Saturday, December 19, 2009

after the box, a wobble in space

john wardle, 1981. unemployed and still drowning in pussy.

Disenchanted with the business model for Public Image Ltd., and itching to dub deeper, John Wardle stepped out alone to record a solo 45 followed by an entire LP, "The Legend Lives On: Jah Wobble In Betrayal"; an exercise in the perils of one man's ambition to operate as sole trader.

Promptly accused by John Lydon of 'thieving' corporate material from the "Metal Box" sessions, Wardle was essentially goaded into quitting PIL of his own accord in 1980, leaving Lyd
on and Levene in a partnership which might have floundered but for the creative focus evident on their co-opted sequel, "Flowers of Romance".

If one employs an objective ear, it would be unfair to dismiss Lydon's claims as wholly unwarranted or pernicious. On both the title track and the infectious "Tales From Outer Space" - two of this outing's strongest tracks - everything from the choppy rhythm to the wavering vocal smacks of "Metal Box" era PIL. Having fought his corner in a protracted legal wrangle with Malcolm McLaren over royalties due from his 'leading role' as Sex Pistol, it must have appeared to Lydon as tantamount to staking yet another individual claim for creative ownership.

Equally, it can be argued that it was precisely as a consequence of uninhibited cross-pollination that Wardle functioned so successfully as cornerstone in the PIL wall of sound; his innate ability to harness raw Dub sensibility - abetted by Lydon and Levene as the antidote to all things Rotten - and transplant it still beating into an all but mummified rock 'n' roll carcass.

In hindsight, given Wobble's farther forays in eclectic collabora
tion with all manner of musicians, it seems inevitable that he would eventually have opted to resist containment. With or without the attendant pension and blue chip shares.
Composed, arranged and performed by Jah Wobble.
Produced by Jah Wobble.

JAH WOBBLE: TALES FROM OUTER SPACE from "The Legend Lives On: Jah Wobble In Betrayal" LP (virgin) 1980 (UK)


@eloh said...
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@eloh said...
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@eloh said...

I have only deleted once before... but my error was intolerable, I made another comment to correct...what a mess.

Life is funny, while this track wasn't one I listened to more than once... your commentary was worth a million.

Sometimes it's the small things that show us how our brains run the same twisted path.

While in public/around people, I can generally come off as well raised, which I was. But at home sometimes I just don't make the best choices... case in point...
a few years ago my young innocent teen daughter was sitting quietly holding her huge Maine Coone cat.

For some reason... I turned around and said... Oh for God's sake girl, put your legs together, I can see your entire pussy from way over here.

It lives in infamy ..still.
We are all into the pussy jokes since that day. Mine is old and damaged and lives under the porch, it rarely gets touched due to it's cantankerous nature... her's is huge and gray, odd for one so young, and on and on it goes...

I finally got caught up with your music... saving it for last sometimes reaches up and bites me, but then it is a pleasant way to spend a couple hours... I'm to old to change.

Again, sorry for the big mess in your comment box.

ib said...

Don't worry about the mess, @eloh.

The pussy caption was something of an afterthought, but it strikes me that this whole post might have better been condensed into that one line.

Ha! I admire your quips.

In a similar line of familial humour, though entirely unintentional, and with the accent on the canine:

When I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, my mother had been engaging my older female cousin and her friend in catching up on family business. I arrived to find her discussing our pet dog at some length, the details of which were rather boring.

About half an hour passed and the conversation took a wholly different turn. My cousin was quizzing me about what I had been up to since she'd last seen me.

My mother looked up suddenly from her mug of coffee.

"Jesus. I walked into ib's room and he was lying on the bed licking his balls."

The room went deathly quiet.

"That damn dog!" she said.

MikeB in NYC said...

when still with John and the group Jah appeared on the "American Bandstand" tv program - hope this link works for you...

ib said...

Thanks for that, Mike B!

Footage I have not seen previously. It is quite scary viewing at a distance how even then the 80's was beginning to impinge on PIL.

I had a jacket not unlike Lydon's once upon a time. A girlfriend at the time kindly remarked that I looked not unlike an ice cream vendor.