Yargo

Formed in the mid-80s, UK’s Yargo fused jazz, soul, blues and reggae forms so uniquely that the music proved too distinctive to break them commercially. However, within the annals of rock history, this…
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Artist Biography

Formed in the mid-80s, UK’s Yargo fused jazz, soul, blues and reggae forms so uniquely that the music proved too distinctive to break them commercially. However, within the annals of rock history, this Manchester quartet will reside as major innovators in black music. While vocalist Basil Clarke injected a penetrating, yearning quality into his voice, occasionally reminiscent of an urgent Marvin Gaye, the rhythm section of drummer Phil Kirby and enigmatic bass player Paddy Steer created a minimal but infectious backing akin to Sly And Robbie, alongside guitarist Tony Burnside.

Primarily a live outfit at first, Yargo issued three promising singles - ‘Get High’ on the local Skysaw label in 1986, ‘Carrying Mine’ on Racket Manufacture the following February, and ‘Help’ on their own Bodybeat label, and attracted sizeable interest when they appeared on the UK Channel 4 television programme The Tube. However, it was Bodybeat that garnered the most praise, combining the singles with a hypnotic title track to create a sparse but mesmerizing soundtrack, set against tales of urban Manchester. In August 1989, the band’s theme for Independent television’s The Other Side Of Midnight was released, drawn from the long-awaited Communicate, issued in October. Smoother and fuller than Bodybeat, this should have established Yargo as a major commercial act, but it was sadly ignored by a nation seemingly obsessed with house music, and, as a result, it was not long before the band fragmented. Steer later worked with the musical collective, Homelife.