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Tributes to Blackpool music legend Larry Cassidy
Larry Cassidy
Larry Cassidy formed Section 25 with his brother Vinny and Phil Denton

Music journalist and The Membranes frontman John Robb says the death of Section 25's Larry Cassidy is "another great lost genius".

"He was elder statesman of the town," says John of Cassidy who died last week at the age of 56.

John was 16 and just starting up his band The Membranes when he first met him.

"We really respected him; Section 25 was the main band in Blackpool.

"They were an amazing band and and leagues ahead of everyone else in the town," says John who shared a rehearsal room on Singleton Street, Blackpool with Larry's band.

Punk Movement

Forming Section 25 with his brother Vinny Cassidy and Phil Denton when he returned to Blackpool after finishing University in London in 1978, Larry led the post-punk scene in Blackpool.

The following year they joined Manchester's cult Factory Records label.

They released their debut album Always Now produced by Martin Hannett in 1981.

They were often compared - and overshadowed - by Factory stable-mates Joy Division. However, John points out that Section 25 sound came first.

Section 25
After Factory Records Section 25 recorded with LTM Recordings

John explains why they never made it big: "They were overlooked because they were from Blackpool plus they weren't commercial; they were an art/underground band."

Section 25 did have an international dance hit 'Looking From a Hilltop' in 1984, though, when they had a switch in direction to electro electronic. The single was taken from their third album 'From The Hip' produced by New Order's Bernard Sumner. Larry's late wife Jenny - who died in 2004 - had joined the band by then and sang vocals on the album.

'Enigma'

Ian Butterworth who was in another Blackpool band signed to Factory Records, Tunnelvision, described Larry as "an enigma".

He says: "Onstage, he commanded it and owned it."

Ian first met him in 1979 when Larry let his school punk-band Chainz play alongside Section 25 at Bispham Community Centre. He recalls: "We were so excited, even when the caretaker stopped it after three Section 25 songs!"

He described the 1984 album which came before 'Madchester' as "way ahead of its time".

Ian Butterworth (left) and Larry Cassidy.
Ian Butterworth (left) and Larry Cassidy

Ian says he still hears the legacy of early Section 25 music today. "The electro version and the early post-punk version are seeping through to influence new bands and artists.

"When I hear a girl's voice over a sequencer I think of Jenny and her songs on the 'From The Hip' album."

Ian adds: "His influence goes beyond the town where he was from - and thanks to Factory and then later LTM Recordings - the great music that he was part of and his unique 'attitude' will live on."

Prior to Larry's death, Section 25 were working on a remix album called 'Retrofit' which his brother Vinny will now complete. The album features vocals from Larry and his daughter Bethany.

As well as a daughter, Larry also leaves a son Nathaniel and partner Lesley.




SEE ALSO
John Robb on Punk Rock and Roll
01 Sep 09 |  BBC Introducing

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