Apr 04

BEGGAR AND CO. – “Somebody (Help Me Out)”

FT + New York London Paris Munich2 comments • 1,266 views

BEGGAR AND CO. – “Somebody (Help Me Out)” (aka PopNose6). I saw this song mentioned on Marcello’s blog and then it popped into my head again reading the 80s soul discussion on Woebot. A spin-off from Brit jazz-funk group Light Of The World, this was Beggar And Co’s biggest hit, in 1981. It’s interesting that Alex in the comments box identified it as chart-pop, or even indie: it was of course chart pop but it shows how blurred the lines were at that point in time. An encounter with Marcello in the pub last night sorted me out with some more background detail – the lads going “who-ho” on the backing vox are none other than members of Spandau Ballet!

Tim H. described it as “weak” – I find it pretty groovalicious myself in a sort of crudely bumping way but this is hardly my territory. I doubt this is what he meant by the word, but it is a ‘weak’ song psychologically, sung from the point of view of a pretty desperate loser – “it hurts deep inside / to know that you think of me / as a waste of time”. The almost-chanted vocals have a real lapel-grabbing, shouting-in-your-face feel, you want to tell the guy to cool it and back away slowly, and of course he knows you do, that’s why he’s cracking up. Oddly his slight and tewwibly Bwitish lisp adds to the vulnerability.

(The easiest place to find this is on Soul Jazz’ British Hustle compilation, by the way.)


  1. 1
    AndyPandy on 6 Nov 2008 #

    Unlike Light of the World (and the other spin off from that group Incognito) Beggar and Co were always looked on as a bit naff on the dance scene in those days. Despite (because of?) their Spandau Ballet connection. Most things from the pop/rock world was always looked on with suspicion. They were of course also “famous” for providing the horns on Spandau Ballet’s “Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)” their own follow up being the minor hit “Mule (Chant No 2)”. The soul/funk/jazz scene could be really elitist in those days – (I was a bit young to actually be part of it at this point but was already reading about it and listening to the sounds) but it was pretty unchanged a year or 2 later when I immersed myself in it.Most of the British stuff was looked down upon although some was just about acceptable (ie Atmosfear, Light of the World/Incognito, Morrisey Mullen, the first few Level 42 singles etc).

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 7 Nov 2008 #

    Didn’t someone compile a useful compilation of early 80s Britfunk about five years ago? I always really like this stuff when I pick it up in charity shops, etc, but don’t really know the history of it.

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