Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral – Half Man Half Biscuit [#494]

Four_Lads_Who_Shook_the_Wirral_coverMore grumpy observations of the preposterousness pervading Britain from Nigel Blackwell and pals.

Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral is not an album with many memorable HMHB tracks on but it does come armed with the same bitterly amusing cynicism and acerbic observations of British middle class society as the other HMHB albums.

Surprisingly, despite the amount of HMHB I have, iTunes’ random play algorithm doesn’t seem to favour this album with it rarely appearing in any playlists. Which is a shame as I’d like to get to know it a little better.

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Editor’s Recommendations – Half Man Half Biscuit [#415]

HMHB-EditorsRecommendationJust to reassure you, I’m not, by any means, channelling John Peel here but we did have similar tastes in music it seems. Anyway, those four lads who shook the Wirral take centre stage on the music project once more. This time with a cheeky little EP and a wink at Granada TV.

Now, let me tell you a secret about the music project. I don’t usually include EPs on the music project unless they’re exceptionally significant or relevant to the whole story I have to tell over 4000 plus posts. If I had included EPs from the start, we’d be still in the Bs or worse, and nobody wants to be in the Bs. Especially as we have the Gs to get through and boy, is that going to take the best part of next year.

So it is with pride and honour that I welcome Half Man Half Biscuit’s cheeky little EP, Editor’s Recommendations to the music project. With a sly dig at former Granada TV news anchor, Bob Wilson, Coronation Street’s Ken Barlow and an absurd trad. arr. song about Slipknot visiting the Pope, twelve minutes of dry scouse  acerbic wit nicely nestles between the release of Trouble Over Bridgwater and Cammell Laird Social Club. Lovely.

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CSI: Ambleside – Half Man Half Biscuit [#330]

CSI Ambleside - Half Man Half BiscuitA man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets
Before I met my beloved I was only vaguely aware of Half man half biscuit, but over the last 7 years I have listened to many hours of their music, usually a captive audience in his car but once live locally.  If you have never heard any of their achingly clever and snortingly funny songs before this album is a great starting point.  Are they punk?  Are they folk? Are they too bloody clever for their own good?  Yes, to all of them.
I can’t claim to get all the references, but then it is handy to have a scouse husband to help out (want one?  you can borrow mine, if you are lucky he’ll have you taking part in his music project).  I had no idea what the ‘roids’ were until he told me, but anyone can appreciate the sentiment of ‘National shite day’ (which is a blinder performed live) even if you have never seen a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets.  I frequently find myself humming ‘Evening of swing’ for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

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Cammell Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit (#242)

Cammell Lairds Social ClubCammel Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit

Cammell Laird Social Club  is possibly one of my most favourite albums. Not only is it a sly dig at Buena Vista Social Club but it’s possibly the finest bit of musical wit and whimsy that has ever existed.

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Back in the DHSS – Half Man Half Biscuit [#116]

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 17.12.47Back in the DHSS – Half Man Half Biscuit

Nope. Not a double posting. There are two DHSS albums by HMHB. This is the first.

This is early HMHB stuff, but still as scathing and well observed. Heavy on the punk side of things, but if you can hear through that, you’ll have a lyrical treat.

 

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Back Again in the DHSS – Half Man Half Biscuit [#115]

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 17.05.14Back Again in the DHSS – Half Man Half Biscuit

There is nothing better in life than writing on the sole of a slipper with a biro

Scousers again. Sarky scousers with instruments and lyrics to illustrate the downs and downs of British life no less.

Back Again comes with two of HMHBs popular tracks, Trumpton Riots, All I want for Christmas (Is a Dukla Prague Away Kit) and Dickie Davies Eyes. Listening to the album makes you want to sit in your grotty bedsit and look out at the rain or plod the sodden streets of recession hit Liverpool in the late 1980s trying to find a job.

Good stuff. And I don’t understand football references…

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Achtung Bono! – Half Man Half Biscuit [#53]

folder Achtung Bono – Half Man Half Biscuit

This is the third HMHB album in my collection and their tenth album. Released in 2005, it features the 2010 Radio 6 fan favourite. Joy Division Oven Gloves. Without trying to sound like a hipster, I was listening to this album before 85% of the people who came to discover HMHB because of that song.

So there.

Ner…

Some of my all time favourite HMHB tracks appear on this album including Asparagus Next Left, Restless Legs and Letters Sent.

As with all HMHB, brilliantly observed and cutting.

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ACD – Half Man Half Biscuit [#52]

ACD - Half Man Half BiscuitACD – Half Man Half Biscuit

This is the second album alphabetically that I have from Half Man Half Biscuit. Released in 1993 , ACD is a typical HMHB album. Sardonic wit, cutting observational humour and wry stabs at those members of society that tend to annoy.

I remember hearing about HMHB when I was in my early teens and thinking that they were an inspired band. By the time I managed to get most of their albums, they had already been going for several years. I’m sure that had the internet been available when I was 14 I would have been able to find their albums a bit better than I did back then.

Nigel Blackwell, the lead singer, has a very typical Scouse sense of humour. The kind of “I’m alright because I’m not like you” kind of attitude that hard-nosed meat heads in dodgy Scouse boozers might have. The kind of looking down your nose at a society that thinks it’s better than you because they have trips to a caravan in the Peak District yet you can only afford a day trip to Rhyl. The kind of funny, quick-witted individual who would probably have yards of yarns to spin, none of which are probably true but may, just may, have a soupcon of truth in them .

Take this song for example…..

 

 

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90 Bisodol (Crimond) – Half Man Half Biscuit [#14]

90 Bisodol (Crimond) – Half Man Half Biscuit

There are these four blokes from Merseyside in the UK who formed a band and stormed the world with their music. Unfortunately they were very over rated, one had such a big opinion of himself he got shot; another took too much drugs in India; the third couldn’t play or write any good songs and the fourth is popular with the ladies for some reason.

They were shit.

Then there was this other group of four blokes from Merseyside. They too formed a band and stormed the UK with their unique sound, acerbic lyrics and cutting social commentary. They are not known well enough. I hope this corrects itself soon.

HMHB, to those in the know, have been going for many years. The late John Peel listed them as one of his favourite bands. I do too. 90 Bisodol is their most recent album and it performs very well.

As with most new music it does take a while to get into but I think Excavating Rita (a humourous song about necrophilia) was the first song on the album that grabbed me by the funnies. But it wasn’t long before the sarcastic account of mischief around a village fete in Fun day in the Park (They lied to me they lied to me on their posters!) that had me hooked and landed like a gasping trout. Side ways jibes, observation and commentary on British middle class society permeate HMHB songs. Sadly I worry that their unique observations do not translate well to other cultures beyond the UK. Do Americans have issues with local scolds on lower walks? Do Europeans understand the concept of attempting to descend the Stiperstones or cross the road without drawing attention to ones self? I don’t know. What I do know is HMHB talk to me like I talk to myself. Which is a good thing right? I mean I talk to myself all the time. Its the only way I get a sensible answer sometimes…..

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