19 May 1978 – Tom Robinson Band release debut album

With three live appearances in High Wycombe behind them in 1977, the Tom Robinson Band released their debut album, ‘Power in The Darkness’ on 19th May 1978 on the EMI record label.  Produced by Chris Thomas and Engineered by Bill Price, the album was dominated by political messages and tailed by the title track where Robinson mocked politicians.

Power in the Darkness – montage of memorabilia – including stencil

TRB appeared twice at the Nag’s Head in 1977 (August and October) and then at a near sold-out Town Hall in November 1977 as the success of their sing-along debut single, ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’ threw the band into the media spotlight. The follow-up EP, with lead track ‘Don’t Take No For An Answer’ and the ‘Sing If You’re Glad to Be Gay’ anthem was more true to the Robinson’s beliefs but was less successful.  There was also a conscious decision not to include any of the previously released tracks on the album.  It perhaps made the album less accessible to the masses but on the other it made the messages contained within less diluted by the lighter side of the band.

TRB may never have been as ‘cool’ as the likes of The Clash or The Sex Pistol but writing this piece some 40 years after its release, the content is as relevant now as it has ever been. They chose not to die their hair, swear on TV, or turn their image into a circus act but their attitude was as ‘punk’ as it came.  The album even came with a stencil, ‘not for use on public property’!

40 years later Tom Robinson was playing the entire album again on an anniversary tour. It was a shame he couldn’t find a High Wycombe venue to fit into the tour but perhaps there will be time in the future?

For your listening and viewing pleasure – a couple of stand-out tracks from PITD

Winter of ‘79

Power in The Darkness

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