Album Chart of 1979

<1978 1980>

  • This chart features albums released in 1979 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 83) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1979 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
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ENGLAND'S DREAMING

The so-called “British Invasion” of ’64 was a little bit of slap and tickle in comparison to the gigantic power-shift of the late 1970s, although the British scene was, at this time, largely Eurocentric. After the big-bang of ’76, there was absolutely no doubt as to where the alt-music strengths now lay. London had become well established as thee Jukebox Rebel hotspot in recent times, and remained so in 1979, albeit with some real heavyweight competition from Manchester.

The brilliance of Manchester was in evidence courtesy of Joy Division, The Fall and Buzzcocks. London, once again, was a hotbed of action with Madness, The Slits, Adam and The Ants, The Raincoats, The Clash, Elvis Costello and The Attractions, The Only Ones, Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Police all featuring in my Top 30 this year.

By now, though, the inventive DIY spirit was spreading like wild-fire all over the British Isles, with a further SEVEN towns or cities featuring in the 30. There was Coventry (The Specials); Derry (The Undertones); Belfast (Stiff Little Fingers); Woking (The Jam); South Shields (Angelic Upstarts); Dunfermline (Skids) and Glasgow (Simple Minds).

American music seems hopelessly marginalized right now, with only Germs, The B-52s and Talking Heads making a real good impression on me this time around. 3 in the Top 30 is an all-time low from the States. Compare and contrast: All 30 of my favourite albums in 1962 were American!

No doubt the platinum sellers’ lists will tell an entirely different story to mine…

The Jukebox Rebel
31-Oct-2016

TJR says:

9.50 “An elite masterpiece”

Arriving in the summertime of ’79 was the debut full-length from the Salfordian new sensations who lined up: Ian Curtis (22, lead vocals); Bernard Sumner (23, guitar & keyboards); Peter Hook (23, bass guitar) and Stephen Morris (21, drums). Gloriously moody, melodious and intense, these ten songs embody a new era. It’s an era numbed by Northern industrial town life, and these gritty and grey worldly depictions are the new glam; there have been people waiting a lifetime for this sort of record. “Unknown Pleasures” is fully passionate, yet as cold as ice; whilst it often sounds lethargic to the layman, it’s packed to the gunnels with a tense-energy which is omnipresent. It’s almost like they’ve taken Punk away from the crowd, kept the spirit, and made a punk record for the isolated, a feeling which is conveyed, chillingly, in the lyrics of the incredibly charismatic and believable non-smiling frontman. Martin Hannett’s production is genuinely amazing; like Kraftwerk, every band member gets the room to breathe, and there’s a palpable eeriness which comes oozing out of the speakers, left, right and centre. It’s pure theatre in fact – and one of the greatest albums ever made. “A special moment in time”, indeed.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Jul-2006


TJR says:

9.48 “A masterpiece”

Very rarely does a group arrive so fully formed; so perfect with their sound, their message and their image. Taking no shit from Tories or Racists, the 2-Tone revolution straight outta Coventry was a complete blast on every level, and the Specials full-length was the standard bearer for the highly-focused movement. The National Front, teen pregnancy, knife crime – a great deal of Britain’s late 70s urban street life is represented here, warts n all. Crucially, they don’t forget to dance and have fun, either. The skanking seven were: Terry Hall (20, vocals); Neville Staple (24, vocals); Lynval Golding (28, rhythm guitar); Roddy Byers (24, lead guitar); Jerry Dammers (24, keyboards); Horace Panter (26, bass guitar) and John Bradbury (26, drums). As well as that lot, adding vital-itals were Rico Rodriguez (45, trombone) and Dick Cuthell (30, horns). The album almost splits 50-50 with originals and covers – they’re equally excellent either way. The album’s lead single, released just a week earlier in October, was a version of Dandy’s “A Message To You Rudy”, and it’s this tune which opens the full-length. As if underlining their authenticity, two eras are effortlessly spanned due in no small part to the magnificent trombone of Rico who had also played on the ’67 original! Said Jerry: “It was beyond our wildest dreams that he would actually come and play with us”. Before too long, the group flex their considerable muscle with their own works; the classic “It’s Up To You” demonstrates their awesome skill with rhythm, effortlessly veering between ska n dub, just as easy as breathing. They come with a message too: “Black. White. Unite.” Even primary school kids knew what the Specials were about (and I should know, I was one). “Nite Klub” (credited to all seven members) goes even further to showcase the phenomenal skills of the players; blues, jazz, dub, rock, ska, punk – it’s all in there, completely mental and completely brilliant. Sealing the deal is Terry Hall, whose lyrics and delivery are a class apart, lambasting the vacuous emptiness of such environments and the sad fact that “the beer tastes just like piss.” “Doesn’t Make It Alright” is the album’s crowning glory: “Just because you're a black boy, just because you're a white, it doesn't mean you've got to hate him, it doesn't mean you've got to fight. It doesn't make it alright, it doesn't make it alright, it's the WORST EX-CUSE in the world”. Horace Panter would later comment: “My heart swelled when we played it, it was the essence of what we were doing.” Side one closes with a mighty cover of Prince Buster’s “Too Hot” – the vocal interplay between Neville and Terry is a sheer joy. Almost every song on this album is a classic, and it therefore seems unfair to single them out, but I must give special mentions for “Stupid Marriage” – a superb new episode in the Judge Dread saga (here reinvented by Neville as Judge Roughneck) – and album closer “You’re Wondering Now”, a reminder of their root inspirations, digging back to simpler, happier times in Jamaica. That said, I was gutted many years later to discover it was “Curtains have fallen” and not “Britain has fallen” that Terry was singing. Or was it? Jerry Dammers once described Two Tone as a little club and if you liked the music then you were part of the club. Count me in Jerry.

