Album Chart of 1977

<1976 1978>

  • This chart features albums released in 1977 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • The Top 30 albums are profiled, and the full chart (Top 63) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1977 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1977-a-sex-pistols.jpg

DEATH TO THE SEX PISTOLS

More feared than Russian Communism”, Britain's Punk Rock movement – which essentially consisted of energetic adolescents with spiky hair and ripped jeans who were out for a laugh – were public enemy #1 in Britain ‘77.

Yeah, never mind the Racist police, the high unemployment, the three-day working weeks, the power cuts, the raging taxation, the food shortages and the endless strikes.

What Britain really needs, thought the “intelligentsia”, is to come down like a ton of bricks on Colin from Bedford for spitting on the pavement outside Woolworths last Tuesday. And that Sandra from Walsall, what with her scary eyeliner, she’s clearly high risk to old age pensioners with weak heart conditions. Punk filth and scum, read all about it!

As any free-thinker would surely surmise, the hysteria from Britain’s media, councillors, parents and grandparents was wildly inappropriate:
Most of these groups would be vastly improved by sudden death. The worst of the punk rock groups I suppose currently are the Sex Pistols. They are unbelievably nauseating. They are the antithesis of humankind. I would like to see somebody dig a very, very large, exceedingly deep hole and drop the whole bloody lot down it.
~ Bernard Brook-Partridge, Conservative member of the Greater London Council, chairman of the Arts committee

On Christmas Day 1977, Bernard's “antithesis of humankind” performed a benefit matinee in Huddersfield for the children of striking firemen, laid-off workers and one-parent families (there was also an evening concert for the big kids!)

What did Brook-Partridge ever do for any of that lot? Naffin’. Hopelessly out-of-touch, that rancid old sausage was well past his sell-by date.

A few months earlier, almost unbelievably, the police had taken the word “bollocks” to court. Yes, that really happened in Britain in 1977. The three magistrates who heard the case in Nottingham were unanimous with their verdict:
Much as my colleagues and I wholeheartedly deplore the vulgar exploitation of the worst instincts of human nature for the purchases of commercial profits by both you and your company, we must reluctantly find you not guilty of each of the four charges.

Rarely, can the police of any state have made such a public exhibition of themselves; such foolishness, such incompetence, such a waste of resources.

The truth of the matter is that in mid-70s Britain, a huge number of teenagers were bored with the blandness of the music, were disillusioned with the state of the nation and had worries about their life prospects. Someone had to say bollocks to it, Punk had to happen.

And, boy oh boy, did it spill out. The Damned, The Jam and The Stranglers all had two new albums out this year, as did Ultravox!, David Bowie, Ramones and Iggy Pop (who had three).

The Jam are calling out the government as liars, you've got the Sex Pistols calling for destruction and The Clash are itching for a revolution.

It did become a battle, and all of a sudden, British white kids out for a laugh knew how it felt to be a persecuted minority. They were united, never divided, and history shows that they were victorious. Whilst Punk, the fashion statement, soon faded, the floating nebulae of the explosive victory has never stopped, and can felt to this day in musical sub-genres, fashion and attitude not only in Britain, but in countless cutting-edge music-loving scenes the world over.

The British kids of ’77 – who were more than twice my age – are now retro-heroes to me. They were the ultimate Jukebox Rebels, and made things better for you and I today.

Long live our noble Punks.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Aug-2016

TJR says:

9.55 “An elite masterpiece”

A triumph for all concerned, despite the unbelievable chaos which existed in their world. At the time of release in October ‘77 the Sex Pistols were: Johnny Rotten (21, vocals); Sid Vicious (20, bass); Steve Jones (22, guitar) and Paul Cook (21, drums). Due to a lack of competence on Sid’s part, Steve Jones ultimately played both guitar and bass all over the set. Previous bassist Glen Matlock, who co-wrote 10 of the 12, had been asked to return for sessions but failed to appear when his fees were not met upfront. Who could blame him? During the year-long recording process – an incredible length of time for a punk band – they had been signed and fired by EMI and A&M, had stockpiles of singles destroyed, had at least a dozen scheduled concerts cancelled by local authorities, downgraded their bassist, had their songs banned from shops and radio, been attacked by members of the public and had regularly been harassed by the police. As if all that wasn’t enough, a bootleg album of ’76 demos, “Spunk”, hit many shops several weeks before the long-awaited debut proper. To cap all the group’s angst, Virgin boss Richard Branson had the final say on the track-listing, and he stuck his neck out by including 4 of the previous singles; “Anarchy in the U.K.”, “God Save the Queen”, “Pretty Vacant” and “Holidays in the Sun”, against the wishes of the group members. With hindsight, he was absolutely spot-on and his unpopular decision ensures that “Never Mind The Bollocks” stands mightily in the annals of rock history. Of course, it’s all about the songs, oh those songs, a cascading flow of unrelenting excellence. From the marching jackboots of the album’s devastating opener “Holidays In The Sun” to the stunning mockumentary “E.M.I.” which closes the set, the album rarely pauses for breath during its 38 minutes onslaught. Drenched in blood and sweat, and energetically bristling with venom and honesty, this statement from London reverberated all over the world in 1977. Feel the wrath of the Rotten bombast… “Destroy”… “I Am The Anti-Christ”… “I’m Not A Discharge”… “Cheap holiday in other people’s misery”… “I kick you in the brains when you get down to kneel, I pray, You pray to your god”… “The fascist regime, it made you a moron”. There are no answers: “there is no future in England’s dreaming”… “I don’t work, I just speed, that’s all I need, I’m a lazy sod”… “There’s no point in asking, you’ll get no reply”. Ramones may have landed the world’s first album blow from a punk heavyweight, but these lads took it somewhere else entirely. Nasty nihilism never sounded so appealing, before or after this incendiary behemoth.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Sep-2006


TJR says:

9.20 “A masterpiece”

