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Friday, 22 September 2017

40 Years of Punk & New Wave 1977: Complete Control - The Clash

 Complete Control / City Of The Dead - The Clash
Produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mickey Foote
Released 23rd September 1977
UK Chart #28


    Joe Strummer - lead vocals, lead guitar
    Mick Jones - lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
    Paul Simonon - bass guitar
    Topper Headon - drums

Complete Control
Written by Joe Strummer/Mick Jones

 They said: "Release 'Remote Control'!"
But we didn't want it on the label
They said: "Fly to Amsterdam!"
The people laughed and the press went mad

Someone's really smart
Complete control, that's a laugh

On the last tour my mates just couldn't get in
I'd open up the back door but they'd get run out again
At every hotel we was met by the law
Come for the party, come to make sure

Have we done something wrong?
Complete control, even over this song!

You're my guitar hero!

They said we'd be artistically free
When we signed that bit of paper
They meant: "Let's make a-lotsa money!
Worry about it later"

I don't understand
Complete control, let me see your other hand!

I don't trust you
Why do you trust me?

All over news spread fast:
"They're dirty, they're filthy
They ain't a-gonna last!"

(Total) This is Joe Public speaking!
(C-O-N control) I'm controlled in the body, I'm controlled in the mind!
(Total) This is the punk rockers!
(C-O-N control) We're controlled in the price of the first drugs we can find
(C-O-N control)
Parent control (C-O-N control)

We gotta work it up and bring it up and fight it and write it

(C-O-N control) That means you!
I kick it, I fight it, I get it out, write it
(C-O-N control)
I gotta kick it up
     Joe Strummer - lead vocal, backing vocal, organ, lead guitar
    Mick Jones - backing vocal, lead guitar
    Paul Simonon - bass guitar
    Topper Headon - drums
    Gary Barnacle - saxophones

The City Of The Dead
Written by Joe Strummer/Mick Jones
This is the city of the dead
As we lie side by side in bed
I'd do something else instead
But it is the city of the dead

We went out kickin' around
But you got drunk an' fallen down
An' I wished I could be like you
With the Soho River drinking me down

In the city of the dead
Fall in love an' fall in bed
It wasn't anything you said
Except I know we both lie dead

Don't you know where to cop
That's what New York Johnny said
You should get to know your town
Just like I know mine

While all the windows stare ahead
An' the streets are filled with dread
Every nation in the world
Slinks through the alley after girls

What we wear is dangerous gear
It'll get you picked on anywhere
Though we get beat up we don't care
At least it livens up the air

But someday's we hide inside
All courage gone and paralyzed
Sniff that wind of ugly tension
Today the jerks have got aggression

It is the city of the dead

I think if you ask most fans of The Clash what their Top Three songs are it is pretty much certain that Complete Control would feature among the many answers (the other two I'm guessing would be between White Man in Hammersmith Palais, London Calling and White Riot).

Earlier in 1977 The Clash had earmarked Janie Jones as their second single. Mick Jones had even told Melody Maker that would be the new single but the powers that be at CBS decided whilst The Clash were out on The White Riot Tour that they would be the ones to decide what record was going to be put out and that was Remote Control backed by a live mono recording of London's Burning.

This certainly did not sit well with the band and they were angered that CBS had undermined them by releasing the single without their permission.

"They said, we'd be artistically free
When we signed that bit of paper."

The Clash fought back in the best way they could by making sure their next single would not only be an absolute stone cold classic, but a song to bludgeon those very people who had made such grand promises to them and had betrayed their artistic integrity!

This fight for "Control" was something that The Clash would have to persist at pretty much all their days at CBS because Remote Control was not the first fight and it certainly wouldn't be the last! (Think Bankrobber single, London Calling and Sandinista! albums and probably a few others as well).

