4/8/16

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Mrs Blackhouse / Engine Room Boogie 7" (1977)



Not a good one, but the B-side is on the new box set so here it is in a decent quality sound version. All the Alex Harvey singles (with or without SAHB) here in the further days/weeks/months. Someone had the great idea to create a video with the famous Mrs Whitehouse about whom is the song (see below), so I add it at the end of the post.

This single was released in the middle of summer 1977, not linked with any album (SAHB Stories had been released 1 year before and Rock Drill would be issued more than 6 months later). The A-side was Alex's reaction to an old conservative cunt (I'm not sure of the signification but I think it's injurious) called Mary Whitehouse that Alex called here "Mrs Blackhouse". She was 67 at the time (and died in 2001) and was a specialist in anathemas against anything that her bigotery would find shocking, that means anything that a human can do with his body in fact except genuflexion in a church to pray (except if this raised an erection). She had brought some months before a private prosecution for blasphemous libel against the mag Gay News because they published a poem called "The Live That Dares Speak its Name" by James Falconer Kirkup (who died last may). The mag was convicted and given a nine-month suspended prison sentence. The poem is reproduced here for helping to understand the apparently obscure Alex lyrics. The song was not so good and produced no effect in the charts. Actually, summer of 77 was not a good time for such an acoustic protest song. It was the peak of the punk movement and everybody, included me, had our ears elsewhere. The worst of it, and I'll come back on this later on this blog, is that this rather weak song would be substituted to the moving and splendid "No Complaints Department" on the second pressing of the Rock Drill vinyl LP. Unfortunately, the B-side does not improve the situation since it is a rather insipid boogie just like you do before going to bed at the end of a recording session. But it has never been issued (to my knowledge) on any LP, either in vinyl or in CD, so I thought interesting to post it here, so that you'll have one more unreleased B-side in your SAHB single compilation. 



Below is a picture of Alex at the Reading festival in July 1977, a very hard time for him since he suffered a severe physical and psychic breakdown 9 months earlier and was only gathering himself. His apparition in Jesus (on "Framed") was not so well received and did not help to maintain the band in the spotlight. Too bad cause it was a great iconoclast idea that he surely did well.



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7 comments:

Pete said...

Great post dk, I so enjoy your history lessons on Alex's life. Although I knew of Alex in the 70's we in Canada never got a chance to see this Sensational band. For that I'm eternally p.o.'d

dk said...

I never got the chance to see him since he cancelled the concert in Paris due to the collapse I talk about in the post. Thnx for the nice comment

Portlandbill said...

Engine Room Boogie,yes rare enough indeed,was listed on the Rare Acetates Album and played live at either Knebworth or The Reading Fests or both I Cant quite recall 1974.Nice to hear the studio version....keep these coming if you have anymore and a big THANKS !!!!

dk said...

Yes, a bigger one soon with the rectification of a scandal about a SAHB album. Thx for the comment

Anonymous said...

Évidemment j'écoute tous ces inédits (pour moi) de Alex Harvey.....Mais que font les éditeurs ? Heureusement il reste les admirateurs de longue date pour faire leur boulot...

Thiad

portlandbill said...

waiting for the scandal,keeping checking in,the suspence is driving me mad....

dk said...

The scandal is about Rock Drill and if you know SAHB career, you can imagine what is it. I'll try to post the thing in some days now. Thx for the comment.