Album Chart of 1980

<1979 1981>

  • This chart features albums released in 1980 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 100) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1980 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1980-a-madness.jpg

STRAIGHT OUTTA CAMDEN

This was the year that Tommy McGloin and his combo – El Thommo, Bedders, Woody, Chrissy Boy, Chas, Suggs and Monsieur Barso – truly cemented their status as all-time legends of the British music scene. Not too far behind were Adam and The Ants, The Fall and Joy Division, as London and Manchester retained their grip as the leading hot spots.

Britain’s 2-Tone revolution is in rude-health, with terrific albums from The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat as well as the aforementioned nutty seven.

It’s an exceptional year for Birmingham actually; The Beat are joined by fellow debutants UB40 and Dexys Midnight Runners – making three superb long play statements from the city, all told.

Other notable debutants in this year include Bow Wow Wow, Pretenders, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, as the British New Wave scene continues to develop stylistically in avenues many and varied.

Stateside, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Captain Beefheart, Lydia Lunch and The Cramps are where it’s at.

After 15 years of the Rhodesian Bush War, Zimbabwe dances to the sound of independence and first-class LPs from Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited and Flavian Nyathi and Blues Revolution commemorate the declaration of the new Republic in April ’80.

For me, 1980 overtakes 1967 as the greatest year for albums to date; the ratings are stronger in-depth at every turn, whether in terms of the Top 10, Top 30 or Top 50.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Jan-2017

TJR says:

9.41 “A masterpiece”

Following on from their exuberant, if rarely-serious, debut, Madness hit a brilliant peak right here; “Absolutely” manages to strike a perfect balance between their shiny single larks and the slightly greyer pop that was wont to bobble beneath the surface of Mike Barson’s oft-under-rated arrangements. But what’s that? One out of five stars at Rolling Stone? Yer ‘avin a GIRAFFE guv! The Invaders from North London could do no wrong in Britain and Europe, but the Americans were clearly immune to the subtleties and charms of the nutty sound, the colourful grasp of language and the nuanced delivery with which Suggs was gifted. I’ve always had this thing about London, especially the cockney accent – it’s street-real and tough-but-friendly in normal day-to-day life. On “E.R.N.I.E.” our man empathises with the age-old working-class lie-dreams of the big windfall: “One more try, try to get wot you never ‘ad, five more bob for the whole world it can’t be bad?” Not that ordinary folks are blindly romanticised here; the preceding track, “Embarrassment”, infers disapproval at those who would proclaim faith in strong family values, yet buckle at the slightest hint of shame or scandal which could upset the neighbours, with teen pregnancy and mixed-race relations being tantamount to war crimes for the hedge-row massive. The dark subject matter is paradoxically placed within the confines of the bounciest, most Top-of-the-Pops-friendly tune on the album; there are no hammers to crack nuts with Madness. From start to finish, the band are playing out of their skin, with a style which is almost uniquely their own; a cerebral fusion of soul, rhythm n blues, pop, ska and reggae. Musically and lyrically they could be thoughtful and provoking or just as readily be set to party mode; this, together with the everyday lads image, was part of the huge appeal which had me hooked. Society’s appetite for social shaming is to the fore once again on the amazing “Not Home Today”, a minor-key reggae masterpiece, framed by a mournful harmonica and a masterful group performance which expertly underpins the mini-drama about a vicious miscreant jailed for GBH, and the subsequent attempts of the family home to conceal the truth from the gossiping neighbours. “A flick of the wrist, he wished that he had missed” suggests that an attack with a blade lies at the centre of the trial, and the excuse “he’s gone away on a short holiday, he won’t be back for a while” confirms both the guilty verdict, and the attempt at a cover-up on the home-front. After two minutes of story bounce, the group proceed to stomp and march for 30 seconds, as the incarcerated one is led away to his new residence at her majesty’s pleasure, and the tale concludes with the sound of a cell door being slammed shut, leaving the music as nothing but a tinny annoyance in the distance; just as it will be for our man from hereon. Immediately thereafter, the tone is considerably lightened with the patrolling bobby with the size-ten feet, characterized in “On The Beat Pete”, who encounters all facets of London life on his daily watch: “Hello Fred you look half dead, are you coming are you going? I could never do a double shift … Hello Steve long time no see, I like the Stones still on the thieve? … Hello Snowball you still drunk? Here have a smoke and one for lunch.” Not a single track on side 2 is less than classic, beginning with “Take It Or Leave It”, a tale of alienation and paranoia that works on both personal and international terms. There aren’t too many dub-piano tunes kicking around, but this has got to be right up there with the best in the niche genre. Clever use of chords and tempo create a frantic tension to the Ska in “Shadow Of Fear”, which fades before the stalker can strike. “Disappear” cements Madness growing reputation as ace purveyors of cerebral pop music; boy-oh-boy can they play. Stately piano, stop-start tensions, driven Casino-Soul beats – it’s all here together with a superb vocal from Suggs, chock-full of character in the way of Ray Davies before him. The trademark piano-dub goodness is in evidence once again on “Overdone” – by this stage it’s apparent that these boys have delivered one of the greatest albums of the age. This feeling is strengthened with “In The Rain”, the sprightliness of which seems to capture the early spirit of the 2-Tone revival, but with a vocal delivery which is doused in the real-life blues; we feel for our boy and his girl troubles: “Standing here in the rain, maybe the weather will change again, change again or stay the bleedin’ same”. Every bit the stunning equal of this is “You Said”, which seems to serve as a sequel to the girl troubles: “I’ll suppose I’ll be sad for a week or two, but in the end it’s the same for me and you”. The band supports the storyline brilliantly – Lee’s sax, Mike’s piano, Chris’s guitar, Bedder’s bass, Woody’s drums – this unit clearly work as one. The eloquence of the players or, as Chas Smash introduces them, Tommy McGloin and his combo, is clear for all to hear on the wonderful finale, “Return Of The Los Palmas 7”. Cha-cha-cha-cha. Goodnight.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Jun-2007


TJR says:

9.31 “A masterpiece”

