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"Bitter, Fit Crack" is the 3rd studio album by British heavy metal band, the Macc Lads. It was released in 1987 on Hectic House Records and produced by Bald Eagle. The line-up for the album was Muttley McLadd (vocals/bass), The Beater (guitar) and Chorley the Hord (drums).
I guess I'd better start with the obligatory disclaimer. Please do not read on if you're easily offended, because being offensive is what the Macc Lads did in abundance, and there are many profane words used in the band's music as well as things that could be conceived as racism and sexism. They were lewd, rude and banned from playing just about everywhere in the UK at one point in time, which takes some doing, I'm sure you'll agree. This was the first album by the band to feature Chorley the Hord on drums, following Stez Styx's apparent imprisonment. So if you're still reading, and I hope you are, we'll move on to the review of the album.
The album begins with "Barrel's Round", a song dedicated to one of the band's roadies who doubled up as a security guard while the band was on-stage. What I loved the most about the Macc Lads was the unique way of starting and ending songs. The feedback would emulate a typical pub atmosphere with people shouting, laughing and drinking. The opening line of "Beer, beer, we want more beer" should clue you in as to what's in store. I like the way the band has written the lyrics here with a clever twist, especially in the line "you've got veins in your bodies, we've got Boddies in us veins", in reference to Boddington's bitter.
"Guess Me Weight" is a song about (without putting too fine a point on it) a man who wants to have sex with a desirable woman. Again, the lyrics here are very funny and I like the way they've been written to rhyme:
"I bet my mates I could get a date with a girl called Edna Gratton.
She walked in the place, said she liked my face, it were one she hadn't sat on."
Some might call it sexist, and yeah, it may be sexist to a degree, but I'm coming back to that comedy value again here. If everything offensive were banned, there would be nothing left to tell jokes about or, in this instance, write songs about.
"Uncle Nobby" caused a bit of controversy back then and would probably still do the same nowadays. It's a song about a pervert who doesn't care how he gets his kicks, ranging from flashing at men to taking pictures of youngsters. I'm not sure that the band would have recorded the song in this day and age, though, and I also believe it's a little inappropriate for discussion, so I'll leave it at that expect for that I think the guitar work is excellent and takes me away from the lyrical content.
"Maid of Ale" is the band's way of saying you can easily spot a woman from Macclesfield, even on a motorway. It's a song about a woman who was hitchhiking who thought she was posh but was really a lower class northern girl. The narrator ends up with her at the end because it turns out she owns a pub in London, hence the title. The song is set to a mid-fast tempo with a simple but yet pleasing guitar riff and Muttley's signature vocals are in the forefront.
"Dan's Big Log" is a sequel to an earlier song by the band, "Dan's Underpant", which is, for some reason, spelled without the plural. It's a track about a man who can't control himself and has an extreme form of incontinence. It's a song done without any power cords and is meant to represent the feeling of guilt and shame, but I think the real winner here is Muttley because he's actually putting thought into singing a song instead of the barking of tracks that we're accustomed to with the band and style of music they play. Having said that, you can imagine him broadly grinning during the guitar outro.
"Got to be Gordon's" is one of my favourite songs on the album for sheer comedy value alone. It's a song about a takeaway in Macclesfield that sells everything from curry to pies and the band's favourite, chips 'n' gravy. It has a pretty heavy guitar line on the chorus which makes it stand out a little from the rest. It's also about the differences in food between the north of England and the south, which Muttley seems to take to heart.
The title track is a play on words and could mean two things. Firstly it's intended to say that the woman in question is bitter but is very good looking, and it's also intended to mean that the narrator has a pint of bitter in one hand and a gorgeous woman in the other. I like the guitar riff on this one as it's simple but effective, and although the lyrics may not be tasteful they're still very clever. This is one of my favourite songs off the album.
"Julie the Schooly" is a song about a girl who will do anything to get off school, and likes to screw around with anyone and everyone. I don't get the impression from the song that she's underage and I do think the lyrics imply she was 16 but it's likely not a true story anyway. Having said that, it is the Macc Lads, and the band did like to push the boundaries, so it's anyone's guess as to what is really meant.
"Doctor, Doctor" is a song in which the narrator is addicted to sex, and doesn't care who, or in that Macc Lads derogatory way, what he does it with. Boilers, tarts, crumpet, skirt, and much more is named in the lyrics. The man ends up going to the doctor's because he has a problem 'downstairs'. The guitar riff is fun and bouncy and it's a song that usually went down well when the band played it live.
"Torremolinos" is a song about the lads going to Spain and the exploits they got up to on the holiday. To be honest, it's probably the weakest song on the album. The comedy in the lyrics isn't really there, the backing vocals are below par (not that the Beater and Chorley the Hord could sing anyway) and the guitar playing is straight forward strumming. I listen to this album now and then over the years and have always thought this track didn't really stand out.
"Al O'Peesha" is a song about a friend of the band who was originally a roadie and then became guitarist between 1991-95. Peter Bossley was the man behind the name and I found out recently that he died in 2005 aged 42. The only time I saw the band live was with Al on guitar, and while I've seen musicians live in the past who are no longer with us, this is one of the more recent ones. The lyrics for the song are in regards to Peter's baldness and the one-line chorus is very clever: "Al O'Peesha, Al O'Peesha, I think that Duncan Goodhew wants to meet you."
"Feed Your Face" is another of the band's songs that I can't really take a liking to. This time it's racism that's the key element, but as I have said before you can't take it too seriously because it's all done in bad taste for shock value, and I also have to state that I am married to a foreign national so please don't assume that I have to be racist because I like this band or this song. It's a song that mocks "Live Aid" in that the narrator is watching it while eating an enormous amount of food. The chorus is simple and to the point - I'll let you make up your own mind: "Feed your face. Don't give them a second thought." I read an interview many years ago with one of the band members (though I forget who), and he said that it's meant to highlight the fact that there are people in the UK that are worse off than some of those in Africa because they're homeless, penniless and destitute.
"Jingle Bells" is a parody of the popular Christmas record, done in that unique Macc Lads style. I think they might have tried to release it as a single once or twice but failed miserably. I like the guitar work on this song and there's a clever line that goes:
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, where's the mistletoe?
Macc Lads go out drinking and puking in the snow"
I'm not a big fan of Christmas songs, so this is right down my alley so to speak, as it makes fun of the season in the only way the band can.
In summary, love them or hate them, the Macc Lads were a very talented band. Sure, they were controversial to the point of being banned from town after town after town, but it was fun. Nobody took them seriously and if you did, that's where they fooled you. They fooled you because they wanted you to believe they were racist, sexist scum. Perhaps some people who turned up at their gigs were, but everyone's entitled to an opinion. In mine, I think this is a pretty good album with some very cleverly written lyrics.
1. Barrel's Round
2. Guess Me Weight
3. Uncle Nobby
4. Maid of Ale
5. Dan's Big Log
6. Got to be Gordon's
7. Bitter, Fit Crack
8. Julie the Schooly
9. Doctor, Doctor
11. Al O'Peesha
12. Feed Your Face
13. Jingle Bells
My rating: 8/10