Disclaimer: I’m a sucker for a deadpan delivery, appregio and melody. “Trans Europa Express” has all three and has got to be up there with the dismantling of the Berlin Wall as one of Germany’s greatest post WWII statements… “Dear Europe, we love you.” It's a perfect production, probably one of the most cohesive albums ever made, and, judging by the reception afforded Kraftwerk (and their ilk), I think it’s clear to see the world loves Germany’s post-war babies. Miles apart from ‘75s “Radio-Aktivität” in terms of pop consistency; “Trans Europa Express” was an adventure playground for cutting-edge futurists. The latest album from the quartet was delivered in March ’77, fittingly and famously launched with a train journey press conference from Paris. The impressive TEE network ran from Spain in the west to Austria in the east, and from Denmark to Southern Italy. Germany was central to the network, connected at every angle – this seems like a natural cause for celebration, and Kraftwerk’s mechanical rhythms lent themselves perfectly to the theme. Ever the perfectionists, they even went to railway bridges to listen to the sounds that trains actually produced, although they found that these were not danceable and slight alterations had to be made! Although I initially had the English version of this album, some time back I took the plunge to invest in the German language versions of all the groups’ albums; the urge for authenticity was too great. Scarcely can any side of an LP have been so perfectly constructed as side A of this set. The blemish-free “Europa Endlos” is a blissful 10 minute paean to the elegant continent; it perfectly captures a sense of wonder at the beginning of a new journey. For all their robotic sound, Kraftwerk still manage to convey much emotion, in their own strange way. “Spiegelsaal” (“The Hall of Mirrors”) and “Schaufensterpuppen” (“Showroom Dummies”) both have vocals which are detached, but challenge everyday human insecurities; even famous stars fix their face in the looking glass and being put out on display is an uncomfortable feeling for most. On side 2, “Trans Europa Express”, “Metall Auf Metall” and “Abzug” essentially serve as a 3-part suite of the same 13-minute journey, the metal on metal mid-piece breaking down to the bare clang-chug of the wheels on the rail-track. The shimmering “Franz Schubert” flirts mesmerizingly and prettily with classical motifs for four minutes, before seamlessly segueing with the vocoder reprise of “Endlos Endlos” which signals the end of our round trip. I want to go again. Can we go again? Please let us go again…

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Jul-2006


TJR says:

8.93 “A classic”

We are the leading lights of mgqashiyo boasts the title, and there can be little argument after just one listen to this set; an insistent thumper that positively sparkles. There had been no new Mahotella Queens albums for a while, and in the meantime rivals Mahlathini and The Queens had stolen some initiative in the marketplace. Keen to fight back, in his liner notes, ace-guitarist Marks Mankwane states the case for the Mahotella brand, declaring his girls to be “the mistresses of Mgqashiyo” (an indestructible African beat which can never die) and “the best entertainers in Southern Africa”. The regal five for this one (although one is missing from the cover) are: Emily Zwane (Brakpan); Thandi Radebe (Dube, Soweto), Beatrice Ngcobo (Durban), Thandi Nkosi (Emdeni, Soweto) and Caroline Kapentar (Bloemfontein). Their male groaners are from the fast-growing Abafana Baseqhudeni group, including Robert ‘Mbazo’ Mkhize, Potatoes Mazambane and Joseph Mthimkhulu. The irresistible Makgona Tsohle Band (aka Makhona Zonke Band), led by Marks Mankwane, provide their trademark effervescent rhythm and roots which are as dynamic as ever. The bouncy album opener “Zibuyile Nonyaka” (“Return Year”) proudly states that these girls are back and they mean business. It’s like they’ve never been away. The mix up of all sorts of male and female vocal tones will be a key feature of the set, and this is apparent from the off. The deep-voiced male, who I take to be Mbazo, is every bit the equal of the great Mahlathini. “Uthuli Lwezichwe” (“The Minors”) seems celebratory and oozes soul, not a bit diffused by the high energy danceable nature of the track. This is, in effect, gospel for the townships. “Demazana”, a classic written by Beatrice Ngcobo, drops the pace down to funky levels as the album veers brilliantly from one feeling to another, always joyously. “Ziyatshitshimba Izintombi” has so much going on vocally and harmoniously that it’s completely impossible not to carried away in the sheer brilliance of this whole sound. Exhilaration is the word I think I’m looking for. 11 years on from their debut LP and The Mahotella Queens are flying high. Mankwane’s liner notes conclude: “make no mistake it is superb”. If only all hyperbole was so accurate… (by the way, you really shouldn't miss this one at the Global Groove.)

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Jul-2014


TJR says:

8.80 “A classic”

Following the horrific assassination attempt on his life in December ‘76, Bob had wisely exiled himself from “heavy manners” Jamaica; this did not hamper his musical progress as evidenced very quickly on “Exodus” which was delivered from his new London HQ in June, 1977. With an attention-grabbing fade-in that encourages you to listen and hear, “Natural Mystic” kicks-off the album in glorious fashion… “there’s a natural mystic flowing the air”… the lyrics are up for interpretation, but it feels deep and purposeful, and is almost certainly concerned with Bob’s tireless crusade to preach good over evil. The mighty title-track paraphrases the statement made by Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley who had the slogan “We know where we're going” during the Elections campaign of ’76. Bob completely turns the slogan around by proclaiming “we’re going to our father land” and that this will be the great “movement of JA people”. It’s fair to say side 1 has been as tough as old boots, with killer basslines, crisp horns and intoxicating hooks. With recent events, it would have understandable had Bob sought to carry this tack throughout the LP, but to the eternal credit of his spirit, side 2 is doused in peace, unity, love and having fun. “Jamming” is a masterclass in soul salvation “children must unite, for life is worth much more than gold”. At the same time the playful playing of the glass bottle – Lee Perry style – puts a huge smile on the face. “Waiting In Vain” emerges as a rare classic of the oft-dodgy lovers rock variety, whilst the soothing “Three Little Birds” is perfect as an anthem to unite peoples of the globe in the biggest dancefloor EVER. Bob doesn’t care if you’re in Ibiza or Iraq – wake up and smile at the rising sun. Closing the album, “One Love/People Get Ready”, a tune in his repertoire for some 12 years, is laid down definitively and mightily, a rallying call to stop all this fussing and fighting. I’m not a religious man, but even for me Bob’s message is palatable “Let's get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!), So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!). Have pity on those whose chances grows thinner, there ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation.” The concept of superior beings is, of course, a right load of old tosh, but I’ll ‘cede that Mr. Marley is in a musical class way ahead of most mortal souls. That was never clearer than right here on this, his finest LP.

