Joy (Skids album)

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Studio album by Skids
Released 1981 (1981)
Recorded Britannia Row Studios, London, England, UK and Highland Studios, Inverness, Scotland, UK
Genre Rock, electronic folk
Length 46:51
Label Virgin
Producer Russell Webb
Skids chronology
The Absolute Game
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]

Joy is the final album by the Scottish band Skids. It was the fourth studio record and their first after the departure of signature guitarist Stuart Adamson, who then founded Big Country. As such, it represented a change of direction from rock to folk music, amplifying the traditional Scottish element already hinted at in previous releases.

The band line-up featured Richard Jobson and Russell Webb, with J. J. Johnson (drums/percussion), Paul Wishart (saxophone/flute/keyboards/percussion/vocals) & a collection of musical friends. They all went to Britannia Row Studios in London for rehearsals and song development. Sessions in July 1981 led to the release of the first single from the upcoming album.

The single "Fields" (Virgin VS-401) was released in August 1981, with Kenny Hyslop on drums. The song also featured Billy MacKenzie (vocals), and Alan Rankine (guitar), who were the core members of the band The Associates. Guesting, early in her career, was Virginia Astley (flute). The strummed guitar and marching band elements (bagpipe emulation, percussion) signalled a change in direction, though the rabble-rousing melody and football pitch vocal delivery were standard Skids fare.

Sessions continued through September 1981 and produced a second single, the harmonically rich Iona (named for the Scottish island). It was the only song on the album to be recorded at Highland Studios in Inverness, Scotland. Released in October 1981 (as Virgin VS-449) this was the last Skids track to feature Adamson, alongside Mike Oldfield. At 3:24 the single edit is significantly shorter than the epic to be found on the album.

Joy was issued November 1981 (as Virgin V-2217). It marks a concerted effort to update traditional Scottish music into the age of modern rock recordings. The sound is fundamentally more pastoral than previous Skids efforts. Gone are the layers of harmonically treated electric guitar. However, elements of this style were hinted at previously, particularly on the Strength Through Joy mini-album. The lyrical concerns of strife, war and brotherhood are Jobson staples.

With Paul Wishart on saxophone, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is a cover version of the song by Eric Bogle.

Although the band recorded a BBC Radio 1 session and shot a music video for "Iona", promotion problems at Virgin forestalled a tour. With patchy coverage, no live support and a difficult change in musical direction, the record sank without a trace. Critical reception was mixed at best. For example Trouser Press wrote "To call it bad is curt but realistic,"[2] and Allmusic calls it "[a] gloomy conclusion to what was once a most vibrant band."[3] The Guardian, however, greeted it happily.[4]

The album bore fruit in several working relationships. For example, Virginia Astley was to record her debut solo releases with Russell Webb and also guests on Jobson's poetry album "The Ballad Of Etiquette".

Later, Skids split up and the remaining members Richard Jobson and Russell Webb formed The Armoury Show, with Magazine's John McGeoch and John Doyle shortly afterwards.

This album remains unreleased on CD, but was released in MP3 format on 7 December 2009, including several alternate single mixes as bonus tracks.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Original album[edit]

All songs composed by Jobson/Webb unless indicated otherwise. Track timings taken from listing on band's official site.[6]

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Blood and Soil" (Jobson/Adamson) 3:58
2. "A Challenge (The Wanderer)"   6:10
3. "Men of Mercy"   1:11
4. "A Memory"   5:05
5. "Iona"   7:15
Side Two
No. Title Length
6. "In Fear of Fire"   0:42
7. "Brothers"   3:11
8. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (Bogle) 5:30
9. "The Men of the Fall"   6:04
10. "The Sound of Retreat (instrumental)"   3:13
11. "Fields"   4:32

MP3 release (7 December 2009)[edit]

All songs composed by Jobson/Webb unless indicated otherwise.

Original album
No. Title Length
1. "Blood and Soil" (Jobson/Adamson) 4:00
2. "A Challenge (The Wanderer)"   6:11
3. "Men of Mercy"   1:12
4. "A Memory"   5:16
5. "Iona"   6:53
6. "In Fear of Fire"   0:43
7. "Brothers"   3:13
8. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (Bogle) 5:32
9. "The Men of the Fall"   6:14
10. "The Sound of Retreat (instrumental)"   3:08
11. "Fields"   4:31
Bonus tracks
No. Title Length
12. "Iona (7-inch single mix)"   5:07
13. "Blood and Soil (7-inch single mix)" (Jobson/Adamson) 3:11
14. "Fields (7-inch single mix)"   3:32
15. "Brave Man (7-inch single mix)"   3:37
16. "Fields (12-inch single mix)"   4:27
17. "Brave Man (12-inch single mix)"   6:43

Some pressings of the 7-inch vinyl single for "Iona" listed a 4:55 version of the title track: this was a labelling error, and these pressings actually contained the 5:07 "7-inch single mix" included on the 2009 MP3 release. Other pressings contained a shorter remix/edit which ran 3:20 (with the correct running time listed on the label); this has been released on various CD compilations (e.g., Dunfermline: A Collection of the Skids' Finest Moments).[7]




  1. ^ Joy (Skids album) at AllMusic
  2. ^ Trouser Press entry for Skids
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Liner notes from Fanfare by John Peel, 1982 Scroll down page: no direct link to article available
  5. ^ "Joy (plus Bonus Tracks)". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  6. ^ "Skids Vinyl Album LP Releases". Official Skids Website. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Skids, The – Iona (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-04-13.