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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

40 Years of Punk & New Wave 1977: The Roxy London WC2 - Various Artists (June '77)

The Roxy London WC2 - Various Artists
Harvest Records
Produced by Mike Thorne
Released June 1977
UK Chart #24

Side 1

Side 2

The first Live Compilation from the Punk/New Wave scene in 1977 was recorded at The Roxy. It wasn't pretty by any standards, sounding like it could have been recorded on someone's tape recorder! 

When you think of the bands that had played there during the January - April period it was actually a bit of a disappointment that they ended up with so few bands to record for the album. I realise of course that there were a number of bands like The Damned, The Clash, The Jam, Chelsea, The Stranglers etc who were already signed to labels and that logistically it would have been a bit of a nightmare for Harvest to get the approval of labels like CBS, United Artists and Polydor

It does have a few highlights though from a couple of the bands who were really making their mark upon the scene back then. Although it would never really appear on a list of my Favourite Live Albums (though there is one website magazine that declares that it is among the Five Best Punk Rock Compilations of All Time!) I think it is worth digging it out and giving it a blast again after 40 years of gathering dust!

It's amazing to think that there are a number of bands on here that are still on the go in one form or another.

There's loads of links below to point you toward even more singles, albums and live performances. Click on them to enjoy the music.

Kicking off with Slaughter and The Dogs from Manchester. Just a month prior to the release of the album they had issued their Debut Single Cranked Up Really High on Rabid Records. They have the two opening songs.

Slaughter and The Dogs would go on to sign with Decca Records releasing a further three singles and their Debut Album Do It Dog Style between September 1977 and February 1978. 

Over time they have issued a few studio albums and a bunch of live albums as well. They released a brand new album called Vicious in 2016 on Cleopatra Records. They are still out playing live shows as well (check out a show from this year at 100 Club in London - Part One, Part Two).

Next up it was the first of a number of unsigned bands to appear on the album, The Unwanted. Their Debut single wouldn't appear until October 1977 after they had signed with Raw Records. Withdrawal/1984/Bleak Outlook was followed in February 1978 by their only other single Secret Police/These Boots Were Made For Walking (also on Raw Records). Prior to signing to Raw Records there were a number of personnel changes to the band and the band wouldn't last beyond 1978. In 1985 a ten track album was released by Dolorean Records entitled Secret Past that gathered together the singles and other fragments from the band's short life.

Two tracks from Wire followed. They were not signed at the time but did manage to get a contract with Harvest Records for whom they recorded a few albums and singles. They didn't exactly sound on this album like they were going to be around for long but to date they have released 15 Studio Albums, 17 Live Albums, 7 Compilations, 13 EPs and 18 Singles!

Their set at The Roxy was actually released in full on the Pinkflag label as part of a 2CD package in 2006 that also included a show from CBGB, NYC in 1978. You can listen to the full sets here - 1st April 1977, 2nd April 1977.

Wire's latest album Silver/Lead was released in 2017, you can listen here!

Side 1 ends with The Adverts. In April 1977 they had released their Debut Single, One Chord Wonders on Stiff Records. The band actually played The Roxy 9 times between January-April 1977. Right from the get go I always thought TV Smith was one of the best songwriters during the Punk/New Wave scene. Their track Bored Teenagers would eventually be released as a B-Side to their hit single Gary Gilmore's Eyes.

TV Smith is still recording and playing shows. His latest album I Delete came out in 2014 and you can watch him in action with The Bored Teenagers from the 100 Club from January 2017 here

Johnny Moped open Side 2 with a real barn burner in Hard Loving Man. They were unsigned as well (but not for too much longer as Chiswick Records picked them up). Their Debut Single No One/Incendiary Device hit the streets in August 1977.

Still on the go these days, Johnny Moped released their first album for 26 years in 2016 on Damaged Goods entitled It's A Real Cool Baby.

Eater was the third band to have two tracks on the album. The band featuring 15 year old drummer Dee Generate had, by the time The Roxy album was released had two singles issued by The Label (Outside View and Thinkin' of The U.S.A.). They weren't that brilliant live really, though their first two singles I think are magnificent. You can check out The Compleat Eater that was released by Anagram Records in 1993 here.

X-Ray Spex were the only female fronted band to be included on the album. They were another band who were unsigned at that moment. They did sign a one-off deal with Virgin Records who released their Debut Single Oh Bondage Up Yours/I'm A ClichΓ© in October 1977. The band then moved to EMI International where they had four charting singles between 1978-79 and a Debut Album that peaked at #30 in the UK Chart in 1978.

Buzzcocks (minus Howard Devoto who had left not long after the Debut EP was released in January 1977) round off the album with two wee gems Breakdown and Love Battery.

Although the band had already released an EP they didn't actually get signed to a major label until August 1977 when they put pen to paper with United Artists at the Electric Circus in Manchester on the day Elvis Presley died (16th).

The band would go on to release a bucket load of real quality singles and some priceless albums before breaking up in 1981. But they did get back together again and to this day have continued to release great albums. Their latest, The Way, is one of their finest.

The band continue to tour fronted by Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle and last year they were out celebrating 40 years of the band (Check out the encore from Glasgow in October 2016)

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