Lee "Scratch" Perry was brought on to produce the single (his first non-reggae production). Perry had heard the band's cover of his Junior Murvin hit "Police and Thieves" and was moved enough to have put a picture of the band (the only white artist accorded such an honor) on the walls of his Black Ark Studio in Jamaica. When The Clash learned that Perry was in London producing for Bob Marley and the Wailers, he was invited to produce the single. "Scratch" readily agreed. But the band basically reworked his production by taking out much of the echo that he had put on it and brought the guitars more to front of the track. I have been yearning for years to hear that Lee Perry Mix of the song and 40 years on I have still never tracked a version down (so if anyone out there has a copy get in touch!). 

The other first for this single was that it was the first recording that Topper Headon appeared on as drummer for The Clash. Remember on the Debut Album and the first two singles (White Riot and Remote Control) that had been released Tory Crimes (Terry Chimes) had been behind the kit. His addition to the band certainly completed them and he brought a lot of talent to the table...drumkit!

(Cover of Promo UK CD Single 1999)

A live version of the song was included as part of the From Here To Eternity album in 1999 (recorded at Bonds International Casino, New York on 13th June 1981). A pretty tidy video was put together for it as well featuring the band live in action. City Of The Dead also featured on the album and was recorded at The Lyceum Ballroom, London 28th December 1978 (You can listen to the full show here!).

Revisiting: Road To Ruin - Ramones (1978)

Road To Ruin - Ramones
Produced by Tommy Erdelyi and Ed Stasium
Released 22nd September 1978
US Chart #103
UK Chart #32

Side 1

Side 2
    Joey Ramone – lead vocals
    Johnny Ramone – guitar
    Dee Dee Ramone – bass guitar, backing vocals
    Marky Ramone – drums

Singles On Road To Ruin
A-Side: Don't Come Close
B-Side: I Don't Want You
 Released June 1978 (US)
Did Not Chart
Released as a Limited Edition 12" on Red Vinyl in the UK

And on 12" and 7" Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl in The UK
A-Side: Don't Come Close
B-Side: I Don't Want You
 Released 15th September 1978
UK Chart #39

(German 7" Picture Sleeve)

A-Side: Needles & Pins
B-Side: I Wanted Everything
Released February 1979 (US)
Did Not Chart

(Japanese 7" Picture Sleeve)
A-Side: Needles & Pins
B-Side: I'm Against It

A-Side: She's The One
B-Side: I Wanna Be Sedated
Released 19th January 1979 (UK)
Did Not Chart

Other Releases
 A-Side: I Wanna Be Sedated
B-Side: I Don't Want You
Released 1979

A-Side: She's The One
B-Side: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Released 1978

"Road to Ruin reflected not just the Ramone's enduring love for Sixties pop, but a nagging desire to expand beyond the confines of 120 seconds in search of a new vocabulary of harmonic hooks, albeit linked to the guitar-crunching sonics established on their first three albums."- Tommy Ramone
Studio Album number four for the Ramones and the first one that Tommy had sat out of playing on. He put away his sticks in order to once again do what he had intended at the start and that was to produce the band.

Marc Bell, who had formerly played in Richard Hell and the Voidoids (he had played on the Blank Generation Album) and Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys (no, not that Backstreet Boys!) took over the Drum Stool. Three weeks after joining the band and becoming Marky Ramone the recording of Road To Ruin begun.

What should have been one of their biggest albums "was a flop Stateside, even though it had been a very deliberate attempt to secure American radioplay" (Tommy Ramone). Outside of their homeland it faired better as they reached their highest position in the UK album chart with it (#32, though End of the Century in 1980 would surpass that by peaking at #14). Critical acclaim for the album would be a long time coming though among the fans (especially the ones I know) it is looked upon quite fondly.

