This wasn’t the LP I was going to listen to today, but after spending 5 hours in the freezing cold watching my daughter play a hockey tournament I wanted something to warm me up tonight.  Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom …And You? is a two-fisted, punk/metal brawler from 1990 which never disappoints me, or lets me down – with a 10 songs / 25 minutes ratio, it was always going to be something I loved*.

Now I understand The Dictators historical significance and I have always found Handsome Dick Manitoba an entertaining character, but I’ve never thought much of their LPs, I do confess to liking Manowar, particularly in a musicianshippily (possibly a new word) way and so the idea of Ross The Boss featuring on this one, with Mr Manitoba was a winner for me.  Chuck in the song titles: Haircut and an Attitude, The Party Starts Now!!, Speedball and Had it Coming, good clean, punchy production and gang shout vocal choruses and you have an absolute sure-fire winner.  I mean, come on, the LPs opening couplet is:

Stop that whining ‘coz you’ve had a bad day

If you lost some weight you might get laid

             and the beauty is that this really is as deep as it gets throughout.   We get some lyrics about how shitty, but great New York is (New York, New York), drugs ruining your life (Had it Coming), how great drugs / alcohol are (Speedball / DWI), love, lust and sundry other teenage concerns.  At it’s best (The Party Starts Now!!, The Perfect High, Speedball) it just rockets past, leaving you in the slipstream to either follow, or spin-off the track and let’s face it, if you’re not so keen on a certain song, by the time you’ve processed those thoughts you’re onto the next one anyway.  My favourite listening to this again just now was ‘Haircut and an Attitude’ which incorporates both irreverence from the Beatles and wholesale theft of the riff from AC/DC’s ‘What Do You Do For Money Honey?’.

As with most things involving Handsome Dick Manitoba, I could have done without the usual liberal-baiting that goes on – here it’s using a Nazi recruitment poster as your LP cover, yes I know that his real name is Richard Blum, but in the final analysis that doesn’t make it any more acceptable really does it? still, let’s just ignore this and just celebrate a really good LP, nothing deep, nothing meaningful, just a blast.

There’s nothing else to write, just time to spin it once more before bedtime.


104 Down.

*I do love short LPs, and I do think the invention of the CD has a lot to answer for even beyond mere aesthetics, musicians don’t need extra space and time, they need limits and barriers to force the best out of them and to ensure that only the strongest ideas survive.   When I’m king, no LP will be allowed to be longer than 40 minutes without royal assent, with the exception of a select coterie of certain artists who will be allowed a life time exemption from this decree.

18 thoughts on “Speedball

  1. As much as I love the shiny discs that you despise, I do agree with this statement:

    “I do love short LPs, and I do think the invention of the CD has a lot to answer for even beyond mere aesthetics, musicians don’t need extra space and time, they need limits and barriers to force the best out of them and to ensure that only the strongest ideas survive.”

    Hello, Soundgarden’s Down on the Upside album!

      1. Thanks Mike that’s very kind of you. Along with thinking up the titles and pretending I’m omnipotent, that’s the bit I like best.

      2. Believe me if I had expendable cash I would have hired you long ago to do my titles and pictures! (Although Sarca does a mean picture, too.) I’d also hire Geoff to do all my music graphs, of course.

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  3. Never heard this band! I also love Manowar and I’ve got a couple of Dictators albums that are awesome too so this sounds right up my street. I’ll definitely check this out. And I totally agree on album length! I always feel relieved when I buy a new CD and it’s under 45 mins. And if it’s too short you can always just play it twice. Quality not quantity!

  4. Handsome Dick Manitoba (northern cousin of Hannah Montana?) triggers my anti-corporate leftie sentiment. He seems like a brand, soon to be distributed by Unilever to fine stores everywhere. Now I feel like fightin’ the power, except … drat … Flavor Flav, another brand! Still, yes, you gotta’ love those quick hitting songs, like NYC non-arty version of Pink Flag era Wire (my favorite ’77 UK punk band) in that sense.

    1. Absolutely, still if I only bought music by people I’d actually like in real life, I’m guessing this blog might be called ’12’ or ’18’ and I’d be looking for something else to do with my free time! I don’t own any Wire – don’t hurt me!

      1. Absolutely true. I just can’t cross the border into Manitoba musically (geographically, too, it’s a bit far). On most everything else, I’m just a hypocrite!

        Don’t fear the my Wire fandom. I liked the Thompson Twins and Yazz, too. That’s less scary … or just differently scary.

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