Tom Robinson Band
From page 82 of Classic Rock Magazine Christmas 2004
‘Power In The Darkness’ ‘TRB Two’ (EMI)
Rock history seems to have unfairly air- bushed away the Tom Robinson Band, a group who at their searing, incisive best were a match for The Clash, The Jam or any more celebrated upstart.
Having gained notoriety via the ‘Rising Free EP’ (with its singalong anthem ‘Sing If You’re Glad To Be Gay’ – revived here along with the more disposable ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’), 1978’s debut album ‘Power In The Darkness’ (★★★★ ★) was a belligerent snapshot of the UK as a decaying urban wasteland. Its best moments were ‘Long Hot Summer’, ‘Up Against The Wall’, ‘The Winter Of ’79’ and a title track that saw Robinson satirically impersonating a plummy-voiced party political speaker: ‘Freedom from the niggers, and the Pakis and the unions.../ Freedom from the likes of you.’ Just a year later, the band buckled under critical expectations and the pressure of creating ‘TRB Two’ (★★★★★). Keyboardist Mark Ambler left, friction with producer Todd Rundgren caused drummer Dolphin Taylor to do likewise. And as a rent-a-rant supporter of any well-deserving cause, Robinson soon fell out of favour with the prevailing postpunk zeitgeist and preached himself into a corner once and for all.