3CD released: May 26, 2023
KEEPING CONTROL - INDEPENDENT MUSIC FROM MANCHESTER 1977-1981
76 track celebration of all things Manchester from 1977 to 1981. A comprehensive look at the city's sounds featuring Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, The Fall, John Cooper Clark, Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, The Freshies, Slaughter & The Dogs, Magazine and many more. Includes tracks featuring many future stars of the Manchester music scene, such as Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), Martin Coogan (The Mock Turtles), Graham Massey (808 State), Mike Joyce (The Smiths) and Chris Sievey (Frank Sidebottom). Back in 2017, Cherry Red unveiled a mammoth 7-CD compendium entitled 'Manchester North Of England', which attempted to document the city's vibrant music scene from punk to Britpop. Six years on, 'Keeping Control' is the sequel, a modest triple-disc retrospective concentrating on music from the punk and post-punk years. 'Keeping Control' boasts the "name" bands out of Greater Manchester from that period, however, the underlying musical story of this box set lies with the lesser-known Manchester Musicians Collective. A catalyst for many musicians at the time, the MMC organised gigs, other activities and encouragement to the many and varied talents emerging in the region during punk and it's aftershocks. Louise Alderman, co-founder of the Manchester Musicians Collective, has written a foreword for the box set, which is named after the MMC's short-lived fanzine. Via Louise's band mate in Manchester Mekon, Frank Ewart, we also have a few previously unissued tracks by acts closely affiliated with the organization. At the time, the Collective was celebrated across two albums, 'A Manchester Collection' and 'Unzipping The Abstract' (both 1980) - and most of the artists from these releases are represented. Beyond the MMC, Manchester enjoyed a thriving independent scene from 1977 onwards, inspired by Buzzcocks' debut EP on New Hormones, Rabid, TJM, Object Music, Absurd, Bent and last but certainly not least Factory... each of them carved a different furrow. Outside of the gravitational pull of London, which exerted such a strong pull across the South of England, Manchester evolved it's own unique identity, often mixing sharp humour with seemingly bleak, desolate-sounding music (reflecting the city's hardship during that time).