19.6.10

MARK STEWART & THE MAFFIA : Jerusalem 12" (1982)

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Jersusalem f/o
Mark St.
Picked this up for a couple of quid yesterday. It's the initial pressing, packaged in a Crass-style fold-out sleeve & apparently quite r.a.r.e. nowadays, though I really wouldn't know tbh. I've been a fan of Mark Stewart since the early 80s, from the very first time I heard Peel play this benchmark 12" basically. As I was slightly too young to be aware of his earlier tenure in The Pop Group back then, Stewart - & this single - seemed to loom out of nowhere without prior warning, gouging a deep & enduring impression. It's almost certainly the first On-U Sound release I heard too, & Adrian Sherwood's splintered, claustrophobic production job still sounds like the musical equivalent of an inner city riot.

Though Learning To Cope With Cowardice, "Jerusalem"'s mother LP, is a longtime favourite, my copy's on vinyl & has therefore been reluctantly archived in The Shed so it's a genuine thrill to hear this again (particularly in it's original, intended 12" format). Point of interest: "High Ideals + Crazy Dreams", sequenced here medley-style with "Jerusalem" itself, only appeared on the single. The flip, "Welcome To Liberty City", is the same version you'll find on Learning To Cope With Cowardice, so there's no need for me to upload it here.

On/Off, Toni Schifer's long promised Mark Stewart biopic premiered in April. Schifer reportedly spent 2 long years trailing Stewart & picking his Byzantine brain, so it promises to be compelling viewing. No DVD release in sight as yet however.

9 comments:

  1. Some bastards never gave me my copy of this back just before I left Am*dam to move to Australia back in 86!
    Regards/

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  2. Nifty. Never heard this one.

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  3. Still waiting for the DVD of On/Off to emerge into the light, supposedly it was going to be last year on Monitorpop but I can never find any information about it, anyone have more info on it?

    I am gutted I missed the screenings as like you, Mark Stewart has been one of the few people I have followed since the early eighties. I was a couple of years too young for Pop Group but first saw Mark Stewart & The Maffia when I was 15/16 at the then Leeds Poly supporting 23 Skidoo (still one of the best gigs of my life).

    I still remember the utter cognitive dissonance I felt on hearing Jerusalem on Peel and the first two Maffia albums, definitely what got me into On-U-Sounds as well. Its been years since I heard the full 12 Inch (it's been that long ago, I cannot even pin-point the time when my entire On-U-Sounds collection parted company) so huge kudos to you for having the good sense to buy it and the kindness to share it with the rest of us.

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  4. Ahh Novemberer from Ripped In Glasgow's comments page...the dark penny finally drops!
    I had a feeling you had exquisite taste, i.e, my kind of twisted aesthetic, it all makes (un)sense now ;)

    Have you seen On/Off yet or had any reports about it? So glad to see judging by his MySp page that his interest in deep politics and occult power and control dynamics has not waned..along with Crass and William Burroughs, I think Mark Stewart did much to form my current belief systems and may the cthulhu gods bless 'em all.

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  5. That Maffia / Skidoo show sounds like a bit of a hard 'un to follow! I've never actually seen Mark actually play live, though he toasted at a couple of On-U parties I went to back in the late 80s/early 90s. Similarly, my On-U collection seems to have vapourised sometime during the last 15 years, God knows when/why I parted with it, it obviously seemed like a good idea at the time! Too many dodgy Gary Clail 12"s maybe? I'd really like those New Age Steppers LPs back though...!

    I've still only seen the Youtube trailer for On/Off I'm afraid. Monitorpop were scheduled to release the DVD back in June 2008 according to their website so fuck knows what's going on! Perhaps they're hanging on for those upcoming Pop Group shows & the oodles of free hyperbol√© they'll generate? A couple of mates of mine have set their hearts on seeing TPG in LDN but I'm just about burnt out on old lags reforming & charging £25 for a quick run through the "greatest hits" tbh, dunno about you? Gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE...

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  6. Glad to hear I am not the only one stupid enough to have got rid of all my On-U-Sound records!....Too many dodgy Clail 12 inches?!? Funny enough you are kinda spot on, it was a Gary Clail show around 1991/92 that ended my On-U fascination and while I like to think it was musical differences that led to me falling out of On-U love it was actually the fact that after the gig, Clail spent about an hour blatantly chatting up my then girlfriend while totally ignoring my nerdy 'so what's Keith Leblanc like?' fan questions! Still annoys me nearly 20 years down the line...let it go!

    Weirdly, its the New Age Steppers albums I miss the most as well...have some dodgy 192 rips of them somewhere but would at least like them on CD! Oh well, add them to the list.

    Makes total sense what you are saying about Monitorpop hanging on till the reformed Pop Group shows before they release the DVD...I am so looking forward to seeing it..shame the Eastern European mafia are not Stewart/Pop Group fans otherwise we may have had a dodgy cam/telesync version doing the torrent rounds!

    It warms the cockles of my jaded heart to hear I am not alone in having my fill of childhood/teenage heroes reforming and charging outrageous prices for the pleasure of their 'greatest hits show'....Though I never saw TPG live, the idea of seeing them now is akin to implanting a false memory inside me as you cannot separate a band like Pop Group from the period they were around in...for me their music and Mark Stewarts and Crass form part of the tapestry of my sonic memories of the early eighties and I don't want that messed with....so I am drawing a line as well!

    Having said that "Hallogallo 2010" at the Barbican, still tickets left...should I shouldn't I? I know Moggieboy is off to see them next week so maybe I will hear what he has to say...what are your thoughts? You off to see Herr Rother and his 'superstar' backing band?

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  7. Heh-heh, your Clail anecdote made me smirk but, obviously, I'm glad it wasn't MY girlfriend he was hassling! Clail was always a bit of a wideboy wasn't he, more like a used car dealer than a rapper? Can't fault those early Tackhead 12"s though, hmm, perhaps I should post a couple?

    Funny you should mention Keith Le Blanc, I bought his Major Malfunction LP (again) a few months back & it still sounds brilliant. It's on CD but the oodles of extra tracks are exhausting & ruin the album's original flow I think?

    Re: old farts reforming. Saw both Magazine & PiL when they first got back together last year &, though they were both fine "nights out", I don't think I'd be interested in seeing them again unless they come up with some decent new material? It's the bands that have kept playing & releasing records since the 80s that have really impressed me recently - Wire & The Nightingales were/are both terrific live. The other obvious candidate here is The Fall but I can't make my mind up about 'em tbh - they've always been erratic live & they haven't made a GREAT album since, well, 1985 yet adulation for them is bigger than it's ever been! Very strange... Still, at least The Birthday Party can't reform, eh? Phew.

    Rother? Don't get me started. I might be mistaken, but wasn't it him who stopped K.Dinger from re-issuing the Neu! trilogy on CD for nigh on a decade (hence the proliferation of semi-legit bootlegs)? That he's decided to revisit the back catalogue now that both Dinger brothers are dead seems pretty dodgy to me, but I've been wrong before! ACK!!!

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  8. Anonymous9.6.11

    A Punky Reggae Tribute to ARI UP of THE SLITS! Bristol 30th July 2011 ft The Slits, Adrian Sherwood, Mark Stewart and Viv Albertine! www.bristolticketshop.co.uk for tickets!

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