Friday 23 December 2022

The Stranglers And Friends – "Live In Concert, Rainbow,London 1980"

Oooh Look! A one-off collaboration for two 1980 live concerts by The Stranglers from the spring of 1980. Naughty Hugh Cornwell was in Pentonville Prison for drug possession. With two gigs scheduled at the London Rainbow for 3 & 4 April, the management decided to turn things around by approaching a number of well-known artistes to fill in for the absent Cornwell on vocals and guitar.
However,what is notable about the various guest appearances is the number of deceased individuals on one stage.....not deceased at the time one has to note, but recently deceased, as in the case of Jet Black,Nik Turner ,Nicky Tesco and ,my guitar and sartorial hero, Wilko Johnson. 
There are other less recently deceased artistes of course, like Ian Dury and Larry Wallis,but mainly we're concentrating on the new wave of dead pop-stars,wot I have wrote about in the last few posts,with the exception of Wilko Johnson,for whom I couldn't find any words to express this great loss!
He being the only musician I know of who has a spoonerism for his nom des plumes. I also could not find anything (good) he did that I haven't already posted before.....that is, until discovering his guest spot on these live recordings by a Hugh Cornwell-less Stranglers. Nestling uncomfortably alongside Robert Fripp and his terrifying wife, Toyah......later to haunt us all with their insufferable social media appearances....another dreadful consequence of the Co-Vid Lockdown.....among various Pub legends,skids,blockheads and ex-proggers. Sure enuff an impressive turn out,and a more interesting way to listen to the Stranglers back catalogue. One of the few Tribute albums that actually features the band who are the subject of the tribute.
Farewell Wilko.


1 Introduction by Jet Black 1:53

2 Get A Grip
Guitar – John Ellis, Robert Smith
Vocals – Hazel O'Connor 3:42

3 Hanging Around
Guitar – John Ellis , Robert Smith
Vocals – Hazel O'Connor 4:09

4 Tank
Guitar – John Ellis , Robert Fripp
Vocals – Pete Hammil 3:03

5 Threatened
Guitar – John Ellis , Robert Fripp 3:21

6 Toiler
Guitar – John Ellis , Robert Fripp
Vocals – Phil Daniels 5:19

7 The Raven
Guitar – Basil Gabbidon, John Ellis
Vocals – Pete Hammil 4:30

8 Dead Loss Angeles
Guitar – John Ellis, Wilko Johnson
Vocals – Phil Daniels 2:18

9 Nice'N'Sleazy
Guitar – Basil Gabbidon , John Ellis
Saxophone – Nik Turner
Vocals – Nicky Tesco 6:44

10 Bring On The Nubiles
Guitar – John Ellis, Wilko Johnson
Vocals – Richard Jobson 4:00

11 Peaches
Guitar – John Ellis , John Turnball
Saxophone – Davey Payne
Vocals – Hazel O'Connor, Ian Dury, Toyah Wilcox 4:34

12 Bear Cage
Guitar – John Ellis , John Turnball
Keyboards – Matthew Hartley
Saxophone – Davey Payne
Vocals – Hazel O'Connor, Ian Dury, Toyah Wilcox 4:41

13 Duchess
Guitar – John Ellis
Vocals – Toyah Wilcox 2:44

14 No More Heroes
Guitar – John Ellis
Vocals – Richard Jobson 3:49

15 Five Minutes
Guitar – Larry Wallis
Vocals – Richard Jobson 4:13

16 Something Better Change
Guitar – John Ellis , Steve Hillage
Vocals – Toyah Wilcox 3:43

17 Sewer
Guitar – John Ellis , Steve Hillage
Vocals – Jake Burns 7:36

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Squad – "Red Alert" (Squad Records – SQS 1) 1978