There was a more poppy sound to this album than the previous three, which was a topic for great discussion (and still is) among fans of the band. This has ballads and goodness me, is that Acoustic Guitars I can hear? Doesn't exactly sound what we envisage a punk rock album to be like! But, I have to say I do have a fondness for Road To Ruin. The only track I'm not overly keen on is Bad Brain (that one seems to be mentioned by loads of reviewers as a weak link). It does contain a few of their classic songs that have stood the test of time: I Just Want To Have Something To Do, I'm Against It, I Wanna Be Sedated and She's The One. Interesting choice of cover version as well -the Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche song Needles & Pins. The song had been a minor hit in the US for Jackie DeShannon in 1963 and then in 1964 it was a #1 single for The Searchers (and hit #13 in the US). I can understand why it was chosen because Joey especially had a real fondness for 1960's pop and whilst it was a bit leftfield for the Ramones I think they pulled it off great (it was a hundred times better than the version Smokie had done!).

If you had thought a more "mellower" Ramones in the studio would translate to a more "mellower" Ramones on stage then you would be clearly wrong. Nine days before the release of the album they were on the Musikladen TV show in Bremen, Germany where they performed a 24 song set that included 5 from the up and coming album. It was clear proof that the "brothers" had not gone sawft (as they say in New York)!

13th September 1978

Don't Come Close (Old Grey Whistle Test 1978).
Don't Come Close (28th September - Top of the Pops 1978).

This post has been re-edited from a post originally published last year with an updated album playlist and some additional information.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Revisiting: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Capitol Theater, Passaic NJ, 19-21st September 1978

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
19th September 1978

1. Intro 
2. Badlands 
3. Streets Of Fire 
4. Spirit In The Night 
5. Darkness On The Edge Of Town 
6. Independence Day 
7. The Promised Land 
8. Prove It All Night 
9. Racing In The Street 
10. Thunder Road 
11. Meeting Across The River 
12. Jungleland 
13. Kitty's Back 
14. Fire 
15. Candy's Room 
16. Because The Night 
17. Point Blank 
18. Not Fade Away 
19. She's The One 
20. Backstreets 
21. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 
22. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) 
23. Born To Run 
24. 10th Avenue Freeze-Out 
25. Detroit Medley 
26. Raise Your Hand
27. Good Rockin' Tonight *
28. It's My Life*
29. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town*
30. High School Confidential**
31. Sweet Little Sixteen**
32. The Fever**
33. Incident On 57th Street**
34. For You***
35. It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City***

All the tracks highlighted in Red are extra tracks recorded at other shows and and were not part of the original setlist on the 19th September 1978:
 * 20th September 1978 Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
** 21st September 1978 Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
*** 1st January 1979 Richfield Coliseum Cleveland, Ohio
They were included on Crystal Cat Records Bootleg Passaic Night which is the actual video/audio that I posted above.

Listen To The Show:

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
20th September 1978
*Santa Claus Is Coming To Town was a Tour Debut

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ
21st September 1978

Fans of Bruce Springsteen and The East Street Band would have to wait until 1986 for an Official Live Album to hit the shelves at their local Record Shops but for people who lived in the States there was always the promise of a full on Radio Broadcast. This was a channel that Springsteen had been using for many years and one of his finest Radio Broadcasts was the night of 19th September 1978 on the Darkness At The Edge of Town Tour when they pulled into the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey for a homecoming three night stand.
Now, I of course was not and have never lived in the States so this news of Radio Broadcasts etc was quite unknown to me until sometime in 1980 (I think!) that I stumbled on a Bootleg of the show called Piece de Resistance on a market stall that specialized in Bootlegs of all sorts of artists. This 3LP set did cost me a pretty penny or two but hey, a live show of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band! Who could resist that?

This was marvellous stuff back then. It might be a couple of weeks or so before we even got to read about these shows in the British Music Press (if at all!) These days of course it's far easier to follow artists you like as fan footage turns up hours after the gig has taken place or even as it's going on with tools like Periscope and even Facebook Live. Springsteen has himself overseen the release of his last couple of tours and recordings of every night are for sale on his own website along with Archive Concerts.

These three shows in New Jersey in 1978 were recorded and filmed by in-house cameras (the footage is in black and white and as it's been passed down through the years the quality is not so brilliant. Check out the film of the 20th September - click here which is actually better quality than some of the Bootleg DVD's that are floating around).

