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Friday, 30 June 2017

40 Years of Punk & New Wave 1977: Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols

Pretty Vacant / No Fun - Sex Pistols
Virgin Records
Produced by Chris Thomas
Released 1st July 1977
UK Chart #6

A-Side: Pretty Vacant

 B-Side: No Fun

Roy Carr's Review for the NME 2nd July 1977

When you were used to a Singles Review just being a few lines it was quite remarkable that the NME basically gave Roy Carr an opportunity to give us a mini-essay about the greatness of the third single to be released by the Sex Pistols.  

For those who don't have such great eyesight I'll use a few quotes from the brilliant review just to give you a wee taste:

There are certain all-too-rare occasions when, without warning, a record comes hurtling out of left field...stops you dead in your tracks, floors your expectations, simply SHOCKS you, and promptly sets the adrenalin pumping around your system at then ten times the normal speed.

It happened to me (and I'm certain I'm speaking for countless others), the very first time I heard Little Richard scream "Awopbopaloobop", Chuck Berry motorvatin' through 'Johnny B Goode, The Kinks brutalising 'You Really Got Me', Keith Richard's fuzz guitar intro to '(I Can't Get No) Satsifaction', the psychotic delirium of Hendrix's 'Purple Haze', the we-ain't-gonna-take-no-more-of-this-crap angst of The Who's 'My Generation', The Velvet's cacophonic 'Sister Ray', the contempt with which Dylan spat out 'Like A Rolling Stone', hearing The Stooges' '1969' being played immediately after CS&N's 'Marakesh Express' one humid morning over a New York radio station a couple of weeks after Woodstock, Television's surreal 'Marquee Moon'...

  I experienced the same feeling this Friday when I received an acetate of The Sex Pistols' third single, 'Pretty Vacant'.

 ...Picture yourself trying to describe the sheer overwhelming impact of '(I Can't Get No) Satsifaction', 'My Generation', 'Raw Power' or even 'Dancing in the Street'. Truthfully, there aren't words. And unless you're terminally insensitive, you can't possibly fail to recognise the numbing shock of reality when, on occasions as these, it presents itself with all the subtlety of an earthquake.
 The Sex Pistols' 'Pretty Vacant' is one such instance.

 With this disc, the Pistols postively cream their closest competitors with muscle to spare.

I noticed that you can buy the copy of the NME that this appeared in on EBay for £14.99!! Turning rebellion into money eh? 😉

If you can manage to read the whole thing, do so, because it's an epic piece of writing I think. It blew me away reading it way back in 1977 and still gives me the chills as I read it today 40 years later!

Oh, and the record by the way is pretty tidy. Every time I hear that guitar intro I'm transported back to my younger days! It's an absolute belter. It might not have been as revolutionary as Anarchy in the UK or as in the moment as God Save The Queen but it stands the test of time I think.  

Jamie Reid's artwork with the two buses depicting their destinations as 'Nowhere' and 'Boredom' is probably one of my favourite pieces of Punk Art.

The B-Side, a ramshackle version of The Stooges 1969 classic No Fun (that appeared on their Debut Album), stretching beyond six minutes was apparently from an older session produced by Dave Goodman.

The single has been reissued a number of times over the years with various picture sleeves and in various formats like Picture Discs and CD's as well as 7" and 12" Vinyl. You can check out all the different ones over on Discogs (Click Here)

(Virgin Records Germany 2017 7" Vinyl Picture Disc Release)

