The Happy Mondays fell apart in 1992, leaving most observers to assume that it was the end for Shaun Ryder, as he struggled to recover from his numerous drug addictions.
No one could have ever predicted that three years later, a relatively fit and healthy Shaun would return to the top of the charts, with a new band that fulfilled all the promises of the Happy Mondays.
Black Grape was everything that Happy Mondays always were, only better.
Black Grape’s debut album, It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah, is a surreal, funky, profane, and perversely joyous album, overflowing with casual eclecticism and giddy humor.
The new band was looser and grittier than the Mondays.
Ryder’s sound was reinvigorated, creating bizarre rhymes that tie together junk culture, drug lingo, literary references, and utter nonsense.
One of Britain’s best wordsmiths Shaun Ryder’s lyrics have always been delightfully freewheeling, and full of multicolored imagery.
Teaming up with Kermit ( ex Ruthless Rap Assassins) he now had a rapper on board with equal skills to bounce off.
Even better, the music has deep grooves and catchy pop hooks that come straight out of left field. From the blaring harmonica of the triumphant "Reverend Black Grape" and the trippy sitars of "In the Name of the Father" to the seedy, rolling "Shake Your Money" and the stinging guitars of "Tramazi Parti.”
Whilst the memory of the Happy Mondays, has been kept alive by its various members extra musical curricular activities, Black Grape has always been the simmering stalking horse, waiting in the wings, for a time to come back to life, and remind people of the huge commercial and musical celebration that it was.
2015 sees the 20th anniversary of the release of It’s Great When Your Straight……Yeah
Shaun Ryder is again back in the rehearsal studios with Kermit, about to unleash the mad carnival that disregards boundaries between rap, house, rock, soul, and pop and is Black Grape.