martes, octubre 30, 2007

The Rag Gang? Slums Worker? En english (pa los guiris)


La Banda Trapera - 1978/1982 Grabaciones Completas (2XCD/2XLP)
Listening to their first eponymous album, named after the band, is like going down to the hell that was living in the outskirts of any big city and in this case that was the outskirts of Barcelona, small villages turning overnight into big towns because of immigration, where surviving became an everyday adventure.
The band's lyrics reported all this, "Bienvenidos A Las Cloacas" (Welcome to the Sewers) or "Curriqui De Barrio" (Slums Worker) touched the hearts of any son of the inland immigration, who could see no future for themselves. Whereas other peer groups were busy singing aloud to all directions about system's oppression or about being victims of police repression and the constant calls to anarchy, La Trapera (The Rag Gang) tackled the conflict with straightforward lyrics, hitting where it hurt most and touching the hearts of everyone undergoing problems such as unemployment, crime, delinquency or urban violence, with the same strength as could be delivered by writer Vázquez Montalbán "Los Mares Del Sur" (Southern Seas) or Paco Candel in "Donde La Ciudad Cambia De Nombre" (Where the City Changes Name), but told with the anger of someone suffering it in own flesh and blood.
There were these sons of immigrants who sang the first punk-rock song in Catalan "Ciutat Podrida" (Rotten City) nearly two decades before the so-called "Rock Català" (Catalan Rock) became fashionable by force of chequebook, financial aid coming from public institutions (Catalonia's Generalitat). Drugs were ravaging too many during those innocent transition days and the members of the band were no exception, TModes (or Uncle Modes, his real name being Modesto) guitarist of the band died in 2004, Raf Pulido and Morfi Grei, singer and incendiary showman on stage took the worst part. Smack came into the life of the band and that showed in their second record "Guante De Guillotina" (Guillotine Glove) where they lost part of the anger that was so characteristic of them.
The strain among band members took them to split up, until mid 90s when they joined together again to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the bands' creation. A new studio album and a live record were released for the occasion. Munster Records releases now their entire discography as a tempting disc-book full of photographs, interviews and comments from the band members, which is to say, a reflection and history of an era. All of it is written the by Jaime Gonzalo, columnist of the music magazine "Ruta 66".

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