The Jukebox Rebel
31-Dec-2007


TJR says:

8.80 “A classic”

The rockingest rocksteady beat of Madness ruled my junior world and, as far as I was concerned at that stage, Lord Suggs and Chas Smash were the two coolest guys who had ever roamed the Earth. I never actually owned any records in 1979, but all of the singles from this LP were seeping into my consciousness via Radio 1 and Top of the Pops. This, for me, is synonymous with growing up, and Madness and I are deeply bonded for life. The nutty six were: Suggs (18, lead vocals); Mike Barson (21, keyboards); Chris Foreman (23, guitars); Mark Bedford (18, bass); Lee Thompson (22, saxophones) and Dan Woodgate (19, drums, percussion). It wasn’t quite official yet, but Chas Smash (20, vocals, fancy footwork) would soon be announced as the seventh member, and to this day I still look at that sextet cover as a travesty of justice. The 19th October 1979 was a bit of a monumental day for the British Ska revivalists, with both “Specials” and “One Step Beyond” hitting the shops in a stupendous double-whammy statement of intent. Whilst the former slightly takes my head, the latter steals my heart. Both have my soul. Chas’s epic intro to “One Step Beyond” is the first thing to be heard on the LP, and the message is clear from the off – “you better start to move your feet”. The nutty boys proceed to mash up Prince Buster’s original in their own inimitable style; these audacious upstarts are here to boss the joint. The almighty “My Girl” is next, and we’re introduced to the pseudo-classical greatness of Mnsr Barso’s piano alongside Suggs’s every-lad vocal, which this writer still has word-perfect to this day. The magnificent start is maintained on “Night Boat To Cairo”, an unlikely tale of a toothless, carefree oarsman, seemingly meandering down the Nile in a somewhat hapless fashion. Once again, classical undertones are at play – an oft overlooked aspect of this band – as the piece fades away in a fiddling blaze of glory. Avoiding conflict with 2-Tone, a new version of the debut single from 2 months ago – “The Prince” – is recorded, but is perhaps just a shade too polished by comparison (although I’m being very picky in that statement, for it’s a classic all the same.) The big-up to Jamaica’s stars from these young pretenders has been a revelation for countless thousands of British white kids. Who knew education could be such fun? Just as The Specials did on their debut, Madness demonstrate imagination and versatility with the pseudo-Jazz finger-clicking goodness of “Razor Blade Alley” – conceived by saxophonist Lee – which comes complete with wandering bass and tinkling piano. Flowing seamlessly from this, they take on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” –what Madness is this? They’ve got some balls. “Rockin’ In A♭” reveals the band’s R n B roots, Madness being “first to market” with this song which came from Mike’s brother’s band, pub rockers Bazooka Joe. Suggs gets into the spirit of the thing, exercising the ol’ vocal cords with a bit of a Buddy Holly job. All four of the cover versions have been terrific, and a classic version of “Madness” ends the album where it began – with a tip-of-the-hat to Buster. This may not be uptown Jamaica but it is, most certainly, a treat.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Jun-2007


TJR says:

8.68 “A classic”

Live At The Witch Trials? Whut? Pffft, it’s not even live. Who are these chancers? At the time of their debut full-length in March ’79, the near three-year-old group consisted of only two founding members – Mark E. Smith (22, vocals) and Martin Bramah (20, guitar and backing vocals). Now a quintet, the latest line-up was completed with Marc Riley (17, bass guitar); Karl Burns (~19, drums) and Yvonne Pawlett (19, keyboards). They had two 45s behind them already, but this was the big one, the step which could either cement or break their growing reputation. The songs – essentially Mark E. Smith’s poems set to music – had largely been perfected in the live environment, and it seems like it was a bit of a breeze to lay them down in just a couple of days, although a flu-ridden MES had to be doped up to get through the sessions. Frankly, you would never know that had been the case, for he’s bristling with purpose, gloriously nonchalant, with attitude and energy in abundance. The frontman seems to have a vision, with many of these messages laying down a manifesto of sorts. Mark E. Smith’s better than “them”, he thinks he’s the best. His group are northern white crap that talks back; they dig repetition and they’re never gonna lose it. “Im In A Trance” he spits on “Frightened”, the first Fall LP track to be broadcast to the World, unerringly focused with a game-plan from the off. Music-wise, “Rebellious Jukebox” shows what a great young Garage group they are. Everyone’s playing a part – the discordant keyboardist, the determined bassist, the switchblade guitarist and the stuttering drummer are all lining up to back the snarling gang leader, who seems like he’s ready to rumble. “No Xmas For John Quays” is another revelling in vital rhythms, with the repetition-repetition-repetition ethic clear for all to hear. Here, with his wildly wonky impression of Frankie Lymon, the boy Smith demonstrates that he knows his rock n roll, but that he will operate uniquely on his own terms, thank you very much. “Industrial Estate” is as defined a Punk statement as you could ever wish to hear. With the nonchalance meter set to the max, the “yeah yeah industrial estate, yeah yeah industrial estate” chorus invoked apoplexy amongst conventional types. Give it up for Ind. Est! Clearly The Fall do not seek your approval – the very attitude which I suspect has continued to win new fans and nurture loyalty for the decades since. “Two Steps Back” has a mention for Julian Cope – a pusher apparently – well, I never! Clearly, there is no such thing as bad publicity – JC would soon rise as a Top-of-the-Pops star. The title-track – the album’s only average moment – finds MES with rudimentary guitar, eking out one of those little “artsy” sketches. Luckily, this only lasts for 50-odd seconds. “Music Scene” could perhaps be viewed as the first Fall “epic”. Hilariously, the studio engineers are heard at various intervals, trying to get them to wrap it up… “Six minutes! … Six forty! … Ok studio, that's plenty” That probably added an obstinate 120 seconds IMO. Do not mess with The Fall. Roadie Steve Hanley later revealed that the group were on a massive high when they all got together for their own “listening party” in Mark’s flat. Martin shouted: “It’s the second best album of all-time!” … “What’s the best?” comes a reply. “The next one!” Cocky bastards. I like that.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.61 “A classic”

Staring back at you from the striking cover of their debut LP were (L to R): Ari Up (17, vocals); Viv Albertine (24, guitar) and Tessa Pollitt (20, bass guitar). Ace young drummer Budgie (22) was not included; presumably on account of the fact that his breasts were not of a suitable size and shape. Ari was a German-born wild-child who had famously declared “The establishment is the enemy” and was, presumably, proceeding with her latest tactic in the great mission to burn down Babylon. Over the last couple of years, their brand of punk had become more and more entwined with the exciting rhythms of Jamaica, to the point they were now more of a dub rock outfit than a punk rock one. Said Ari: “We got into dub after Don Letts introduced us to it. We’d go to his house in Forest Hill and spend the weekend there. He would just play music non-stop. Back then you had reggae clubs and blues parties all over London.” One thing led to another and before you knew it, The Slits had found a key supporter in Chris Blackwell at Island Records where the girls met producer Dennis Bovell, who lent great support to them in realising the fantastic sound they achieved right here on their debut LP. Ari’s band had come a long way since she started it as a 14-year-old – she was now a central figure in multi-cultural London’s music scene, and The Slits shone like a beacon for would-be council-estate stars everywhere, never mind wannabe female rockers. The Slits were not your typical girls; what a welcome breath of fresh air they were.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Nov-2008


TJR says:

8.35 “Excellent”

