1991 was the year Hubble Telescope launched, Big Arnie’s Terminator 2 arrived at cinemas and a bevy of exciting indie bands launched themselves into CD players, tape decks, record players and radio stations of music lovers all over the globe. I was 16 in this year and am guilty as charged being fully caught up in the music of this time which is now extensively featured on a lavish new 3 CD box set released by Cherry Red Records January 2022 entitled C91, this latest showstopper follows on from the overly successful releases focusing on previous years; C86, C87, C88, C9 and C90.
In my home town of Nottingham precisely at the dawn of this new era some of the bands featured here I got to see in a live setting. Sultans Of Ping F.C. with Arthur Brown like lead singer Niall O’Flaherty whose slurred vocal chords worked well with their anthem Where’s My Jumper, giving excuses to masses of pogo’ers to have a field day. Liverpudlian band The Stairs never failed to sound and look as authentically retro cool, especially on their widely lauded 60’s sounding hit Weed Bus. The Charlatans Over Rising features their original guitarist Jon Baker at his best, loud and brutal wah wah guitar complete with searing organ swirls from their Hammond organ dynamo Rob Collins, this is The Charlatans at their very best.
I got to see Manic Street Preachers in 1991 at Trent Poly. The Polytechnic back then had 2 areas where bands played, main hall which was down some stairs holding maybe about 700 capacity and the upstairs where there was a smallish area which held maybe 200 maximum. It was in the upstairs bit where the Manics played (for free), I saw Nicky Wire and Richey Edwards wandering around the venue pre gig in their white Dunlop trainers, white Levi’s jeans and faux leopard skin jackets looking decidedly sheepish, but that was all forgotten when they leaped on stage, looking like The Clash tribute act but playing their own material, their track Stay Beautiful as featured might not be as anthemic as some of their other tracks from the same period but all the same is a class composition.
Other memorable tracks include; criminally underrated The High with their emotional Rickenbacker showstopper Up & Down; Flowered Up B side I’ll Be Your Dog displays the band at their mad capped best with on stage dancer Barry Mooncult taking over lead vocals with some added barking and woofing; Scotland’s The Wendys, who were signed to Manchester’s famed Factory Records, stand out single Pulling My Finger Off gets a well-deserved pole position placing; another sadly under applauded band World Of Twist with their pop-tastic single Sweets; Northside’s chart busting indie groove Take 5; finally, controversial Fabulous have one of their rare songs There’s A Riot Going On included, their material has been as rare as hens teeth considering the band were barred from every venue they played.
Many more bands, those that you may have heard of (Slowdive, Moose, Kingmaker, Paris Angels, Lush) and those that you may not have heard of (Sun Dial, Stan, Smashing Orange, Horse Latitudes, Mexico 70) get a welcome inclusion, the set as a whole is a superb snapshot of a year that passed by all too long ago, yet the music that was created hasn’t faded in quality.
C91 can be pre-ordered via the following link