NME Best Singles of 1977
1. Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
2. Watchin' The Detectives - Elvis Costello
3. Sex & Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll - Ian Dury
4. God Save the Queen - Sex Pistols
5. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker - The Ramones
6. Heroes - David Bowie
7. 2 4 6 8 Motorway - Tom Robinson Band
8. Waiting in Vain - Bob Marley & The Wailers
9. Do Anything You Wanna Do - The Rods
10. Alison - Elvis Costello
11. Roadrunner - Jonathan Richman
12. Spiral Scratch EP - Buzzcocks
13. Sweet Gene Vincent - Ian Dury
14. In the City - The Jam
15. All Around the World - The Jam
16. Complete Control - The Clash
17. Looking after No. One - The Boomtown rats
18. Peaches - The Stranglers
19. Oh Bondage! Up Yours - X Ray Spex
20. Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
21. Looking through Gary Gimore's Eyes - The Adverts
22. More Than a Feeling - Boston
23. American Girl - Tom Petty
24. Short People - Randy Newman
25. Showroom Dummies - Krafwerk
26. Dirty Pictures - Radio stars
27. Orgasm Addict - Buzcocks
28. Red Shoes - Elvis Costello
29. Sound & Vision - David Bowie
30. Jamming - Bob Marley & The Wailers

Honourable Mentions to...
Blank Generation - Richard Hell
White Riot - The Clash
Do the standing still - The Table
Daddy cool - Darts
Dancing in the Moonlight - Thin Lizzy
Baby Don’t Change Your Mind - Gladys Knight
Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric
Psycho Killer - Talking heads
Tryin’ To Love Two - William Bell
My Baby Does Good Sculptures - The Rezillos
Prove it - Television
Cokane - Dillinger
Don’t Dictate - Penetration
Lovers of Today - The Only Nnes
Love Lies Limp - Alternative TV
Uptown Top Ranking - Althea & Donna
Two Headed Dog - Roky Erikson
Straighten Out - The Stranglers
Born for a Purpose - Dr Alimantado
Ain’t Gonna Bump No More - Joe Tex

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Revisiting Cosmic Thing - The B-52's (1989)

Cosmic Thing - The B-52's
Reprise Records
Produced by Nile Rodgers and Don Was
 Released 27th June 1989
US Chart #4
UK Chart #8
Australian Chart #1
Side 1
 Side 2
The B-52's
    Fred Schneider – lead vocals
    Cindy Wilson – backup vocals
    Kate Pierson – backup vocals
    Keith Strickland – guitar, keyboards

Additional musicians
    Carl Beatty – horns
    Crispin Cioe – horns
    Leroy Clouden – drums
    Charley Drayton – drums
    Sonny Emory – drums
    Steve Ferrone – drums
    Bob Funk – horn
    Arno Hecht – horn
    Richard Hilton – keyboards
    Sara Lee – bass
    Paul Litteral – horn
    Tommy Mandel – keyboards
    Nile Rodgers – guitar
    Philippe Saisse – keyboards

There are loads of links down below to various tracks, click to have a listen.

Singles On Cosmic Thing
A Channel Z (Rock Mix)     6:20
B1 Channel Z (Remix / Edit) 4:10
B2 Channel Z (Rock Dub) 5:34

Released: 9th March 1989
UK Did Not Chart*

* A re-release backed with Roam reached #61 in the UK 1990
 A Love Shack   
B1 Planet Claire (Live)  
B2 Rock Lobster (Live)   
 Released 16th June 1989 (US)
US #3 
UK #2 
Australia 8 weeks at #1 
New Zealand #1

A1 Roam (Radio Mix) 4:13
Roam (12" Remix) 8:17
B Roam (Extended Mix) 5:25
Released: 4th December 1989 (US)
US #3 
UK #17 
Australia #11
New Zealand #2
(Listen to Full Maxi Single Here

 A1 Deadbeat Club (LP Version)   
A2 Love Shack (LP Version)   
B B-52's Megamix
Released: February 1990 (US)
US #30
UK Did Not Chart

Almost four years had passed since the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson (Cindy's brother) and almost three years since the last album from The B-52's (Bouncing Off the Satellites). In the light of Ricky's death the band did very little to promote the album as you can well imagine they were too distraught to go out on tour, there were no hit singles and as a result the album did not sell well reaching only #85 in the US and #74 in the UK.

Cosmic Thing was like a comeback album of sorts and it would become one of their biggest selling albums and the one that had the best chart success!