Continuing a late 70s trend, The Fall were the latest of the new breed to deliver two albums in the same year, with October’s “Dragnet” following just 6 months after the debut. But, as fans of the group were beginning to realise, six months is a long time in the life of The Fall. Three are out, three are in and Mark E. Smith, already, is the sole original member, unabashedly cocky in tone as he mocks “I am a Dice Man, a balls on the line man, do you take a chance, baby?” Roadie Steve Hanley (19, bass) and his pal Craig Scanlon (19, guitar) are drafted in, with previous bassist Marc Riley shifting to guitar. New drummer Mike Leigh is “rescued” from the cabaret circuit, completing the ad-hoc five-piece. The debut had been rough and ready by 1979s standards, and it might have been expected that a certain amount of polish might be the natural progression here. Contrarily, the head-honcho decided that the debut, in fact, had been too polished and that the follow up should be rougher and rawer again. Dig the new lo-fi breed. And so, the restless top-cat laid down part two of the great manifesto… do not try to second guess The Fall. Greatness abounds on this set – Smith’s lyrics and phrases are imaginative and evocative and, already, this new group have developed a great feeling for just how to support the lively and unpredictable recitations of the wordsmith. For my money, there are four bona-fide classics on-board. First of these is “A Figure Walks”, a six-minute thriller built on a jittery rhythm, in which we are being stalked by a shadowy figure who is never quite revealed, but has “nails of pointed yellow” and “hands of black carpet”, so that’s probably for the best. Even our bold front man sounds like a bag o’ nerves, as he stutters along. Good job Smith. The aforementioned “Dice Man” musically screams BO DIDDLEY, as we continue to get little tantalising glimpses of just where The Fall are coming from. “They say music should be fun, like reading a story of love” sings our man “but I want to read a HORROR STORY”. Another for the growing manifesto, eh? This augurs well for the future. As if underlining this very statement, the magnificent “Flat Of Angles” bursts in like The Magic Band ’67 psychotically riffing the same refrain from “His Latest Flame” to the point of insanity. In this story song, bloke kills wife, goes into hiding and becomes a prisoner of his own head. This sounds like a job for Dragnet man. Utterly bizarrely, all of this tension is immediately broken by the worst track on the LP, “Choc-Stock”, which, to be fair, is probably just about the best kazoo-led rockabilly nursery rhyme of the year. Don’t be categorizing me into no scene, ye hear? By this point, most casual New Wavers will have run for the hills which is just as well, coz “Spectre vs Rector” which follows would probably have them jumping, head-first, out of 4 storey buildings, otherwise. In actual fact, the deal-making / deal-breaking onslaught of this track is carrying the baton from the debut’s “Music Scene”, in that it’s trancing-out and riffing relentlessly. From what I can gather, Spectre possesses rector, Rector becomes spectre. Enter inspector. It's now a case of Detective versus rector possessed by spectre. A hero from the mountains arrives, ultimately saving Inspector, but Rector lies dead. Clearly, a horror-fiction would not be beyond Mr. Smith if he so desired. The music veers between creepily grotesque, becoming hopefully lucid, such as the eight-minute tale demands; this is sheer excellence. Offering light-relief at the end is the supremely catchy “Put Away” which marks the return of the manic kazoo fiend. Has anybody got a guitar tuner I can borrow? And lo, I’ll be darned, these anti-pop upstarts have delivered another top-secret gem. All of the early evidence suggests that this group will exist entirely in their own world, beyond scene.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.27 “Excellent”

My love for this band will always be true; they were the first band I ever spent my own money on – how could it not? I say band although, when it all comes down to it, this debut LP is all about Adam –the songwriter and visionary – and his three disloyal associates who would soon abandon ship. At the time of their September ’79 debut long-player they were: Adam Ant (24, vocals, guitars, piano, harmonica); Matthew Ashman (18, guitar, piano); Andrew Warren (~21, bass) and Dave Barbarossa (~18, drums). The Ants were yet another group to emerge from the punk scene with a new sound and a new direction; more tuneful, more complex, even occasionally funky. The song-writing flair of the main man is evident all over this album, which begins with the epic “Cartrouble, parts 1 and 2”. Can’t make up your mind whether to be new-wave-disco or pop-punk? Hey, why not have both in a big mad medley! Eye-popping lyrical snips will dominate this set – straight from the off we’ve had “I dreamt I was a spastic, but my boots were clean” and “Have you ever stopped to think who's the slave and who's the master?” Oo-err missus. Another genre-messing classic is delivered with the glam-stomp / disco-punk of “Day I Met God” which hilariously recounts the time when, coming back from Milan, in the van, it was pissing with rain when they met the big G: “Day I met God, I got so carried away, Not with the vision, But the streaks in his hair, Not with religion, But the size of his knob”. : - O That’ll be another tune banned on the radio then? Opening side 2 in equally shocking fashion is a song about that infamous Egyptian seductress, “Cleopatra”: “Cleopatra did ten thousand in her lifetime, Now that’s a wide mouth, Cleopatra gave a service with a smile, She was a wide mouthed girl.” The shock-tactics are again to the fore on “Catholic Day”; I feel guilty about liking the song when I know fine well it’s overstepped the mark: “Kennedy died in ’63, Poor John F. Kennedy’s wife with his brain on her knee, Poor Jackie… No more messing round, playing with Monroe, No more turning on the middle aged ladies, All I remember was your sporty young hairstyle, All I remember was the Catholic day”. I think I prefer my harrowing tales fictional, “Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face” being a good example: “A man and a woman walking down the street, with a son and a daughter it was oh so sweet. When Mummy turned to Daddy and she said: "My dear, write out your will the end is near" Then she pulled out the gun, I saw the sparks, messed up the suit that he'd bought from Marks.” This is first class entertainment and “Dirk Wears White Sox” stands as a dark-matter gem; these are sensations as hard to forget as they are to ignore.

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Oct-2005


TJR says:

8.15 “Excellent”

