A visit to another dusty corner of my collection today for Cherry Bombz Coming Down Slow, recorded at the Marquee in 1986 and released in 1987. They were never big news but Cherry Bombz piqued my interest at the time because of their Hanoi Rocks connection, Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicide were present and the fact that their singer Anita Chellamah was a hot chick with a fondness for full-on gypsy bolero-type dresses (I think)*. Revisiting it now I recognize that the band was rounded out by Dave Tregunna on bass, of Sham 69 and Lords of The New Church fame and original Clash drummer Terry Chimes; not that I was cool enough at the time for these names to have meant anything to me. That’s a band with a lot of sleazy punky pedigree right there.
Coming Down Slow is not a bad record at all, in fact frequently it’s pretty good but to these ears just lacks that little bit of stardust that would elevate it, especially in the song writing stakes. The music is a strutting Aerosmith-informed, ever-so-slightly punky rock and roll, sometimes played faster sometimes played a bit slower and that’s that. The musicianship is really tight throughout and given that this live release credits ‘sound post production by Alan Scott’ I do wonder just how much it has been tinkered with, not that ultimately it matters at all; live LPs are never just taken straight from the soundboard anyway. Anita’s voice is a powerful one, there are some serious lungs in action here in during the likes of ‘Pin Up Boy’ and ‘Life’s Been So Hard’ but best of all is ‘Coming Down Slow’, by some distance the best track here where she gets to tease and coo as well as bawl.
As I said my main gripes are a bit of a lack of variation in the song writing and an overall feel as sameness throughout. The band hit the four covers at the end of the record with real gusto, a little livelier than their own material if truth be told and the version of The Hurricanes’ ‘Ain’t What You Do’ is particularly good. So it’s not a bad LP at all, ultimately though I suspect it’s mostly of interest as a historical document to the Hanoi obsessed**.
Looking Anita Chellamah up this morning was interesting though, her surname isn’t mentioned on the LP at all (apart from in the small print for song writing) and I wondered why. It turns out that she was in fact one of the dancers from Legs & Co, damn straight!^ I like the way there was no obvious attempt to trade on this and the fact that Chellamah is still out there gigging as a singer-songwriter now.
*the 1537 fashion blog is still a bit of a way off.
**were they really good? I’ve never really got any and I have wondered if they were worth a punt.
^a cultural note here for those not born in these isles, or indeed youngsters who were. The big British Music show was called Top Of The Pops, which lasted from 1964 until singles died in 2006. The show usually featured bands miming along to their latest hit, but in the 70s they started to hire increasingly leggy troupes of dancers starting with the legendary Pan’s People who were viewed as sexual dynamite by several generations of British dads. Legs & Co were their 80’s successors.