Keith Strickland had been composing in 1988 and after he played some of his new music for the other band members, they all agreed to try writing together again, with Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Fred Schneider contributing the lyrics and melodies. In 1989 the band released Cosmic Thing, their mainstream breakthrough, released on their new label, Reprise Records worldwide. The single Channel Z, from the album, became an alternative and college radio hit, hitting number one on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, receiving significant airplay on MTV's modern rock show 120 Minutes. It wouldn't chart in the UK until it was re-released in 1990 and then it only hit the #61 spot.

The next single, Love Shack, with its party vibe and colorful music video, became their first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching #3 in November 1989. That peak was matched in March 1990 when their follow-up single, Roam, also reached No. 3. In Australia, the country that had most embraced the band a decade earlier, Love Shack stayed at number one for eight weeks.

A fourth single, Deadbeat Club, which reminisced about the band's early days in Athens and whose video was shot on location and featured a cameo by fellow Athens artist R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, reached No. 30. The Cosmic Thing album climbed into the U.S. top five and earned multi-platinum certification. It also had huge international success reaching #1 in both Australia and New Zealand and #8 in the UK. The group had a hugely successful world tour to support the record, and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in March, 1990. In 1990 the B-52's were nominated for 4 MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year. They won two awards, Best Group Video and Best Art Direction.

Whilst I have a real fondness for a lot of the work that The B-52's have released over the years (their debut album and Wild Planet are absolute classics I think) Cosmic Thing is an album I return to a lot. Love Shack is always going to get a mention when speaking of this album but for me the absolute standout track is Roam. It is in my mind a real classy Pop single and it's never lost it's appeal for me. There's an absolutely delicious acoustic version of it with just Cindy Wilson singing it from a show in 2003 that used to be on You Tube but has since been removed. And it still sounds stunning live, this version is from 2013 when they played in London.
 Cosmic Thing Tracks Live
 Cosmic Thing    
Dry Country    
Deadbeat Club    
Love Shack    
Channel Z .

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Live At The Bitter End August 1971 - Dion (Ace Records 2015)

 Live At The Bitter End August 1971 - Dion
Ace (UK) /Omnivore Recordings (USA)
Released on CD in 2015*

*Also available as an MP3 Download from Ace Records.

Tracklisting and Songwriters
1 Mama, You've Been On My Mind (Bob Dylan)
2 Brand New Morning (Dion DiMucci)
3 Too Much Monkey Business (Chuck Berry)
4 Abraham, Martin And John (Dick Holler)
5 One Too Many Mornings (Bob Dylan)
6 Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney)
7 Sisters Of Mercy (Leonard Cohen)
8 Your Own Backyard (Dion DiMucci/Tony Fasce)
9 You Better Watch Yourself (Sam Hopkins)
10 Don't Start Me Talking (Sonny Boy Williamson)
11 Sunshine Lady (Dion DiMucci)
12 Sunniland
(Dion DiMucci/Tony Fasce)
 13 Sanctuary (Dick Holler/Don Burnham)
14 Willigo (Dion DiMucci)
15 The Wanderer (Ernest Maresca)
16 Ruby Baby (Lieber/Stoller)
17 Harmony Sound (Dion DiMucci)

I love stumbling across old things and this album by Dion DiMucci which has been around a couple of years is actually totally new to my ears. Originally recorded in August 1971 at The Bitter End in New York City but released for the first time in complete form in 2015 by Omnivore Recordings in the USA and the excellent Ace Records in the UK.

Three of the tracks on Live at The Bitter End appeared on Dion's second Solo Album for Warner Bros. Records entitled Sanctuary. The almost 56 minute complete performance had been sitting around in the vaults and what an absolute joy to hear it all these years later.

It's as basic as it comes, just Dion, an acoustic guitar and that great voice that had graced so many cracking singles between 1957-71 (though his last major hit single had been 1968's Abraham, Martin and John).

It's a great little performance that includes a few reworkings of previous hits The Wanderer (a kind of Folk Blues Version); Ruby Baby; Abraham, Martin and John; and a number of great covers including Chuck Berry's Too Much Monkey Business and The Beatles' Blackbird (which had appeared on his You're Not Alone album from 1971).

