Song of the Day: Bill Mason Band - Out on the Streets

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I’m not surprised there was Christian punk and new wave already being made in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief, believers have always found new and innovative ways to express their faith creatively. It’s the broader public of the faith community that is often slow to accept change, not the artists themselves. This is why I am, in fact, surprised that a Christian record label was publishing Christian punk in the 1970s. It seemed the church in the UK was more open to avant garde presentations of the Gospel than in the US. In fact, I can think of 4 UK punk bands presenting Christian themes on that side of the pond, a full three years before Undercover released their bubblegum punk sounds in California: Writz, What of the Night, Ishmael United, and of course Bill Mason Band.

Bill Mason Band formed in the Northwest of England, centered around namesake Bill Mason and Simon Hawthorne (incidentally, brother to Andy Hawthorn–UK youth evangelist and founding member of electronica/dance/youth missions collective World Wide Message Tribe). BMB’s one and only album, No Sham! came out on Kingsway Music in 1979, and there was also a 7″ single for “Out on the Streets.” While definitely falling into the punk genre with hints of Ramones and early The Clash (before they went experimental), there are also strains of power pop and new wave with slight reminiscences of Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Fortunately for collectors, Born Twice Records re-issued the LP in 2011 on CD in a digi-pak case. You can order through Boone’s Overstock.

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