ALMOST THERE |  ISSUE SEVEN

No. 3:   The Monochrome Set, ‘Cast a Long Shadow’.

The soundtrack to a Spaghetti Western that does not exist.

Ride ’em, cowboy!

To my mind the Monochrome Set were one of the most original, most stylish and most eccentric groups to emerge from the British new wave of the late seventies. I could go on at length about their unique blend of quirky music and often macabre lyrics, the sardonic humour that underpinned much of their oeuvre, their magnificent live performances, but what’s the point? If you know the band you’ve already made up your own mind. If you don’t, you’re better off listening to their stuff yourselves. Theyre still going strong (albeit with a much revised line-up) but nostalgia dictates I recommend you start with something  from their heyday in the early eighties, particularly the first three albums.

 

Cast a Long Shadow was a non-album single released in 1982 on Cherry Red. Apparently the cover was banned in some countries (can’t think why!) but not, ironically, in the US. The song, a cautionary tale of love, betrayal and bloody revenge, starts off jauntily enough:

 

Well I woke up in the morning

With a stetson on my head,

Ride, ride ’em down!

Had a saddle for my pillow

And a prairie for my bed.

 

The tale’s dénouement  is revealed in the third and final verse. All I can say is this: it’s not exactly a happy ending...

But by the second verse a darker side becomes apparent:

Well I’m standing at the station

With a saddle in my hand,

Ride, ride ’em down!

Got a bull whip for my woman

And a bullet for my man.

Click on the Dansette to listen to

Cast a Long Shadow

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