15
Sep 11

THE SHAMEN – “Ebeneezer Goode”

Popular92 comments • 5,862 views

#680, 19th September 1992

Has an album ever spawned a weirder set of singles than Boss Drum? You got hands-in-the-air club confectionery (“LSI”), moody tribalism (“Boss Drum”), a twenty-minute spoken word piece by Terence McKenna – honestly, “Re:Evolution” alone would make it a contender. And then there’s this career-defining novelty, a cheeky but woeful pun stretched to song length, inventing Dickensian rave (and possibly more) along the way.

If The Shamen were ever serious about hiding “Ebeneezer Goode”‘s subject matter, their best hope wasn’t their bare-faced denials, it’s that no supposed Ecstasy song has ever sounded beerier than this one. The huggy spaciness of “Pro Gen”, “Omega Amigo”, and several summers of love is swapped out for a rammed pub party vibe: listening to it is like elbowing your way through a raucous crowd, and the bolshy “Eezer Goode! Eezer Goode!” chorus is more Oi than E. Something’s always happening – a twist of synth, a catchphrase, some smeared Happy Mondays-style guitar. The success of “Ebeneezer Goode” is generally pinned on a wish to tweak authority’s nose, but whoever scheduled this bustling, silly record to come out just before Freshers’ Week was a marketing demon.

Does it stand up? I think it’s surprisingly strong. It’s idiotic, yes, but it knows it’s idiotic and it sustains its conceit well and if you accept that you’ll have a good time with Eeezer and with this strutting, invigorating record. Back then, it made a star of Mr C and his preposterous geezer-hop: now, every second record in the charts boasts exaggerated London rapping. C isn’t the world’s most technically skilled MC, but that just made him more ripe for impersonation, and even if you couldn’t handle the flow you could manage a “naughty, naughty” or a “ya ha ha ha haaaa”. The sticking point might have been in assuming this single had much or anything to do with rave. With its good-time booziness, its music hall callbacks, its exaggerated characters, its student appeal and its cockney vim “Ebeneezer Goode” is really a cousin of and weird precursor to Britpop.

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Comments

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  1. 76
    punctum on 15 Nov 2011 #

    BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY ORANGE ALERT ORANGE ALERT

  2. 77
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Nov 2011 #

    BUNNY…NOW APPROACHING!!…NOW APPROACHING!!!…George attempting to escape in one of OUR vehicles…ORANGE ALERT!!!…

  3. 78
    Erithian on 16 Nov 2011 #

    Tom, the class is getting restless and needs something to get stuck into! Wishing you joy and happiness, etc…

  4. 79
    punctum on 16 Nov 2011 #

    Is Popular dead, like world democracy?

  5. 80
    Mark G on 16 Nov 2011 #

    Well, it’s only been 26 days…

  6. 81
    Cumbrian on 16 Nov 2011 #

    Tom should trail his next entry with a Youtube video of him rapping/speaking, in a highly regional accent and over a rave influenced backing track, the names of previous #1 charting acts before it segues into a synth version of I Vow To Thee My Country (rather than Jerusalem) and the legend on screen “Popular Will Rise Again”.

  7. 82
    Rory on 16 Nov 2011 #

    No matter how long it is until the next entry, Popular, I will always lo*mmff, mfff*.

  8. 83
    Davyboyb on 17 Nov 2011 #

    New on here (last couple of weeks). What a fantastic blog, a real treasure trove.

    A bit of a hiatus is good as enables me to gradually catch up on all the posts of the last 6-odd years for earlier number ones.

    I’m up to the early/mid seventies glam-rock era now i.e onto Glitter/Sweet melodies (and other such sounds of the era).

  9. 84
    Erithian on 17 Nov 2011 #

    Welcome aboard Davyboy, it’s a marvellous moment when you realise just what a wealth of material there is on here! I joined in when Tom was midway through 1967 and it was exciting enough then when he’d only just got going. Please feel free to add your thoughts on any thread.

  10. 85
    punctum on 17 Nov 2011 #

    Don’t put the Shamen in the microwave thinking that they’re currants. They could explode, just saying like.

  11. 86
    Jimmy the Swede on 20 Nov 2011 #

    Apropos microwaves, you can use one to turn a duck into a soul singer. Simply place the duck inside, close the door, turn the dial and wait until its bill withers.

    Alright, I’m going..

  12. 87
    hectorthebat on 12 Mar 2012 #

    Of course, he’s now playing for Chelsea: http://www.chelseafc.com/page/AcademyProfiles/0,,10268~1333478,00.html

  13. 88
    DanH on 31 Jan 2013 #

    My first memory of this was seeing the video on Beavis and Butthead…it gave Beavis a seizure. Good times.

  14. 89
    mrdiscopop on 1 Nov 2014 #

    A lot of the credit here goes to The Beatmasters, whose remix / radio edit made the song the bubbling earworm we all remember. They give the song a propulsion the original lacked – and they performed similarly sterling work on the rest of the Boss Drum singles.

  15. 90
    Auntie Beryl on 2 Nov 2014 #

    “Re-Evolution” was an unpolishable turd, mind.

  16. 91
    Tom on 2 Nov 2014 #

    Are you telling me that history is NOT the shockwave of the eschaton?

  17. 92
    Auntie Beryl on 2 Nov 2014 #

    Now I’m not sure. Damn you, Angus and C.

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