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Jun-2007


TJR says:

8.63 “A classic”

’77 was a big year for the Ramones hombres, with two LPs, “Leave Home” (January) and “Rocket To Russia” (November) cementing their stature as leading lights of the new punk movement. Still there was no major commercial breakthrough, but for those who were keeping an eye on them, your over-the-counter fiver was a safe bet that was guaranteed to deliver a generous payback. The album cover, snapped in the garbage-strewn alley behind CBGB, looks promising, and the content doesn’t disappoint. Opener “Cretin Hop” takes the mickey out the pogoing punks “You gotta keep it beatin’ for the hopping cretins”. Being slagged-off was never so much fun. A quick 1-2-3-4 and we’re off on a seemingly idyllic jolly to “Rockaway Beach”. Apparently “it’s not hard, not far to reach, we can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach” although the place was later described by the band as “a sewer where miscreants hung”. Album by album, we’re getting to meet all of the Ramones girl friends; following on from “Judy Is A Punk” and “Suzy Is A Headbanger”, we learn that “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”. Sheena is a Punk convert from the discotheques. In ’77, there’s a Sheena in every City of the western world. It’s a close call, but of all the girls so far I love Sheena the best. Continuing their penchant for including a cover, there are two of them on “Rocket To Russia” – “Do You Wanna Dance? (Bobby Freeman, 1958) and “Surfin’ Bird” (The Rivingtons, 1962), both typical of the groups love for both the rock n roll and surf eras. “I Wanna Be Well” is a big favourite of mine on side 2, and comes with the immortal line for the disaffected blank generation “My future's bleak, ain't it neat?” Golly gee! Before the end, my heart swells for “Ramona”, what a sweet sweet sound. Ramonesmania was hardly gripping the nation, but at least this one placed in the Top 50 in their homelands – it was progress and it was wholly justified.

The Jukebox Rebel
07-Feb-2009


TJR says:

8.40 “Excellent”

After several years of underground activity, Suicide finally delivered the artistic statement that their small number of followers had been waiting for. By now fully settled as a duo, at the time of release in December ’77 they were: Alan Vega (39, vocals) and Martin Rev (29, keyboards). Anything more than these two and they’d lose a great deal of the b-movie appeal. Rev’s unique and minimalist brand of trance-inducing horror-electronica provides the perfect canvas for Vega’s paranoid tales of urban decay, tortured souls and twisted love songs. I don’t know why I love sinister music so much – maybe the menacing edginess keeps me on my toes, there but for the grace of fate go I. Suicide’s ace debut is probably about the closest you can get to actual insanity without flipping over into the institution.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-May-2007


TJR says:

8.22 “Excellent”

Whilst albums by Chicago, Eagles and Peter Frampton continued to shift units by the UPS truckload, the second Ramones offering did even worse than their debut, peaking at a lowly #148 in the Billboard charts; so much for justice. Thankfully, there was sufficient adoration from punk fans on both sides of the Atlantic to keep them in hamburgers, with a decent enough demand for vinyl and live appearances. The classics all appear on side 1 with “Glad To See You Go”, a song bassist Dee Dee wrote about the end of his relationship with a volatile and violent girlfriend, and, from what I’ve read, he seems well rid. Seamlessly, “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” extols the virtue of therapy for the troubled ones: “Peace and love is here to stay and now I can wake up and face the day, Happy-happy-happy all the time, shock treatment, I'm doing fine”. And so the album continues tongue-in-cheek, left, right and centre, as likely to be paying a visit to Burger King as checking in at the local loony bin. The insanely catchy “Suzy Is A Headbanger”, completely digging on Eddie Cochrane’s “C’mon Everybody”, is next to shine and seems to follow up “Judy Is A Punk” from the debut. Seemingly, real-life scenesters are getting a big-up, although it’s doubtful Suzy’s mum will be too chuffed with her geek label. Cheeky boys. Closing side 1, “Pinhead” introduces the classic “Gabba Gabba Hey” chant with which the group would be synonymous for the rest of their career. “I don't wanna be a pinhead no more, I just met a nurse that I could go for” sings Joey, as awkward a 6’ 6 icon as ever there was. Does he get the nurse? No. Instead, he finds himself in the company of the deformed characters from Tod Browning’s “Freaks”, who speak in high-pitched (tape-speeded) tones: “Gabba Gabba, we accept you, we accept you, one of us”. At first listen, it’s kinda funny, before the connotations become apparent. As with their debut, the group include one cover, opting for “California Sun” which was made famous by The Rivieras back in ’64. As good as it is, it’s a level below the rest of the set, as is the unremarkable closer, “You Should Never Have Opened That Door”. Mustn’t grumble though – there have been classics galore. And bang-whizz-zap there you have it, 14 songs all over in just 30 minutes. What a lean machine.

The Jukebox Rebel
09-May-2016


TJR says:

8.06 “Excellent”

Just five months after “The Idiot” the Iggy Pop / David Bowie partnership delivered a second ’77 LP with “Lust For Life”, issued in August. The album is wholly different from the preceding set, deliberately recorded in a spontaneous, improvised manner, with a beat that was crunchier, rockier, livelier and much more immediate. Meaty, beaty, big and bouncy, “Lust For Life” comes bursting in with a killer rhythm section shamelessly ripping into the Motown vaults to misappropriate “You Can’t Hurry Love”. It’s a cheeky raid with a massive bounty. The ace rhythm section provided by the Sales brothers (Tony on bass and Hunt on drums) strike gold again with “The Passenger” – a hundred bands could attempt to play this and very few would equal the majesty of Iggy and his crew here. Here, our man sings of the night time, the rock n rollers time: “Get into the car, we'll be the passenger, we'll see the stars that shine so bright, stars made for us tonight, and everything is made for you and me”. It all sounds so glam – but underneath a certain sense of loneliness lurks. Iggy is dreaming of riches on “Success”, a good fun rocker which goofs around in a Zappa-esque manner, with the Sales Brothers stepping up to the mic to holler back refrains at Iggy who seems to be improvising as he tricks them into shouting back “Oh Shit” by the end, which cracks me up every time. Well, at least it did the first three times anyway, and still does as long as a few years have passed since I last heard it. Closing the album, “Fall In Love With Me” sounds like the embryo for Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up”, and cements the deal on what has been a very fine offering from our man.