Belfast’s raging in the 1970s and Stiff Little Fingers are screaming all about it. More explosive than a Molotov cocktail and pricklier than a barbed wire zone, their 13 track debut proffered a bullshit-free diatribe that loudly condemned sectarianism and oppression, opting to broadcast on a humanitarian rather than an overtly political frequency. At the time of release in February ’79 the mighty Belfastian 4-piece were: Jake Burns (21, vocals, guitar); Henry Cluney (21, guitar, vocals); Ali McMordie (19, bass, vocals) and Brian Faloon (20, drums). “Impresario” Gordon Ogilvie is almost a fifth member, contributing to the song writing process as well as making sure they didn’t get ripped off; pretty much the opposite of Malcolm McLaren really. The classic “Suspect Device” opens up the record with the immortal words “Inflammable material is planted in my head, it's a suspect device that's left 2000 dead.” Fookin’ ell. Sensationalist perhaps, but there’s no point whispering is there? “Wasted Life” makes it clear they are PISSED OFF with this BOLLOCKS, ya hear? “I won't be a soldier, I won't take no orders from no-one, stuff their fucking armies, killing isn't my idea of fun”. Ooft. This verbal gelignite is fully charged. Offering some light relief, relatively speaking, is the excellent “Barbed Wire Love”, a humorously titled punk n roll number which even breaks-on-down to a dooby-doo-wop ballad in the mid-section… “Blasted by your booby traps”… I’m even smiling as I write. Seemingly taking a leaf from the Clash school of Punk-Dub, a cover of Bob Marley’s “Johnny Was” proves to be hugely inspired: “Woman hold her head and cry, 'Cause her son had been shot down in the street and died from a stray bullet.” “As was my Paddy” / “As was Billy” weep the Mums of Belfast as Brian’s drums of war march on. The plea to the youth is once again to the fore on the phenomenal “Alternative Ulster”: “Take a look where you're livin', you got the army on the street, and the R-U-C dog of repression, is barking at your feet. Is this the kind of place you want to live? Is this where you want to be? Is this the only life we're gonna have? What we need is an Alternative Ulster, grab it and change it, it's yours.” SLF might have frightened conservatives, but they found support through Geoff Travis at Rough Trade who gave them carte-blanche freedom to express themselves. For his part, he proved to be a most able enabler; the first Rough Trade LP went into the UK Top 20. This DIY lark was a breeze, eh? It helps when you’ve got something to sing about mind you… don’t waste your lives kids, tell those paramilitaries where to shove it ; - )

The Jukebox Rebel
28-May-2007


TJR says:

8.01 “Excellent”

After his blindingly brilliant stretch from ’67 to ’74, the charismatic Canadian took a miss-step in ’77 with the, largely boring, MOR effort, “Death of a Ladies Man”. His ’79 bounce-back must have delighted those who preferred the stripped-back, intimate approach which had been so fruitful in previous years. That said, there is a decidedly new approach here, stylistically, as the songwriter returns a set which is lightly flavoured with jazz motifs, mostly on account of a bendy bass which is never too far away from the surface. Normally, this would have me running for the hills but the effect is calming, classy and highly enjoyable, fused as it is with folksy touches of violin and Leonard’s trademark pseudo-flamenco guitar. All of the major first-half classics are of the Americana variety and include the alt-folk ghostly melancholia of “The Guests”, the alt-country gentle beauty of “The Window” and the immense trad-folk power of “The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien Errant)”, empathising with the brave patriot struggling against the oppressive brutes in power. Whilst side two may not be quite so powerful, it boasts “The Traitor” a gorgeous song laced with military metaphors which seems to conclude that love is a battlefield, and the excellent album-closer “Ballad Of The Absent Mare”, another mysterious and beguiling piece of the alt-country variety which could easily be several centuries old. Leonard’s back, rejoice ye.

The Jukebox Rebel
20-Apr-2007


TJR says:

7.73 “Brilliant”

The Jam’s brilliant form continues on the 4th long player, ending the decade on a major high. The set was released in November, just as “The Eton Rifles” was beginning its ascent on the UK Top 40, the 45 eventually giving the group their first bona-fide smash, peaking at no. 3. The song covertly celebrates a fist-fight small-victory for the working-class-yobs of Slough against the neighbouring boorish-posh-yobs of Eton: “Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles” but is resigned to defeat in the capitalist game of life “What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?”. Before we get to that (the second-last track), we’ve had plenty of highlights to devour. The excellent “Thick As Thieves” is one such highlight, just listen to these three play – absolutely magnificent. “Setting Sons” had originally been conceived as a concept album, detailing the lives of three boyhood friends who later reunite as adults after an unspecified war only to discover they have grown up and apart. Quite clearly, this would have been a key track in this endeavour, and Kinks-esque levels of “Arthur” class shine brightly here. The classic “Little Boy Soldiers” would also have served the concept well, with Who-esque levels of rock-opera ambition on display. While I’m comparing them with British 60s greats I might as well align the mighty “Smithers-Jones” with Beatles-esque levels of “Eleanor Rigby” brilliance. Pleasingly, this one comes from the pen of bassist Bruce Foxton. The all-strings re-arrangement from the previously released guitars and drums single b-side version is revelatory – kudos to drummer Rick Buckler for the idea. Right here, the trio are strong, not yet as grown apart as Weller’s original concept may have alluded to…

The Jukebox Rebel
31-Jul-2007


TJR says:

7.65 “Brilliant”

More non-typical girls. Yay! No lead singer, no guitar solos, no songs about smashing things up. The Raincoats have got a new thing going on. Whilst first impressions scream enthusiastically amateurish, deeper investigation and more familiarity reveals a highly imaginative and creative group exploring, pushing and enjoying. Key member Vicky Aspinall (the violinist) was classically trained; one suspects her craziness was absolutely the result of a considered stylization as opposed to the oft-forwarded notion that it was borne of a technical limitation. There are simple joys at every turn, and the transmission from artist to listener is positively affecting. La joie de vivre I think they call it. The egalitarian quartet responsible for this hugely compelling offering were: Ana da Silva (vocals, keyboards, guitar); Gina Birch (24, vocals, bass guitar); Palmolive (24, drums) and Vicky Aspinall (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, violin). The unconventional oft-proggish rhythms are occasionally Magic Band like, the vocals pretty vacant (even if the lyrics are not), and the stringed instruments seem to revel in some sort of artsy, avant-garde, wonky wonderland. Strangely, the three mighty tracks on the album all appear at the very outset; the post-punk classic “Fairytale In The Supermarket”, the excellent indie-pop trailblazer “No Side To Fall In” and the hooky-kooky elasto-dub of “Adventures Close To Home”. All of the very best and most interesting new music in 1979 was made in England; the birth place of indie pop. What’s that you say? Da Silva’s Portuguese? Doh!

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Apr-2007


TJR says:

7.60 “Brilliant”

Lolita Babindamana, a Brazzavillian wanderer, is best described as a bit of an all-rounder with an interest in singing, dancing, drumming and mbira playing. He is most commonly known by his stage name Lolo Lolitta which, as far as I can tell, can be interpreted along the same lines as Richard Penniman billing himself as Little Richard. This 1979 offering originated in the Ivory Coast although it was licensed to a Nigerian company and was, most likely, recorded there. The singer is notoriously difficult to pin down, having lived in several Central African countries before settling in Paris in the 1980s. There’s not a bad song on this one; all have a degree of catchiness, although “Koum Koum” is, by far, the major attraction. Swirls of late 70s keyboard are prominent in the album closer, “Ne Force Pas La Vie”. You can grab yourself a copy of this deeply buried obscuro at the fabulous Global Groove.