Bonus #1
This recording was taken from a Cassette and cleaned up a little and contains some material that also featured on the Bitter End set a month earlier. John Peel introduces Dion as part of his show before a live audience:

Bonus #2
 Kickin' Child - Dion
Produced by Tom Wilson
Norton Records
Released 2017

1. Kickin' Child*
2. Now
3. My Love
4. I Can't Help Wonder Where I'm Bound
5. Wake Up Baby
6. Time in My Heart for You
7. Tomorrow Won't Bring the Rain
8. Baby, I'm in the Mood for You
9. Two Ton Feather
10. Knowing I Won't Go Back There
11. Farewell
12. All I Want to Do Is Live My Life
13. You Move Me Babe
14. It's All Over Now Baby Blue*
15. So Much Younger*

*Produced by Bob Mersey

Friday, 23 June 2017

S4L Radio: Show #3 - And Your Name Is....?

It was including the song Jolé Blon by Gary U.S. Bonds in the last Playlist that I got the idea to do a show spotlighting names and so I've brought together 21 songs from various years scattered through Rock and Roll history and many different musical genres.

There seems to be more songs written about Girls than Boys so I have purposely included more songs that feature Boys names. Hopefully that will not raise the ire of those wishing equality! 😉 

There are links below to further musical delights for your enjoyment.

On The Playlist Today is...
Rex Bob Lowenstein - Mark Germino and The Sluggers
I've always loved this little tale about a DJ. Disc Jockey Roger Scott when he was working for the BBC prior to his death used to play this song quite a bit on his Sunday night show.

 Harry May - The Business
"What's his name?..." - A few years back I saw The Business supporting Good Charlotte in Glasgow and was among the few in the audience that night who could sing-a-long with every song by the band much to the amusement of the many youngesters present!

Gloria - Them
"And Her Name is...G.L.O.R.I.A." it has to be one of the most famous songs to feature the name of a girl. It has been covered by so many down through the years but the original is still the best. The cover by the way above is the 1965 French EP release and not the original 1964 Decca Release.

Joey's On The Street Again - The Boomtown Rats
Love 'em or hate 'em there can be no denying that The Boomtown Rats and Mr Geldof did actually write some quality songs. This one from their brilliant Debut Album on Ensign from 1977 I think is one of their finest they ever recorded.

Eloise - The Damned
Always a band who chose their cover versions wisely. Released inbetween their huge hit album Phantasmagoria (1985) and their not as successful Anything (1986) albums this Single became the best selling and highest chart placing of their long and distinguished career as it peaked at #3.

Suzy Is A Headbanger - Ramones
The Picture Sleeve above is for the Japanese Single release but most of us know it as a track on the Leave Home album or from the excellent New Wave Compilation that came out in 1977 on Vertigo Records.

 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) - Bruce Springsteen
I have included the live version recorded at Foxboro in September 2016 at the close of The River Tour.
It was of course not a hit for Springsteen and was only released as a single in Germany. The Hollies had a minor hit with it (#85 US, #12 New Zealand and #9 Netherlands).

A Tribute To The Heroes Of Rock and Roll
Just Like Eddie - Heinz
His tribute to Eddie Cochran released in 1963 and his second solo release after leaving The Tornados (who had a huge #1 hit with Telstar in 1962 on both sides of the Atlantic). It was his one and only solo hit reaching #5 in the UK.

Sweet Gene Vincent - Ian Dury and The Blockheads
Prior to his first chart success with What A Waste (1978) came this glorious slice of 7" black vinyl in 1977.
"Sweet Gene Vincent
Let the blue roll tonight
At the sock hop ball in the union hall
Where the bop is their delight"

Elvis Presley Blues - Gillian Welch
I have included a live version that was recorded for the BBC Four Sessions programme.
The original song appeared on her third album Time (The Revelator) released in 2001on the Acony Label.

Bo Diddley - Buddy Holly
First released by Bo Diddley himself in April 1955 and the Buddy Holly version was released posthumously in 1963 and taken from the album Reminiscing. It reached #4 in the UK Chart showing that four years after his untimely death that he was still much loved.

