Sprout Head Uprising: Throw Some Water In / Nothing to Sing (Part II)

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Format: 7″

Label: Stiff (BUY121)

Country: UK

Year: 1981

Price paid: $2

Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY

 

Service your engine if you want it to function

Check your oil and clean your radiator

What can I possibly say about Sprout Head Uprising that hasn’t been expounded upon numerous times by greater minds than mine since the band first broke on the scene like a sonic typhoon way back in 1981? Much like the Beatles before and Nirvana after, rarely has a band had such a deep and lasting impact on the face of music.

But I kid.

‘Throw Some Water In’ is a cover of a song originally performed by reggae/dub artist Lee “Scratch” Perry. It wasn’t a hit for Mr. Perry and equally not a hit for Sprout Head Uprising.

Little is known today of Sprout Head Uprising. Based on Stiff’s fondness for signing rather obscure short-lived acts I’m wagering little was known of Sprout Head Uprising when this single was released.

What is known: Sprout Head Uprising put out this lone single on July 10, 1981. In 1982 they released their first LP ‘Early Spring’ on the small Manchester label Rock Steady Records. After what could have only felt like an eternity for hardcore Sprout Head Uprising fans a second album ‘White Band Speak With Forked Tongue’ (a collaboration with the band Suns of Arqua) was released in 1989 in cassette-only format on the (not too shockingly named) Bop Cassettes label. In 1991 a third album sprung forth, ‘Lone Star & The Sprout Head Uprising’ on the seminal Belgian label Antler-Subway Records NV. After the early 90s the trail goes cold…

Their sound is described at various sources as a fusion of country and reggae. If that combination doesn’t make you sit up and take notice then you’re dead inside. Giving a listen myself I find their music in general a mad montage of sounds that’s hard to pin down stylistically. This single in particular has a crude honesty about it, so free-form that it all but defies pigeonholing. Reminds me of the Flying Lizards performing while on a smoke break.

All that being said I guess the sleeve works? It’s pleasantly ‘Stiff-y’ in tone. The collage of copyright-free images coupled with what I assume are band members Maria Louis Jackson and Martin Gibson paints an appropriately Da-Da post-punk image. The cool blue pallet mirrors the aloof and (purposefully?) marginal early 80’s hipness the band projects.

 

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