Live shows from long ago… Racey

Racey, Town Hall, Wellington, 17 March 1980

In one of his first live review assignments, GARY STEEL was surprised to find that novelty act Racey wasn’t as cack as he’d thought they’d be.

“More!” demands a lone, somewhat disparaging voice as the lights go down.

This is Racey at the Town Hall on Saturday night, playing host to a small audience (which barely fills three-quarters of the downstairs area) of teenage girls and their mums.

Sorry to disappoint those wishing a scornful, sarcastic critique though. My credibility rating has probably just flown out the proverbial window, but I enjoyed the Racey concert!

The hit singles (all three of them) were the low point. ‘Lay Your Love On Me’, ‘Some Girls’ and ‘Boy Oh Boy’ are irritatingly catchy in their repetitiveness. It seems somewhat insulting for grown men to preach such clean-cut but undeniably risqué paeans of love to gullible girls experiencing the first sexual stirrings of adolescence.

Except for the unnecessary hokum of ‘Hey Baby’ and their current unexceptional single, ‘Such A Night’, the rest of the material was highly surprising.

Most numbers were either B-sides from successful singles, or tracks from their album, Smash And Grab. ‘She’s A Winner’ and ‘I Believe In You’, for instance, were both superb pop songs, and ‘Fighting Chance’ and ‘Last Day’ (about prison) were altogether more serious, and quite heavy with it.

Richard Gower is the main man. A tiny guy, his huge voice and keyboard adeptness make up for his lack of physical stature. Gower could be vocalist in any current rock band if not for his unfortunate appearance.

Clive Wilson (drums), Philip Fursdon (guitar) and Peter Miller (bass) play with energy and assurance. They’re excellent musicians with a fine line in clever group harmonies.

Of course, Racey had fundamental faults. Rock music cannot and should not be defined as “just entertainment”, but nevertheless some of Racey’s more respected “serious” contemporaries could well take heed of their showmanship and professionalism.

 

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