Come Away with ESG

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Come Away with ESG
Studio album by ESG
Released 1983 (1983)
Recorded 1981–1983
Genre Funk, post-punk[1]
Length 32:08
Label 99
Producer Ed Bahlman
ESG chronology
Come Away with ESG

Come Away with ESG is the 1983 debut album by American post-punk band ESG. Released by 99 Records, the album incorporates songs from ESG's first EPs, ESG and ESG Says Dance to the Beat of Moody.


Ed Bahlman discovered ESG while serving as the judge for a talent show and became the band's unofficial manager.[2][3] Tony Wilson from Factory Records approached the band after a performance at Hurrah in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and three days later they began recording with Martin Hannett. The recordings helped bring Bahlman's focus to the band.[3] He formed a partnership with Factory so that his 99 Records label could release ESG's eponymous debut EP in 1981.[2]

ESG was a minimalist take on funk music, removing brass, saxophone, and synthesizers to leave vocals, bass, and percussion.[4] The New York Times placed ESG second on its list of the best EPs and cassettes of 1981,[5] and The Village Voice placed the EP third on its Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[6]

"Moody" was released off of ESG as the band's debut single. A 12-inch remix single followed, and both versions found popularity at clubs in New York and London.[7] Because of the single's release through Factory, many New York DJs assumed ESG was a London-based act.[8] Paradise Garage listed the song in its top 50 all-time tracks.[9] It became a foundational track for the emerging house music scene.[2]

Reused off of the ESG Says Dance to the Beat of Moody EP, "Dance" uses a beat similar to the Motown Sound.[10]

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ESG released a second EP titled ESG Says Dance to the Beat of Moody in 1982. It includes "Dance" and "The Beat", which reappear on Come Away with ESG. The EP placed ninth on that year's Pazz & Jop list.[11] As several of its post-punk contemporaries were breaking up, the band continued to keep some amount of distance from the music business.[12]

Release and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
Paste 8.4/10[13]

ESG recorded the rest of Come Away with ESG at Radio City Music Hall in 1983 and released the album through 99 Records later that year.[3] The band's first performance after the release was at Danceteria. Around half of the tracks on the album are instrumentals. The songs that do include vocals focus on danceable chants.[14] Shortly after the release of Come Away with ESG, the band became inactive for several years, in part because of the closure of 99 Records.[15]

Decades after its release, Come Away with ESG saw a critical resurgence.[16] It was named the 84th greatest album of the 1980s by Pitchfork Media.[17] The album became influential for post-punk, dance, and hip hop acts.[10] Kathleen Hanna stated that it influenced her work with Le Tigre.[18] Royal Trux member Jennifer Herrema has also cited Come Away with ESG as an influence.[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by ESG.

  1. "Come Away" – 3:15
  2. "Dance" – 4:32
  3. "Parking Lot Blues" – 2:53
  4. "You Make No Sense" – 2:20
  5. "Chistelle" – 1:54
  6. "About You" – 2:05
  7. "It's Alright" – 2:38
  8. "Moody (Spaced Out)" – 4:18
  9. "Tiny Sticks" – 3:02
  10. "The Beat" – 2:17
  11. "My Love for You" – 2:54


  1. ^ Reynolds 2006, p. 273.
  2. ^ a b c Reynolds 2006, p. 272.
  3. ^ a b c Krimper, Michael (March 2, 2012). "The unidentifiable dance grooves of ESG". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ Palmer, Robert (May 5, 1982). "Anger Gone, Graham Parker Is Back". The New York Times: C23. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ Palmer, Robert (December 30, 1981). "A List of the Year's Best, Including Albums, Singles, and EP's". The New York Times: C9. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1982). "The 1981 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ Sarig 1998, p. 177.
  8. ^ Beta, Andy (September 13, 2006). "Get Purely Physical". The Village Voice 51 (37): 86. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ Rubin, Mike (September 2000). "ESG: A South Bronx Story". Spin 16 (9). 
  10. ^ a b c Glazer, Joshua. "Come Away with ESG - ESG". Allmusic. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (1983). "The 1982 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ Williamson et al. 2008, p. 81.
  13. ^ Howe, Brian (October 11, 2010). "ESG: Come Away with ESG". Paste. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ Pareles, Jon (October 19, 1983). "ESG, Bronx Family, Finally on an Album". The New York Times: C23. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Artist Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  16. ^ Eakin, Marah (August 20, 2013). "Not Murmur: 36 great but underappreciated records from 1983". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork Media. November 20, 2002. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  18. ^ Day, Adrienne (February 2005). "The Records That Changed My Life". Spin 21 (2): 26. 
  19. ^ Herrema, Jennifer. "101 Albums To Hear Before You Die". NME. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 


External links[edit]