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Mar-2007


TJR says:

7.78 “Brilliant”

At the time of release in April ’77 The Stranglers were: Hugh Cornwell (27, guitar, vocals); Jean-Jacques Burnel (25, bass, vocals); Dave Greenfield (28, keyboards, backing vocals) and Jet Black (38, drums). This lot were far more accomplished than yer average spotty oiks who were breaking through in the burgeoning punk scene, but they had the aggression, they had the attitude, and, most importantly, they had the songs. In their name, accomplished was not a dirty word. Their gruff brand of punk was uniquely characterized by the phat and meaty bass of JJ, the alpha-male cocksure vocal delivery of Hugh and the lively range of Dave’s keyboards. The quality is apparent from the off on “Sometimes” which reinvents the old 60s garage-organ sound in the here and now, with a threatening undertone and the notification that some n’er do well is going to get a smack in the face. The Stranglers boys are in town. The album’s one and only miss-step occurs on side 1 when JJ steps up to the mic for “Princess on the Streets” which is an unwelcome reminder that they have come from blues rock roots. I can imagine some listeners in ’77 opining “get with the programme ya feckers”. Thankfully, this is followed by “Hanging Around” and normal service is resumed as they slag off the wasters of the pub-scene that birthed them. “Peaches” is next and rockets the group mightily into legends territory with one of the dirtiest, raunchiest grooves of the decade. “Liberation for women, that’s what I preach” Yeah, right Hugh! The trials and tribulations of a dirt-poor rock n roll life are laid out on “(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)”, the single which had announced the band’s arrival a few months earlier. Again, standing apart from contemporaries, the track is memorable for introducing saxophone to punk, and features Eric Clarke, a Welsh coal miner. Eric was introduced by manager Dai Davies. He quite literally came off a shift down the mine, got on a train, came to the studio, blew a few notes, and went back down the mine the next day. A famous guy once sang “a working class hero is something to be”. Right here, Eric walks the walk and The Stranglers talk the talk.

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Aug-2008


TJR says:

7.65 “Brilliant”

Just five months after April’s “Rattus”, “No More Heroes” was in the shops with no quality control issues whatsoever; it was every bit as grubby, provocative and well produced. There’s an integrity in this band that is endearing, even if it does lead to moments which are uncomfortable for some. Straight away, “I Feel Like A Wog” blasts in with 0% subtlety and makes you wanna grab Hugh by the lapels, square him in the eyes and sneer “who the fuck are you calling a wog?” On closer inspection, he is expressing empathy with the alienated and the downtrodden: “I feel like a wog people giving me the eyes, but I was born here just like you, I feel like a wog, got all the dirt shitty jobs”. Following strongly is “Bitching”, which has a great VU trance-groove to it, as it takes a swipe at shallow gripers with lyrics such as “why don’t you all get screwed, why don’t you tell me something new?”. Fighting apathy is the order of the day on the killer-cut “Something Better Change”, sung by JJ, which somehow manages to be at once guttural and pop. “Something’s happening and it’s happening right now” seems to place the group at the centre of la nouvelle vague. Out with the old and in with the new underpins the message of the following track, “No More Heroes”. Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky? Dear old Lenny? The great Elmyra, and Sancho Panza? This is ’77 – time for new D.I.Y. ethics to kick in – write a fanzine, join a band, get creative, be your own hero. At this time, The Stranglers might have been courting controversy and dividing opinion but they certainly made you feel and think… I for one love the cut of their jib.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Aug-2008


TJR says:

7.50 “Brilliant”

The 22-year-old had been writing and performing since 1970 with no recognition, latterly getting by as a data-entry clerk. This criminal state of affairs was soon rectified when Stiff Records took a chance. The talented songwriter was backed in the studio by American country-rockers Clover who, it has to be said, did very well to hide the fact that they were American country rockers. This was the sound of a new generation – where country and blues could be thinly acknowledged, but the punk sneer was decidedly New Wave. 1977 was quite a year. R.I.P. Elvis I. Greetings Elvis II…

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Mar-2006


TJR says:

7.48 “Really good”

Having auditioned successfully for the “Mighty Two” (producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson) in 1976, the (soon to be legendary) vocal trio wasted no time in finding their own hit formula. Strong songs, catchy and conscious, with call from Joseph Hill, response from Albert Walker and Roy Dayes, and roots-rocking from a first class, state-of-the-art production team. “I’m Not Ashamed” had that “ice-rink organ” sound down to a tee 3 years before The Specials came up with “Do Nothing”. Culture recorded a series of powerful singles, starting with “See Dem a Come” and the hugely successful “Two Sevens Clash”, which predicted the apocalypse on 7th day of the 7th month of 1977. The song, released on the island in as a single in November 1976 (and re-recorded for the album), was sufficiently powerful that many in Kingston stayed indoors on the day in question, fearing that the prophecy would come true, thankfully it did not. Well played Superman. “Pirate Days” stands as the album’s highlight – it’s an early statement of intent from Joseph Hill’s pen – he’ll be running a tight, no nonsense ship as he tells his stories. This time we’re being educated about the destruction of the Arawak Indians by the Pirates as Joe rams home the message with his chant “the Arawaks, the Arawaks, the Arawaks was here first”. There can be no arguing with that. Side two continues with an equally great sense of purpose, and the strength-in-depth of this band’s material begins to sink in. Back to back, “Get Ready To Ride The Lion Of Zion” and “Black Star Liner” (on the wicked ’Far East’ bass line) are 2 fine songs of repatriation – a constant theme in the group’s songs over the years. “See Them A Come” continues the social commentary with its tale of police brutality mixed in with extracts from history featuring Marcus Garvey. The album finishes with the feel good “Natty Dread Taking Over”, a soulful chanter with some lazy but catchy trombone and a heavy manners bassline that Prince Far I would kill for. It’s a stellar finale to a classy debut…

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Aug-2009


TJR says:

7.35 “Really good”

At the time of release in February ’77 they were: Tom Verlaine (27, guitar, keyboards, vocals); Richard Lloyd (25, guitar, backing vocals); Fred Smith (28, bass, backing vocals) and Billy Ficca (27, drums). They were a band who were in-demand and could be choosy as to who to sign with – in the end it was Elektra who offered the best deal in terms of the artistic freedom that was so important to the group, most especially the two guitarists, Verlaine and Lloyd, self-described as “expressionists”. Their innovative “Jazz-Punk” sound was a challenge to the fans of “alternative” music of the time – and not one which was received warmly with record buyers at home, where it completely failed to break the Top 200. Despite this major-blow, which would have fatal implications for the group in the near future, the album was a huge success amongst the critics who recognized the craft and the skill of the performance, as well as the great songs throughout the set. A fine work of art.

