Title - 'The Business - 1980-88' [5CD]
Artist - The Business
For those not in the know, The Business were an English oi! band formed in 1979 in Lewisham, South London.
The band lasted for four decades until their front man Micky Fitz died from cancer in December 2016.
The band was formed in 1979 by school friends Steven ('Steve') Kent (guitar), Michael Fitzsimons ('Micky Fitz') (vocals), Nicholas ('Nick') Cunningham (drums) and Martin Smith (bass).
They played their first gig in front of friends in February 1980, and after taking on Lol Pryor as manager, began performing more often. The band's first release was the song 'Out in the Cold' on the A Sudden Surge of Sound compilation album.
They played their first Oi! concert in 1981, supporting The 4-Skins, and they became closely associated with the Oi! scene from then on.
While the Oi! movement was labelled as far right and racist (despite the fact that several Oi! bands played at Rock Against Racism concerts), The Business took a stance against political extremism with their Oi Against Racism and Political Extremism ...But Still Against The System tour.
In November 1981, they released their debut single, 'Harry May', which spent over three months in the UK Indie Chart, reaching No. 13. The initial line-up split up in late 1981, with Kent, Cunningham, and Smith forming Q-Bow, but Fitz carried on with Pryor, recruiting Graham Ball on guitar, Mark Brennan and Steve Whale from The Blackout, and John Fisher on drums.
The new line-up made their live debut in January 1982, after which Ball and Fisher departed, leaving the band as a four-piece, with Kev Boyce of The Blackout on drums.
The new line-up recorded the Smash the Discos EP, which was a No. 3 indie hit, and after a short tour, they recorded their debut album, which was to be called Loud, Proud, and Punk. The master tapes for the album went missing after disagreements between the band's label and the studio, forcing them to re-record the album, which was released as Suburban Rebels in May 1983.
The album was remixed by their label, Secret, without them knowing, and Secret's financial difficulties limited promotion of the album. Frustrated by this, the band split up, with The Business members forming short-lived bands Chapter and Sabre Dance.
By 2006 Micky had rebuilt his band after overcoming his alcoholism, this year saw the band take on a 2-month tour of the US with the line-up Micky Fitz (singer), Robin Guy (drums), Daniel (guitar) and what would become long serving Trots (bass).
In September 2006 Micky recruited long time friend Tosh (of Section 5) to play guitar, shortly followed by Bundie on drums. The band took to the studio in Berlin and recorded three covers, this session featured Mitch Harris of Napalm Death guesting to record the title track 'Mean Girl', originally by one of Micky's favorite bands, Status Quo.
This was released by Bad Dog records as an EP, the B side being a live set recorded at the legendary Marquee Club in London from 1982.
Led by a reinvigorated Micky Fitz the band continued to tour incessantly and broke new ground as the first British Oi! band to play in Chile in 2008, they also visited Australia and New Zealand alongside extensive European and US tours.
As well as their touring they also returned to the studio and put out a split 7" with Control. The Mean Girl recordings and Marquee Tapes were combined with the split and a recording from Full Force Festival to make the US mini album Doing The Business.
The band performed what would be their final show in October 2015 in Badalona, Spain.
In April 2019, the band will reunite with original founding members Steve Whale, Steve Kent and Micky Fairbairn to perform at the Punk and Disorderly festival in Berlin.
Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys), Jeff Turner (Cockney Rejects) and Roi Pearce (The Last Resort) will appear as guest singers. This marks the first time The Business will perform without Micky Fitz.
And so, with all that wondrous history in the bag, Captain Oi! Records / Cherry Red Records (UK) have brought out this brilliant 96 track 5CD album clam shell box-set featuring all that Oi! legends The Business recorded between 1980-88.
Disc 1: The Original Business
1. 'Out in the Cold' (Demo)
2. 'Strangers' (Demo)
3. 'Unevenly Pretty' (Demo)
4. '19' (Demo)
5. 'Out in the Cold'
6. 'Streets Where You Live' (Demo)
7. 'No Emotions' (Demo)
8. 'Dayo' (Demo)
9. 'Richard Lewis' (Demo)
11. 'Suburban Rebels'
12. 'Harry May'
13. 'National Insurance Blacklist (Be a Rebel and You'll Always Be Wrong)'
14. 'Step Into Christmas'
This first disc in the sent features 14 tracks by the band’s original incarnation, including the Indie Chart hit single ‘Harry May’ and Oi! favorites, ‘Product’ and ‘Suburban Rebels’.
As you can tell from the intro, The Business were a band known for crackin' music, vibrant lives show, and internal band member combustion - all in equal measures!
Ergo, this first CD is worth its weight in gold as it showcases them guys at their early peak, knowing what they had was raw, but also knowing they had something to work with (and that they had a traveling gig support of fans that felt like an army back in 1980.
For me, it's the demo's that stand out, sure, especially the fantastic energy behind both 'Streets Where You Live' and 'Richard Lewis,' but the last song, the cover of the famous Elton John Xmas classic, 'Step Into Christmas' truly has to be heard to be believed!