And now Terry Hall also, has succumbed to the 'thing' that makes life utterly fucking pointless.... Death.
He did have a talent for conveying such pointlessness within his vocal style coupled with his natural deadpan presence.
Never a fan of The Specials meself,, however i did see them supporting The Clash with Suicide when they were the Coventry Automatics. blah blah fucking blah!
Oh sweet jesus, never has there been a band where the Tonic suited,Fred Perry and Pork Pie hat decorated audience all thought they were in the band,and Danced to order as their idols commanded.
Lots of Punky Bands started to bark shite like "Why aren't you Dancing" to the crowd....because we don't fucking want to??? If we wanted to dance we'd go to a bloody Discotheque wouldn't we? I'm here for the existential angst and the freedom to spill beer in the melee thanks. The Specials or Joy Division.....I know Where I'd rather be.
However musically not my thing Two Tone may have been,or not been, they were completely DIY in execution.,and incredibly successful at it.!?
Terry, was in the early line up for Coventry Punk Rockers "Squad"...whether it's 'The' Squad and not just the contracted version I dunno,but it was fashionable for record labels to drop the "The" at the beginnings of Band Names,like when Virgin insisted that The Ruts had to be called, just ,"Ruts", to be cool enuff for Richard Branson.
Terry was there, in "Squad", for about five minutes;but long enough to get a writing credit for "Red Alert",I don't think he got recorded, but the singer on the plastic does sound uncannily like him....Gus Chambers, who,i am told,is also deceased!? From imbibing  an accidental cocktail of his medication and alcohol...not recommended.
In fact "Squad" are a fine example of no-one is bigger than the team,as the line-up was totally different for their second,less charming, single as compared to the original line-ups...including terry, who went onto pastures during the first ten minutes of "Squad's" existence....presumably joining the Coventry Automatics, aka Special aka. 
As there were several bands called "Squad" in the UK, they could have had interchangeable personnel if only they knew of each others  being. 
Concrete Fly-overs, Lady Godiva , and Two Tone is what Coventry is known for, and Terry is part of that forever,the pleasant chap he apparently was....hopefully still is?

No, I don't own this record...its as rare as Hens Teeth.

ps....i'm gonna have to change tack...this is getting dee-pressing!


A Red Alert
B £8-A-Week

Friday 16 December 2022

Ashra – "New Age Of Earth" (Virgin – V 2080) 1977

 Now that everybody has posted "E2-E4 as a tribute to the recently dead Krautrock guitar hero Manuel Gottsching,and claimed it as the year zero of Trance....whatever the fuck Trance is? Sounds like House music to me; the genres of which I have no clue or indeed interest. The chess referenced record in question,apart from being rather boring,is just standard Berlin-School type kosmiche with the swirly bits taken out,to a hypnotic drum box it the drum box that they think started the madness that remains virtually unchanged for the preceding thirty years.This was what happened to nature after the pre-cambrian period,fast evolution then stasis.The dinosaurs remained unchanged for 10's of millions of years,just like House music variants; Gottschings ambient musings are the pre-cambrian oceans of electronics,but "E2-E4" is the dinosaur.
Most of Gottching's pre-cambrian guitar virtuosity is already available elsewhere on this blog,so as my tribute I have selected this shimmering ambient rock flotation tank muzak outing by Manuel as Ashra, dropping the Tempel part,and also dropping the band. Which is fitting as now all the original line-up of Ash Ra Tempel have now departed consciousness.
The cover looks unerringly like one of the world trade centers relocated to the outskirts of Auschwitz,beaming its truth like an enormous obelisk created by the alien god figure who began this experiment billions of years ago to discover the answer to the ultimate question. This rather disappointed 'God' has just begun to realise that it was all just a complete waste of telly-time. It was all predicted in the BBC comedy series "Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy".......of course it's 42, innit....its the best answer I've ever heard.......and this LP is just north of 42 minutes long! If that ain't proof i dunno what is...
Anyway Manuel knows the answer, or lack of one, by now,if consciousness exists post-mortem for long enough to know this....probably something really boring like eternal nothing ,ness,more nothing than the nothing we think nothing is right now...ness. And the only way this big Nothing gets to actually BE Nothing, is if creatures like Homo-erectus part four have evolved to actually see and measure the nothing-ness before they blow themselves up;
Nothingness does indeed need defining boundaries before it can be defined....but, does that make it a something?
In fact even referring to nothing as nothing makes it a something.Even thinking about it proves it exists,as quantum reactions only happen when no-one's looking.
So is the only answer mankind can ever offer be 'God',the nothing that pretends its something,but only in the minds of men....homo-erectus.


