Wednesday 18 November 2009


"Mother said when you're young like this things can seem pretty bad. Let's get out, walk by the river. And there are people who roam the Docklands, and there are ships passing in the night ..." When lists are drawn up of Trevor Horn's productions it's to be hoped the Mint Juleps' Docklands would be at the top. It was the sort of uneasy and unlikely alliance Horn relishes. East End street corner soul outfit given a smooth synthetic sheen in Stiff's dying days. But it works a treat. The world's changed a lot since it was recorded in the late '80s, and the Mint Juleps' homepatch Docklands has changed an awful lot too. The old ways of life on the east and south east sides of the river, the places such as Bermondsey, Beckton, Surrey Docks, Wapping and Limehouse, the Isle of Dogs, are all unrecognisable from the days when the Mint Juleps recorded this track. The once thriving docks were already long gone by the '80s, and deprivation and dereliction was rife. Then came the redevelopment, the gentrification, the building of a new financial centre, the light railway, pricey flats galore, all out of the reach of existing communities. The defiance of the old Docklands can be heard in the Mint Juleps' Round Our Way which has the theme of we may not have all you've got but we've got something you'll never be able to buy. This is a more natural setting for the Mint Juleps (who I believe still perform) and there are some wonderful clips on YouTube of the group taking part in a Spike Lee acapella special. As an aside the Mint Juleps were managed by Rita Ray who is herself a London legend ...

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