The Jukebox Rebel
07-Jan-2008


TJR says:

7.34 “Really good”

Your yob of 1977 had a big choice to make. Do they battle thoughtfully with The Clash or viciously with The Pistols? The Clash made their debut on 4th July 1976, supporting the Sex Pistols at the Black Swan in Sheffield. By the turn of the year, punk had become a major media phenomenon in the UK. On 25th January 1977, the band signed to CBS Records for £100,000, a remarkable amount for a band that had played a total of about thirty gigs and almost none as a headliner. The debut single, “White Riot”, was released in March 1977 and reached number 34. Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon had been involved in the riots at the Notting Hill Carnival of 1976. Their clarion-call to the disaffected white youth was to stand up like their black counterparts. The song was a two chord wonder – fast and crude but really saying something: “Are you taking over, or are you taking orders? Are you going backwards, or are you going forwards?” The Clash would fight wars on many fronts – to the sound of police sirens, the war against racism in the establishment had so begun. The debut album came hot on the heels of the single, arriving in April. The line-up was Joe Strummer (24, lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (21, lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (21, bass guitar, vocals) and Terry Chimes (20, drums). Poor Terry was re-christened for all-time as “Tory Crimes” on the album’s notes. Unsurprisingly, it would be his first and last Clash album. Clearly, this was a band keen to make a statement at every opportunity. This set was straight out of garageland, red through and through, and bursting with energy. “Career Opportunities” expressed discontent with the lack of opportunity for Britain’s youth of the day: “I hate the army an’ I hate the R.A.F., I don’t wanna go fighting in the tropical heat, I hate the civil service rules, And I won’t open letter bombs for you”. The line “I won’t open letter bombs for you” is a reference to a former job of Clash guitarist Mick Jones, opening letters for a British government department to make sure they weren’t rigged with mailbombs. “Do you wanna make tea at the BBC” always makes me laugh. Protest laced with humour is surely the way; sarcasm is a most effective form of wit as far as I’m concerned, don’t let the squares tell you otherwise. Elsewhere, the band’s embracing of England’s Jamaican subculture was a masterstroke. First fruits of this dalliance came via the album’s only cover, Junior Murvin’s “Police And Thieves”, which was one of those amazing historical moments in music, where one single gesture proves be completely inspirational for a generation. One Jerry Dammers was certainly paying attention. The song, addressing Jamaican gang war and police brutality, was seen to represent every bit as well in England 1977. Murvin’s first commentary was “They have destroyed Jah work!”. No Junior, they were spreading Jah word! The protest movement is alive and well, now with added flavours. If only they had been a tad more vicious…

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Mar-2006


TJR says:

7.24 “Really good”

Following a slew of singles for Cambridge Matiwane at Satbel in the preceding few years, Mahlathini and The Queens were on the move again in 1977, joining with producer Piet Ntuli (despite the fact he had been a slippery character in past dealings) at EMI, with the recordings being issued on the Yashingoma imprint. Their split from Rupert Bopape some five years earlier turned out to have a silver lining of sorts; fans of South African jive could now enjoy the output from both of the rival camps of the Mahotella Queens (often with groaner Mbazo) and The Queens (often with groaner Mahlathini). The output from the latter pairing in ’77 was incredible, with enough material for at least two known LPs, “Wavutha Umlilo” (billed to Mahalthini and The Queens) and this self-titled set, a compilation which rounded up 12 single sides, all of which were recorded and issued in 1977. Talk about a hit factory! On this set, The Queens are: Mildred Mangxola (writes 2), Isabel Maseko (writes 1), Agnes Mhlauli (writes 2), Thoko Nontsontwa (writes 1), Belinda Sithole (writes 1) and Paulina Zulu. Alas, we are missing one on the LP cover, what a shame. There’s some truly fantastic material here – the album is at its best when it gets down to hard-and-fast, no-nonsense mbaqanga business, and those Queens just do their glorious thing, harmonizing with great imagination and sweetness. Predictably, the deviations into western soul fail to impress half as much, and there are four such numbers peppered throughout. The melodic and fast-paced “Ikhubalo” (“Magic”), penned by Mildred, is an early favourite, and this sets off an exhilarating run which includes “Uzenzile” (penned by and featuring the great Mahlathini who almost breaks into a Swiss yodel!), and the classic “Keba Bone” which completely delights my soul with that spongy rhythm which just gets me bouncing every time, no matter whether I’m seated or standing. Everything comes together perfectly here – guitars, bass, drums and harmonies, it’s quite the thriller. I hate to be bigging up Mahlathini on a Queens LP, but a special mention must be made of another of his compositions, “Sukuma Ndoda”, which fires up side 2 towards the end of the set, although the groaner himself is conspicuous by his absence in the performance. In my final analysis, the Queens ‘cede to the Mahotella Queens in the great LP battle of the year, but they put up a great fight. If I were a South African music fan in ’77 I’d have been very much looking forward to the ongoing tussle for supremacy… (note: this album is freely available to you thanks to the good people at Electric Jive.)

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Oct-2014


TJR says:

7.06 “Really good”

Peter Tosh the stoner of ’76 turns into Peter Tosh the hardliner of ’77 – equal rights then we’ll talk peace. “Get Up, Stand Up”, a reworking of his Wailers tune of ’73, sets the tone from the off, spoiled only by the nonsensical exclamation that “Almighty Jah is a living man”. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? The day of the oppressor will come on “Downpressor Man”, a reworking of a Tosh single from several years back, itself a variant of the old “Sinner Man” traditional spiritual. Where will the fat cat run on the hellish day? “You gonna run to the sea, but the sea will be boiling” … “You gonna run to the rocks, the rocks will be melting”. Stunning imagery, no matter your views on the subject. Bad-ass credentials are to the fore on “Stepping Razor” as the tall one fires a warning shot: “If you want to live, live, I beg you treat me good, I'm like a walking razor, don't you watch my size, I'm dangerous”. On side 2, the title-track seems to take a dig at Bob Marley’s harmonious vision for the troubles of the world: “Everyone is crying out for peace, none is crying out for justice.” The corrupt and oppressive Apartheid regime of South Africa is last in the crossfire on the straight-to-the-point call-to-arms, “Apartheid”. Steve Biko was tortured to death in police custody in September ’77. Perhaps Tosh has a point, and on this album he makes his statement very well.

