Voyou Désœuvré

There are some thing which, as far as I’m aware, never appear on bad records: hammond organs, trombones, handclaps.

And, a broader category, ska covers. Why is it, by the way, that two-tone, renowned as a political form of music, got so terrible whenever it explicitly turned to politics? Lots of great tunes about the general shitness of work, poverty, late capitalism; and then when political demands get raised, you get the mediocre “Free Nelson Mandela” and “Stand Down Margaret,” the worst ska record ever made?


  1. Owen, 5:18 am, March 27, 2007

     I have made this argument about handclaps on many an occasion, and the usual counter-argument is ‘Helen Love’, which I guess depends on one’s opinion of said act… 

  2. voyou, 11:01 am, March 27, 2007

    It’s difficult to see how Helen Love could be a counter-argument here. A particularly fine illustration of the truth of the thesis, I would have thought.

  3. mark k-p, 4:07 pm, March 28, 2007

    I must violently disagree about hammond organs. In fact, I’d go to the other extreme – the presence of a hammond organ is in itself enough to ruin an otherwise good record. Every time I listen to Moloko, for instance, I mentally mix out the hammond…

  4. infinite thought, 12:32 am, March 29, 2007

    As major (sole?) proponent of said counter-argument, I must reassert my claim. Helen Love. I mean, good God.

    Hand-claps in music are the mark of the infantilising devil, particularly when used by adult women who should know better!

  5. Owen, 6:34 am, March 29, 2007

    Kenickie, according to the credits on At the Club, used ‘thigh slaps’ as opposed to handclaps. Is that more acceptable…?

  6. voyou, 12:05 am, March 30, 2007

    Well, it’s about ten years since I last heard a Helen Love record, so I’m not in the best position to defend them. But, as counter-arguments go, I don’t think it’s as damning as wikipedia’s evidence for the prosecution re: Hammond organs:

    • Tori Amos,the famed pianist extensively used the B3 Hammond on her critically acclaimed 2005 album The Beekeeper. She also used the B3 Hammond on her 2005 world tour.
    • Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright is a notable user of Hammond organs.


  7. mark k-p, 1:29 pm, April 1, 2007

    One could also mention the whole Acid Jazz genre…

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