Along with what seemed like the entire teenage population of the UK, I was an 11-year-old with white line fever digging “ant music for sex people”. Frankly, I didn’t know what the hell was going on, but who cares? These Burundi-beats seemed to hail down on me from a different world altogether, and I just couldn’t get enough of them. There’s a fairly decent chance I could now, as I could then, sing along word-for-word with this entire album, such was the frequency of my placement of the needle on the record. Following the cult-classic that was “Dirk Wears White Sox”, Adam Ant was determined to take his artfulness into the mainstream, and enlisted the help of Malcolm McLaren to aid him in his quest, even going so far as to pay the former Pistols manager £1,000 for his services. In one of the most scandalous betrayals ever to disgrace British Rock, McLaren poached the Ants (guitarist Matthew Ashman, drummer David Barbarossa and bassist Leigh Gorman) away from Adam, forming a new band, Bow Wow Wow. What a rotter. Brilliantly, the dastardly deed turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not to be outdone, the bold Adam dusted himself down and enlisted the help of an old pal from his punk days, Marco Pirroni. This, in fact, turned out to be a phenomenal partnership, with Marco’s Link Wray/Duane Eddy inspired power-chord/twang serving as the perfect counter-foil to Adam’s other-worldly music for a future age vision, incorporating exotic rhythms and incredibly striking imagery. Completing the terrific line-up were Kevin Mooney (bass) and the double-drumming assault of Chris ‘Merrick’ Hughes and Terry Lee Miall. “Dog Eat Dog”, “Ants Invasion” and “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” could hardly be any more perfect; the former and the latter revel in the glorious new-wave Burundi-beats whilst “Ants Invasion” retains a strategic foothold in the post-punk camp. Not too far behind these are “Feed Me To The Lions”, “Killer In The Home” and “The Human Beings”, all of which are of the all-time classic variety, bringing all sorts of weird and wonderful yelps, scowls and Native-American motifs to the party. Merely classic status is afforded “Antmusic”, “Los Rancheros” and “Making History” – catchy pop music rarely sounded so appealing. “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” was, and indeed still is, a thriller from first to last, and stands as one of the greatest LP’s ever created. Warning to retro-fans with an imminent fancy-dress engagement: he wasn’t using Dulux…

The Jukebox Rebel
31-Dec-2010


TJR says:

9.07 “A masterpiece”

For their third new music album there was one change to the starting line-up, with a 16-year-old Paul Hanley (bassist Steve’s younger brother) replacing Mike Leigh on drums. If this is a deliberate policy, it seems to be working well, and this rough-and-ready offering – loose-caboose Post-Punk-Rock-a-Billy with kazoo accompaniment and a frontman ranting ten-to-the-dozen – is a winner all the way. “Pay Your Rates” sets the tone as the album kicks-off memorably: “Pay The Borough!” screams the frontman, as if he’s on a commission, before sneering “If your rate’s too high, write a snotty letter”. Pot calling kettle there methinks. This is followed by “English Scheme”, which has a cheerful menace about it, as an observational MES focuses on the lower-class struggle to get out: “Like your psychotic big brother, who left home for jobs in Holland, Munich, Rome, he’s thick but he struck it rich”. This maintains the high standard of the opening, and suddenly you’re thinking, can they keep this up? Suggesting that, yes, they certainly can, the cool jangle of “New Face In Hell” servers as the band’s tip-of-the-hat to the VU, and is combined with a superb delivery from the the lead singer, who seems to be on his 47th page of A4 already. On this one, he’s off on another of his storytelling journeys, and we’re regaled of a tale about a CB enthusiast who stumbles into classified secrets and is subsequently framed by the State for murdering his neighbour. A disdain for the whining masses is apparent again on the magnificent swinger “C’N’C-S Mithering”, on which I realise the joy of repetition really is in me; I’m thoroughly hooked on The Fall groove. When side one's closer, “The Container Drivers”, blast in, the excitement factor is sky-high; the energy assault doesn’t let up for a second. I dunno what his beef his, but MES doesn’t seem too enamoured with them: “Bad indigestion, bad bowel retention, speed for their wages, sun tan, torn short sleeves”. Personally, I think he just enjoys a good sneer and it’s quite funny. Were it not for the lame “W.M.C.-Blob 59” (the artsy-sketch bobbins now seemingly obligatory) I’d have reckoned this album to exist in the rarefied atmosphere of “elite masterpiece” status and it would’ve been my album-of-the-year. The Hanley brothers are great together on “Gramme Friday”; I just love that lazy, laid-back Fall swing. It might be a song about a speed-freak, but they make MES seem as cool as the Pink Panther. “The N.W.R.A.” serves as a glorious finale – once again the lead singer leads us into a complicated tale about a grotesque character, Roman Totale, who is leading a future-revolution, designed to restore the North of England to former glories. Forget futures or pasts, in the here-and-now the North, led by The Fall, are a super-power to be reckoned with.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.82 “A classic”

For my money, there aren’t too many groups who’ve delivered back-to-back classic albums but I’ve filed Joy Division as elitists in this respect. Whilst not quite as stark as its’ predecessor musically, “Closer” retains the desolation, but in a somewhat more beautiful set, wrapped forever in a blanket of sadness. Recorded by the suicidal Ian Curtis in March, he never lived to see its release, having decided to hang himself in the early hours of May 18th,1980, just 2 months before the album was issued. I don’t think I’ve ever once listened to the record without having the ghostly spectre of the troubled front man in my head. Eccentric producer Martin Hannett was at the helm once again – he knew that he had something special on his hands with Ian Curtis, and once described him as “the lightning conductor”. It seems to me the producer consciously set out to frame the vocals first-and-foremost; Peter Hook for one was none-too-chuffed at his bass being so low-down, but it seems fine to me. The overall sound is a bit bigger, a tad more epic if you will, with signs here and there of a group moving towards a more synthesized, dance-orientated future path. Early doors, “Isolation” would certainly come into this category – hooks, rhythm, melody, lifts – lyrics aside, it has all the hallmarks of the perfect New Wave record, hinting at a future beyond the gloomy shadows of Post-Punk. But those gloomy shadows seem permanently encoded within Joy Division’s DNA, completely at odds with their real-life lad-larks, and almost entirely down to the tortured-soul delivery from the front-man which, as we all now know, wasn’t an act. Suicide note follows suicide note from “A Means To An End” to “Twenty Four Hours” to “The Eternal”. Even the photograph on the cover is of the Appiani family tomb in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno in Genoa, Italy. It was chosen by Ian Curtis; was ever a departure from this mortal coil so artful?