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.95 “Good”

On this debut set in May ’77, the suited and booted trio from Woking were: Paul Weller (18, vocals, guitar), Bruce Foxton (21, bass, backing vocals) and Rick Buckler (21, drums). There’s no denying the ferocity, passion and energy of this set, even if it is a bit bash-em-out, showing only brief glimpses of songwriting sensibilities which would soon set them apart from contemporaries many and various. 10 of the 12 come from the pen of Paul Weller, with 2 covers – a rip-roaring version of Larry Williams’ “Slow Down” and a completely un-necessary re-hash of “Batman”. “Away From The Numbers” is the first sign of greatness here – huge Kinktatstic riffs, and a great set of lyrics; youth feels like an alien even amongst friends and is dying to break free and see if there’s more for him out there… “You free your mind, you free your soul… reality's so hard, reality's so hard.” To this day, I still feel that the sequencing of the aforementioned “Batman” immediately thereafter is verging on a criminal offence. All is forgiven straight away on side 2 as “In The City” comes blasting in as glorious as any youth rebellion song of any band, any era. It was the Jam’s debut single, released just a few weeks before the LP, and, for all their harking back to 60s mod culture, really struck the right chords for Britain ’77. The Jam are not ‘avin it – they’re the young generation and they’ve got something to say… “I wanna say, I wanna tell you, about the young ideas, but you turn them into fears… In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms, and I've heard they now have the right to kill a man”. “Time For Truth” is another lashing out at the authoritarian British state; PM James Callaghan is “just another red balloon with a lot of hot gas”. Weller’s advice is clear and to the point: “Why don't you fuck off?”. Liddle Towers was murdered in police custody just 6 months earlier “And you're trying to hide it from us, but you know what I mean, bring forward those six pigs, we want to see them swing so high”. These kids are not happy with the state of the nation. It’s been a while since music changed minds – and in ’77 there’s already plenty listening to what the Jam had to say.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Jul-2007


TJR says:

6.93 “Good”

Ultravox! were yet another of the hard-working groups of ’77 to release two album in the same year, with October’s “Ha!-Ha!-Ha!” following on from February’s self-titled debut. At this time, the London-based quintet were: John Foxx (29, lead vocals); Billy Currie (27, violins, keyboards, synthesiser); Stevie Shears (~23, guitar); Chris Cross (25, bass, vocals) and Warren Cann (27, drums, vocals). In this years’ class, they were second only to the mighty Kraftwerk in terms of setting standards for electronic pop – there’s never a dull moment, with many fine highlights.

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Dec-2015


TJR says:

6.92 “Good”

For the second time since gaining independence in ’62, Jamaica declared itself to be in a state of emergency in June ’76, the result of increasingly violent outbreaks across the country in the run up to the election. The ruling PNP charged that the JLP and CIA were plotting to destabilise the country. In particularly volatile areas, curfews were put in place, forbidding citizens to be out between 8pm and 6am. In next to no time, nearly 200 agitators were in detention. Labour vs Conservative (UK) or Republican v Democrat (US) are puppy contests compared to the vicious Rottweiler savagery of PNP vs JLP in Jamaica, very often a matter of life or death. Prince Far I was recording with Joe Gibbs at this time and this collaboration resulted in a 45 issued in response to the troubles, “Heavy Manners”, a cut riding on another of Joe’s productions, Naggo Morris’ “Su Su Pan Rasta” from ’75. It’s very cleverly done, retaining Naggo’s wailing and adding police siren imitations as Far I lets rip with a heavy bout of sarcasm and a call to Joe (Gibbs) and Rastafarians in general to distance themselves from the whole sorry affair: “discipline is what the world needs today baby, heavy, heavy discipline… war in the east and, war in the west, war in the north, war in the south, crazy Joe get dem out, what a terrible bout.” So popular was this phrasing in the nation’s conscious that “under heavy manners” became an everyday phrase to describe the ten-month-long State of Emergency. Unbelievably, the governing party utilised it in one of their key campaign slogans: “Vote against violence. Vote ‘Heavy Manners’. Vote PNP.” A full album followed under this title in ’77, with the aforementioned hit single serving as the closing cut. The album starts toughly with “Rain A Fall” as Far I re-treads an earlier Marleyism from “Them Belly A Full”: “an hungry man is an angry man”. Next up is “Big Fight”, a humorous winner about a boxing bout between a Dread and a Babylonian. Of course, Dread has love in his heart and Babylon is ignorant. The action-thriller fantasy concludes, not unsurprisingly, with the revelation that if you “Look in a the Gleaner and you will see, Natty Dread a thee univershall champion of the universe right now”. The bloke’s a nutter, but in a loveable way. There’s a big shock on track 3 as Far I gets all romantic with a Millie-esque squeaker. The niceness is disconcerting, but I like it. There aren’t too many killer cuts on-board, although “Boz Rock”, “Show Me Mine Enemy” (complete with some seriously wonky effects) and “Shadow” are all rock-solid efforts.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Jun-2016


TJR says:

6.88 “Good”

Long before DIY culture had become a buzz-phrase in the Punk scene, this quartet from Brisbane had been getting on with it, promoting their own gigs, running their own clubs, and pressing their own great debut single, “I’m Stranded”, which was available hand to hand in September ’76. Things in Queensland were every bit as Conservative as they were in Britain; theirs was far from an easy ride. They were sussed enough to reach out to the “right people” in England with that calling card, and this worked wonders; EMI snapped ‘em up for an album deal. Laughably, the label tried to dress them up in “all the latest gear”, seeking to maximise the £ in what was perceived to be a fashion-sensitive scene. To their eternal credit, these boys said bollocks to that. Guitarist and co-writer Ed Kuepper would brilliantly later remark: “The band was a full thing by 1974. Two and a half years later, this incredibly fashionable movement comes along, only an arsehole would have associated himself with that.” At the time of this release in February ’77, the bullshit-free scruffs next door were: Chris Bailey (~19, vocals); Ed Kuepper (21, guitar); Kym Bradshaw (bass guitar) and Ivor Hay (drums). Both sides of their ’76 single (“I’m Stranded” b/w “No Time”) were re-used, together with 8 new tracks recorded over the course of just two days in December ’76. The album channels Stooges’ “Raw Power” in terms of its wild, live and raucous sound. The no-messin’, live-in-the-studio ethic works for and against their cause I feel; the enthusiasm and energy carries them so far, but it’s all about the songs and sonics and, for me, the trashy lo-fi production does them an injustice and, to boot, they seem to run out of ideas in the second half. The first half highlights include the first two singles, the aforementioned title-track and the fantastic “Erotic Neurotic” which lives up to its great title. A big curveball is delivered with “Messin’ With The Kid”, a slow-tempo stoned-rocker which comes on all Neil Young. This will probably get them bottled when they play the Roxy. I kinda like this dangerous path. It’s clear the Saints are out to do their own thing and to hell with your scenes. The two covers delve into the 1960s; on side 1 “Wild About You” (The Missing Links, 1965) is the best of these, whilst on side 2, “Kissin' Cousins” (Elvis Presley, 1964) is less effective. For all their strange quirks, the overall feeling is that this lot are sweeping cobwebs away; the playing is fast, furious and skilful and Chris Bailey probably has the coolest vocal drawl since Lou Reed arrived ten years earlier. In ’77, the times they-were-a-changin’ and, quite clearly, the shifting plates were multi-continental.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Sep-2016