The band were four months into the Darkness Tour (111 dates between 23rd May 1978 - 1st January 1979). The line-up of the band was:
Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Roy Bittan (piano, keyboards)
Clarence Clemons (tenor, baritone, and soprano saxophones, backing vocals, percussion)
Danny Federici (organ, accordion, glockenspiel, piano)
Garry Tallent (bass, percussion)
Steven Van Zandt (guitar, backing vocals)
Max Weinberg (drums)

Maybe one day Springsteen himself might release these three shows as part of his Archive Series. The only one from Darkness Tour that has appeared thus far is from the The Agora Ballroom, Cleveland on 9th August 1978 (See below for a link to the show). But then again maybe not as there an abundance of releases at least of the first night going around that are of pretty good quality.

Anyway, it's a joy to be able to post this today as some of us need no excuse to listen to a spot of Bruce, especially when he is at his best!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Revisiting: This Is The Sea - The Waterboys (September 1985)

This Is The Sea - The Waterboys
 Produced by Mike Scott, John Brand, Mick Glossop, and Karl Wallinger
Released 16th September 1985
UK Chart #37 

Listen to The Album Here:


    Mike Scott – vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, piano, percussion, synthesiser, drum machine programming, bells and effects
    Anthony Thistlethwaite – saxophone, double bass, bass guitar, mandolin
    Karl Wallinger – bass synth, piano, organ, keyboard programming, synthesiser, celeste, percussion and backing vocals

    Steve Wickham – violin
    Marek Lipski – violin
    Roddy Lorimer – trumpet, background vocals
    Stewart Bartlett - French horn
    Kevin Wilkinson – bass guitar, drums
    Martin Swain – bass guitar
    Chris Whitten – drums, cymbals
    Pete Thomas – snare drum
    Martin Ditcham – percussion
    Max Edie – background vocals
    Lu Edmonds – Bass
    Matthew Seligman – Bass

Singles on This Is The Sea
Released as 7" and 12"
12" Track Listing:

14th October 1985
UK Chart #26
US Chart N/A

A. Don't Bang The Drum*
B. The Ways of Men (Previously Unreleased)**
(German Release Only)

*The Single version was edited to 4 minutes and 57 seconds. As I couldn't find that version on You Tube I went with the far superior album version.
 ** B-side produced for BBC Radio 1 Peter Powell Show.


This Is The Sea was the third Studio Album from The Waterboys and their first Top 40 album (though it only peaked at #37!). Whilst their Self-Titled Debut (1983) and A Pagan Place (1984) were good it was this third outing that Mike Scott penned some of his finest songs (Karl Wallinger co-wrote Don't Bang The Drum and Anthony Thistlethwaite co-wrote Medicine Bow).

This Is The Sea was the final album that Karl Wallinger contributed to as a Waterboy before he upped sticks to form his band World Party and it was the first to feature the mind blowing violin playing of Steve Wickham (he teamed up with the band after Scott had heard a Demo Tape of Sinéad O'Connor on which he had played. After the release of the Album Wallinger left and Wickham joined full time).

There's always a tendency to want to try and pigeonhole an album or an artist and whilst there are elements of Celtic, Folk-Rock etc on This Is The Sea, there is also a sense that it transcends both of those Genres or Categories. To put it plainly it is just a mighty fine slice of music that is poetic and passionate and has some spritual depth to it that was rarely present on anything else at the time.

From start to finish it is pretty much a perfect album (my only gripe being after I heard the full version of Spirit I wondered why on earth they didn't include it rather than the very brief snippet on the A-Side!). Played live it was out of this world as well (it's not the best quality footage but have a look at this 28 minutes from Glastonbury 1986).

This Is The Sea is what I call a "Must Album" - Must Have, Must Hear, Must Play Lots!

