Friday, 11 September 2015

American music - The Rainmakers

By the mid-1980s there was very little coming out of American rock that brought me any pleasure. The Paisley Underground had run out of steam, and there seemed little joy to be found anywhere.

But the Rainmakers' one hit single, 'Let My People Go-Go' (1986) was fantastic: a witty conflation of Bible stories, rock 'n' roll mythology and sheer exuberance that I couldn't resist. I love the idea of Jesus reviving the Coasters' complaint: 'Why's everybody always picking on me?' And the singer wore a top hat, which is always A Good Thing.

Wikipedia claims that this is based on the old spiritual 'Go Down Moses', but that's just silly. The Rainmakers had none of the political dimension of that song at all. If anything, it's David Bowie's 'Starman' as filtered through the slang of Bob Dylan's 'Highway 61 Revisited'.

Sadly, the rest of the band's work, while okay, again reached the heights of this debut. But it's still one classic more than most ever achieve.

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