TJR says:

6.84 “Good”

In ’77 the ultimate fashion chameleon seems content to ignore punk and hang his hat on the New Wave scene, a scene which has informed both of his albums this year, “Low” (January) and now “Heroes” (October), all of which was recorded just 500 yards from the Berlin Wall. “Beauty And The Beast” kicks the album off in an upbeat manner, immediately eschewing the melancholic mood which had latterly dominated the preceding LP. The track has a weird attraction. Along with this years’ offering from Ultravox! it perhaps heralds the dawning of another new era, that of the new romantic, all paint and pomp and incredibly hip darling. The almighty “Heroes” is third in. It’s a song which can have you sitting on top the world, at one with self and nature, even if at the back of your mind you know it could all be gone tomorrow. It’s genius, and completely glorious. Can you believe this never even made the Billboard 100? What on earth is wrong with your American music fan? The fantastic b-side of the single, “V-2 Schneider”, appears, somewhat cleverly, as the first track on side 2 of the album. It’s a nice tribute to Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider, and continues Bowie’s long standing tradition of doffing the cap to key influences. This speaks volumes for him, and always goes down well with me. The ominous electronic instrumental, “Sense of Doubt”, helps to break the album up, and similarly the inclusion of ”Moss Garden” and “Neuköln” aligns the whole work as a sequel to “Low”. He’s a smart operator that Bowie feller.

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Sep-2005


TJR says:

6.77 “Good”

With “Low”, David Bowie continues with his seemingly relentless quest to reinvent himself with every new album, opting here for a move into the electronic new wave scene, inspired in no small way with his relocation in ’76 from Los Angeles to the European mainland, home territory of Kraftwerk, who proved to have quite an influence on him during this period. Having picked up a coke habit in L.A., Bowie was fighting to break free of it, as he would later reveal: “There's oodles of pain in the Low album. That was my first attempt to kick cocaine, so that was an awful lot of pain. And I moved to Berlin to do it. I moved out of the coke centre of the world into the smack centre of the world. Thankfully, I didn't have a feeling for smack, so it wasn't a threat”. The album is divided into two distinctive halves; the first in classic band mode with strong cuts such as “Sound And Vision” and “Be My Wife”. The former is ironic in that it’s the happiest sounding song on the album, whilst also being the loneliest: “ Blue, blue, electric blue, that’s the colour of my room, where I will live”. He would later call it his “ultimate retreat song”, revealing that it was how he felt when his wife had left him a few years earlier. The latter seems to be a last-ditch plea to Angela Bowie in the vain hope of saving his marriage. The second half of the set loses all pop momentum, almost as if delving into the dark abyss of a depressed soul. “Warszawa” is the best of the four pieces here, featuring only Bowie and the co-composer, Brian Eno, over the course of the six mysterious and moody minutes of synthesized contemplation. There’s enough quality here to merit a good rating – but the critical acclaim which is afforded this set is somewhat over the top.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Sep-2005


TJR says:

6.70 “Good”

Arriving in December ’77 was the debut set from the London quartet consisting of Colin Newman (23, vocals, guitar); Graham Lewis (24, bass, vocals); Bruce Gilbert (31, guitar) and the brilliantly named Robert Gotobed (26, drums). It’s punk Jim, but not as we know it. If they were inspired by the Ramones, it was only that short-sharp blasts were all a song needs – these 21 songs were all over in 35 minutes. This was a rock lobotomy. Looking back in time, there seems to be no template for Wire’s sound. It’s a ground-zero moment for the genre that would be termed hardcore. Orthodox song structures were conspicuous by their sparsity – they seemed happy to simply revel in the glory of a particular riff, or would stop when they had said all they wanted to say in the lyrics. The second track, “Field Day For The Sundays” gets it all over and done with in just 28 seconds, blasting celebrity culture and the paparazzi in one fell swoop: “I want to be a field day for the Sundays so they can fuck up my life, embarrass my wife, and leave a bad taste”. In the very next track, who can resist imitating Newman’s nonchalant “thee impossy bowl” lyric in “Three Girl Rhumba”? And who can resist sneering whilst air guitaring that simplistic but damned catchy riff? In January ‘77, who could have foreseen that words like “asunder” would be gracing the punk vocabulary by the end of the year? As smart as eggs. Well played Wire.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.70 “Good”

Even by their standards, two eighteen-plus minutes tracks was an epic offering, but they go through so many twists and turns that you never get the feeling that it’s dragging. “Late Celestine Ukwu Special” is a tribute to the Nigerian Highlife singer / musician / philosopher who had been tragically killed in a car accident in May of this year, a nice touch. I particularly care for the echoing / stuttering saxophone which steadfastly refuses to blow conventionally. Almost as if continuing Ukwu’s social message, “Ego Di Nogwu” on side 2 takes on the great philosophical money debate; it’s hard to come by but it’s not worth killing yourself over it, morally or physically. The phrase “we work to live, we don’t live to work” springs to mind. There was, however, a real life twist to this tale. Ikengas had been no strangers to having numerous personnel changes and defections over the years, usually down to matters of a financial nature, and recently another significant split had occurred after the band won a sizeable award from the Nigerian government for their performance earlier in the year at FESTAC ’77 in Lagos. Guitarist Aloysius Anyanwu was at least one of the group who left to join the Oriental Brothers, and subsequently went on to have a solo career. (note: you can download this out-of-print LP for free thanks to the tireless efforts of the Global Groove.)

