Gary Clail

Gary Clail, British singer and producer, was part of On-U Sound Records (and also the On-U Sound System) and led Gary Clail’s Tackhead Sound System.

Clail was at one time a roofer but during the mid to late 1980s he became a warm up act for On-U live gigs. Not really a singer and not really a rapper, his career began in Bristol. He got his start working the mixing board at Tackhead shows, during which he would chime in with weird political pronouncements from time to time, and where he worked improvising raps on tapes released by On-U artists.

His solo work gives a fair idea of what that must have sounded like. Over instrumental backdrops that alternate between reggae (courtesy of Dub Syndicate) and funk (courtesy of various members of Tackhead), Clail intones stentorian pronouncements on such topics as social justice (“Food Clothes and Shelter”), domestic abuse (“The Emotional Hooligan”) and vegetarianism (“Beef”).

A series of 12″ single releases were issued between 1985 and 1987 before Clail’s first full-length split release, Tackhead Tape Time by Gary Clail and Tackhead.

It was in 1989, that he had his true debut album in End Of The Century Party. The album helped forge him a place in the Bristol electronic underground, and paved the way for his later releases on Perfecto, which featured a number of singles and EPs, including the UK chart Top 10 single “Human Nature”, and one album, 1991’s Emotional Hooligan.

Clail went onto release further records throughout the 90s, and his most recent album is 2014’s Nail It To The Mast on the Captain Swing label.


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