Edward Barton Unofficial Web Page: Live Review
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|Edward Barton / A Guy Called Gerald / The Ruthless Rap Assassins / Graham Massey, The Boardwalk, Manchester, England
6th May 1989
THE EDWARD BARTON EXPERIENCE
IN THE literary world they're branded old fogeys, these young men with shredded wheat beards and sartorial affection for the '20s. Here they're the friends of one Edward Barton – there surely is only one Edward Barton – who's previously offered us "Belly Box Brother Gob" and, memorably, "I've Got No Chicken But I've Got Five Wooden Chairs".
Now his Wooden label brings us `Edward Not Edward', a 57-minute interpretation of his oeuvre by such respected artistes as Cathal Coughlan, Stump, The Ruthless Rap Assassins, Ted Chippington, Louis Phillipe and A Young Fellow Me Lad Called Gerald. No expense has been spared! Unfortunately, tonight, a lot of these big names fail to materialise. What time are Stump on Edward? "They've gone for a curry."
So Barton himself is the focus of attention, with his Burt-Bacharach-meets-ZZ Top good looks, playing dirty guitar with a teaspoon.
Sometimes he's accompanied by a hennaled Trotsky lookalike on percussion, which involves removing one's shirt and slapping one's belly (particularly on "I Slap My Belly", which Edward didn't).
More affecting is Patrick Mooney's Bragg-like rendition of `Me And My Mini' and Barton's rap of "Barber Barber" while A Guy Called Gerald appropriately twiddled his gob-knobs in accompaniment; "An excellent man at this modern music is Gerald," admits Edward. Plus, alongside their excellent "No Justice Just Us" excursion, The Ruthless Rap Assassins chant Ed's haunting "this is a Z bend, but this is not a Z car .
Edwardian schizophrenia at its most enterprising, presented with an anti-commercial oddness that is more natural, more humane than most popular music on our menu.
[Reviewer: Len Brown]
29th April 1989
THE RUTHLESS RAP ASSASSINS/A GUY CALLED GERALD
IN the spirit of optimism which had Mancunians dancing along to the poetry of John Cooper Clarke in 1978, the various 1989 music-scenes in Manchester have united behind its new resident ranter, Edward Barton. The result of this across the board support has been the LP, "Edward Not Edward", a compilation of bands covering his songs. On the LP there are people such as Stump and Inspiral Carpets having a go at his piercing style, but tonight, perversely, we have two of the city's finest dance music artists.
A Guy Called Gerald's arrival on stage for some live mixing is proceeded by a long tape of primal beats and rhythms, chugging into the crowd. It is Edward Barton's world famous "Barber Song", but you'd never have known it. Gerald climbs on stage, and Edward opens his mouth. Wino House is born. and is joined by the man himself. People begin to look worried. The backing beat begins to swell and metamorphose as Gerald throws in some weird bongo rhythms, a furious house beat fills the stage. Edward's extreme range of vocal delivery combined with furious beats makes for a very strange and threatening brew. De La Soul can keep their flowers, The Beatmasters can keep Hip House, and MC Marvellous can certainly keep his dick, this is something weird and wonderful, and yet another intriguing direction for our home-grown dance mechanics to explore.
After that, The Ruthless Rap Assassins obviously have to pull out all the stops on their number. A reinterpretation of another Barton song, this one has the refrain, "This is a z-bend, but this is not a Z Car", repeated ad nauseam over an extremely-poppy ragamuffin beat. Like a Mancunian Eric B & Rakim, the Two Assassins drag in a wide range of unusual samples, spreading them liberally over a thick and funky slice of beats. Breaking with the theme of the evening, one Assassin leaves the stage while the other raps one of their own songs, a slow-paced parable of inner city life, his metal hat badge catching the stage lights reflects into the crowd, an illuminating beacon for 1989 rap.
[Reviewer: MIKE NOON]