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Jul-2006


TJR says:

8.79 “A classic”

The debut from the Californian quartet arrived in September ‘80, bursting out with classics left, right and centre. Taking their cues from the Pistols and The Clash, the DK’s channelled that energy and aligned it with their own home-grown agenda. The photo on the front-cover, showing several police cars on fire, was taken during the “White Night Riots” of 21st May 1979, that resulted from the light sentence given to former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White for the homophobic murder of Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk. With songs such as “When Ya Get Drafted” (rallying against calls for the re-introduction of the draft with lines such as ‘stocked with kids from slums’ hitting hard) and “California Über Alles” (satirising the States then-governor Jerry Brown as a supremacist and a totalitarian), these were clearly leftist punk aliens; their homeland occupied by oppressors, materialists and AOR friendly radio stations. Jello Biafra’s (Eric Boucher’s) vocals landed somewhere between John Lydon’s sneer and Feargal Sharkey’s trill, whilst East Bay Ray’s (Raymond Pepperell’s) guitar was something else, incorporating surf / thrash / new wave (sometimes all in the same song); surely “Holiday In Cambodia” stands as one of the greatest guitar works of all-time? Klaus Flouride (Geoffrey Lyall) played bass at 100 mph and still created melody as Ted (Bruce Slesinger) marched and rolled with a relentless energy and a precision that was on the outer-limits of human ability. Biafra’s non-stop verbal bashing for the American government (and, to a large degree, the American people) was laced with a vicious humour and a nasal sarcasm, and was a political wake-up call for many – this fightback against stupid Americans was not a gimmick. “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” was completely exhilarating from start to finish. What a rush…

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Apr-2007


TJR says:

8.78 “A classic”

This is Rock n Roll radio, c’mon let’s Rock n Roll with the Ramones.” If ever an album was perfectly introduced, this was it. Nostalgic, full of pop hooks and super-cool all the way, “End Of The Century” is a sheer classic in their catalogue – although the group didn’t see it that way! The general consensus from within their ranks seemed to be that Phil Spector’s perfectionism and overbearing nature was at odds with their bash-em-out, raunchy, in-yer-face style of Pop Punk. As a Ramones-low, “Baby I Love You” didn’t even feature any of them playing (old Phil Spector girl-group tricks come back to mind), with only Joey’s vocals giving listeners a sense of the group. Despite this unfortunate fact, the finished rendition stands as an all-time classic in my book. Anyone who loved Spector’s work in 63-64 as well as the Ramones to date would surely have to agree? Not Johnny. Said he: “End of the Century was just watered-down Ramones. It's not real Ramones. ‘Baby, I Love You’—I didn't play on that at all. What am I gonna do—play along with an orchestra? There's no point. End of the Century was trying to get a hit on each song, instead of trying to get a hit on one or two of the songs on the album and trying to make the rest as raunchy as you can. They ain't gonna play the other ten songs, anyway.” Whinge whinge. More fool him for losing control of his group. Despite their post-release mardiness, this set is full of classics. On side one, “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?”, “Danny Says” and “Chinese Rock” are all top-drawer, with the former two positively revelling in being 20 years out-of-time, and the latter standing as one of the mightiest Punk snarlers in their catalogue, bolstered by some great drumming from Marky. Side two pretty much follows the same formula; good-time soda-bar rock-n-roll with an edge, exemplified on “I Can’t Make It On Time” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”. Spector delivered, what more the Ramones expected of him baffles me to this day. Never trust a band to review their own records.

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Sep-2006


TJR says:

8.67 “A classic”

There are some who would label the second Specials LP as Jerry Dammer’s folly, but most people, myself included, would strongly disagree. Guitarist Roddy Byers said: “He wanted to do this sort of muzak thing, put drum machines on everything, he’d been right up to that point, but I started to think he was losing it a bit.” Such are the perils of large group memberships and, sadly, the lack of consensus would cost him bandmates in the near future. Jerry, however, can take solace in the knowledge that this classic piece of finished work will outlive them all for, despite the rumblings from within the ranks, it's undeniable that the Specials were moving on splendidly a year after the debut; out were the aggressive rock guitars and in was a cosmopolitan potpourri incorporating all sorts of influences, with touchstones of the Caribbean, old cabaret, 60s soul, electronica and Arabia constantly flirting with the core Jamaican rhythms. I’d be labelling this a “masterpiece” were it not for the fluffy fun of “Enjoy Yourself” bookending the serious work in-between. Horn-laden dub-vibes are to the fore on the magnificent “Man At C & A” which stabs-out at the crazies who would lead us to Armageddon: “The Mickey Mouse badge told the Ayatollah at his feet, You drink your oil you schmuck, we'll eat our heads of wheat.” The bouncy-ska of “Hey, Little Rich Girl” is next, as Terry shakes his head at the okay-yah girl gone bad (and the sleazy fat cats): “at your Dad’s office party all the movies were blue, caused him so much heartache, coz the screen star was you”; kudos to special guest, Lee Thompson of Madness, who blows some mean sax here. The mighty “Do Nothing” is next and stands as contender for the song of the year, with a walk-n-skank bounce that comes courtesy of Horace Panter’s mighty bass and John Bradbury’s amazingly instinctive stick taps. Existential reggae, who knew? Ever the human-condition observer, Terry continues Lynval’s “Do Nothing” theme on “Pearl’s Café”, an update of the old ‘Eleanor Rigby’ lonely spinster theme: “It’s all a load of bollocks” sings our fading gal. Poor Pearl. This pretty much marks the end of the ska and we’re only 5 tracks in. A stupendous soul cover of “Sock It To ‘Em JB” (Rex Garvin and The Mighty Cravers, 1966) closes side one with incredible vitality; JB could just as easily stand as a tribute to John Bradbury as James Bond, for it was the drummer who brought this one to the table and his gun-fire playing is pure dancefloor dynamite. Side two opens with a 2-part version of “Stereotype”; firstly featuring vocals and lyrics by Terry, then secondly by Neville. The message is the same all the way on the dub-heavy track, pointing a finger at the vacuous drink-driving loser who gets drunk and spreads VD: “He's just a sterotype, he drinks his age in pints, he has girls every night, he doesn't really exist.” The gloom is broken by “Holiday Fortnight”, a delightful carnival trip which temporarily transports us to Port of Spain. To a man, the players are fantastic on Roddy’s tune, with special mentions for Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez on the brass. The excellent “International Jet Set” serves as one last creepy track for the road as Terry conveys his alienation at the mad world in which he finds himself as a “pop star”. Set in an aeroplane, he has time to contemplate… “the businessmen are having fun … I’ve lost touch with reality, they all seem so absurd to me … but is rudely awakened as news comes across from the PA that the engines have failed and that the plane is to make a crash landing. Displaying fine black humour, the album comes to a close with a beaten and bedraggled reprise of “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”…

