‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ by Black Grape (Album – Deluxe Edition)
To celebrate its 21st anniversary is a deluxe edition of this classic 90s album and it’s as enjoyable as ever
Shaun Ryder’s band after Happy Mondays, Black Grape injected a chaotic sense of abandon into the mid-90s Britpop scene. A funkier antidote to much of Britpop, they’re perhaps as much remembered for turning the airwaves blue on TFI Friday as they are for their music. This deluxe re-release of their 1995 debut is a welcome reminder that they also had some delightful tunes up their sleeves. The package contains the original album, a disc of remixes and live recordings and a DVD of music videos and TV appearances.
The album itself remains a boisterous affair. Ryder, alongside his bandmates Kermit, Psycho and Wags, clearly enjoyed himself. There’s a palpable sense of fun on tracks such as Reverend Black Grape, In The Name Of the Father, Kelly’s Heroes and Shake Well Before Opening. It’s a record brimming with energy, wit and rousing choruses, at the centre of which is Ryder’s genuine gift as a wordsmith.
The second disc feels slightly less essential, the remixes in particular, but no less enjoyable. It’s obvious how mischievous and ramshackle their live shows were, and Ryder seems to be doing his best not to swap all his lyrics for expletives throughout. Favourites such as England’s Irie, Fat Neck and their cover of The Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant are welcome additions and round off the nostalgic experience.
Never taking themselves too seriously, Black Grape were the perfect party band and their debut is still as enjoyable today as it was 20 years ago.
Verdict: Boisterous fun