FROM SOUTHERN RECORDS: The Crassical Collection is finally here, and the first release is the newly remastered The Feeding of the 5000.
From the G20 summit. How many of these kids know the story of Wally Hope?
“Five thousand’s a crowd (four thousand nine hundred and ninety nine more than I imagined were going to buy the record), but two’s company (I knew for certain that my Mum would want one), so it was on the plate, ready to serve, The Feeding of the Five Thousand.”
The Crassical Collection is finally here, and the first release is the newly remastered The Feeding of the 5000. After several years of being out of print, this legendary album has been been restored from the original analogue studio tapes, repackaged and bolstered by rare and unreleased tracks, and stunning new artwork from Gee Vaucher, who has lovingly created what could only be considered a real artefact. Included in this package is a 64-page booklet featuring all lyrics along with extensive liner notes from band members Penny Rimbaud and Steve Ignorant, which shed light on the making of the record. Also included is CD-sized recreation of the iconic original fold-out poster sleeve.
“We were setting out as purists: hard, uncompromising and utterly bemused.”
The Feeding of the 5000 is the first album by Crass, released in 1978. The record came to be made when Pete Stennett, owner of Small Wonder Records, heard a demo that the band had recorded. Impressed by all of the material, he decided that rather than release a conventional single by the band, he would put all of their set onto an 18-track, 12-inch EP.
“Easy listening? You ain’t heard nothing yet.”
However, problems were encountered when workers at the Irish pressing plant contracted to manufacture the disc, refused to handle it due to the allegedly blasphemous content of the track “Reality Asylum” (referred to as “Asylum” on the record sleeve). The record was eventually released with this track removed and replaced by two minutes of silence, retitled “The Sound of Free Speech.” This incident also prompted Crass to set up their own record label in order to retain full editorial control as well as political and legal responsibility for their material, and “Reality Asylum” was shortly afterward issued in a re-recorded and extended form as a 7-inch single. A later repress of The Feeding of the 5000 (subtitled “The Second Sitting”) released on Crass records in 1981 restored the missing track.
“On one thing we were very clear, in bringing a prosecution of Criminal Blasphemy against us the authorities would have been giving us the kind of publicity which overnight would have made us a household name. They were aware of this and so were we. It was a situation that allowed us carte blanche to say pretty much whatever we wanted without any real fear of incrimination, a situation which over the next seven years we exploited to the hilt.”
This signals the first in a series of remastered versions of each of Crass’ now legendary albums, each one including bonus tracks and brand new artwork.
Here’s a taste: The remastered version of “So What.”
For the full track listing and to order, visit the Southern Web Shop.
I’m listening to this right now and it sounds fucking amazing. The remastering has given each track new life and it’s fun hearing the 16 extras including Ignorant and Rimbaud alone as “Stormtrooper.” There’s an exact recreation of the poster that came in the original record and the booklet is a great little art book in and of itself. When the next re release comes out it will have just as much stuff in it and when they’re all out the box sets will fit together to make the Crass logo.
Even if you’re not a Crass fan, this is a great little piece of anarchist history. Penny just put out a book on Active Distribution called The Last of the Hippies. It’s about his friend Wally Hope whose assassination begot Crass and eventually the anarcho-punk movement as we know it today.
From the back: “[This story] fast became the seminal text of what was then known as anarcho-punk and which later blossomed into the anti-globalisation movement.”
You wouldn’t have kids in black sweatshirts throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars without Wally Hope. The irony is, Wally wasn’t really political. He was a weirdo sun-worshipper who drove a rainbow-colored car with a tee pee on top. The fact that this hilarious nutbar was deemed a threat to the state and lobotomized for it was so ridiculous and unfair, it started the modern Western anarchist movement as we know it today.
Available HERE for the price it cost to print it.