Now I realise that I may get shot down in flames here but I am a fan of Captain Sensible's solo material! Unfortunately, and perhaps on more justifiable grounds the good Captain was never gonna have an easy time of it when ever he put something out on his own. If The Damned suffered under the 'Clowns of Punk (not to be taken seriously)' label, Sensible had it in a double measure. To this end he did not help himself. As the man has said himself, 'Happy Talk' is a millstone around his neck, albeit I suspect quite a lucrative millstone even all these years later. There are other abominations in the back catalogue too, 'The Hockey Cokey' anyone?!
But amidst a stack of dross there are some pearls. 'This Is Your Captain Speaking', Cap's first solo offering saw the unlikely paring of Sensible and Crass's Penny Rimbaud. Released on Crass Records in November 1981 the three track EP saw a new political side to Sensible's song writing such as 'The Russians Are Coming' which addressed the nuclear threat at the then height of The Cold War. A great song pinned down by Penny's militaristic drumming. Lightening the mood somewhat but consistent with the Crass and the new Sensible ideology is 'Our Souls To You'.... almost like 'Reality Asylum' with humour. The week that he spent with members of Crass in their Dial House retreat inspired him to take the anti-war message further. He contributed 'Hey Jo' to the great anti-war punk compilation 'Wargasm'.
In 1982 he wanted to produce a pop album which he did with the production assistance of Tony Mansfield. The result was the 'Women and Captains First'. When released in September 1982, the album only reached number 64 in the UK album chart, being totally eclipsed by the runaway success of the 'Happy Talk', the first of three singles lifted from the album, which enjoyed two weeks at number one, much to the annoyance of many. That success meant that Captain Sensible was not exclusive property of punks anymore.... the berk on Top Of The Pops in shorts with a stuffed parrot on his shoulder belonged to everyone aged 5 and upwards!