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Oct-2014


TJR says:

7.46 “Really good”

Buzzcocks swansong LP (as was thought at the time) saw them bow out on a high, with a completely unblemished report card. Their trademark high quality pop punk fare is the order-of-the-day on side one, with guitarist Steve Diggle given a platform to sing on 3 of his own compositions. One of the most interesting aspects of the Buzzcocks was the relentless experimentation prevalent over their short 70s existence, and it’s one of Diggle’s compositions that stands as one of the album’s highlights, the highly driven and super-rhythmic “Sittin’ Round At Home”. Side two mixes the formula further still, and the dynamism of the title-track showcases the band’s experimental approach in its finest light. The track retains a raw punk edge as it explores the electronic wonders of the burgeoning new wave movement, whilst harking back to the Kraut rockers and even the psychedelic warriors. It serves as a magnificent highlight and, in many ways, sums up all that’s best about the Buzzcocks; purveyors of Punk as pop art.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Feb-2006


TJR says:

7.39 “Really good”

Back in ’65 Bob Dylan had released “Bringing It All Back Home”, a half-acoustic / half-electric set, almost as if wary of a folk-puritan revolt. Whilst Neil Young had no such artistic concerns, his “Rust Never Sleeps” took that concept on-board, with the added twist that 7 of the 9 songs were recorded live on stage. It was an unusual way to showcase his new songs, but it works a treat for me, and I write as one who strongly detests the concept of live music being issued on record. Unplugged side one is the strongest for my money, and the fantastic album opener “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) [live '78]” sets a high standard from the off. “The king is dead but not forgotten” … and I’m thinkin’ aw nice, a tip-of-the-hat to Elvis, but Neil pipes up… “this is the story of Johnny Rotten”. Ha! Smart career move in ’79; stay relevant, stay hip. All he has to do now is stay the hell away from Crosby, Stills and Nash!!! Thinking more deeply about the message within, it seems to me that Neil is talking on musical terms; do not plod on blandly if you’ve nothing left to say, and it seems Neil is a fan of Mr Lydon’s recent re-invention. With an immaculate sense of teenage mixtape running-order perfection, the equally fantastic “Thrasher” continues the theme, as he disses the aforementioned C-S-N-Y supergroup: “So I got bored and left them there… They were just dead weight to me, Better down the road without that load.” This is music to my ears. It’s 1979 and Neil young is ON it. The first of the two studio tracks is “Pocahontas” which describes the massacre of an Indian tribe by European settlers. Never since Johnny Cash have we heard the truth of these matters so affectingly on record. For all my excitement at the quality of side one, the album’s highlight appears on the full-band side two, namely “Powderfinger [live ‘78]” an epic tragedy song with imagery that also seems to be rooted in the violent struggles of early America. Young man, just turned 22, is forced to take up arms to protect his family from what looks like an oncoming slaughter: “Raised my rifle to my eye, never stopped to wonder why, then I saw black and my face splashed in the sky.” Ooft. The set closes where it began, with an electrified and slightly retitled “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) [live '78]” which, in the eyes of many, almost single-handedly affords him the title the Godfather of Grunge. It’s fantastic to hear the Crazy Horse gang chant in unison “Johnny Rotten, Johnny Rotten” in response to Neil. This works wonders for their public image. Neil’s one of us.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Mar-2016


TJR says:

7.38 “Really good”

The third Clash album was out just in time for Christmas 1979. Although it was a double album, the group insisted that CBS sell it for just £5 – a value for money deal for the fans and very much in keeping with the band’s socialist principles. It really was VFM too; an ever-more-complex affair, and all the more compelling for that, with Rolling Stone these days rating it as one of the TEN all-time great albums. The Punk is diluted with influences from rockabilly, ska, reggae and jazz, whilst the subject matter continues to channel the traditional Clash concerns of social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood. The opening title-track gave the group their biggest hit single to date – reaching #11 in the UK Top 40 – with apocalyptic lyrics reflecting the concern felt by Strummer about world events of the day; in particular, the reference to “a nuclear error” was concerned with the meltdown at Three Mile Island which had occurred just a few months earlier. Joe Strummer’s cryptic last words “I never felt so much a-like …” echo over Morse code feedback (the characters spelling out S-O-S). In live versions of the song, he sang a complete version of the final line, allowing his Rock n Roll roots to shine a light: “I never felt so much a-like singing the blues”. These influential Rock n Roll roots are laid bare on the following “Brand New Cadillac”, a cover of Vince Taylor’s cut from 1959 which they had often used as a warm up song before recording. The album features two other covers – “Wrong Emboyo” (The Rulers, 1967) and “Revolution Rock” (Danny Ray and The Revolutioneers, 1976), both of which allow the band to demonstrate their mightily impressive (and ever-improving) feel for black rhythm, drum and bass. Somewhat miraculously, Paul and Topper actually become Sly and Robbie on “The Guns of Brixton”, a monster-cut written by the bassist himself. It was the first time one of Paul Simenon’s sole compositions had been recorded by the group, and the first on which he’d feature as lead vocalist. It’s yet another song from the alt-music scene depicting the feelings of discontent with British life today; the recession is bad enough but the heavy-handedness of the police against Britain’s black communities is pushing righteous men to the limit. “Clampdown” is another out-and-out classic; a warning to the youth to take care of their soul and not to sell it to the man. “You start wearing the blue and brown and you’re working for the clampdown. So you got someone to boss around. It makes you feel big now…” As the great Robert Nesta, fuelled by Marcus Garvey, once famously sang “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”. The Clash continue to fight a good fight…

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Jun-2008


TJR says:

7.31 “Really good”

With so many albums in my collection it’s nearly impossible to remember where they all came from, but you always remember fondly the ones which were especially chosen for you, and such is the case with (GI), gifted to me by a good pal of mine by the name of J. Guevara (< hardcore handle). To her dying day, J will easily be identifiable by the permanently inked blue circle on her wrist; this group inspired devotion many years after the event – amazing for a one-album wonder. At the time of release in October ’79 the Los Angeles 4-piece were: Darby Crash (21, vocals); Pat Smear (20, guitar); Lorna Doom (~21, bass) and Don Bolles (23, drums) – hardcore handles one and all. Not as hardcore as their original name from a few years earlier, mind you. Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens was good, but it was too expensive for T. Shirts which were costed by the letter! Their live gigs ‘til now had been characterized by exciting but chaotic performances where not one fuck was apparently given; their ‘sloppiness is an art’ attitude was usually delivered in an atmosphere which was violent, aggressive and downright dangerous. Their reputation went before them and, as a result, they ended up being banned from the majority of venues in their home state, a ban which they managed to avoid for a time by playing under the alias G.I. (standing for “Germs Incognito”, see?) The group were spearheaded by the borderline-psycho charmer Darby Crash who referenced the likes of Nietzsche, Bowie, Manson and Hitler in his lyrics, although these were usually indecipherable underneath his trademark sneered-drawl, delivered at an average speed of 100mph. Most fans never had a clue what he was banging on about until the LP was released with printed lyrics inside. There’s not a weak track on side one which seems to get stronger as it develops, culminating in the classic “Lexicon Devil”, here re-recorded from the single ’78 version, and much improved largely due to the stupendous new drummer. This one finds Crash as a master of War playing fantasy mind games, controlling men as pawns: “I want toy tin soldiers that I can push and shove, I want gunboy rovers that will wreck this club, I'll build you up and level your heads, we'll run it my way, cold men and politics dead”. Psycho! Highlights of side 2 include the fantastic “We Must Bleed” which is pure anarchy and re-enacts an alternative but no-less hellish bloody Sunday, and the excellent post-punk closer “Shut Down (Annihilation Man)” which takes a leaf out of the Stooges book by finishing with an unexpectedly long (nearly 10 minutes!) out-of-character number, Cramps-esque in style, bathing in the swamp of dirty blues. Darby Crash committed suicide by intentional heroin overdose on December 7, 1980. I guess he couldn’t handle the idea of fading away. At least he did the burning brightly bit well…

