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Various - Shake the Foundations: Militant Funk and the Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 7 / 4 / 2021

Various - Shake the Foundations: Militant Funk and the Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984
Label: Cherry Red Records
Format: CD Box


Impressive three CD box set from Cherry Red follows up the success of their previous post-punk box sets with this reflection into the more danceable part of the scene

In his introduction in the booklet for this compilation, DJ Bill Brewster (who compiled this box set) remembers that some friends of his argued that punk died on the day that The Clash signed to CBS (January 25th, 1977), which would mean that Buzzcocks’ iconic ‘Spiral Scatch’ EP would be the first and last punk single. That might be stretching it quite a bit, if you ask me. But it also begs the question – what is punk? Is it a style of music, or is it more a state of mind, a way to relate to the music industry (and maybe even society in general)? I don’t think I should try to find the answer to this question here and now, but it’s interesting to keep this in mind when listening to this brand-new compilation that offers a selection of songs released in the wake of punk, commonly known as post-punk. Now, there’s another broad and somewhat vague term for you – post-punk. For most people, this scene, which arose as both an evolution and a revolution of punk, is synonymous with bands like Joy Division, The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees. And fair enough, they were some of the more popular bands of the era, but they also represented a more goth-like part of post-punk, and the fact is that the “style” incorporated so much more, which this compilation shows in all its glory. A quick glance at the track list tells us that there are quite a few well-known names here, like Simple Minds, The Stranglers, Visage, Ian Dury and Haircut 100, but there are many more that are more or less new to me, and that’s the great thing about these Cherry Red compilations – they are a great mix of the well-known and the obscure. This three CD box can be seen as an extension of the previous box sets ‘To the Outside of Everything’ and ‘Close to the Noise Floor’, both of which dealt with various aspects of post-punk. And this new one sets out to compile the best of the more danceable post-punk songs (just the thought of making music that you could dance to was laughable to punk bands), which meant that other influences than rock (like soul and funk, for example) began to make themselves heard, as did also other instruments than the classic rock line-up of guitar-bass-drums. I have already praised Cherry Red’s compilations, both in this review (just read the former paragraph) and in earlier reviews for Pennyblackmusic, but I think there’s definitely room for some more of that here. The song selection is second to none, and the accompanying booklet is very informative, with track-by-track notes and lots of photos. With that said, it’s also fair to say that this isn’t easy listening. If you’re looking for a compilation to put on in the background when you’re having your family over for dinner, keep looking. In many cases here, the songwriters have opted more for a sound or an atmosphere than a melody, even though there are some smashing songs here as well. But above all, this is a great reminder of the vibrant and experimental music scene that erupted when the punk rock movement began to fade away. Nothing was sacred, and nothing was too weird to put on a bit of black plastic. And here you can also listen to what Simple Minds sounded like before they played arena shows, and also what Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive sounded like when he sang in Nightmares In Wax, a band that eventually turned into the aforementioned chartbusters. And don’t forget The Higsons, featuring a young Charlie Higson on lead vocals (and their drummer David Cummings was later a writer for Higson’s TV comedy show ‘The Fast Show’)! If, like me, you have a big interest in popular music history, then this is a must, as it covers a period that usually gets ignored. And you could definitely read Simon Reynolds’ amazing book ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ while searching for even more history!

Track Listing:-
1 Guess Who? A Certain Ratio
2 Coup - 23 Skidoo
3 100 Evil Smokestacking Baby Haircut 100
4 This Fear Of Gods Simple Minds
5 Love 30 - The Stranglers
6 Born Every Minute The Passage
7 Sarava - Blue Rondo A La Turk
8 Serbian Village Medium Medium
9 Push Out The Boat The Higsons
10 Post War Glamour Girls John Cooper Clarke
11 Skin Deep The Passions
12 Invaders Of The Heart (Mix One) Jah Wobble
13 Can You Move Modern Romance
14 Slang Teacher Wide Boy Awake
15 Hypnotised - C Cat Trance
16 Stretch - Maximum Joy
17 Lions - Tones On Tail
18 Trust Is A Must Ian Dury
19 What Dance Is This? Perfect Zebras
20 Faith & Hope & Charity The Fun Boy Three
21 Dream Games - Shock
22 Rusha Jesse Rae
23 Dont - Thomas Leer
24 Big Man Restless Kissing The Pink
25 Blue For You - Paul Haig
26 Frequency 7 - Visage
27 Bang Em Right - Six Sed Red
28 Tingle - Quando Quango
29 Cccant You See Vicious Pink
30 Move On Fashiøn
31 Set Fighter - Wide Boy Awake
32 When Are We? (Now We Are) Surface Mutants
33 Why Are We In Love Furniture
34 Rob A Bank The Pop Group
35 Get It Right Animal Magic
36 Black Leather Nightmares In Wax
37 Obedience - Normil Hawaiians
38 Asbestos Lead Asbestos The 012
39 Keep Beat Vee Vv
40 Living Wild Mataya Clifford
41 So Many Ways Electric Chairs
42 Dreams Are Better London Underground
43 Arty-Fact Group Therapy
44 We Are All Animals The Diagram Brothers
45 Quit The Body The Chicken Granny
46 Bed Bound Saga Machine Gunn Hogg And Co
47 Hoggs Might Fly - Playgroup
48 Shake (The Foundations) Glaxo Babies
49 Disco Purge Family Fodder

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