The Never Ending Playlist Week #2

8. Be My Light, Be My Guide – Gene ( 1994, Costermonger Records, Taken from the Single)

Before we talk about Gene and their very good second single ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ lets chat briefly about Costermonger Records because I know a little bit about it – or some of the rumours at least. The rumour is that two NME journalists, Keith Cameron and Roy Wilkinson (who later went on to become friends with Sea Power) were out and about and saw an unsigned act called Gene. The two journos were so impressed that they went home and formed Costermonger Records, and then signed Gene. So the rumour goes.

Anyway, Costermonger put out the first Gene single ‘For The Dead‘ and amazingly the NME made it single of the week. The name of the reviewing journalist is not recorded but I’m willing to bet that his or her desk drawer was filled with a sherberty bribe the night before. The second single ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ (although it was actually a triple A side – something that was all the rage twenty years ago) followed shortly again on Costermonger and this time it was made single of the week by the Melody Maker (who worked on the floor below the NME).

Gene I think at first, at least, divided opinion. For some, they were very good indeed. They had been won over with the bands mixture of towering torch songs and indie rock anthems with soaring choruses that highlighted singer Martin Rossiter’s voice to devastating effect. To others, they were just another band that were too heavily influenced by that band from Manchester that must not be named. It’s fair to say that the latter is right, but also the influence of acts like the Jam and Echo and the Bunnymen can also be heard in their early singles. Me – I’m somewhere in the middle as usual.

Here’s the third of the triple A side tracks

I Can’t Help Myself – Gene (1994, Costermonger Records, Taken from ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide Single’)


  1. Martin says:

    Me, I was, am and ever shall be firmly in the first camp, to the extent that if I were given a choice between a one-off reformation gig for Gene or that band that must not be named, it would be a very tough call.

    Is there an alternative take on the formation of Costermonger Records? As I thought the “impressed journos form label” narrative was pretty much the received wisdom?


    1. barrystubbs says:

      I think I would opt for Gene Martin.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. JC says:

    I like Gene. A solid 7/10 band in my book.

    But the piano version of ‘I Can’t Help Myself’, as recorded for a Radio 1 session, is the one no home should be without.


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