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Aug-2007


TJR says:

7.30 “Really good”

Costello and his band continue to shine brightly on “Armed Forces”, his one-and-only U.S. Top 10 album. “Emotional fascism” was the lyrical theme on this long-player, whilst musically the record added ever-more complex pop arrangements to the Costello cannon. Throughout the set, there are hints of the classicism in his song-writing that would pepper his work for the decades to come. High quality action, and no mistake.

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Apr-2006


TJR says:

7.28 “Really good”

Fuelled by the underground success of their “Rock Lobster” single from last year, the Athens, Georgia-based quintet were revved up and rarin’ to go on their debut full length, which was issued in July ’79. After nearly 3 years, the original five were still together and lined up: Fred Schneider (28, vocals, cowbell, toy piano, walkie-talkie, keyboard bass); Kate Pierson (31, vocals, Farfisa organ, keyboard bass, guitar); Keith Strickland (25, percussion, drums); Cindy Wilson (22, vocals, bongos, tambourine, guitar) and Ricky Wilson (26, guitars, smoke alarm). They were a breath of fresh air – one of those bands who were so full of charm and so unique that they stole their place in your affections easily. Their vision was to kind of reinvent surf-rock in the here and now, and it was fully and excellently realised, with a charm that was kooky but nonetheless cool. The boy-girl vocal interplay was unconventional, cartoon-like even, but full of post-punk dynamics where anything goes and new ideas are to be celebrated. Side one, with only 4 tracks, is a WOW, with the classic “Planet Claire”, reinventing Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” with added morse-code electronics, the great Motown-update that is “Dance This Mess Around” and the near 7-minute epic that is “Rock Lobster”, a kind of sci-fi hava-nagila with bonkers vocalisms referencing dog-fish, cat-fish, a piranha and a narwhal. Now that’s what I call individualism; these goofballs are adorable. Side two doesn’t quite reach those heights but still boasts the fantastic “6060-842”, a toilet-scrawled number which promises a good time but only leaves disappointment for a frustrated Fred as Kate and Cindy mock in unison: “your numbers been disconnected, your numbers been disconnected”. The lame cover of Pet Clark’s “Downtown” at the very end is the only weak-point on this LP, but this cannot take away from my overall enjoyment – the album’s a blast.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Mar-2016


TJR says:

7.28 “Really good”

Arriving in May ’79 was the second long-player from the hard-hitting 27-year-old Brixton-poet, the first to bear his own name after last years’ debut as “Poet and The Roots”. Although switching labels from Virgin to Island, he remains aligned with Dennis Bovell’s crew, a rootsy partnership which is perfect for his Far-I-like delivery and his strife-driven words-of-wisdom, portraying the grim home truths of what it’s like to be a British black in the late 70s. Almost as if on trend, the album actually opens with “Want Fi Goh Rave”, an upbeat Ska number which features some rock guitar as well as the horns of Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez, both of whom would also feature on the Specials debut later in the same year. This is not what Linton’s all about though, and “It No Funny” immediately sets the moodier tone which will dominate from hereon. The classic “Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)” appears next, and Johnson’s mastery of character and his uncanny instinct for voice-as-riddim-machine regales the sad tale of an imprisoned black youth, charged with murder, and his breaking of the news to his mother, by letter. The lad has become a victim of institutionalised racism; he and his brother had been harassed under the ‘Suspected Person’ law, which escalated into a violent altercation and the death of a policeman. It’s a tragedy from every angle, and this piece is a masterwork. The mood is defiant, not resigned, and the great “Fite Dem Back” does not mince its words when it comes to racist attacks: “We gonna smash their brains in, cause they ain't got no fink in 'em… Some a dem say dem a niggah haytah, an' some a dem say dem a black beat ah, some a dem say dem a black stab bah, an' some a dem say dem a paki bash ah”. This is, alas, a grim reality for many, the man is telling it how it is. Album closer, “Time Come”, is another highlight; right to the very end Johnson is firing warning shots of retribution: “when yu fling mi inna prison I did warn yu, when yu kill Oluwale I did warn yu, when yu beat Joshua Francis I did warn yu, when yu pick pan de Panthers I did warn yu, when yu jack mi up gainst de wall ha didnt bawl but I did warn yu, now yu si fire burning in mi eye”. Welcome to ‘Great’ Britain.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Apr-2008


TJR says:

7.27 “Really good”

At first I was thinking Madodana might be some sort of co-credited backing group, but I'm more inclined to guess the reading is “The main man Mahlathini and his choir”. If anyone can clarify then please do. His “choir” would consist of two guys – Lazarus 'Boy Nze' Magatole and ‘Bra’ Sello Mmtung (as well as adding his own voice, the saxophonist produced this album) and (at least) three girls – Lindiwe Gamedi, Gugu Sithole and Hilda Tausi. This LP is not a patch on his album-of-the-year standard from ’74, but the end-of-decade offering from the great man still had many outstanding moments. “Isidwaba” (which was released as a single credited to Mahlathini and The Queens) is the major highlight on side one, a joyful number with an insanely catchy skipping rhythm. Side two gets off to a great start with “Umona” and “Sidedeleni Sigiye”, both of which were written by Lazarus Magatole who is also the most prominent vocalist on each. The Mahlathini Girls also play a big part on both occasions. The main man is in the driving seat for the album’s prime cut, the galloping “Akekho” which closes the set. Listen out for the magnificent bass which isn’t afraid to wander higher up the neck; Peter Hook eat your heart out. You can pick this one up via Electric Jive. Go deh!

