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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Rewind: 1978 - 999 - 999 (Debut Album)

999 - 999
United Artists
Produced by Andy Arthurs
Released March 1978
UK Chart #53

Side 1

Side 2

    Nick Cash – Guitar, Vocals
    Guy Days – Guitar, Vocals
    Pablo Labritain – Drums
    Jon Watson – Bass, Vocals

Singles Featured On 999

Released August 1977

 * Included on 2000 CD Reissue

Re-Released 29th June 1979
Did Not Chart

Released 14th October 1977
 Did Not Chart

* Included on 2000 CD Reissue

Released 13th January 1978
UK Charts #75

* Included on 2000 CD Reissue

Released 7th April 1978
Did Not Chart

As a bit of an old anorak I tend to read quite a few magazines when they spotlight the Punk scene and am always bemused by what bands they often leave out of their story. I exclude Vive Le Rock magazine because they have spotlighted 999 in their very excellent magazine. 

Mojo and Q both produced special mags spotlighting Punk quite a few years back. Mojo's was called Punk The Whole Truth and Q's Here's The True Story of Punk! Strangely absent from these magazines was mention of 999! Okay, I better rephrase that, Q did include them on their list of The 100 Best Punk Albums but as they only included The Punk Singles 1977-1980 that was put out by Captain Oi in 2001 it doesn't really count that much (like they couldn't be bothered to actually go back and look at their first couple of albums at all!). Mojo also included the same album on their list of the 77 Best Punk Smashers!

Now, I'm not knocking that great collection because I think that it's brilliant that labels like Captain Oi and Anagram have gone out of their way to bring together in one place all the singles of various bands. My objection is really the lazy and sloppy magazines who didn't even bother to give the debut album, Separates  or even The Biggest Prize in Sport a listen before deciding that the best album was a compilation of their singles!

Anyway, they did a get a brief mention in this particular place but actually in the narrative 999 are totally over looked. I think that's a real shame and even a feature in the Q Punk magazine about bands that are still on the go totally glossed over the fact that since 1993 (they also had a wee spell together between 1983-87) the band have actually been a going concern (and they still have three original members which is way more than some of the bands who are currently still out on the road!)

This month is the 39th anniversary of the release of their Debut Album on United Artists. Forty One years after they formed they are still playing live and recording and I think that is a great testament to them.

They were often overlooked even way back in 1977 when they released two of what I think are The Greatest Punk Singles (and both sadly absent from many lists) in I'm Alive/Quite Disappointing and Nasty Nasty/No Pity. Both A and B Sides being totally top notch stuff.

In all the time the band has been on the go there has only ever been two permanant changes to the line up and that is on bass guitar (one temporary change on drums was forced upon them late 1979 when Pablo LaBritain had a car accident and for a short period of time Ed Case was on the drum stool). Original bassist Jon Watson left the band in 1985 and was replaced by Danny Palmer and then served for two years until the band split in 1987. Once they reformed in 1993 Arturo Bassick (The Lurkers) took over bass duties.

The band had signed to United Artists around the same time as the Buzzcocks but didn't get the same kind of push that the Manchester band did. I always felt that people had it in for them a little because they were a bit older and more musically gifted, well that's my take on it! Nick Cash had previously been a member of Kilburn and The High Roads. They were often viewed as bandwagon jumpers which again I think is totally unfair.

Critics though could say what they wanted, 999 continued to defy them with their live performances and the fact that they actually put out some really great music. Nick Cash and Guy Days made a great songwriting team (only one song on the debut album isn't credited to them but to Days/LaBritain - Chicane Destination).
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