Pigbag – Dr Heckle and Mr Jive (2000) Camdem


For some strange reason I thought this was out of print. I suppose that impression may have come from the fact that The Pop Group’s Y was only re-released last year and seeing this was a band that members of Pop Group later joined so it sort of made sense that this would have been out of print as well. Well thanks to those nice people at Camdem this expanded version of Pigbag’s first album is readily available. It has four bonus tracks including Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag and Sunny Day, two early singles that never made their first full length (how very New Order of them).

Originally this record was released in 1982 on Y records and PigBag was one of the bands who along with The Pop Group infused post-punk with jazz, funk and ethno-beats.  Pigbag are more overtly funky than The Pop Group and miles away from most of the boring dross that made post-punk barely bearable. In fact Pigbag may have been post-punks greatest success considering Papa  … reached number 3 on the British Charts. I’m a sucker for this sound (think ESG, A Certain Ration and The Pop Group)  yet there are some really quite strange tracks on Dr Heckle. The fourth track Brian the Snail,  is ambient free jazz and supports the story in the liner notes about Pigbag moving away from the sound of the first big single to a more experimental place. In fact so incensed were PigBag that no one was taking their new direction seriously that they deleted Papa … for a while. It obviously didn’t work. The album didn’t sell well and Papa … has stood the test  of time as a Eurpoean techno sample and chant for football hooligans everywhere.


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