1.Sunrain 7:26
2.Ocean Of Tenderness 12:36
3.Deep Distance 5:46
4.Nightdust 21:52

Friday 9 December 2022

The Stranglers - "Demo's 1974-76" (a Die or DIY? Compilation)

This comes under the category of groups who were social suicide to admit you like back in the halcyon daze of the Punk Rock wars of 1977. Basically they were obviously a lot older than a Punk Rock group should be,they had a keyboard player,and half of them looked like the kind of Pub trash you'd find in 1975,mustaches,suits and beards,like background extra's on the Sweeney.......not stylish Sweeney extras like Dr Feelgood,or The Pirates,but the ones who'd get beaten up by Jack and George to get information.
This may not sound like it, but this is an obvious attempt a a tribute for erstwhile Stranglers drummer and Ice Cream saleman, Jet Black, who passed away yesterday-ish at the remarkable age of 84!? He was older than Paul McCartney,and was 40 in 1978! This guy lived through the entire history of Rock'n'Roll! That's him with the beard and portly stance...was this the only Beard in Punk Rock?
Yeah, I secretly dug the Stranglers, most especially JJ Burnel, whose Bass sound and playing launched a tidal wave of Lead Bassists on the country, and made Post-Punk a reality. Unbeknownst to me Jean Jacques was an accomplished classical guitarist before he fatally thumbed a lift from Jet Black in his ice cream van,and ended up in The Stranglers in 1974. Yes that 1974, which Ramones fans always quote as evidence that they were indeed the very First Punk group......they did "I wanna be your Boyfriend" and the Stranglers did "Go Buddy Go" that year,and displayed uncomfortably long hair,....but, the Stranglers had less long hair,and were noticeably more aggressive.
They were in fact part of a very Proto-Punky movement,which fit their image far more than the glammed up MC5 or The Stooges, Pub Rock....of which one could argue that the Damned,Clash and The Pistols were also part of.
Nowadays, as Jet's Guardian Obituary states, The Stranglers were (accidently) the very First Post-Punk band, as well as tenuously the First Punk Band, with their "Darker" album, "Black and White",from 1978, beating previous favorites , Magazine, and Siouxsie and the Banshees to the title....which is a recently tendered attempt at rewriting history,by burks like John Robb and his equivalents  ,while forgetting  in retrospect,all this was still referred to as 'Punk'music at the time,and only later were things reassigned,depending on your definition of what its supposed to be.
For me, it was always the music that came after the first wave which obviously wasn't three chord Punk,like XTC,Devo,Talking Heads etc...which also included the 'Darker Side' like Joy Division ,Bauhaus, Pere Ubu etc.
"Punk Rock said Fuck You, and Post-Punk said I'm Fucked" has become the catchphrase these days.
So allow me to pick my own first Post-Punk album, and it ain't the Stranglers,or's obviously Ultravox innit? "Ha! Ha! Ha!" from 1977....ticks all the boxes for me.
So to celebrate Jet's very understated underplayed drumming as part of one of the most un-categorisable  group from the Punk Rock era, here's a load of slightly dodgy pre-punk demo's from the magical year of 1974 onwards!?
I once thought "Go Buddy Go" was cover version when one first heard it,and was sure it had to be a UK R'n'R classic by someone like Johnny Kidd,until i knew better.....a JJ Burnel composition no less!?
Also the first time I saw a 'Punk' group on the telly was Stranglers doing 'Go Buddy Go' on Top of the Pops....the A-side,Peaches, was banned of course....tee hee hee...they swapped instruments.....and there may have been a rather naughty expletive on Burnel's T-shirt. However,JJ's hair looked a bit too fluffy for my liking,obviously just had a shampoo in the BBC make-up dept before the performance.
Jet, as always stayed in the background,gently miming his drums,which always sounded mimed anyway,so why bother?


