8 November 2015

Screamer - City or Bust/ I've Got Hairs


Label: Arista
Year of Release: 1975

Glam rock probably produced more one-single wonders than even psychedelia managed, leaving  behind a plethora of mysterious names performing a beery rock and roll racket. Many were studio based bands produced by wannabe Mickie Most and Mike Leander figures desperate for some teenage readies - some, on the other hand, were genuine releases by hopelessly obscure circuit bands.

And here's one. All I've managed to ascertain from Internet rumour is that the band were based in East London and throughout a large chunk of the seventies had a residency at the Three Rabbits pub in Manor Park (don't go looking for it, it closed over a decade ago and is now a Boots Pharmacy - though given that the pub was apparently haunted, it would be interesting to know if anything spectral had also made itself apparent amongst the stacks of Ibuprofen). 

Screamer were essentially a crowd-pleasing covers band who occasionally wrote material of their own on the side, and this was one such attempt. It managed to achieve some light daytime radio airplay before disappearing from view, perhaps indicative of changing commercial tastes at that time. It's a shame, because "City or Bust" is very sprightly and entertaining, filled with bar-room boogie piano, deep bass backing vocals, and a sense of ceaseless frivolity. It's tricksy and incredibly catchy, and gives a strong impression of how some of the dafter, quirkier elements of glam eventually got absorbed into New Wave. 

The peculiarly titled "I've Got Hairs" on the flip is rather more adult rock, and does indeed seem to focus on the rather Alan Partridge-esque topic of adult experience and wisdom being represented via the presence of pubic hairs. This insight is interspersed with jazzy and adventurous guitar work. The mid-seventies were an odd place sometimes. 

The only member of Screamer I've managed to identify is bass player Steve Stroud, who apparently eventually married Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz - but I wouldn't swear even to that. They are also apparently not the same band as the "Screemer" whose "Interplanetary Twist" single I posted on here some time ago (and the two bands certainly don't sound alike).  

As ever, if any of you can fill in the blanks, you'll have a friend in me. Sorry for the pops and clicks on the record.



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