeys: Live Today, Love Tomorrow – UK – 7″ [1981]

  1. Live Today, Love Tomorrow
  2. In Cold Blood

Every story begins with a first step and the one that matters here is the one that happened when Robert Howard moved back to the UK after spending his late teenage years in Australia. Having missed the explosion of Punk in the UK, he nonetheless found inspiration in the music that Australia was generating on its own. The Saints were one of the few Antipodean bands making a splash in that arena with “I’m Stranded” turning heads on both sides of The Atlantic in the Northern hemisphere.

But it was what Ed Keupper did after leaving The Saints that had serious impact on the young Dr. Robert. It was the forward thinking Punk Jazz of Ed’s band Laughing Clowns that gave the good Doctor the impetus to move on from his T-Rex fandom to something less well established. he must have gotten quite intimate with The Laughing Clowns camp since he returned to London married to Linda Nolte; who was a photographer for the Laughing Clowns sleeves prior to her move to London with her then-husband Dr. Robert in 1981.After consulting the band ads, The Blow Monkeys began to coalesce. Ultimately forming a combo with Angus Hines [drums], Mick Anker [bass] and Neville Henry [saxophone]. A local label, Parasol Records, got the band in the studio and issued the debut single in the dawning days of 1982. A listen reveals a band just out of the eggshell and still moist and a little unformed.

Less so on the A-side, “Live Today, Love Tomorrow” which managed to belie a jangly, Orange Juice influence with Howard’s singing managing not to encroach on Edwyn Collin’s distinctive tones in the slightest. It began with acoustic guitar before the rhythm section and electric guitars kicked in vividly, propelling the pop tune into high gear. Neville Hanry’s sax interjections were far more rudimentary that we would hear by the time they were signed to RCA; proffering breezy, if insubstantial support until the song’s coda, where he finally let loose with a solo as Dr. Robert’s multitracked “nah-nah-nahs” brought the song to a spirited end.

It was not the “Punk Jazz” heavily influenced by The Laughing Clowns just yet. But it did offer a lively, effervescent two minutes and forty one seconds of Indie pop that managed to move more than a half step forward on the path to its own identity.

That can’t be said for the B-side, “In Cold Blood,” which started with a bald-faced rip from “Children Of the Revolution” and then proceeded to take every move it made from the Marc Bolan playbook. It almost sounded like Tyrannosaurus Rex trying to make a Reggae tune. Which is the obtuse way of saying that it sounded pretty lacking.

The biggest obstacle this track had to surmount was the Bolanesque delivery that Dr. Robert delivered in full, tremulous bleat. In the interview in the DLX RM of “Limping For A Generation,” Dr. Robert cited the track as an unparalleled “Beard Of Stars” rip-off, and as I’ve only got two tracks from that on a compilation, I’ll take his word on it.

The second hand Bolanisms of “In Cold Blood” may be the reason why this single exists only in its indie cocoon and has not been used on any Blow Monkeys reissues, in spite of the historical interest. For that reason, the 7″ disc now regularly skirts three figures. Making me glad that I secured a copy fairly early into my Blow Monkeys fandom for what seemed to be certainly no more than $10-20 at the time.

Next: …Limping Towards RCA

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About postpunkmonk

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3 Responses to Rock G.P.A.: The Blow Monkeys [part 2]

  1. Echorich says:

    There is a lot of Postcard style Pop on both sided of the debut single. Live Today, Love Tomorrow does have some Aussie New Wave feel to it as well. In Cold Blood is really raw and kind of all over the place in a good way – Punk/Glam, almost No Wave Sax, and at its heart a Pop Sensibility growing into life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As mentioned, a bunch of us in the discipleship of the Monk & The RAHB (both of whom have introduced me to various bands over the years) dutifully went out and got Animal Magic on the strength of its singles, and I think we all remain fond of the band to this day, regardless of how faithfully (or not) we’ve kept up with the reformation releases. Looking forward to the review of AM and of course all the rest.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – I woud say much the same about you! The reformation discs were a little hit an dmiss for me down to timing and budget issues, but now I’ve got it all sorted. I can only say thank goodnesstheir Bandcamp store is selling “If Not Now, When?” I thought I’d never get that one since I missed the Pledge Music campaign in 2015. And do get one of those if you’ve not had the plezzzzure! It’s the album where Dr. Robert’s admiration for Marc Bolan really comes to the surface as he lets his T-Rex flag fly proudly!

      Liked by 1 person

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