Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.
WOOD BEEZ (PRAY LIKE ARETHA FRANKLIN)
Long before it became fashionable to spend three or four years on an album, it was a standard habit for Green Gartside, the main man of 80s pop groove reggae funksters Scritti Politti. Just three albums emerged from the group in the period 1982-1988 (Songs To Remember, Cupid & Psyche 85 and Provision), and nothing's been heard since, although Gartside has reportedly been in a studio for a good chunk of that time and drummer Fred Maher has carved out a producing career. (For more details, check out the band's discography.)
'Wood Beez' comes from the middle (and best known) of those albums, and is the band's second-biggest hit ever, charting at #10 in the UK and making the Australian Top 20. It's got an infuriatingly catchy tune, and somewhat obscure lyrics (Gartside spent much time following its release explaining that 'Beez' was neither a kind of insect nor an obscure abbreviation for 'be easy'). Praising this song is not to detract from the other great singles that also emerged from Cupid & Psyche 85: 'Absolute', 'The Word Girl' (the band's biggest-ever hit), and 'Perfect Way', which even managed to make #11 in the US. I have a special attachment for it because it's one of the first ever singles I bought, back when the only place I could buy them was K-Mart and the only way I could afford them was if they were marked down from the $2.99 standard price. I got this gem for just 50 cents (the price tag is still on the plastic sleeve).
'Wood Beez' is also notable for being one of the earlier singles to jump on the idea of including a remixed version (thoughtfully entitled 'Wood Beez Version') on the B-side. Although it's near-impossible these days to purchase a single featuring anything less than five totally pointless remixes, back then even the notion of putting an instrumental on the B-side was in its relative infancy.Needless to say, I found such a practice much more tolerable then than I do these days.
Go back up a level
Return to Gusworld Central