Spaces Tell Stories – Roger Lucey
Here’s a political one from Roger Lucey. That’s a bit like saying here’s a heavy one from Deep Purple. Lucey virtually exclusively did political songs, and he was one of our best at doing so. But back in the day, you weren’t allowed to hear political, so most of his stuff was only heard by a limited few (his seminal album ‘The Road Is Much Longer’ was banned outright).
‘Spaces Tell Stories’ is about the censorship of the press during the State of Emergency in the 80’s in South Africa. Newspapers like the Weekly Mail had large chunks of their stories blacked out, so we couldn’t be told what was happening in the country. But, as Roger observed, you didn’t need to read the stories to know what was going on. As the opening line of the song says, ‘Spaces tell stories/and details aren’t needed/you hear things you don’t want to know’.
‘Spaces Tell Stories’ could almost be classified as punk as it is a brief 2 minute 37 second angry rant at the establishment, but where it falls down on the punk front is that the instrumentation is far more refined and melodic than some of the thrashy sound your usual punks make. Instead, the anger manifests itself as it builds to a ragged military beat that goes to war against the subject matter, somewhat akin to John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’ where the music spits out the message with as much venom as the words do.
South Africa is a lot further down the road from where it was when Lucey recorded this song, but it still stands as a milestone on that journey we took, a stark reminder of where we have been.
Where to find it:
21 Years Down The Road – Roger Lucey (2000), 3rd Ear Music