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Tuesday 3 January 2023


Back to work today for me and many other people, not a day of much rejoicing for many of us. January is a horrible month on the whole, the vague feeling of freshness of a new year quickly becoming a month with five Mondays and seemingly six weeks until pay day, a month of unending cold and dark. Once we get to February- a much more civilised month, only four weeks long and with the promise of spring ahead- things start to improve. January must just be endured.* 

If you're back at work today, I hope it goes well. Here are a pair of work songs from the mid- 80s to celebrate/ commiserate, one from either side of the Atlantic. In 1984 The Jasmine Minks, freshly signed to Alan McGee's new label Creation, recorded and released a slice of punk influenced indie on 7" single. Work For Nothing was the B-side to Think, the single bearing the Creation catalogue number 004 (only The Legend!, The Revolving Paint Dream and Biff Bang Pow! put out records on Creation before them). They were on tour with The Jesus And Mary Chain as Upside Down came out and as demand for the Reid brothers grew the Minks got a bit side-lined. This is a great piece of mid- 80s Creation indie.  

Work For Nothing

In 1987 R.E.M. opened their final indie album Document with the work song, Finest Worksong,  and  put it out as the third single from Document in 1988. Finest Worksong is based around Peter Buck hitting a B string on his guitar while Mike Mills follows with a huge bass riff. Stipe always denied that the song was political or a protest but it can't help be seen in some way as a response to Reagan's America- 'The time to rise has been engaged', Stipe sings, qualifying it with 'I'm talking here to me alone'. It doesn't sound that way though, it sounds like it's for everyone, the massive Scott Litt production thrusting the song out of the speakers. The Other Mix came out as a  B-side on the 12" in 1988. 

Finest Worksong (Other Mix)

* Apologies to any big January fans out there. I appreciate other points of view re: the first month of the year may exist. 


Rol said...

I'm with you on January, Adam. Still, too fine tunes to keep us going.

Hope today's not too bad for you.

Anonymous said...

I concur. It’s a shitty month, and I say that as someone who has a birthday during it. For me, it’s not necessarily about dark/damp/cold, it’s more “bloody hell, we have to start this whole thing again?”

George said...

It's veganuary, what is not to like??

Nick L said...

Completely agree, January's bloody awful and going back to work today was worse.
The Jasmine Minks are a great band, this is a great track, and Cut Me Deep is one of the best songs of the late eighties. Have you heard Jim Shepherd's recent solo album? Definitely worth investigation.

Khayem said...

What you and everyone has said, Adam. There was a palpable sense of dread in Casa K yesterday. Mentally, I think I hunker down and just try to get through the winter and into spring as quickly as possible every year.

Great to hear The Jasmine Minks and R.E.M. though.