underheralded gems from the (post-) punk era, v. 7

Secret Affair’s “Time for Action”

In my weekly archaeology of pop in the years that truly mattered, I’ve found some real gems, but nothing quite like Secret Affair, who were kept a secret all too well, as far as we Yanks were concerned. These guys charted five tracks in the UK from 1979 through 1982, and this track, their self-produced debut single, apparently sold over 200,000 copies and reached number 13 in the UK chart. On this side of the Atlantic, not a peep, not even the slightest ripple of press or airtime as far as I can tell. They appeared on the covers of the major music rags, rode the mod revival through mid-1980, and then Seb Shelton bailed to bang-on-the-drums-all-day for Dexys Midnight Runners.  They’ve reunited, too, as of 2002, and still gig here and there.

The mod revival, as you may know, was largely displaced by the Two-Tone movement and–speaking of tones–apparently  The Specials are tone-deaf to Cleveland’s yearning for some skinhead moonstomp, so their first midwest gig on this year’s North American tour is Chicago–oh, the humanity!