Significant Songs (27)

Geno

Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band had a brief shot at stardom in Britain, during the mid 1960’s. They had two huge-selling albums, and toured extensively, before fading into obscurity. I was an avid fan at the time, and to a large extent, I still am. Geno was a US Air Force serviceman, and was stationed in England. When he left the Air Force, he became the lead singer in the band. At the time, the ‘Mod’ influence was prevalent in British pop, and the Mods took to Geno immediately. Along with many other US-influenced artists, he soon developed a strong Mod following, that I was very much a part of back then.

In 1980, a new group arrived on the scene; Dexy’s Midnight Runners, fronted by the dictatorial Kevin Rowland. They had a string of hits in the 1980’s, including this track, a cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Jackie Wilson Said’, and the anthem-like ‘Come On Eileen’. I took to them immediately; because of their tribute to Geno Washington, married to their unusual style, wearing dungarees, and having a brass section and string instruments in the group. They continued to work as a band until breaking up, in 1986, with a few more hit records under their belts. Despite continued attempts to reunite the original line-up, they never succeeded in enduring, and are more or less consigned to history, despite occasional performances.

That doesn’t diminish the impact of this 1980 song, which still sounds fresh and relevant, even today.

Here is the song from the TV show ‘Top Of The Pops’ from 1980. Play it loud. Please.

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4 thoughts on “Significant Songs (27)

  1. As a teenager I discovered a Geno Washington record in my grandma’s loft and it was fantastic. It’s interesting to learn a bit more about him, and to see how he influenced another band. Enjoying listen to that Dexy’s track as I write this.

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    1. Thanks Andrew. I am glad that Geno is remembered. I was in my teens when he was popular, and thought his two big-selling albums were great. When Dexy’s came along, it cheered me up to hear such a tribute.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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