Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
It's Great When You're Straight Yeah
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, Rock
Heavily steeped in the funk, ex-Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder comes off here like a Mancunian George Clinton as he babbles over top of a skilled, polyrhythmic unit that's far tighter than the slapdash Mondays. --Jeff... more »
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Heavily steeped in the funk, ex-Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder comes off here like a Mancunian George Clinton as he babbles over top of a skilled, polyrhythmic unit that's far tighter than the slapdash Mondays. --Jeff Bateman
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Mr. A. Pomeroy | Wiltshire, England | 12/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pretty much a Happy Mondays continuation, but less frantic. 'Straight' was a big hit in the UK, and is a surprisingly successful album, mixing bizarre stream-of-consciousness narration with indie beats, a bit like The Fall but happier. It came out at the heigh of britpop and helped soundtrack the summer of '95, with 'Reverend Black Grape', 'In the Name of the Father' and 'Kellys Heroes' getting masses of airplay on the briefly funkified Radio One. They're all fun singles - lots of beats and guitars and samples with Shaun Ryder over the top and Bez probably dancing somewhere in the studio - and the rest of the album is just as well-crafted. 'A big day in the north' is an atmospheric sort-of-ballad, 'Tramazi Party' is a shout-along terrace-anthem that never was, and it peters out towards the end but is still good fun.It shouldn't really work, but it does - Ryder can't sing in a conventional sense, he has a vocal range of one wobbly semitone, but his semi-rapping, semi-whining voice is amazingly soulful, and whilst dancer and hanger-on Bez doesn't even appear on the record his vibe seem to exude forth from the speakers. The production is deviously clever, putting the above into a professional framework, and it's basically the Happy Mondays, but more modern.Best of all, 'Kelly's Heroes' contains the all-time classic lyric 'Jesus was a black man, no, Jesus was Batman, no no no - that was Bruce Wayne!'. And a completely incomprehensible chorus."
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S. Nyland | Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains | 11/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was prompted to re-visit this glorious, life affirming album again for the first time in almost a decade and am quite frankly stunned at how well it has held up since 1995. The Happy Mondays were *MY* band long before the debut of 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE made them a bit more well known to Americans; I discovered them in about 1991 as a literal "alternative" to the grunge flavored indie rock scene of the time, came to worship Shaun Ryder's street edged urban poetry and the band's hypnotic, danceable grooves. And of course everybody loves Bez, with or without UK's "Celebrity Big Brother", Bez has totally ruled the planet since the day he started shaking his money for the group. I and exactly 18 other people in the US who ranked themselves as fans were devastated when the band split up after "Yes Please" slogged its way into the marketplace in 1993 to near universal indifference. We saw the brilliance of the album, the rest of the world saw the band collapse as egos, sour management deals and Ryder's notorious drug habits ripped the Mondays apart.
The reason why "It's Great When You're Straight" resonated so much within me when I first heard it is that it heralded the return of an even bigger & better Shaun Ryder, who had been left for dead by his band, his label, and the leeches who would inevitably glom right back onto him once he produced another hit. The album spawned a couple of VH1 ready singles with "In the Name of the Father" and "Reverend Black Grape" but more or less disappeared without a ripple into the morass of American punk/funk/pop rock, which never had much use for the Mondays and failed to understand what the point of it was, though it was a #1 in Britain and will stoke up any party blessed with a playing. If nothing else this album proved that the brilliance of Shaun Ryder depended not so much on the material but the circumstances under which he created his music, and essentially "It's Great ..." amounted to a big, well placed middle finger in the face of the world as he announced not only his return but that while most everyone else had written him off he was in fact nursing a monster of an LP all along.
Along with the two singles, standout tracks include the taunting "Kelly's Heroes", a wonderful anti-thug anthem in "Submarine", the apocalyptic "Lil' Bob" and my alltime favorite Black Grape track, "Shake It Well Before Opening" which never broke out as a single but still leaves one in awe, even with it's lyrics comprised of about the same 18 words over and over again. Ruthless Rapper Kermit sounds like he's having a ball as he rhymes & schemes along with Ryder as an equal voice, Wags' guitar was if anything even more right on the money as Monday's stringer Mark Day's ever was (and in fact has more of a root in hard rock, which would later rear it's head more prominently on Black Grape's misunderstood 1997 followup "Stupid Stupid Stupid"), and Bez keeps shaking his money for all it's worth, more or less unheard in the mix but oh-so important to the formula.
And like I said, it still totally rocks, proving more listenable than even Happy Mondays' brilliant 2007 reformation album "Unkle Dysfunktional", which is what prompted me to go back and give Ryder's back catalog a listen again ... I had to disassociate from his music during a clean up period of my own (music is always a vital enabler to any substance habit, no matter how seemingly benign) and have only now been ready to see if I could still get into the stuff without a rocket up my nose. It's with great delight that I can announce that the answer is a resounding YES!! and we'll rock right into middle age with Ryder & Co. on the iPod, maybe even grow old with them. If anything else Shaun Ryder is a survivor, a tough cookie who by all accounts should have succombed decades ago to the infamy that has surrounded him, and this album magnificently captures the spirit of why he never did.
Besides, any album which works a reference to Neil Armstrong hopping off to play golf after landing on the moon can't be all that bad, even if it was actually Alan Shepard who brought the six iron on Apollo 14. Just don't tell Ryder, the details aren't important, what matters is that he made the association with his own daring re-return to face the masses, and knocked them flat on their cans with a solid hole in one."
dodders | New York, NY USA | 07/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Its great...' is a stupendously good album that swaggers jauntily out of your stereo and infests your house with a sleazy, addled vibe. Like all things nasty, you know its not really good for you but you just can't help reaching for the volume control. Number eleven is the setting of choice.Its as if the Happy Mondays had never split up only the music is slicker and more precise and provides a marvellous backdrop for the wailing, pestering rhyming of Shaun Ryder's nonsense lyrics, undercut with a velvety delivery provided by Kermit. The album fuses heavy beats with a large dollop of funk, wailing guitars and throbbing baselines and, there is no other way of putting this, positively oozes out of your speakers.The closest reference point is Pills, Thrills & Bellyaches by the Happy Mondays but 'Its great...' takes the next step with a crafted and polished version of the Mondays mayhem that is all the more amazing for Ryder's long absence from any recording studio.Don't hesitate one second more - this one is worth your hard earned cash."