Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Makin' Time - "Rhythm and Soul" (Countdown, 1985)

For many years I hated the term “mod revival”. It was too generic and too confusing. I mean, as ‘Mod Revivalists’ reported bands with so much different sound such as The Jam, The Style Council, Secret Affair, The Chords, The Prisoners or Makin’ Time. In a way the term was right, due to the fact that all these cats were stylistically serious mods. But the Jam for example were actually a punkier effort of the Kinks, Style Council a blue eyed soul duo with an eye lookin'to artists like Dusty Springfield (btw GODDESS!)or the Prisoners who owed their sound more to the many garage punk misfits of the other side of the Atlantic than their local heroes like the Action or the Creation… Hope you get what I’m trying to say here.I dig all of them but I was always a Stiff Records guy. And the Countdown label was funded by Stiff. With permuted attributes on this, Countdown records inherited with Stiff’s brilliant taste! Best examples two of my fave bands of the 80s, the Prisoners and Makin’ Time!Makin’ Time was the opposite of Prisoners. No filthy at all (I know this sounds like a handicap but wait a sec) but full of SOUL, both metaphorically and in reality. I read many times about them that on stage were RED HOT. I think they were red hot on studio, so this description must be poor for their gigs… If anyone of you people had the luck to catch them in their heyday, please comment.“Rhythm & Soul” was exactly what the title said. They sure were fanatics of the Northern Soul ‘scene’ and they sure assimilated those sounds the right way. No mere copyists here. They were good students also of their homeland’s great pop 60s tradition (Brian Auger must be a huge icon for them) with a little powder of psychedelia (the Arthur Lee / Love way). Add to all these the tailor made voice of Fay for these songs and her enormous organ sound (I’m no expert but I’m quite sure this gal played a Vox continental instead of a Hammond…), and you’ll have probably the more authentic rhythm & soul group of the sixties in the midst of the 80s.PS: Bass player Martin Blunt went to fame with The Charlatans. From the entire so called ‘Madchester’ scene the Charlatans were the ones that lasted more, putting out from great records to decent but without second thoughts, Makin’ Time were a better outfit.PS2: The great Ace/Big Beat label got out a FANTASTIC compilation of the band, with all of their Countdown recordings plus their second and for years disappeared long play, “No Lamps of Fat or Gristle Guaranteed”. You really need them! Check them here.

Rhythm and Soul!


  1. Thanks for this one - I'd been curious about it so was happy to see it posted. Thanks also for ALL the other great bits and pieces.

  2. Got to see a helluva lot of Makin' Time as Blunty only used live around the corner from me in Portobello. The Long Acres on Dilloways Lane was our local, which happened to be Makin' Time's home pub, if ever they had one. For two summers Higgsy and I (we were 14 and 15 at the time but with buffonts, eyeliner, cravats and macs on, we tended to get in everywhere) would wait for them to return, we caught the at The Sandwell in West Brom, once (now The Goose).
    My claim to fame is that Blunty touched my bollocks when they came off for a break once at The Acres, purely by accident, but hey-ho.
    They were great gigs, ably supported by Aggy on the decks.
    Ever-presents were Neil from Stafford, Danny Gleison and my cousin, Rachel Evans, who later went on to get wed, and a whole load of scooter boys who far outnumbered the soul scene in Bilston than us Mods - apart from the odd fracas, we got on well enough, to be sure.
    The track that always sticks out in my mind from those gigs is Only Time Will Tell - at the 'bar-ba-dap-ard-ar, bar-ba-dapar-dar' bit, will all used to bend forward at the hips, arms outstretched like the dancers of 'Shake your tailfeather' in The Blues Brothers - ace.
    When Makin Time passed and the Gift Horses sprung up and The Charlatans arrived (who used to write their songs in The Royal Oak in Portobello - I served them several times in my days in later years as a bartender there), it pretty much signalled the end of The Mod Revival in Bilston until more recent times.
    But you're right - Makin' Time were instrumental in prolonging it through the mid-80s and those nights at The Acres during our formative years will stick with me forever - I sound like Stephen King reminiscing about his childhood in Castle Rock, innit? - The balmy nights, the brilliant friends but most of all, having one of the most soulful bands of the revolution on our doorstep - there is a God, after all.

    1. Many thanks Jerald! Way cool info bout one of the way coolest bands of their era!