Popular reprint #1. “Oh Boy” – Mud.

(As excavated from the comments box at Popular, as highly recommended as ever.)

Well, I absolutely ADORED “Oh Boy”, perhaps assisted by never having heard the original. (Indeed, I think this may still be true; there’s a glaring Holly-shaped gap in my musical knowledge.) But this was, to a large extent, circumstantial. I’d been at boarding school for six months by now, and hence with far less control over my exposure to music than I had been used to. Thursday night TOTPs were rationed to the first ten minutes, after supper and before prep, when dozens of us literally sprinted out of the dining hall each week, and straight into the TV room to catch every second. And on Sunday evenings, there were enough radio sets knocking around to ensure that we heard the the Top 20.

Other than that, it was a wasteland, dominated by overheard prog leaking from the studies of the senior boys… and eventually, the mono turntable in the common room, which turned up during the Easter term, but which was almost entirely controlled by the Cool Police in the year above (I think one of them owned it).

They were an unusual Cool Police, though. Top power plays included The Allman Brothers’ Brothers And Sisters, Sha Na Na, the first New York Dolls album… and Mud Rock Volume One, which didn’t really fit any of the prevalent definitions of cool at all, but there you go: someone in charge liked them, so Mud were allowed.

This extended to the 7″ of “Oh Boy”, which the Cool Police played and played and played, and played again some more. During the 20 minute morning break period, it was sometimes played as much as three times… and, for whatever reason, all of us loved it beyond all reason.

Maybe it was just – as sometimes happens with chart pop -an almost arbitrary assignment of an anthem, which somehow made us feel that much more aware of the thrill of living in the present. (If that makes any sense at all.) But I do think that it’s stuffed full of great moments, such as the a capella intro and outro bookends (the outro mirroring the intro so closely that it somehow wanted to make you immediately play the whole thing again), and yes, the hesitation on “hesitating”, and the silly breathy voiceover from Ellie Hope (later of Liquid Gold), and really just the lovely crisp choral cleanness of it all. As with most of Mud’s best moments, it felt like a party to which all were invited.

Objectively a 7, subjectively a 10.

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