A big thanks to the many of you who, at any time or place, have asked the man operating as Jah Wobble when he's going to re-release the Bedroom Album era records. Years of pestering have finally paid off. And the world is a better place for it.
What you have here, on a convenient 2 disc set, is the legendary, lost Bedroom Album, five complete 12 inch singles (as we used to call them), and a selection from the equally legendary and even more lost Tradewinds album. The master tapes are long gone. The discs were re-mastered from the holy records themselves.
This music was recorded in a bedroom and various studios in London, and in a night club in Amsterdam, during the early 1980s. And released on Lago, the record label without a logo or an address.
The Bedroom Album wasn't planned as an album. Wobble made it because that's what he does. By himself mostly, with some help from David, known as Animal, Maltby on electric guitar. But it's not like he wasn't getting out of the house at all at the time . He was also busy playing with Animal and Jim Walker as the Human Condition, as well as making records with the likes of Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, and Ben Mandelson.
And at home it stayed until someone from Rough Trade came round, heard the tapes, and suggested it be released. Given that Wobble hadn't much of an income source at the time, he agreed.
Listening to the record you get the feeling that the curtains of the bedroom probably weren't opened very much. The music is compelling, introspective, and dark. 'No joy in my heart, I'm just existing' he sings on the opening track, City. (It was made shortly after the death of Ian Curtis in 1981.) This darkness, as Wobble often has said, is a part of all of us that should be recognized and dealt with, not ignored. To quote the original sleeve notes by Juan Fernandez Jr, 'A record perfect for night-time playing....play it to antidote the Western Cancer Music'.
The second disc is a set of completely different dishes, using many of the same ingredients and spices.
The tune that became the band's name, Invaders of the Heart, is taken out of the bedroom, into the studio, and on to the dance floor. The addition of trombone and vocals combine for a magnificent desert funk experience.
Voodoo/East, Blow Out, and Tradewinds were the last thing that were expected from Wobble at the time: soulful, catchy tunes with meaty musical backing. Unpredictable, but infectious. Designed to be self-contained, standalone, and get stuck in your head. Featuring the singing of Polly Eltes and Bob Shipton.
After this batch of records Wobble spent about 10 years working with Island Records before going in to business for himself again in 1997 with the launch of 30 Hertz Records. As with Lago, this arrangement suits the man much better, allowing him to put out exactly the music he wants when he wants. Fresh from the kitchen to your table.
(By Patrick MacArdle)