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Godfathers - Jukebox Fury

  by John Clarkson

published: 26 / 3 / 2013

Godfathers - Jukebox Fury
Label: Godfathers' Recordings
Format: CD


Superb return-to-form on comeback record and seventh studio album from London based punk/rock and roll act, the Godfathers

When the Godfathers erupted out of the Elephant and Castle in South London in 1985, they provided a refreshing jolt against a music industry that after punk and post post-punk had quickly become over-produced and stale. With their singer Peter Coyne’s viperish sneer of a vocal, they were at one level a punk band. Coyne was a former music journalist who had written for the excellent, now long defunct ‘Record Mirror’ weekly. He and his bass-playing younger brother Chris were also the youngest of ten siblings in a large Catholic household. They had grown up listening to the music of their often much older six sisters and two brothers, which stretched back across the fifties, sixties and early seventies. Better informed and with a greater understanding of musical history than most of their musical peers, they mixed up the punk influences of their own youth with rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelia. The Godfathers recorded three classic studio albums, ‘Hit by Hit’ (1986), ‘Birth School Work Death’ (1988) and ‘More Songs about Love and Hate’ (1989), and then a slightly less successful fourth album, ‘Unreal World’ (1991), which found them left reeling after the death of their regular producer Vic Maile at 45 (Dr Feelgood, Motorhead) from cancer. There were two other Godfathers albums after that, 1993’s ‘The Godfathers’ and 1995’s ‘Afterlife’. While they both had several fine moments, the Coynes by now were battling both record company and line-up problems, and these lacked the force of presence of their earlier records. The Godfathers fell into hiatus in 2001. Now five years after they first got back together in early 2008, initially in their original line-up and then with the Coynes carrying on with current members, Del Bartle (guitar) and Dave Twigg (drums), they are back with a new album, ‘Jukebox Fury’, which they have released on their own Godfathers Recordings’ label. It is a triumphant return-to-form. ‘Jukebox Fury’ gets off to a convincing and forceful start with the fiery psychedelia of ‘Let Your Hair Hang Down’. A co-composition between Del Bartle and Chris Coyne, it is a rare-for-the-Godfathers happy love song of sorts and hedonistic rocker (“I love the way you shake your hair/I love the way you move it/Let your hair hang down”). The Godfathers have, however, always been at their best when taking on the injustices and stupidities of the world, and there is also a lot of that on ‘Jukebox Fury’. The hysterically funny ‘Primitive Man’ combines a stomping rock ‘n’ roll beat with a largely spoken word vocal from Peter Coyne about prehistory’s cavemen (“Now this alpha male meat-eater/He ain’t no book reader/With a club in his hand/He’s a primitive man”). Its marked point is that in 50,000 years we have not really moved on very much, but in this age in which things are being dumbed down possibly regressed. The chilling ‘The Outsider’, which was co-produced by the Godfathers with former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Bernie Torme, is a study in malevolence (“I am the outsider/I am the one that you don’t want to know”). The anthemic, furiously angry ‘Back into the Future’ – all spiky guitars and spat-out vocals, and which is the second track on the album to be co-produced by Torme – examines the continued domination of ordinary lives by big business (“The big boss man he don’t understand/He will only give you something that you don’t need/You’re going to crack this whip until you bleed”). Much of the success of ‘Jukebox Fury’ lies in the sparkling guitar work of Del Bartle, who also played in the Coynes’ first band, the Sid Presley Experience. The album’s one cover, a raucous version of Link Wray’s garage rock instrumental, pushes him to the fore, as does at the opposite extreme ‘Theme to the End of the World’, a cinematic, slow-burning Morricone-style number. The album is closed with another Bartle/Chris Coyne co-composition, the poppy, sage-like ‘The Man in the Middle’ about the dangers of being stuck in the middle (“If you can’t please everybody, you might as well please yourself”), and finally a piece solely written by Chris Coyne, a tender and piano-led ballad, ‘Thai Nights’. ‘Jukebox Fury’ finds the Godfathers nearly thirty years on since first forming both having lost none of their edge or anger and also roaring to new heights.

Track Listing:-
1 Let Your Hair Hang Down
2 If I Only Could
3 Primitive Man
4 The Outsider
5 I'm Branded
6 A Can Of Worms
7 Back Into The Future
8 I Can't Sleep Tonight
9 Mary Baby
10 Theme To The End Of The World
11 The Man In The Middle
12 Thai Nights

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