A dose of Post-Punk/Funk/Afro-Beat and Pop tonight, by way of Maximum Joy. Recorded at BBC Radio 1 for the Kid Jensen program on April 15, 1982.
Maximum Joy formed in 1981 by ex-Glaxo Babies member Tony Wrafter (saxophone, trumpet, flute) and Janine Rainforth (vocals, clarinet, violin). They recruited two other former Glaxo Babies members, Charlie Llewellin (drums) and Dan Catsis (bass), as well as ex-Pop Group member John Waddington (guitar).
The band’s influences were later described by Wrafter as “jazz, reggae, funk and punk, soul, hip-hop (the Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa and the Sugarhill Gang), dub and ambient. We weren’t constrained by any single style but felt free to take what we wanted from it”.
Maximum Joy released three singles on Y Records: “Stretch” (October 1981), “White and Green Place” (February 1982) and “In the Air” (July 1982). Kev Evans replaced Catsis after the first single. A remix 7″ of “Stretch” was also licensed for American release by the influential New York City label 99 Records.
In October 1982, the band released the Adrian Sherwood-produced album Station MXJY.
Jeremy Hirsch (trumpet, keyboards) then replaced Wrafter, and the band added Nellee Hooper (percussion, backing vocals). This lineup recorded Maximum Joy’s last single, a Dennis Bovell-produced cover of Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” backed by “Man of Tribes”. Rainforth left the band before the single was released, and new vocalist Peta rerecorded the vocals on the A-side. It was issued in April 1983 by Garage Records, and the band split soon afterwards.
Retrospective Unlimited (1979-1983) was released in 2005, and Station MXJY was reissued on CD by Beat Records in Japan in April 2008, containing various mixes of the singles as bonus tracks as well as the unreleased version of “Why Can’t We Live Together” with Rainforth’s original vocal.
A compilation on vinyl of the band’s singles between 1981-1982 “I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Night” was released by a new label named after one of the band’s tunes Silent Street Records – a collaboration between Blackest Ever Black and Idle Hands – in October 2017. It is the first vinyl reissue for the band in the UK.
As far as I remember, I don’t believe any of their singles or their only album was issued in the States. I think they were only available via import channels. I don’t think they made it over here, which is a shame. They would have been a nice addition to a pretty frantic scene for Music in the 80s.
In case you missed them, here’s your chance to get reasonably caught up.
Crank it up and get funky.