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2023/4 Albums Thing 269 - Pele “Fireworks”

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I’ve only discovered Pele in relatively recent years. I first encountered Ian Prowse nearly 20 years ago when his then band, Amsterdam, opened for The Wonder Stuff at Wolverhampton Civic Hall and it’s been an unfolding story ever since. Considering Pele were signed to the same record label group as the band I was working for in the early 90’s and both bands were making music not a million miles different from each other I still can’t fathom out why our paths didn’t cross much earlier but here we are.

I may have said this here before but…Ian Prowse has gotta be Liverpools best kept secret. A songwriter every bit as talented as Liverpools greats (I happily include him in a list featuring Elvis Costello, Ian’s McCulloch, McNabb and Broudie among many others) and a band leader of great skill, to see the full 10+ piece Celtic-Soul juggernaut that is Pele/Amsterdam (the lines between the two bands have become very blurred over the years) in full flow is something to behold. Pele were a big live draw in the early 90’s and with songs like these it’s no surprise. Pele had tunes as big as Liverpool (“Fair Blows The Wind For France”) and more social commentary/conscience than many a Punk Rocker (“Raid The Palace”). 

It has always struck me since discovering these records over the last 15 years or so that their record company (yes that’s ultimately you Polydor) must have been working extra specially hard too ensure this album was as ignored as it was at the time. I was working for a band on the same label and knew nothing about them ! “Fireworks” was released in 1992 to almost universal apathy, except in South Africa where single “Megalomania” was a number one hit at the time of the cultural boycott. To hear Prowsey tell the story of how he wrestled with his conscience over whether or not to go promote his number one single (he didn’t of course) tells you a lot about the person Ian Prowse is. 

Thankfully time has been kind to Pele and these songs. Ian Prowse is reaping some reward for these records that should have been his back in the 90’s. I’ll keep banging this drum but if you have not yet been seduced by the music of Ian Prowse you are really missing out on something. 

Fair Blows The Wind For France - https://youtu.be/ARZJulLzVIQ

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