Bible Of BadnessI have dealt with Levi Stubbs before and was contemplating skipping this particular book of the Bible. There was also the possibility of exploring the link between jeans and popular music in the 1980’s, a point where Music clearly was Pants. From Nick Kamen through Reet Petite it was clear that the only reason people were buying these records was because they quite liked the eye candy in the ads. SO DON’T BUY THE RECORDS THEN. BUY A VIDEO OF THE ADVERT. But in the end I realised as the third book of the Pentateuch it really is quite an important book (and full of the nuttiest bits of the Bible such as Israel should be in the Eurovision Song Contest). And I also realised that I had never quite finished a previous ongoing series of mine: WEEDY EIGHTIES WHITE PEOPLE SINGING ABOUT SOUL STARS.

Previously in Weedy White People Singing About Soul Stars we had:

1: ABC – When Smokie Sings

2: Spandau Ballet – True

3: China Crisis – Black Man Ray

4: Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears

Rivalled only by The Tindersticks “My Sister” as the most depressing lyrics ever, it is clear that the tears being shed by Levi Stubbs is not for the poor heroine of this dismal song. How can it be, she listens to the Four Tops to cheer herself up (in itself a marker for how depressing her life is). Equally though it is not the tears of emotion that Levi Stubbs notoriously shed during performance because he could actually emote whilst singing. A couple of drops of onion juice will set anyone bawling, so its barely a trick worth noting. No, the tears are simple.

He had been name checked in a Billy Bragg song.

If there was ever an opposite to a Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame entry, it would be to be name-checked by the so called Basildon Bard (so called in some idea that you could put him in a Basildon Bond envelope and post him to a different country where his glottal stops would earn him the death sentence). Consider the company in which Levi Stubbs found himself. Not just his hateful song writers Whitfield and Strong, not just Holland Dozy and Holland but more correctly with Maggie Thatcher who rocked up in Bragg songs with alarming regularity. No Levi was crying because every time Bragg said his name it sounded like he was trying to warn ships away from the rocks in the Thames Estuary. And just by invoking the Four Tops does not mean that you have any inch of soul in your tune, lyrics or delivery.