25 December 2008

the housemartins - take jesus—take marx—take hope

The Housemartins - Caravan of Love

I told myself I wasn't going to post an entry for Christmas songs, but these aren't even Christmas songs! (Speaking of Christmas songs, the School have a great song up on their Myspace.) And plus, how could I almost forgot about everyone's FAVO(U)RITE Jesus-loving 80s British pop band: the Housemartins!!

The Housemartins formed in 1983 in Hull, England. After some line-up changes, the band put out a good number of popular singles with their new bassist, the future Fatboy Slim (REALLY). Lead singer Paul Heaton (also of the Beautiful South) wrote lyrics to reflect his, er, unique blend of Christianity and Marxism, followed through by SUPERB choreographed dance routines (check those out for the "Happy Hour" and "Sheep" videos and a little in the video posted above).

"Caravan of Love," a cover of an Isley Jasper Isley song, reached #1 on the Christmas charts of 1986. "Heaven Help Us All," composed by Ron Miller and most famously performed by Stevie Wonder, never saw any official Housemartins release but was recorded for a BBC Peel Session. This version is from the collection of rarities limited to 110 copies called Raise the Flag.

I think the Housemartins are totally cheesy, but also pretty great. Their songs are sappy but not overly Jesus-y. Instead they adopt a sense of optimism, hope and caring for the common man. What a lovely Christmas message.

The Housemartins - Heaven Help Us All
The Housemartins - Caravan of Love

1 comment:

Colour said...

I LOVE that you posted this!! The Housemartins I return to time and time again. <3 Actually on my recent LA - Mexico jaunt, one of my friends remarked that he'd heard more Housemartins over the few days of driving than he'd heard in the past five years (because I commandeered the car music, of course).

Also love that you posted the videos in which they did their naff 'choreography.' They make me laugh. Oh!

Norman Fatboy was SUCH a cutie back in the day. So was Paul Heaton. I dig how normal they all looked. Have you seen that video where they're playing football with a couple of young local kids? Dead cute. I think it's tacked on to some TV interview.