The Jukebox Rebel
29-Sep-2006


TJR says:

8.53 “A classic”

There were many changes since the debut; a move to that there London had resulted in a change of drummer, with Jim Reilly replacing Brian Faloon, they had switched labels moving upfield to Chrysalis Records, and the impact from the words and music was slightly more refined and a tad less anarchic – to the benefit of the record. “Inflammable Material” had been thoroughly excellent – one of the best-ever Punk LPs – but this follow-up nailed down their sound and vision with a new, purposeful authority. Side one was especially vital, with “Gotta Gettaway”, “Wait And See”, “Fly The Flag”, “At The Edge” and “Nobody’s Hero” – who could possibly ask for any more than that? By relative comparison, side two is the weaker, starting with a low-key instrumental, “Bloody Dub”, before they continue with their reggae flirtation, taking on The Specials “Doesn’t Make It Alright”. Album closer “Tin Soldiers” connects brilliantly with their hometown brethren: “He joined up to get a job and show he wasn't scared, swapped boy scout hat for army cap, he thought he'd be prepared”. These noble punks are fighting a good fight against those who would seek to control your thoughts and actions.

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Dec-2016


TJR says:

8.49 “Excellent”

1978s “Hokoyo!” was brilliant but this post-independence follow-up was on another level again; smoother, prettier, more hypnotic and bursting out with joyous, almost celebratory, horn lines, with guitar as mbira, again, the main order of the day. The set was produced and recorded at Shed Studios, Harare, engineered by Bothwell Nyamhondera. The Blacks Unlimited on this occasion line-up: Jonah Sithole (guitar); Leonard 'Pickett' Chiyangwa (guitar); Charles Mayana (bass); Sebastian Ferado (drums); Everson Chibamu trumpet), Temba Ncube (trumpet) as well as an unknown South African saxophonist. All tracks were written by Thomas himself, with the album title, “Gwindingwi Rine Shumba”, translating as “Lion In The Bush”. The shortened title of “Shumba”, in fact, is the opening song on the LP and features the lyric “Gwindingwi rine shumba inoruma kuza ngoma” (The thick black forest has a killer lion—beat the drum). Despite the allegorical language, this is clearly an intimidating song of war. The villagers are encouraged not to have loose tongues; in these times you never know who might be listening. “Mhondoro”, my favourite on side one, seems to have plenty mentions for Zimbabwe, and I’ve read that the Shona people have a spirit called a “Mhondoro” meaning both lion and Guardian spirit of a tribe. The “Mhondoro” oversees a region and their general purpose is to oversee the overall welfare of the people of that region – including ensuring the fall of adequate rainfall. My favourite track on side two is “Chitima Cherusununguko”, which seems to be celebrating the fact that Mugabe is now driving the freedom train. Enjoy it while it lasts Thomas.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-May-2012


TJR says:

8.43 “Excellent”

Three Minute Hero” has empathy for the 9-to-5 brigade: “It’s just another day with that endless grey drone.” They’re on their best behaviour here with none of that vulgar swearing that we get on the “Dance Craze” version. It’s bucking frilliant, and clocks-in at bang on 3 minutes too – such a skilful outfit. “Time Hard” is a Pioneers cover in good taste – The Pioneers were awesome. “They Make Me Mad” re-uses the key ingredients of “On My Radio”, but with a good hook rather than a killer one. I’m a big fan of Pauline Black; when she screams “They Make Me Mad” she sounds CRAZY-MAD, and it makes you MAD-MENTAL with her. She connects, and is a superb front for the band. “Missing Words” is just a WOW; the boy Davies can certainly write some, and I’m not talking about Ray - what an all-time CLASSIC. Nice one Neol. “Danger” is well nimble; The Selecter play whilst bouncing on their toes. “Street Feeling” is a good shout-a-long for the live crowd. “My Collie (Not A Dog)” was originally done by Barbie Gaye in 1957… sort of… being an adapted version of “My Boy Lollypop” re-written to extol the virtues of the herb. To throw the police off the scent, the track cleverly features a real barking Collie dog on “barking vocals” – who says The Selecter never had a sense of humour? Opening side two is the mega “Too Much Pressure, which is a fairly different mix to the single version, perhaps with 2% less edge. That said, it’ll be a major classic forever and a day – however, wherever and whenever they choose to dig it up. “Murder” digs deep into Jamaican obscuros, the tune having done by Leon & Owen way back in ’62. “Out On The Streets” is probably the weakest track on the album, but it’s still a good ‘un and tells you all you need to know about the quality of this LP. “Carry Go Bring Come” was originally done by Justin Hinds in the 60s. I’ve got an album with no less than 16 artist versions on this rhythm, all recorded in the 1990s. It’s always been regarded as a classic track in Jamaica, and is obviously still much-loved over there. The Selecter version is excellent (great drumming) but no-one could ever live with the might of the original. “Black And Blue” features the unmistakeable sound of man-like-Rodriguez making an appearance on the trumpet. Hey, forget about James Brown – in the early 80s Rico was the hardest working man in showbiz. Closing proceedings is “James Bond”, a recording of the classic James Bond theme by Monty Norman. It’s a fantastic finish to another excellent debut LP by a 2-Tone band. There was something in the water down Coventry way circa 1980…

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Feb-2010


TJR says:

8.43 “Excellent”