Disc 2: Suburban Rebels
1. 'Get Out While You Can'
2. 'Blind Justice'
3. 'Work or Riot'
4. 'Employers Blacklist'
5. 'Nobody Listened'
6. 'Suburban Rebels'
7. 'Mortgage Mentality'
9. 'Real Enemy'
10. 'Another Rebel Dead'
11. 'Sabotage the Hunt'
12. 'Harry May'
13. 'Drinking and Driving'
14. 'Smash the Discos'
15. 'Disco Girls'
16. 'Day O (The Banana Boat Song)'
17. 'Loud Proud & Punk'
The second disc is the band’s debut album, Suburban Rebels, an acknowledged Oi! classic now bolstered by four bonus tracks including the Indie Chart No.3 hit ‘Smash The Discos’.
One of the best albums of its time / ilk, and showing the working class and rock 'n' roll roots that made the genre so appealing to punks and skins, this was definitely The Business at their musical finest.
Just when Sham 69 started to play lame pop songs, The Business came along and saved Oi! with this album, in my humble opinion. Furthermore, songs like the title track, 'Guttersnipe' and 'Real Enemy' are some of the best Oi! songs ever recorded.
Disc 3: Smash The Discos
2. 'Sabotage the Hunt'
3. 'Nobody Listened'
4. 'Tell Us the Truth'
5. 'National Insurance Blacklist (New Version)'
6. 'Blind Justice'
7. 'Work or Riot'
8. 'Last Train to Clapham Junction'
9. 'Suburban Rebels (New Version)'
10. 'Do They Owe Us a Living?'
12. 'Law and Order'
13. 'Smash the Discos (Remix)'
14. 'Drinking and Driving'
Loud Proud and Punk - Live
16. 'Blind Justice'
17. 'Get Out While You Can'
18. 'Loud Proud and Punk'
19. 'Nobody Listened'
20. 'Law and Order'
21. 'Last Train to Clapham Junction'
22. 'Sabotage the Hunt'
23. 'Real Enemy'
24. 'Disco Girls'
26. 'Smash the Discos'
27. 'Do They Owe Us a Living?'
28. 'Pretty Vacant'
29. 'Mortgage Mentality'
30. 'Suburban Rebels'
The third CD actually has two albums on it. The original “stolen” recordings meant as their first LP plus the In Concert “Loud Proud And Punk-Live” LP, which hit No.2 in the Indie Chart.
I mean, come on now, how can you not love just this one 30-track CD alone! Chock full of The Business doing what they do best - both in the studio and live at Loud Proud and Punk - once again, we find the guys living their dream and raising both their voices and guitars to the social system they once belonged to.
Disc 4: Saturdays Heroes
1. 'Spanish Jails'
2. 'All Out Tonight (New mix)'
3. 'Never Been Taken'
4. 'Shout It Out'
5. 'Harder life'
8. 'Foreign Girl'
9. 'Nothing Can Stop Us'
10. 'Saturdays Heroes'
11. 'Drinking And Driving (New Version)'
Bonus Tracks - “Get Out Of My House” 12” EP:
12. 'Hurry Up Baby'
13. 'Get Out of My House'
14. 'All Out Tonight (EP Version)"
16. 'Coventry (Oi! LP Version)'
The fourth CD features 1985’s Saturdays Heroes album which now has the addition of the rare “Get Out Of My House” 12” EP included.
To my mind, this album is just ok, and definitely not as good as either Suburban Rebels or Welcome to the Real World (the last CD in this box-set.
That said, it has their usual brand of "We want the truth ..." lyrics scattered throughout, combined with the standard street-punk/political stuff, of course (which worked for them, very much so back then).
The rare “Get Out Of My House” 12” EP, here as an inclusion, is a lovely touch and kinda makes up for the musical weaknesses found on the Saturdays Heroes album, in truth, sorry.
Disc 5: Welcome To The Real World
1. 'Mouth An' Trousers'
2. 'Do A Runner'
3. 'Ten Years''
4. 'We'll Take 'Em On'
5. 'Fear In Your Heart'
6. 'Welcome To The Real World'
7. 'Never Say Never'
8. 'Hand Ball'
9. 'Living In Daydreams'
10. 'Look At Him Now'
11. 'We Gotta Go'
12. 'Never Say Never (Reprise)'
14. 'No Emotions'
15. 'Tina Turner' (LP out-take)
16. 'Welcome To The Real World' (EP Version)
17. 'Get Yer Tits Out' (LP out-take)
18. 'Saturdays Heroes' (Live at The Main Event)
19. 'Harry May' (Live at The Main Event)
The fifth, and final CD is 1988’s aforementioned Welcome To The Real World album, which saw the band expand to a five piece with the return of original guitarist Steve Kent.
Inclusive of some really old stuff from their blackout days, Welcome To The Real World may well be their second best album (in my eyes), but still features some unevenly pretty tracks. Which, if you see what I did there, is one massively sly compliment to the guys, is it not!
The 20-page booklet contains detailed liner notes, lots of previously unseen pictures and clippings from the band’s archives plus scans of all relevant record sleeves.
5CD Box-Set Purchase Link
The Business @ Facebook!