People always moan about the 1980's regarding the music that was coming out and in 1985 when This Is The Sea was released there were actually loads of other quality albums around or about to be released. Some of the things I was listening to at the time (and it's not an exhaustive list by any means) were: Strength - The Alarm, Once Upon A Time - Simple Minds, Head On The Door - The Cure, Mad Not Mad - Madness, Steve McQueen - Prefab Sprout, Psychocandy - The Jesus and Mary Chain, First and Last and Always - The Sisters of Mercy, Songs From The Big Chair - Tears For Fears, Slave To The Rhythm - Grace Jones, Meat is Murder - The Smiths, Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega, Love - The Cult, Cupid and Psyche 85 - Scritti Politti, A Secret Wish - Propaganda, New Day Rising - Hüsker Dü, and Low Life - New Order - 1985 didn't seem to bad a year when you think of some of those albums (even back then I was very oepn to listen to a lot of different sounds)! Top of the pile for me along with Strength - The Alarm was clearly This Is The Sea.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

S4L Radio: Show #8 Playlist

It's been a couple of weeks since the last Playlist so here we go off another musical adventure. Enjoy.

The Playlist

On The Playlist
Radio - The Members
As is our custom we kick off with a song about the Radio. This one a 1982 single from The Members (who are about to release a brand new Singles collection as well as having out their Box Set The Members - The Virgin Years).

Surrender Control - Comeback Kid
From the brand new album Outsider on Nuclear Blast Records. When I'm feeling a little stressed I always find the soothing sounds of Comeback Kid act as a good relaxant! My wife always finds this to be most amusing!

Heroine - Mike Peters and The Alarm
From the crazy sound of Comeback Kid to something a little more gentler on the ears for you sensitive types! This was a very Limited Edition CD Single that Sold Out almost as soon as it went live on The Alarm's Website. The song can be found on their latest release which is called Viral Black and at present is only available from the band website (but will be available somewhere down the road next year in other outlets).

Weakness - Margo Price
Title track of her EP released at the end of July on Third Man Records. She's gearing up for the release of a brand new album called All American Made. If it's anything like her debut album Midwest Farmer's Daughter then we are in for a real treat.

 Grant Hart
18th March 1961 - 14th September 2017
The news of the passing of Grant Hart, former drummer for Hüsker Dü, founder of Nova Mob and Solo Artist, was very sad to hear of and on The Playlist we pay tribute to him with three songs written by him at various stages of his musical career:
Morningstar - Grant Hart (The Argument - 2013)
Over My Head - Nova Mob (The Last Days of Pompeii - 1991)
The Girl Who Lives On Heaven's Hill - Hüsker Dü (New Day Rising - 1985)

Grant Hart Obituary from The Guardian.

The Sky Is A Neighborhood - Foo Fighters
Taken from their ninth and latest studio album Conrete and Gold. They chose an interesting Producer for the album with Greg Kurstin who had previously worked with the likes of Rachel Stevens, All Saints, Peaches, Pink, Lily Allen, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Sia, Devo (they seem strangely out of place on this list!), Kelly Clarkson, Adele, and Liam Gallagher to name but a few! Such strange bedfellows indeed! But amazingly it seems to have worked out just fine!

We're All In This Together - Walter Trout (featuring Joe Bonamassa)
Title track of the great Bluesman Walter Trout's latest star studded release on Provogue. Another little gem from the New Jersey Blues Journeyman following his excellent Battle Scars album in 2015.

Powderfinger - Neil Young
Taken from Hitchhiker that was released last week on Reprise. The album was unreleased for more than forty years and as it's Neil Young, you just never know what on earth he'll do next. The opening two songs (Pocahontas and Powderfinger) did feature on Rust Never Sleeps that was released in 1979 but with some changes to the versions that appear here).

Rockaway Beach - The Godchildren of Soul (featuring General Johnson and Joey Ramone)
Released as a single in 1994 and taken from the French released album Anyone Can Join! by The Godchildren of Soul (I have no idea who they were). General Johnson was the frontman for the Chairmen of the Board (of Give Me Just A Little More Time fame and he also wrote the song Patches that was a huge hit for Clarence Carter in 1970).
I actually only recently heard this and it has to be one of the most bizzare covers of a Ramones song I've ever heard! I really was not expecting that sound at all!