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Oct-2015


TJR says:

7.25 “Really good”

Culture have been terrifically consistent from the start, and “Cumbolo” leaves their 70s report card in rude health. That said, if the album had maintained the extra-magnificent levels of the first four tracks, it’d have been way up there in my Top 10 of the year. Blasphemous Babylonians get it tight on “They Never Love In This Time”. Talk to the hand Joseph. BLOODY great tune though, CLASSIC even! We get a Jamaican history lesson on “Innocent Blood”which laments the disgraceful execution of George William Gordon, one of the first political figures to bravely offer resistance to the colonial brutes back in the 19th century. I know Scotland is not innocent in the whole sorry British Empire thing, but it's a small crumb of comfort to me that GWG was half-Scottish. Speaking of the great “Cumbolo”, Joseph Hill says it’s about “A group of culprits which has no ambition, don't want to have an education, don't want to see anything good and progressive. Anywhere 2 or 3 of those gather we call them cumbolo.” Fly with the crows, get shot with the crows! “Poor Jah People” is the fourth of the four terrific openers. There’s a whole lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth as Hill soulfully delivers a masterclass in sufferation-empathy: “Some on the street, drinking dirty water, some eating out of garbage pan, I say, Poor (Lord Jah Rastfari) Jah people, Only Jah I can tell all my problems, because I'm really my brother’s keeper, poor Jah people”. There’s a nice surprise on the flip side as Woody Guthrie’s “This Train” gets the Culture treatment – the only song on the LP not to come from the pen of the group’s leader. The group, with Sly and Robbie at the heart of the mega-tough riddim, are super-hot right here. No backbiters, no wrongdoers on this train. Well said Mr. Hill, I’ll toast to that.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Sep-2016


TJR says:

7.09 “Really good”

There was only one thing more ridiculous than band’s from Dunfermline and Coventry making it big in ’79 – a band from Derry was doing the same. This was the wonderful new DIY age; a time when even random street urchins sporting welfare parkas could break-on-through. Mind you, they were hardly the overnight sensation that history would have you believe, having been plugging away at it for a good 4 or 5 years, fully focused as The Undertones since ’76. The debut LP arrived in May ’79 although there was no sign of the two cracking singles – “Teenage Kicks” and “Get Over You” – which had recently propelled them to the venue-packing stakes. In fact, one of the amazing things about this LP is that it was still so good despite omitting these and another 4 truly great songs – “Smarter Than You”, “Emergency Cases”, “She Can Only Say No” and “Mars Bars” – all of which had recently been used up as EP tracks or 7” b-sides. The busy 5-piece were: Feargal Sharkey (20, lead vocals); John O'Neill (21, rhythm guitar); Damian O'Neill (18, lead guitar, keyboard); Michael Bradley (19, bass guitar) and Billy Doherty (20, drums). They may have come from a City which was scarred from violent struggles, but you’d never know it from listening to them. Their way of dealing with that was to use Punk as a means of escape, a way to try and re-normalize teenage life for Derry’s youth, with songs about girls, chocolate bars and people who were strange – anything but bloody guns and bombs. If SLF were the Irish Clash, then The Undertones were the Irish Ramones; there can be little doubt that their pop-punk template was directly imported from New York, with short and snappy 2 minute song blasts and catchy choruses, like “Family Entertainment”, “Male Model” and “Billy’s Third”, at least two of which are in the “taking the piss” category for which Derry folk are, seemingly, renowned. The real big hitter on side one is the closer, “Here Comes The Summer”, a glorious 45 which was fully embraced by sunshine-basking British pop fans in the months of July and August. Top of the Pops the lot, what a blast for the lads. Preceding that 45 was the excellent springtime single, “Jimmy Jimmy” which opens up side two on the LP. At first-listen, it could be another of the mickey-taking variety, with poor little Jimmy being dissed as a bit of a Mummy’s boy. Smiles disappear as the self-harming issue rears its ugly head: “Now little Jimmy's gone, he disappeared one day, but no one saw the ambulance that took little Jim away”. Following this is a new version of “True Confessions”, a tune which had first aired on the “Teenage Kicks” EP. Here, it’s Michael Bradley who steps up for lead vocal, with Feargal adding his trademark trill as a mere backing singer. As good as it is, it’s not a patch on the single version which was much more dynamic in every way. “Listening In”, a mock-creepy tale of voyeurism, is a late album highlight, just before “Casbah Rock” immortalizes their hometown venue which had been their CBGB. 57 seconds it lasts. Their New York brothers would be proud.

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Mar-2010


TJR says:

7.08 “Really good”

Teenage Warning” and “I’m An Upstart” on coloured vinyl were two of my very earliest 7" single purchases, although this was a few years after the event it has to be said. I used to love snarling out their tunes like a right mad kid: “Open the cage let free the animals, running wild with hardened criminals” being a fine example of my (imaginary) behavioural patterns from the period. Elsewhere on the LP, “Murder Of Liddle Towers” was a right kick-in-the-guts for the Northumbria Police force. Local boxer and electrician Towers had died on 9th February 1976 at Dryburn Hospital, County Durham from injuries received at the hands of the police during the night of 15th-16th January 1976. Apparently you can get away with murder if you’re a tit-head with a uniform. Angelic Upstarts were tough working class kids from Tyneside who told it straight. And with that, “Teenage Warning” was their highly potent debut snarl…

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Sep-2010


TJR says:

7.07 “Really good”

Anythin’ Faye Fyffe can dae, these four fae Fife can dae better, ken? The fab-four on a quest to further Dunfermline’s bid to become the epi-centre of art-rock were: Richard Jobson (18, vocals, guitar); Stuart Adamson (20, guitar); Bill Simpson (21, bass guitar) and Tam Kellichan (24, drums). Both Jobson and Adamson were into Verlaine and Cohen and, almost inevitably, this informed their spiky brand of Art-Punk and the accompanying lyrics which, more often than not, were thoughtful and entertaining. There are at least four cracking anthems on this set – if there was any disappointment to report it was the fact that all of these had already seen the light of day as single sides; the all-time classic “Into The Valley” (the album’s lead single released in February ’79, just a week earlier than the LP), the excellent punker “Of One Skin” (from the “Wide Open” EP in ’78), “The Saints Are Coming” (the fantastic lead track from the same “Wide Open” EP) and “Charles” (from the “Skids” EP in ’78).