Roxette - Dr. Feelgood
Debut Single from the Canvey Island crew released in 1974 on United Artists. The band would not enjoy Single Chart success until three years later when Sneakin' Suspicion stumbled into the charts at #47!

Alison - Elvis Costello
The second Single release from Elvis Costello and one of his finest songs. It didn't chart for him though Linda Ronstadt had a minor hit with it in 1979 when it reached #30 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart in the USA and #68 in the UK.

Sally Maclennane - The Pogues
The second Single taken from their second Studio Album Rum, Sodomy & The Lash. It only made it to #51 in the UK Charts. Sally Maclennane is not actually a girl but a particular brand of Irish Stout!

Richard - Billy Bragg
From his excellent Debut EP/Album Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy. Jayne and Neil also get a name check in the song!

Terry - Kirsty MacColl
It's hard to imagine that this Single only reached #82 in the charts and was only her second charting Single ever (the first being two years earlier in 1981 - her third Single release There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis).

Simon Templer - Splodgenessabounds
The single reached #7 in the charts but largely due to the B-Side Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please.

Whole Lotta Rosie - AC/DC
I had a bit of a soft spot for AC/DC back when I was younger and whilst I went off them for a long time this song reminds me of just how good they were. I heard Alter Bridge cover this when I saw them live a couple of times and whilst it was pretty amazing you can't beat the original!

Gudbuy T'Jane - Slade
As my buddy Leighton says, "You can never have enough Slade" and so here's their massive #2 UK hit Single. Teachers everywhere are still in a state of despair about Slade's poor spelling! 

Johnny 99 (Bruce Springsteen Cover) - The Loved Ones
From the 2009 Distractions EP released on Fat Wreck Records.
Dave Hause giving a punky tinge to Springsteen's Nebraska classic.

The Parting Shot
 Edie (Ciao Baby) - The Cult
Inspired by the movie Ciao Manhattan! and in particular actress Edie Sedgewick who was part of Warhol's crowd in New York City. The Single was taken from the Album Sonic Temple in 1989.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Big Bad Beautiful Noise - The Godfathers (2017)

A Big Bad Beautiful Noise - The Godfathers
Metropolis/Cargo Records
Produced by Steve Crittall, Paul Robert Gray and The Godfathers
Released February 2017

Singles On A Big Bad Beautiful World
 A-Side: Rewind Time*

Released in June 2015
*Not included on the album

B-Side: Some Reaction

Released February 2017
7" Limited Edition Red Vinyl

A-Side: A Big Bad Beautiful Noise / You're So Slow
B-Side: Defibrillator (High Voltage Mix) / Human Zoo

Released as a Limited Editon 10" EP
June 2017


It's been four years since the last album Jukebox Fury and The Godfathers have already had a busy 2017 with the release of a single, an EP and a brand new spanking album entitled A Big Bad Beautiful Noise!

As seems to be the norm with The Godfathers  there have been changes in personnel as Chris Coyne left the band in 2016 ( other changes were made in 2014 and now the band only have one original member remaining in Peter Coyne) but that doesn't seem to have dampened their enthusiasm for playing big and loud rock and roll music.

The latest album sees them continuing in a similar vain to their previous albums giving us 11 slices of uncompromising rock and roll in their own characteristic style.

The Godfathers were always one of those bands that I thought deserved a wider hearing and greater success but maybe it is to their credit that they never became too huge as it's kept their feet firmly planted on the ground and they carry on delivering in live shows, no matter how small the stage (see below) and also on record.

The Godfathers - Live
9th February 2017

Cause I Said So.
If I Only Had Time.
You Don't Love Me.
One Good Reason.
How Low Is Low?
I Want You.
Till My Heart Stops Beating.
Unreal World.
Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues.
Some Reaction.
A Big Bad Beautiful Noise.
This Is Your Life.
When Am I Coming Down?
I'm Unsatisfied.
Love Is Dead.
She Gives Me Love.
I Want Everything.
Let's Get Higher.
This Damn Nation.
Birth, School, Work, Death.

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