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Sep-2014


TJR says:

6.59 “Good”

The excellent “New Rose” had whipped up a storm as the first British punk single in October ’76, and took pride of place at the start of side 2 of the LP. “Damned Damned Damned” was released in February ’77 and is widely celebrated as the first British punk album – were they on a mission to make history? At this time they were: Dave Vanian (20, vocals); Brian James (~26, guitar, vocals); Captain Sensible (22, bass, vocals) and Rat Scabies (21, drums, vocals). Dave brought the theatrical drama of Alice Cooper, Brian brought the songs, the Captain was far from sensible, and Rat kept the wild spirit of Keith Moon alive. Nothing matches the “New Rose” single, but there are plenty of cracking tunes on-board such as “Neat Neat Neat”, “Born To Kill” and “1 of the 2”, as well as a rip-roaring rendition of The Stooges' “I Feel Alright” to finish.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.54 “Good”

Three years after the break-up of The Stooges, Iggy Pop was back on the scene, with a whole batch of new songs mainly co-written with his friend, David Bowie, who had supported him as he tried to break free from his heroin addiction in the preceding years. Many Iggy Pop fans were quite shocked by the radical departure stylistically. Where the Stooges had been loud and raucous protopunk agitators, Iggy solo was much more contemplative and, shock-horror, more artsy. It’s generally acknowledged that this is Bowie’s doing as he himself later revealed: “Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn't have the material at the time, and I didn't feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else's work, so that album was opportune, creatively.” The truth is that this arrangement was good for both parties – it seems clear that Iggy gets into his role as a cultured crooner of la nouvelle vague. “Night Clubbing” is an early album highlight, built on a loping drum-machine beat, with prominent piano and keyboards by Bowie, as well as some wah-wah guitar which is actually quite appealing and doesn’t overstay its welcome. For his part, Iggy does a great impersonation of Lou Reed circa Transformer – the whole thing is a blast. Closing side 1 is “China Girl”, the tastiest serving that the album has to offer. Here, East meets West musically and romantically, as Iggy declares his infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a beautiful Vietnamese woman with whom he has recently been enchanted. Neither can speak a word of the other’s language and the “ssssshhhhhhhh” from her to him speaks a thousand words. They don’t all live up to these high watermarks, but it’s great to have Iggy back in action.

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Mar-2007


TJR says:

6.54 “Good”

Hot on the heels of “In The City” came album no.2 from The Jam, with much more of the same, although the songs weren’t quite as strong to my ears. Opener “The Modern World” was the sole single to be released from the album, albeit with more radio friendly lyrics. Weller’s cocksure swagger as he takes a swipe at critics, seems to imbue Foxton and Buckler with added va-va-voom and it’s infectious. Alas, this proves to be a false dawn and very few of the tracks on this set get near it for power. At this stage, they seem determined to hang on to those hard and unimaginative 60s-based riffs, although there’s a glimmer of hope that there is a “new” Jam lurking here and there – “Life From A Window” jumps right out musically and poetically, with stop-start stuttering rhythms and excellent multi-layered bass, lead and rhythm guitar work. “Staring at a grey sky, trying to paint it blue, teenage blue” is just perfectly pitched, as Weller begins to reveal that there’s more to him than plain anger. That said, he “don’t give 2 fucks about my review”. Quite right Paul, glad to hear it.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Jul-2007


TJR says:

6.39 “Decent enough”

At the time of release in September ’77 the New Yorkian quartet were: David Byrne (25, guitar, vocals); Chris Frantz (26, drums); Jerry Harrison (28, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals) and Tina Weymouth (26, bass guitar). They had something different to offer – some kinda weird hybrid of Roxy-inspired white modernism digging on funk, disco and even some Caribbean motifs. It’s bold and progressive, and every band member has a big part to play. The drum n bass of Weymouth and Frantz is often unconventional, seamlessly alternating between marches and grooves as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Similarly, Byrne’s vocals acrobatically veer between low and high registers, mostly high, with a nervy inflection which gives the band an unmistakeable character. New recruit Harrison, a former member of the Modern Lovers, sprinkles flavour here, there and everywhere. In a year full of cool debut albums, Talking Heads played their part with some distinction.

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.25 “Decent enough”

My favourite of the three Dr. Feelgood albums that I own, largely down to the exceptional “Paradise”, their finest hour, albeit unrepresentative of their regular sound. It seems like they’re in a time-warp with the title-track which opens the set – while the UK is going mad for Punk, they’re intent on playing bar-room blues. I mean, not that it’s bad or anything, just a little strange sounding in ’77. Once I get over myself and accept that all they want to do is play good ol’ harmonica-infused blues-rock then I’m fine with them – they’re damned good at it. Unfortunately for fans of the group, lead vocalist Lee Brilleaux and songwriter-guitarist Wilko Johnson weren’t getting on, and the latter would leave the band shortly after the release of this LP. Just when it was getting good too, don’t you just hate when that happens?

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.25 “Decent enough”

After the dissolution in 1972 of Les Bantous De La Capitale, the band which he founded in 1959, Celestin Kouka wasted little time in forming a new project in Brazzaville. Under his direction, some musicians from Les Bantous joined with others to create Orchestre Le Peuple (Orchestra of the People). Named separately, the vocal trio Ce.Pa.Kos were soon born, their name derived from the three singers; Celestin himself, Pamelo Mounk'a and Kosmos Moutouari. The music on this ’77 offering is danceable, but is exceedingly chilled, with sebenes that would lend themselves well to siesta, if such a demand there be. Strangely, the best tracks are all the longest ones – they seem to come off best when they’ve plenty of time to work up the lazy swirl into a half-tornado. “Malata”, at almost nine minutes long, is the best of the lot, with a final four minutes which are particularly wonderful. I’m not sure what it’s about, but I hear a mention for both Kinshasa and Brazza, capitals of the D.R. Congo and Congo-Brazzaville respectively. Clearly, they’re keeping their sales options open in both territories. Clever chaps. (note: you can download this out-of-print LP for free from the awesome Global Groove.)

The Jukebox Rebel
23-Jun-2016

chart first published 25 Aug 2016; last edited 09 Sep 2016

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1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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