Ever Fallen In Love - Nouvelle Vague
Speaking of things recorded in France. Here's Nouvelle Vague's take on the classic Buzzcocks tune for their 2006 album Bande À Part.

Hysterie Connective - Métal Urbain
Their only single release on Radar Records back in January 1979 Métal Urbain were one of the great French Punk bands. They were active between 1976-1980 before disbanding. They reformed in 2003 and currently the band is sporting two members from the 1976 and 1977 line up: Éric Débris (Éric Daugu): singer, programming (since 1976) and Hermann Schwartz (Jean-Louis Boulanger): guitar (since 1977).

Hippopotamus - Sparks
The weird and the whacky title track from brothers Ron and Russell Mael's (AKA Sparks) first Studio outing since 2009's The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (okay, they also did the FFS album in 2015 with Franz Ferdinand) and yes, there's a Hippo in the swimming pool on the cover! The album was released on the 8th September and immediately entered the UK Album Charts at #7 and thus became their first Top Ten album in over 40 years!

Sunny Came Home - Shawn Colvin
I find it amazing to discover that Shawn Colvin has only ever had one Top 40 album in her entire career and it was her fourth album A Few Small Repairs back in 1996. The album has recently been (yesterday actually!) reissued in a 20th Anniversary Format via Columbia. It comes with seven live bonus tracks. Sunny Came Home was her only hit single (#7 in the US) and won for her both Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The video is on The Playlist is an acoustic performance of the song. The Co-write between Colvin and Neil Finn What I Get Paid For is not included on the album (it wasn't on the original US Release but was included on the European Release).

Do We Choose Who We Love - The Waterboys
From their recently released new album Out Of All This Blue (8th September 2017). I'm still trying to figure this album out. I like the fact that Mike Scott is willing to step out of his box of comfortability and experiment with new sounds etc. I think the album is one of those that's maybe gonna take some time to develop a fondness for. The track on The Playlist is the opening song from the album.

Waterfront - Simple Minds
Like The Waterboys in the mid-eighties Simple Minds were one of a number of groups placed under the banner of Big Music (whatever that's meant to mean!). One of their recent Acoustic shows (well actually November 2016) has been released on DVD/Blu-Ray and CD in conjunction with the BBC and Eagle Vision. The show is a fine trip through the catalogue spotlighting some of their best tracks. The Acoustic format comes across well in places but some songs do lose out a bit on the lack of power!

 Never Going Back - Hot Water Music
From their latest album, released yesterday on Rise Records entitled Light It Up. Hot Water Music return with their first studio album in five years and sound as brilliant as ever. Chuck Ragan, lead vocalist, has of course inbetween the spaces of work with Hot Water Music been carving out a Solo Career as well having released a number of Solo albums, a Soundtrack and assorted Split and Collaboration albums.

 Untraveled Roads (Live) - Thousand Foot Krutch
From the album of the same name and their second live album. It features songs from their Oxygen: Inhale (2014) and Exhale (2016) albums and is released on their own TFK Music label.

Untraveled Roads, the first live album from TFK since 2011’s Live At The Masquerade, represents a season of significant success for the band. With hits like “Courtesy Call,” “Running With Giants,” “War Of Change,” “Push,” “Untraveled Road,” “Let The Sparks Fly,” “Born This Way,” “Light Up The Sky” and “A Different Kind Of Dynamite,” the album well-represents the band’s last three indie records that have already garnered over 455,000 albums sold, two million digital downloads and more than 300 million streams.

The album was recorded during this year’s 46-city Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, that was attended by nearly 500,000 people.

  The Parting Shot
When The Show Is Over - Secret Affair
Well that's it for another week or so (I'll try and be a bit more regular!).
I leave you with a track from the second album - Behind Closed Doors - by those purveyors of all that is Mod, Secret Affair. A little birdie tells me that the band have some live dates coming up (Check Here).

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