It’s No Game (No. 1)” opens up the set and immediately demands attention due to the wonderfully strange vocal duet; the lyrics are spoken half-calmly/half-frantically by a Japanese lady, Michi Hirota, with Bowie half-singing/half-screaming the English translation. It ends with our tortured front-man wailing “SHUT UP” at the screeching guitarists. This sort of bonkers approach goes down well with me. It leads us into the super-cool “Up The Hill Backwards”, with great rhythms, more screeching guitars, and some neat lines in alt-funk. This fantastic start is maintained on “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)”, as Bowie, ever the chameleon, channels the post-punk atmospherics of the day impeccably, with an intriguing set of lyrics about a girl he’ll always love who’s now touched by the madness: “When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home”. It’s all truly superb stuff, and the high continues with the delightful “Ashes To Ashes”, which revisits 1969s “Space Oddity”, and is one of those rare instances where a monster commercial hit chimes agreeably with my sensibilities. Major Tom now seems to have been a space cadet for longer than Jim Kirk in the Starship Enterprise. Wrapping up the supreme side one, is the New Romantic classic, “Fashion”, which kind of updates 1975s “Golden Years” with the sound of now. He may well be taking the mick out of the New Romantics by referring to them as “the goon squad”, but, like it or lump it, he’s one of them, so this makes me chuckle. Almost inevitably, side two fails to scale these heady heights, but is still kinda neat all the same. “Kingdom Come” is a cover of Tom Verlaine’s song from the year before, and almost lays down a template for Brett Anderson’s Suede who would get to work by the end of the decade. The album finishes where it began, with “It’s No Game (No. 2)” but, alas, there is no sign of Michi this time around. Still, mustn’t grumble, what an excellent start to the decade for David Bowie.

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Sep-2005


TJR says:

8.34 “Excellent”

This is one of those ultra-rare occasions where every single ingredient is as important as the next in the creation of the whole delicious concoction, there being five of them for this dish. Firstly, a lot of credit must go to the man who created the vision for the recipe – Malcom McLaren. His love for African Jive and World Music in general was the square root catalyst for the extra-ordinary fusion that would ensue. McLaren’s first move was to raid the staff-bank from the HQ of Adam Ant. Fresh from their success with Adam and The Ants on 1979’s “Dirk Wears White Sox” LP, David Barbarossa (drums) and Matthew Ashman (guitar) would provide some of the most invigorating rhythms and flourishes ever heard from the white man, whilst the third member of the Ants to be “poached away”, bassist Leigh Gorman (who had only played one gig with the Ants and was not involved in any of their studio recordings), would add the most un-English sounding basslines which seemed to have more in common with Havana or Harare than with Hounslow. And what of Annabella Lwin? Discovered singing at her launderette Saturday job by an acquaintance of McLaren’s, she delivered what was, quite possibly, the greatest performance in the history of Rock by a 13-year-old (she’d turn 14 just in time for the album’s November release). Her yelps, gasps, Balinese chanting and general exuberance just sealed the whole Bow Wow Wow deal. In a word? Sensational…

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Sep-2010


TJR says:

8.28 “Excellent”

At the time of their long-play debut in May ’80 the Birmingham sextet were: Dave Wakeling (24, vocals, guitar), ‘Ranking Roger’ Charlery (17, vocals), Andy Cox (24, guitar), David Steele (19, bass), Everett Morton (29, drums), and Lionel ‘Saxa’ Martin (50, saxophone). The six share the writing credits – they’ll never get rich but I greatly admire the brotherhood. To my ears, every royalty share seems entirely justified; at various times you can tune in to a performance from any individual and form a case for them as vital cogs in the Beat machine. And what a machine – razor sharp licks, intensely deep and rhythmic drum and basslines, bona-fide JA Sax cool and superb, immediately identifiable, 2-Tone vocals from Dave and Roger. The album begins memorably with “Mirror In The Bathroom”, the lead single which was making its ascent into the UK Top 10 at the time, an interesting song about those who would self-obsess. Said Dave: “It was thinking about how self-involvement turns into narcissism and how narcissism turns into isolation, and then how isolation turns into self-involvement again, and how what a vicious cycle that can become.” Interesting lyrics are the cherry-on-top of the special Beat mix – the whole experience stimulates. You’re never too far from a major classic on this set – side one has “Hands Off She’s Mine” – a contender for the tune of the year – as well as the amazing elasticity of “Twist And Crawl”, a song about the socially awkward: “not so much Twist and Shout more like Twist and Crawl” said Dave in a later interview. Displaying enormous talent for the pop jangle, “Best Friend” is a second-half monster in which Dave talks to his “best friend” in the mirror again. It must be love. Almost as if riding the last euphoric wave of the Ska revival, the album closes mightily as The Beat adapt the old Pioneers tune, “Jackpot” to awesome effect, ending the album in an upbeat style. Good gawsh. What a joyful sound.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Dec-2005


TJR says:

8.23 “Excellent”

Did you ever see such a positive album cover in all of your life? Just one look at that and the whole world seems a better place. After the relative disappointment of last years’ “Survival”, this set found Bob back to his brilliant mid to late 70s form; it seems to me the band respond to a special set of lyrics with a matching depth, like a fully committed throng in a gospel trance, evidenced on mighty first-half classics such as “Coming In From The Cold” (“Why do you look so sad and forsaken, when one door is closed, don't you know another is open… the biggest man you ever did see was just a baby… it’s YOU I’m talking to”) and “Real Situation” (“total destruction, the only solution”). There is no let up on side two, with fantastic cuts such as “Zion Train” (“don't gain the world and lose your soul… wisdom is better than silver and gold”) and “Could You Be Loved” (“Don't let them fool ya, or even try to school ya! … the road of life is rocky and you may stumble too, so while you point your fingers someone else is judging you, love your brotherman!”) The LP closes famously with the classic “Redemption Song”, with the immortal Garveyism “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” Amen to that brother Bob. With his crack band, his heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics and his gritty determination to exude positive vibrations, the indomitable Bob Marley was an inspiration to all who gave him half-an-ear. To the end, he was a true legend of the world.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Apr-2007


TJR says:

8.23 “Excellent”

Mashing up the best of your 60s Rhythm n Blues beat combos with your early 70s proto-punk rockers, the Pretenders punchy brand of New Wave had suss and was class personified. Obviously, the credit for this lies largely with Chrissie Hynde, but fair play to her boys who expertly get the best out of her first-class songs. At the time of release in January ’80 they were: Chrissie Hynde (28, vocals, rhythm guitar); James Honeyman-Scott (23, lead guitar, keyboards); Pete Farndon (27, bass) and Martin Chambers (28, drums). The album explodes into life from the off with “Precious”, which, at last, puts the Sex in Pistols, and raises the roof when Chrissie drops the f-bomb. On the same side, she ups the ante on the sexual aggresh with “Tatooed Love Boys”, which makes Patti Smith seem like Mary Poppins. I’m blushing as I write. Side one closes with the 1979 debut single, an impeccable reading of Ray Davies’ “Stop Your Sobbing”, a masterclass in the art of the melancholic pop jangle. Maintaining the classic 60s vibe, “Kid” – another single from ’79 – opens up side two splendidly; just listen to how this band play, it’s phenomenal how they rise, fall and step sideways with all sorts of tricks and licks up their sleeves. Further underlining their skill, flair and adaptability, the classic “Private Life” proves that regatta de blanc is not the sole preserve of The Police. At this stage, the album’s status as a major debut is virtually assured, and the sensational “Brass In Pocket” further rockets the thing sky-high in my affections, as our girl struts on down the road of sexual awakening. A UK # 1 was just-reward for this masterpiece. Brilliantly, the album followed suit, giving the Pretenders an amazing start to their recording career.

