I can hardly believe that in all the time that I've been doing this blog that I have never dedicated a whole post to one of my favourite bands from when I was a teenager, Penetration. I know I've maybe mentioned them in passing here and there but they are actually deserving of a post all of their own. Click on the links written in this colour to listen to audio of the band's music.
'Live 1978-79' is a two disc set consisting of two live shows. The first from The Thames Polytechnic on the 16th December 1978 and the second, their final show at Newcastle City Hall on the 14th October 1979 in it's entirity (previously a few tracks had been released on 'Race Against Time' in 1979 but as far as I'm aware this is the first time the whole show has had a proper release).
I had the pleasure of seeing them live quite a few times way back when and whilst these two shows are quite different from each other, they are a testament to exactly how good they were when on stage. Not only is Pauline Murray an exceptional vocalist but the band are pretty tight and seemed to be more musically gifted than some of the other bands who were around at the time (the band were Pauline Murray - Vocals, Robert Blamire - Bass, Gary Chaplin - Guitar (1976-78), Neale Floyd - Guitar (1978-79), Fred Purser - Guitar (1978-79) and Gary Smallman - Drums (1976-79). The current line up has only Pauline and Robert as the original members).
The Thames Poly show would have been just as the debut album 'Moving Targets' was released and ten of the tracks represented on the album are part of the set (only 'Reunion' is missing). Two highlights from this particular set are the two cover versions, Patti Smith's 'Free Money' and Buzzcocks' 'Nostalgia' (kind of funny that only a month before the release of Penetration's debut that Buzzcocks had released their second album 'Love Bites' which contained 'Nostalgia').
The second show is their final show (though they did reform in 2001 and are still out and about today) and the spotlight shifts to the 'Coming Up For Air' album. The songs may not be as strong as the debut but the band actually sound much better (the inclusions of Neale Floyd and Fred Purser on guitar after Gary Chaplin departed was really bearing fruit). With the band knowing it was the last gig they seemed to play with greater abandon laying down an excellent 26 song set (that included a final encore of 'Firing Squad', 'Don't Dictate' and 'Danger Signs' for the second time that night).
It's a really good release and I only stumbled over it after reading the Eccentric Sleeve Notes piece (link at the bottom of the page). I ordered it on Friday and now here it is already on my computer and blaring out very loud.
As a little bonus I thought it would be good to provide some musical links just incase you've never heard the band before. If you like them get the albums as they also have bonus live tracks and b-sides.
Don't Dictate 1977 Virgin Records
Firing Squad - Virgin Records 1978
Life's A Gamble - Virgin Records 1978.
Moving Targets LP - Virgin Records 1978
Come Into the Open - Virgin Records 1979
Coming Up For Air LP - Virgin Records 1979
JOHN PEEL SESSION BROADCAST 10TH JULY 1978. Contains: Future Daze, Vision, Stone Heroes and Movement.
JOHN PEEL SESSION BROADCAST 7TH MARCH 1979. Contains: Danger Signs, Last Saving Grace and She Is The Slave.