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King of the Slums

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Formed near Manchester, England, by vocalist Charley Keigher (vocals) and Sarah Curtis (electric violin), Salford’s King Of The Slums first surfaced with the amateurish ‘Spider Psychiatry’ on SLR Records in 1986. The single went unnoticed and the band spent nearly two years refining their sound, before issuing the impressive EP England’s Finest Hopes, on the local Play Hard label in February 1988. Curtis’ scratchy, John Cale -like violin playing and Keigher’s vehement polemic were augmented by Jon Chandler (bass) although over the next few years the band used a succession of drummers - Trevor Rising, Ross Cain and Ged O’Brian, before eventually settling with Stuart Owen. ‘Bombs Away! On Harpurhey’ and the controversial ‘Vicious British Boyfriend’ (with its Enoch Powell/Union Jack sleeve) followed in quick succession early in 1989. A live appearance on BBC Television’s Snub TV helped both singles into the independent charts, capturing one of the band’s most electrifying moments, ‘Fanciable Headcase’. Barbarous English Fayre compiled the group’s Play Hard recordings, as the band moved to Midnight Music, acquiring a new bass player, James Cashan, along the way. Another independent hit, ‘Once A Prefect’, preceded King Of The Slums’ first proper album, Dandelions. Titles such as ‘Up The Empire/Balls To The Bulldog Breed’ and ‘Barbarous Superiors’ continued Keigher’s fork-tongued lyrical attacks on racism and the establishment. By the time ‘It’s Dead Smart’ arrived in 1990, Pete Mason had replaced previous guitarist Gary Sparkes, but the sound was just as razor-sharp, and the rhetoric no less poignant. Blowzy Weirdos followed a move to Cherry Red Records in 1991, and also saw the group catch a little of the spotlight that had fallen on Manchester in the wake of the Happy Mondays’ arrival. Sadly, it was not enough to ensure the survival of this talented act.

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s

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