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Oct-2007


TJR says:

8.16 “Excellent”

In July ’80, the Bunnymen’s “Crocodiles” was one of the key works delivering a sure-fire sign that Britain’s leftfield rock scene was moving forwards, as post-punk fragmented into many different tributaries; with their literate new wave jangle they would soon spearhead a whole new indie pop scene in Britain. The Fab 4 putting Liverpool back on the map were: Ian McCulloch (21, vocals, guitar, piano); Will Sergeant (22, lead guitar); Les Pattinson (22, bass) and Pete de Freitas (18, drums). This is not to say they were year zero on anything in particular; McCulloch’s demonstrative vocalizations tell me he was a massive fan of Jim Morrison and the inventive, restless nature of the rhythm section and guitarists suggest they took at least a degree of inspiration from Television. For teenagers getting into serious music, the Bunnymen easily served exclusively as “their new thing”, infinitely superior to noisy punk oiks and plastic new romantic goons. They’d be openly snobbish with it too, and the confidence which oozed from the front-man only served to re-inforce the cultish supremacy. Amongst the slew of vital cuts were “Going Up”, “Monkeys”, “Rescue” and “Villiers Terrace” – killers one and all. This was a stellar debut – and very much the dawning of a new era.

The Jukebox Rebel
21-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.13 “Excellent”

With Roxy Music having chosen to take a Punk bypass, The Psychedelic Furs plugged the gap in the market for those craving a more sophisticated sneer, coming complete with new wave beats that were more mid-tempo and augmented with saxophone. Sealing the deal was a superb raspy vocalist in Richard Butler, sounding almost permanently sarcastic and quite like no one else. Further setting themselves apart, they would unabashedly pretend to declare undying love for Frank Sinatra and The Supremes – what sort of anti-hip behaviour was this? By the time of their debut LP in February ’80 they were: Richard Butler (23, vocals); John Ashton (22, guitar); Tim Butler (21, bass); Vince Ely (drums); Roger Morris (guitar) and Duncan Kilburn (sax). “India” and “Sister Europe” serve as a strong one-two to start, the former upbeat, dense and relentless, the latter – their second single – equally intense in a more menacing, downbeat fashion. The high watermarks all appear on side two, with “We Love You” (the classic debut single from ’79), “Blacks / Radio” (two of their earliest, rawest songs from ’77 which they always segued together) and “Flowers” (digging on the VU’s White Light/White Heat). I don’t usually pay too much attention to their lyrics (usually because they’re difficult to decipher under the wall of noise) but “Flowers” certainly has some gory appeal: “his body is upon the wall, his teeth are sharp and white, we cut his feet with razorblades, and out of him comes foul white light.” And so ends a cracking debut, credit to all players and producer Steve Lillywhite for this affecting “wall of sound” or, as Richard puts it, “everybody doing something different within the same number.” Top marks for individualism.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Aug-2007


TJR says:

8.11 “Excellent”

Theirs is an inspirational story; 8 amigos on the dole get together and, although barely proficient, dedicate themselves to their music, day in, day out until they’re good enough to be heard in public. Saxophonist Brian Travers would later comment: “We commandeered a cellar and started rehearsing every day, nine till five. Our first experiences of playing an instrument started together, and we'd humiliate each other over mistakes. But we were very serious about our music. It was a year before we played our first gig.” With no money to pay for recording sessions they approached Bob Lamb (drummer with Steve Gibbons Band), who lived locally and had some basic recording facilities in his ground floor flat. As Bob would later recall: “‘King’ was the very first song they ever played to me, and it just blew my mind basically, to realise a bunch of kids could make a sound like that… it blew me away. And that was it for me, I was hooked, it was a bit like Elvis walks in or something, you know, it was one of those moments.” With Bob’s support the rest was a shoo-in. During relaxed sessions over the course of six months from December ’79 to July ’80, they nailed down everything perfectly, in no way concerned by minor inconveniences such as bird songs in the garden being picked up during the recording process. If you ask me, that’s a badge of honour, I just love that story. [Were they trilling “don’t worry ‘bout a ‘ting”?] By the time of their ambitious 2LP debut set in August ‘80, the vital and revolutionary Birmingham octet were: Jimmy Brown (22, drums); Ali Campbell (21, vocals, rhythm guitar); Robin Campbell (25, lead guitar, backing vocals); Earl Falconer (21, bass); Norman Hassan (22, percussion, congas); Brian Travers (21, tenor saxophone); Mickey Virtue (23, keyboards) and Terence ‘Astro’ Wilson (23, percussion, toasting). Rows of white faces on a racially prejudiced jury come under fire on the album’s opening track, “Tyler”, as UB40 bristle with a sense of injustice over the flawed 1975 murder conviction of a young American by the name of Gary Tyler. Ooft. Talk about setting your stall out. Eyes remained trained on America with “King”, a superb cut lamenting both the death of Martin Luther, and the subsequent loss of focus amongst African-Americans and their struggle: “King, where are your people now? Chained and pacified.” Whilst militant and dub-heavy, Ali Campbells’s mournful timbre ensured that hearts, minds and ears were open way beyond the traditional reggae hotspots; the album rose all the way to #2 in the UK album charts, a phenomenal achievement for a new band, on an indie, being confrontational, in a niche genre. “12 Bar”, the first of five pieces which are predominantly instrumental (Astro’s toasting echoes distantly and occasionally), appears next and calms things down with a spongy rhythm and a hazy, lazy sax – it’s the sound of summer chill. The respite is temporary as “Burden Of Shame” serves as an international apology for the falsehood that is Britannia’s far-from-glorious empire: “There are murders that we must account for, bloody deeds have been done in my name, criminal acts we must pay for, and our children will shoulder the blame … I’m a British subject, not proud of it, while I carry the burden of shame.” My own personal burden of shame is that, despite all of this superb action, my favourite track on the set is a cover; their incredible interpretation of Randy Newman’s song of alienation, “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”, is peerless. The classic “Food For Thought” appears next, in slightly longer form than the debut single version which had given them a UK Top 10 hit earlier in the year. Robin Campbell would later say it was “about the hypocrisy of Christmas, the fact that there are starving people in Africa and here we are all sat around eating our Christmas dinner and praising the Lord.” Political failings are a recurring theme on “Signing Off” – and the best was yet to come. Adding a tricky dilemma for discographers, the 10 track 33RPM disc is accompanied by a 3 track 45RPM 12" – is it part of the album or not? I’ve concluded that it is indeed on the grounds that i) It comes inside the cover sleeve, not separately, and that ii) The single cassette version includes all 13 tracks. It’s to their eternal credit that they let these tracks flourish sonically on the wider vinyl grooves, with little thought to the economic pitfalls of producing a two-record set. The “C” and “D” side are well worth their place, with the 12 minute epic that is “Madam Medusa” (a razor-sharp, scathing destruction of Thatcher), an exceedingly tasteful rendition of the old anti-racist standard “Strange Fruit”, and “Reefer Madness”, a sprightly instrumental which closes the set in a celebratory mood. Quite right too – this debut is a major triumph from every angle, and one of the greatest reggae albums ever recorded.

