New Zounds music video, Dancing 2020, review


This 14 November 2020 music video is called ZOUNDS “DANCING 2020” – “This is an anti-fascist song”.

The original version of this song Dancing came out in 1982 on Rough Trade records.

This video is how it sounded in 1982.

The band Zounds had started in 1977.

Today, Steve Lake from Zounds in England, author of the song, wrote to me:

We recently made a lockdown video of our song Dancing.

Quite a lot of people play on it.

You might recognise Mark from the Mob [see here, page 9] and Mark from the Astronauts, also Joe from the Cravats.

If you listen please play very loud.

Best wishes to you all.

Steve

Thanks, Steve!

The lyrics are:

It’s nineteen thirty-three
But she just wanna go
Dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing

She walks the street by day
There’s people all around
But she don’t worry ’bout that
Cause she was gone downtown
She’s going dancing, dancing
Making the noise
And dancing, dancing
Girls and the boys
Dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing

Sweet mother Germany
Come to the cabaret
Don’t worry about history, history, history
Dancing, dancing
Girls and the boys
Dancing, dancing
Making the noise
And dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing

It’s nineteen thirty-eight
Sweet mother Germany
It seems so far away
And she will never be, never be, never be
Dancing, dancing
The girls and the boys
Dancing, dancing
Making the noise
And dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing, dancing,
Never again, never again,
Never again, never again,
Never never never again
Never never never again
Never never never again
Never never never again
Never never never again
Never

After all these years, the lyrics, comparing the start of Hitler’s Germany in 1933 to the Kristallnacht and other horrors of 1938, still stand.

It is a technical feat to record such a music video with so many musicians while not endangering safety in the coronavirus pandemic, which is getting worse and worse in England and many other countries.

Now, the music. When Zounds toured the Netherlands (see page 4ff.), Belgium and Berlin, with Dutch punk band Cheap ‘n’Nasty in 1980, they were a three-piece punk band.

The line-up for this 2020 video are many people more:

Steve Lake – lead vocals / guitar
Paul O’Donnell – bass / backing vocals / claps
Paul Gilbert – drums / backing vocals
Dominic Perez-Silva – guitar / backing vocals
Tim Hutton – trumpet

Joe Davin – keyboards / backing vocals
Bethan Prosser – violin
Mark “Mob” Wilson – backing vocals
Mark “Astronaut “Wilkins – backing vocals
Mia “Antler Family” Dean – backing vocals
Annette Dada – backing vocals
Farivar Gorjian – claps

Mia Dean does lead vocals and guitar in her Antler Family band. She is from California, USA. Again, a technical feat to include her from so far away.

So, twelve people. The minimum size of a big band.

When the Beatles were in the Netherlands in 1964, Dutch TV asked them: Will you become a big band? No, the Beatles said, we don’t want that. They were aware a big band would not be ‘Mersey Beat’ any longer. Less is often more.

I am afraid that I have to say that with this ‘big band’ Zounds, Dancing does not sound like much of a punk melody any more.

Before playing the song, I was very happy to read about the line-up: Bethan Prosser – violin. It brought back very fond memories of Vicky Aspinall of the Raincoats (page 8). However, unfortunately, the sound of the eleven others basically drowns Bethan’s violin.

I think you can basically do four things with a violin. Play classical music: OK, that’s classical music. Or folk music: OK, that is folk. In punk, you can do two things with violins: either you have the very much on the foreground great scratchy sound of Vicky in the Raincoats (Mark Perry did not like the Raincoats’ violin sound (page 17). But Mark Perry is not always right, only sometimes). Or you have lots of violins, like Sid Vicious did in his immortal parody of the musical establishment in My Way.

With those critical comments, I do not mean at all to undermine the very necessary political warning in the video. The video correctly points out the danger to democratic rights in the USA, and worldwide, which Donald Trump and his military grade gun toting and nazi saluting supporters represent.

I might have added that, even if Joe Biden will become president as he won the election, there are still dangers to the environment, to peace and to democratic rights if Biden will listen more to the corporate-Hillary Clinton right wing of the Democratic party than to Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

But you cannot put everything in a five-minute video.