A Certain Ratio tonight. Still together, after some 40 years (although only guitarist Martin Moscrop and bass/vocal Jez Kerr are the only original members left in the lineup), they were initially part of the Punk scene in 1977. But shortly after added Funk and Dance to their sound. They were signed to Factory Records in 1979 and put out their first project, The Graveyard And The Ballroom, a cassette-only album which was issued in December of that year.
This concert puts them right in the middle of their Factory Records period which would last until 1989 when they signed with A&M. It was also around the time they began their first of several sessions with John Peel (who mc’s this concert). They would issue their official debut album in 1981. By that time they had gained a substantial following among the underground and were popular with critics. They were a very influential band; with everyone from Talking Heads to Red Hot Chili Peppers citing them as key influences in shaping their own sounds. With all that, you would think they would be better known, but outside music and press circles, they didn’t make much dent with the general audience. And for all the influence, they had no hits during their initial tenure even though they were generally known as the pioneers of Punk-Funk.
To say A Certain Ration have been largely overlooked is simplifying the point. They are known by their peers and by those whose music mattered. Mainstream success, although important to achieve if you’re a band trying to survive, isn’t the be-all/end-all of a career. A Certain Ratio have a cult following and continue to inspire and influence. So they aren’t completely obscure.
But they are obscure enough to make you wonder what is wrong with people. Have a listen and find out for yourself.