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Mar-2011


TJR says:

8.03 “Excellent”

The Jam’s superb form continues into the new decade with this well-crafted affair, full of nuggets, especially on side one which includes “Pretty Green”, “But I’m Different Now”, “Set The House Ablaze” and the two tracks chosen as singles; “Start!” (appearing here on slightly extended form) and “That’s Entertainment”, the latter of which is truly the songwriters song of songs, wonderfully evocative of urban mundanity and completely unforgettable. The bare, strummed track is completely at odds with rest of the album, which has a sharper dance sound, characterized by Foxton’s funk-punk basslines, Weller’s ever-thoughtful, no-nonsense lyrical delivery, and the subtle introduction of trumpets to Jam sound. The blaze doesn’t rage quite so intensely on side two, but the flip is home to the fantastic “Man In The Cornershop”, a song longing for the ‘freedom’ of the greener grass which looks so appealing on the other side. They are Premier League class in every way.

The Jukebox Rebel
09-Jul-2006


TJR says:

7.91 “Brilliant”

From sadness to relief, celebration to hope, this is an album where the singer, Flavian Nyathi, reflects the mixed emotions felt by a great many of the Zimbabwean people as 1980 drew to a close. The title-track, a Top 10 single in the fall, finds the singer in tears as he mourns: “Ropa reZimbabwe mkapamra paChimoia” (Zimbabwean blood was spilt at Chimoio). This refers to the massacre of November 23rd 1977, when Ian Douglas Smith’s Rhodesian Air Force audaciously crossed the Mozambican border, bombarding incessantly with strikes over the course of a few brutal hours, indiscriminately killing around 6,000 exiled Zimbabweans including men, women and children. Whilst I only have small clues to go on, it seems that most of the tracks are informed by the near 20-year violent struggle for independence which was finally gained in the springtime of 1980. I imagine the opening track “Takawira” (“Falling”) to be celebrating the fall of the Rhodesian Front party from power; whatever it’s about, it’s a great dance track! Flavian’s not the greatest of singers but this set certainly has plenty of spirit from all concerned. “Mwana Takamushaya” seems to be a call for the children to take over – they are the future hope for Zimbabwe. “Ve Soweto” keeps the tempo lively, and I guess this is a “brothers in arms” message of solidarity to the ANC in South Africa to keep the faith. Offering a different flavour, “Ndikakunga Maivangu” channels reggae basslines and is peppered with suitably mid-tempo African guitar lines; an interesting combination. The reverential “Vu Mugabe” is typical of the majority mood in the country at this time. It’s excellent as a dance track, as is “Pfumo Demo” (“Spear Demo”) which features especially ebullient vocal hollers as well as a neat line in bird whistling; it sounds like a bit of a war dance. I don’t know what became of Flavian Nyathi – one internet commentator suggests he himself was one of the freedom fighters and that he later died in poverty unable to support his family – but one thing’s for sure, he has at least one brilliant LP to his name.

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Aug-2015


TJR says:

7.85 “Brilliant”

Kevin Rowland’s Birmingham soul gang were named after the drug Dexedrine which was used by fans of Northern Soul – for many, that would speak volumes before a single note was heard. On “Searching For The Young Soul Rebels” they delivered on the promise of the three incredible singles – “Dance Stance”, “Geno” and “There, There, My Dear” – which had preceded the full-length debut in July ‘80. Grabbing your attention right from the start, the album opens with the sound of a radio dial being turned, tuning from station to station and finding (amongst other things) “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, “Holidays in the Sun” by Sex Pistols and “Rat Race” by The Specials, underneath a noisy crackle which would’ve been familiar to listeners of Radio Luxembourg. Rowland then leads his group with shouts of “Jimmy… Al… for god sake burn it down” whereupon they begin their young soul rebel assault with a stupendously fresh and brassy re-recording of their “Dance Stance” single of late ‘79, here retitled “Burn It Down”. As a self-assured statement of intent, the intro couldn’t possibly be any more perfect. The album is a treat throughout, and works brilliantly whether in the mood for the upbeat scorcher or the introspective ballad. Like many bands in this innovative era, Dexys were brilliant to listen to because there was no-one else like them; they had style in abundance.

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Apr-2007


TJR says:

7.80 “Brilliant”

Finding balance between a woozy 60s swirl and a sharp new wave punch, the debut from Liverpool’s Teardrop Explodes was a fine example of the never-ending conduits essential to musical evolutions. Their single-selecting process chimed well with my taste buds, with my four favourite tracks being the four singles released before the album, namely: “Sleeping Gas” (February ’79), “Bouncing Babies” (June ’79), “Treason (It’s Just A Story)” (February ’80) and “When I Dream” (September ’80).

