Shaun William Ryder : Thirty Years Of Bellyaching

Get the latest from Beat

Shaun William Ryder : Thirty Years Of Bellyaching


It’s serendipitous that physicist James Gleick published his seminal popular textbook on chaos theory contemporaneous with the emergence of the Happy Mondays as a popular culture force. Had the proverbial butterfly’s wings in Brazil flapped in a slightly different manner, the members of the Happy Mondays could have embarked on a life course characterised by poverty and incarceration; as it was, the Mondays’ druggy brand of chaos took them to the heights of popular and commercial fame, and all the way back down again.

Happy Mondays lead singer Shaun Ryder epitomised the Mondays’ career trajectory. Thirty Years of Bellyaching provides a snapshot of Ryder’s output in the Happy Mondays, his subsequent (and sadly short-lived) outfit Black Grape and the odd ad-hoc project (Gorillaz, Russell Watson). Much of the Happy Mondays material is well known, and as invigorating as ever – Judge Fudge, Hallelujah, Step On,Kinky Afro – the Black Grape material (Reverend Black Grape, In the Name of the Father, Kelly’s Heroes, England’s Irie) is manic, irreverent, shambolic, drug-crazed and mesmerising in the true Ryder-train-crash style. And check out Dare from Gorillaz to witness the dance-floor generation that Ryder begat.

It’s hard not to assume that this compilation is hoped to partly fund Ryder’s gradual rehabilitation as a functioning member of society. Even if it is, he’s given us so much happiness that it’s only right we pay the man due respect.

Key Track: Kinky Afro

If You Like This, You’ll: Still be happy putting on your baggy pants and anorak.

In a word: Acid.