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Dec-2007


TJR says:

7.06 “Really good”

One year on and the quality remains high on the second LP from the cracking London 4-piece, augmented by some cool assistance from Adam Maitland (saxophone) and John Bundrick (keyboards). The rhythm section are as tight as ever, but it's Peter Perret’s decidedly non-macho vocals which steal the show, as always. None of these songs are what you'd call anthems but The Only Ones are consistently a joy – I doubt I’ll ever tire of going back for a listen.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Mar-2009


TJR says:

7.04 “Really good”

At last, a decent band from Glasgow, hallelujah. After 18 months of building momentum, the first-ever Simple Minds release was finally delivered in April ’79 – and it was a full-length job, no messin’ about with these boys. The gallus five were: Jim Kerr (19, vocals); Charlie Burchill (19, guitar, violin); Derek Forbes (22, bass); Brian McGee (20, drums) and Mick MacNeil (20, keyboards). “Someone” is a bit of a glamourous piano stomper to begin, but a bit disappointing as an opener, devoid of hook. “Life In A Day” (which would be the debut single just a few weeks after the LP was issued) is next, and immediately lifts the album onto a higher plateau – what a great New Wave single, very much in the electro-post-punk spirit-of-now. It’s all a bit confusing when “Sad Affair” kicks in immediately afterwards; this seems to be a band experimenting, and this is the “let’s see what we’re like as The E Street Band” moment. They’re alright at it actually – if you like that kind of thing. Better is “All For You”, a New Wave rocker which benefits from some hot and dirty sax. Side one ends with 8 minutes of slowcore via “Pleasantly Disturbed”, yet another track which takes the descending crescendo (if such a thing there be) from “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and twists it into something of their own as a measure of appreciation. This is done with subtly here, and the group ably demonstrate that they’re as sensitive as they are capable in 1979. Upping the mood and tempo straight away on side two is “No Cure”, which comes on like Roxy covering The Rats “Like Clockwork”. And then, la pièces de résistance; the classic “Chelsea Girl” (soon to be chosen as the second single) which is as hooky as Bowie’s hookiest. A big feature of the Minds debut has been the disparate influences from the various 70s scenes, and the Skids/Stranglers influenced “Wasteland” further underlines this. More than anything else, they’re a fine New Wave / Power Pop band, exemplified on the final two tracks; the Attractions-like “Destiny” and The Jags-like “Murder Story”. Very fashionable.

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Feb-2010


TJR says:

6.92 “Good”

“Join Hands” was knocked for the bleakness by some critics but, hey, c’mon, some of us quite like a bit of bleakness in our musical diet. Could’ve been better with a tad more melody mind you, which is where it falls down, slightly. The album is home to some interesting work though – opener ”Poppy Day” laments the loss of life in World War I against a marching beat and some abrasive guitar, and the disturbing “Playground Twist” is a stone-classic of the Post-Punk Nursery-Rhyme variety. The disconcerting eeriness is accentuated on “Mother/Mein Papa”, which begins prettily with a music box, but soon reveals an anguished, screwed-up child, caught halfway between love and hate for the parent. “Lord’s Prayer” has no such confusion – the contempt for religion is there for all to hear. “There’s Never Been A Heaven” screams our heroine. My ghetto-blaster’s cued up, volume set to 11, and ready for those door-chapping Mormon weirdos. Go Siouxsie.

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Dec-2007


TJR says:

6.90 “Good”

The third album from the New York based quartet arrived in August ’79, with Brian Eno on production duties for the second album in a row, adding his Perry-esque electronic trickery to the funky art-rock master tracks, the five-strong combo even touching on some Afrobeat on the intriguing opener, “I Zimbra”. Side one is entirely solid, and closes especially well with the apocalyptic funk of “Life During Wartime” complete with the immortal lines: “This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around, this ain't no Mudd Club, or C. B. G. B., I ain't got time for that now”, and the dense-trance of “Memories Can’t Wait”, which makes the former seem like the soundtrack to a jelly and ice cream party; the more earnest they are, the deeper my affection grows. The solid affair rocks on all the way to the very end of side two; every track has something to offer. On the peculiar wonky-pop opener “Air”, the protagonist seems to suffer from asphyxiation through fear alone, and the eerie swamp-funk of “Electric Guitar” has a sense of new-romantic mystery, accentuated by the high-necked bass tuning and the light-breeze swirls of electronica. There wasn’t a lot happening in the States at this time, but the Heads were one shining light.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.89 “Good”

On the Boys Next Door debut Nick Cave comments: “It was a complete wet dream that record. I hate it. It wreaks of a band trying to be musically intelligent and write clever, witty lyrics. It’s a complete wank.” Harsh Nick, very harsh. Side one (rated 6.40) was recorded in June 1978, before Rowland Howard had joined. Here, the group play a Boomtown Rats style of pop-punk, complete with ooh-ooh-oohs and saxophones. The punky opening salvo “The Nightwatchman” is a clear highlight from this period. The improving Side two (rated 7.38) was recorded in January 1979 with Rowland, who contributes the classic suicide-ballad “Shivers” (although the band gets co-credit on all tracks). It’s the second side which sees the group take a clear turn for the better; towards the darkness that would soon envelope The Birthday Party, with “Dive Position” in particular laying down a kind of creep-waltz template that would become a peculiarity of The Birthday Party / The Bad Seeds later on. “Door Door” was a good start to the Nick Cave story. Which just goes to show – you should never let an artist do their own reviews…

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Apr-2008


TJR says:

6.85 “Good”

Spurred on by the success of their reissued “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” singles from earlier in the year, the Police got deeper into their brand of reggae rock for their second long-player, right down to the descriptive album title, even if was only about 40% accurate with regards to the content. The rise and rise of Jamaica’s recently-born national music form was truly spectacular from ’68 to ’78 and now, by the end of the 70s, white reggae was becoming a new phenomenon all of its own. Mother England was naturally at the heart of the fusion, with the Clash, the Slits, the Police, Ruts, Costello and a whole string of others getting in on the act – not to mention the whole 2-Tone movement. The Police were enormously skilful and were really able to nail down a bona-fide feeling for the genre – they could dub-out or rock-up at the flick of a snare, as light or as complex with the riddim as they felt like being. The album arrived in October ’79 just as the lead single (and opening track) “Message In A Bottle” was making its ascent to the very summit of the UK singles chart. Following that classic starter, the title-track finds the trio flexing their considerable music muscle with licks and tricks galore in their new reggae-rock style. Alas, these are the only two truly worthwhile tracks on side one which all feels a little bit “b-side” by their known standards. This formula generally repeats on side two, with a couple of stone-classics – “Walking On The Moon” and “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” – towering above the rest. Things aren’t exactly dull mind you – it’s interesting to hear drummer Stewart Copeland take lead vocals on his own composition “On Any Other Day” and the piano-dominated “Does Everyone Stare” is at least entertaining for its restlessness, veering between cabaret, reggae and rock motifs with operatic shades thrown in for good measure! Equally unexpected is “No Time This Time” which closes the album by rocking to the max. I’m left wary…

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Oct-2007

chart first published 31 Oct 2016; last edited 31 Oct 2016

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