1. Charlie Boy*
2. Chinatown*
3. Make You Mine*
4. My Young Dreams*
5. I Know It*
6. White Wedding*
7. Country Chaser*
8. Bouncing man*
9. Wasted*
10. Go Buddy Go*
11.Strange Little Girl*
14.Tomorrow Was the Here after#
15.Down In The Sewer#


Tuesday 6 December 2022

Fleetwood Mac – "Bare Trees" (Reprise Records – K 44181) 1972

With a cover like it houses an Ambient Doom miesterwerk, this forgotten soft rock classic from a lost version of former UK Blues giants, Fleetwood Mac,finds our hero's searching,yet failing, for that elusive 'New',Saucy jack, direction that most groups from the 1960s strived for,but never found. Some were saved by having that career saving 'early death',like Jimi Hendrix for example, who was going downhill rapidly by 1970.
However, I find this a rather pleasant,if inoffensive listen ,and is my Fleetwood Mac record of choice.Showcasing, as it does ,the songwriting talent of the Late Christine McVie,to whom this is a back-handed compliment,she being one of the few members of the Mac who wasn't a complete tosser. 
The horrendous ego's of curly topped Lindsey  'I'm a Clash fan me' Buckingham and Stevie Nicks...I was always confused as to which one was which......the most dull rhythm section on planet earth,and Peter Greens narcissistic moral outrage. Also, forget yee not, that at the same time in 1972,recently former guitarist Jeremy Spencer joined the Children Of God cult,and released his ,quite mad but trad,children of God Cult Lp,as "Jeremy Spencer and The Children".There wasn't just one loony-tune in Fleetwood Mac at the end of the sixties.
All this eclipsed  Christine McVie's envious ability to be normal, and write a damn fine tune. All of the best tchoons in their successful period were hers I noticed, after watching a BBC 4 Rockumentary on said group......Of course I had nothing to do with Fleetwood Mac at all in my yoof,so it was a revelation that they had some rather tasty songs to back up the success!?
This Lp attracted my eye,for the cover basically,and playing it sometime in the 80's ,i was astonished at the mind crushing blandness of it all, reminding me of the good Captain's 'Bluejeans and Moonbeams, which I grew to love while swimming against the tide of hipster opinion......come on 'Observatory Crest' would have been a hit when Fleetwood Mac were selling their crud to the unquestioning masses, if it had been pushed.
I like the cool kid clearing qualities of stuff like takes talent to be this beige,but we forget that's what was trendy back in those bland 'Singer-Songwritery' days of 1972.This is what did for the career of my other female songsmith hero,the long departed Sandy Denny,who probably didn't die early enough to save her career,and should have remained reassuringly, Folk.
In the end the only ones left standing after the brutal Adult orientated Singer-Songwriter wars of 1972/1973 were Fleetwood bloody Mac;who went on to reap the vast crops others had already sown.Above all of this is that their major rock'n'roll legacy contribution is proving that one should never,ever, work with your significant other.The same goes for Friends too incidentally. If you have to work with someone,Always,ALWAYS, work with complete strangers;or risk losing your loved ones.
The best tracks are by the outstandingly ordinary Christine,plus Mrs Scarrots "Thoughts On a Grey Day"!?,which ends proceedings,rather bizarrely with a zero Mac member monologue,narrated by someone called Mrs Scarrot...of whom i have have no idea?
Recently, all our favourite, and less favourite Pop Stars have been falling off the tree,which is looking increasingly bare as every week goes by.
I was trying,and struggling, to think of something poignant to write about my Guitar Hero, Wilko Johnson,when I heard the 'other one' from Fleetwood Mac had died too,so, as I was struggling to put John Wilkinson's brilliance into monosyllabic script(basically there are No Words!), I took a right turn to show that we're open minded on this blog in the tribute department,and say Rest In Peace Christine....the trees are certainly, almost bare.


1.Child Of Mine 5:09
2.The Ghost 3:58
3.Homeward Bound 3:20
4.Sunny Side Of Heaven 3:10
5.Bare Trees 5:02
6.Sentimental Lady4:35
7.Danny's Chant3:16
8.Spare Me A Little Of Your Love 3:44
9.Dust 2:41
10.Thoughts On A Grey Day 2:03