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New Age Steppers

August 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

I was dead chuffed yesterday when I stumbled across New Age Steppers on Spotify.

I used to have a 12″ single of theirs back in 1981. It got played a lot, but I never really knew anything about them. I just liked the single, which I only bought unheard because it was going cheap. My vinyl collection has long since gone, so it was a real treat to hear the two tracks I already knew, plus a few albums’ worth of other tracks.

Back in 1981 I knew very little about reggae, except that I liked a lot of what I heard. I certainly didn’t have much knowledge of the different types of reggae. I’m still no expert, but I do know a bit more now and can understand why the record appealed to me back then.

The track My Love was a bit of an obsession for a while back then. Listening to it now I can hear the clash of upbeat lovers rock and dub reggae, which shouldn’t work but somehow does. I’m still not sure who exactly was singing on it. I now know that Neneh Cherry was involved, but it could have been Ari Up or Viv Albertine, who were also part of the collective. Regardless of who is singing it is a marvellous and epic bit of British reggae

The B-side was Love Forever, which didn’t get played as much, and usually at the wrong speed because, for some reason, it was 33 1/3 rpm while the A-side was 45 rpm. It has the same lovers rock + dub vibe but is less upbeat.

Generally I have few regrets about getting rid of my vinyl, but this was one of them and now I know I can hear it whenever I want I am happier.

Come to think of it, most of the vinyl I regret letting go relates to singles and EPs. For example, the Girls At Our Best EP, the Kraftwerk Showroom Dummies 12″ single, the Genesis Spot the Pigeon EP, to name a few. The biggest single regret now is the 12″ EP of four Ian Dury & the Blockheads tracks remixed by Paul Hardcastle, which I don’t think made it to CD, and is not available to stream, although there are some uploads to YouTube.

Anyway, I have enjoyed wallowing in the nostalgia of it all, and played the New Age Steppers’ Action Battlefield album through the car stereo on my drive back from Guildford hospital today.

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