I bought this album over 20 years ago, and still play it virtually every week. Indeed I have worn out the LP and purchased a CD version a few years back. Easterhouse were rather dour Mancunians, dominated by the Perry brothers, vocalist Andy and guitarist Ivor.
Over the years I have more than grown out of the Leninist politics of "Get Back To Russia" but the album still stands to me as one of the best political albums of all time. Few records about Ireland can match "1969" (except perhaps "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello") although the track "Inspiration" about the 1981 hunger strikes actually comes pretty close.
It is tempting nowadays, when the country dances to the tune of new Labour, to get in some way misty-eyed about the old Labour party, and to imagine they were something that they were not. Easterhouse wrote the following in 1986:
"Where is the man who is speaking up for me?
Community leaders want more black shop keepers.
The unions a say in the jobs thrown away.
And I'm told that my home's in a nuclear free zone.
But that ain't much help when there's bills to be paid.
'Police accountability': 'Non-nuclear defence strategy'.
This foolish ideology has made our fight a mockery!
As a critique of what the left had become, the track "Out On Your Own" was simply years ahead of its time. The stand out track on "Contenders" however was "Lenin In Zurich" a tale of commitment and adversity over a wall of sound that hits you in the pit of your stomach, and carries on hitting you. Great music, you can almost forgive them the Leninism!
Easterhouse were good, very good in fact.
For more on them try