Monday, 24 March 2014

Clandestine Classic XXXVII - The Truth

The Truth by The Real People
The thirty-seventh post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

I've been wanting to feature The Real People in this series for a while, but have always stopped short. This is partly because I couldn't decide which tune to feature: Window Pane was a candidate, but is a little bit too much of its time, with that then-ubiquitous baggy backbeat; Begin was also a oft-considered choice, not least because, back in the day, I began so many compilation tapes with it. Its lyrical shortcomings were its undoing though, at least in the clandestine classics stakes. Instead, here I am choosing the Real People track I own most different versions of (including the original 1991 vinyl release, pictured here): The Truth.

Much has been written (not least on their Wikipedia page) about The Real People's influence on Oasis, and the temptation is still to pigeonhole them as a sort of proto-Oasis: a Northern guitar band, led by heavily-eyebrowed brothers, with a penchant for (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps deliberately) channelling late-60s Beatles sounds. Throw in some simplistic rhymey lyrics, to wit the aforementioned Begin, and Bob's your uncle. Except, fortunately, there was a bit more to The Realies than this (and yes, their fans actually called them that).

Forget the Gallagher brothers then. Indeed, if anything try to imagine a Venn diagram showing the intersection of late 80s R.E.M. (Life's Rife Pageant, say) and the as-yet-to-exist Cast. That tiny intersection contained The Real People and The Truth, especially on the original 1991 release. It's all there, honest: take the guitar sound from Fall On Me, add the slightly rhymey lyrics and Scouse delivery of Fine Time and then, because of that penchant for channelling late-60s Beatles, throw in a psychedelic middle eight, complete with backwards cymbals, and again, Bob's your uncle. The result is an upbeat song with a great singalong chorus (particularly good for belting out in the car), coupled with a deceptively downbeat lyric about accepting the meaninglessness of life.

The Real People never quite made it though, despite the excellence of this and other tracks and the repeated remixes and re-releases of their record label. Pretty soon Oasis came along and stole their thunder, and the rest is "what might have been?" Instead, the Griffiths brothers went on to write chart hits for all kinds of acts including (incredibly) Cher, Tunde, Ocean Colour Scene, bb mak and Atomic Kitten. Honest! As for today's classic, you can find it on their eponymous debut album. The slightly dancier but ultimately less satisfying remix is also floating about too but, for me, the original's the one you want, and here it is, courtesy of YouTube.


  1. "Forget the Gallagher brothers then."

    OK, I'll try.

    "....the intersection of late 80s R.E.M. (Life's Rife Pageant, say) and the as-yet-to-exist Cast"

    Ouch. Can I go back to thinking about Oasis now, please? ;-)

    1. I know, it's a somewhat odd and sparsely populated Venn diagram... but you can see what I mean though, right?