The Jukebox Rebel
10-Jan-2008


TJR says:

7.66 “Brilliant”

Essentially, this was the third set from the London-based poet, every time in collaboration with Dennis Bovell’s roots-rockers. “Bass Culture” is the best one yet, with a sublime run of hard-hitters only coming to an end with the final three cuts. The moody “Street ‘66” is darkly atmospheric and seems to infer that the police who’ve come to break up a low-key chilled party are messin’ with the wrong people! “Reggae Fi Peach” is about a school teacher from New Zealand named Blair Peach who moved to England and became active in the movement against Neo-Nazis in Europe. He was killed at a protest against Neo-Nazis… not by the Neo-Nazi’s themselves, but by London’s “Special Patrol” division of their police department. Linton’s addresses can make the hairs on the back my neck stand up: “Oh ye people of England, GREAT injustices are committed upon dis land, How long will ye permit dem to carry on? Is England becoming a fascist state? The answer lies at your own gate, and in the answer lies your fate.” Opening up side two, “Inglan Is A Bitch” is another excellent piece of performance poetry which focuses on the struggles of an immigrant living in London. Johnson moved to London to live in Brixton in 1965. On moving to London he has said that it was cold and ugly and that “it wasn’t the picture book idea one has of the mother country”. It’s highly evocative – he’s a master of his art.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Apr-2008


TJR says:

7.54 “Brilliant”

The second long-player from the 4-year-old Cambridge band arrived in June ’80, at which time they lined up: Robyn Hitchcock (27, guitar, vocals); Kimberley Rew (28, guitar); Matthew Seligman (bass) and Morris Windsor (drums). Their brand of cerebral pop incorporated elements of folk rock, psychedelia and proto-punk, with results which were extremely pleasing to the ear. There’s a good-time jangle on the surface, paradoxically offset with darkly humorous lyrical themes of sex, death, hideous creatures and general paranoia. Amongst the many highlights are the fantastic solid-backbeat opener “I Wanna Destroy You” and “Insanely Jealous” which has me proclaiming “I can’t believe it’s not Howard Devoto”. As does “Old Pervert” on side two, a real low-down dirty blues rocker about a proper wrong ‘un who may well be deranged. I dread to think what might be in his fridge. If that’s a bit Ian Brady, it’s a case of out of the darkness into the light as the glorious “Queen Of Eyes” transports you firmly back into a brighter mid-60s world inhabited by The Monkees, The Hollies, The Byrds et al. There’s never a dull moment on this album.

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Dec-2016


TJR says:

7.45 “Really good”

For his fourth album, the incomparable 31-year-old Punk-Poet continued with his tried and trusted formula of working with fellow Salfordians Martin Hannett (producer) and Steve Hopkins (keyboards). The collaboration hits a creative peak; this is clearly the best yet and houses many cuts which would remain as Cooper Clarke staples well into the 21st century, including “Evidently Chickentown”, “Conditional Discharge” and “Beasley Street” from side one, with “Thirty Six Hours” and “The It Man” on side two. The man’s a national treasure, and no mistake.

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Nov-2016


TJR says:

7.44 “Really good”

With “Empires and Dance”, the adaptable and experimental Glasgow quintet positioned themselves as the darkest, toughest new romantics on the block. Whether high-octane dance or mid-tempo mood-grooves, the sense of cool was omnipresent. The opening 1-2-3 – “I Travel”, “Today I Died Again” and “Celebrate” – was exceptional and, whilst there’s hardly a dud in the set, “Thirty Frames A Second” was particularly excellent on side two.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Dec-2016


TJR says:

7.35 “Really good”

Those mid-70s miss-steps seem like a distant memory now, as Captain Beefheart delivers another belter to follow 1978s brilliant “Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)”. That said, the album is far from a continuation of the relatively smooth accessibility of its predecessor, actually being a bit of a throwback to their ‘wonky blues’ period which predated “Trout Mask Replica”. The re-appearance of guitarist/drummer John French (who had played on the first six Beefheart albums) seems very natural in these circumstances. Thankfully, the world was more receptive to their craziness this time around; with punk having broken down barriers of convention, it really was a case of anything goes for a hungry, modern audience of musical adventurers. Said Beefheart at the time: “I'm doing a non-hypnotic music to break up the catatonic state… and I think there is one right now.” The new wave jangle may well be the flavour-of-the-month at the dawning of the decade, but the decidedly jagged blues-rock of “Hot Head” and the post-Diddley aggression of “Ashtray Heart” are here to drop bombs on the scene. It’s a one-band fight, but by the time they’ve finished side one with “Run Paint Run Run” and “Sue Egypt” you fancy they will remain standing tall in 1980, against the odds. The incredible “Dirty Blue Gene” on side two is up there with the greatest pieces ever recorded by the act: “If you’ve got ears you’ve got to listen.” Miss this one at your peril.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Nov-2016


TJR says:

7.31 “Really good”

The solo debut from the 20-year-old arrived in February ’80 and must have come as a bit of a surprise to those who were following on from her days with the abrasive guitar works of Teenage Jesus and The Jerks in mind. After an exceptionally doom-laden opening with “Mechanical Flattery”, “Gloomy Sunday” and “Tied And Twist”, the album twists unexpectedly with a successfully unorthodox interpretation of Mike Sharpe’s mainstream pop hit of 1966, “Spooky”. More genuinely spooky is the creepy, weepy prowler, “Los Banditos”, which follows. The introduction of Billy Ver Planck’s Orchestra on side two is inspired, and accounts for my two favourite tracks; “Lady Scarface” and “Knives In The Drain”. Lydia Lunch as alt-cabaret star makes perfect sense; she was born for melodramatics and theatrics, and the “Queen Of Siam” is a gem which is buried way too deeply.

The Jukebox Rebel
21-Nov-2016


TJR says:

7.29 “Really good”

For me, The Only Ones got better with each album, and there’s some real top-drawer action on-board here, most especially on side one which contains “Why Don’t You Kill Yourself”, “Deadly Nightshade” and “Strange Mouth”. Best on the flip-over is “The Big Sleep”. Quite why they were so under-rated is one of life’s great mysteries.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Mar-2009

chart first published 5 Jan 2017; last edited 5 Jan 2017

Album Charts

by year…

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

ED NOTE:
With apologies to fans of The Cramps, I've had to cut out the no.30 position which they hold due to page size restrictions. I've also had to cut out the comments section (not that anyone uses it, so that's no biggie). Very annoyed about this (recurring) problem; clearly I will need to find an alternative solution…