Sunday, 14 March 2021

VA ‎– Just A Bad Dream: Sixty British Garage And Trash Nuggets 1981-89 (2018)

Style: Indie Rock, Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Psychobilly
Format: 3xCD / Box Set
Label: Cherry Red

1-01.   Thee Mighty Caesars - Little By Little
1-02.   The Cannibals - Submarine Song
1-03.   The Barracudas - Next Time Around
1-04.   The Sting-Rays - June Rhyme
1-05.   The Sid Presley Experience - Hup Two Three Four
1-06.   The Prisoners - What I Want
1-07.   The Bugs - Just A Bad Dream
1-08.   The Green Telescope - A Glimpse
1-09.   The Dentists - Writhing On The Shagpile
1-10.   Ug And The Cavemen - Go Gorilla
1-11.   The Vibes - I Hear Noises
1-12.   Biff Bang Pow! - The Whole World Is Turning Brouchard!
1-13.   The Aardvarks - Drive Me Wild
1-14.   The Margin Of Sanity - Get What I Can
1-15.   The Discords - Little Miss Misfit
1-16.   The Mild Mannered Janitors - Dirty Jean
1-17.   Blow-Up - 125
1-18.   Auntie Vegetable - Stroll On
1-19.   The Inmates - Mr Unreliable
1-20.   Naz Nomad And The Nightmares - Just Call Me Sky
2-01.   Sexton Ming - You Can't Polish A Turd
2-02.   The Escalators - Munsters Theme
2-03.   The Jesus And Mary Chain - Vegetable Man
2-04.   The Tall Boys - Ride This Torpedo
2-05.   The Thanes - Don't Let Her Dark Your Door
2-06.   Bananamen - The Crusher
2-07.   The X-Men - Talk
2-08.   Emptifish - I Want That Girl
2-09.   The Morticians - I Don't Care
2-10.   The Meteors - Swamp Thing
2-11.   Jasmine Minks - What's Happening
2-12.   Nutmeg - And In England They're Going Mental
2-13.   Prime Movers - Livin' In My Own Nightmare
2-14.   The Mindreaders - Fever In My Pocket
2-15.   King Kurt - Nervous Breakdown
2-16.   The Stayrcase - I Know You Lied
2-17.   The Daggermen - One More Letter
2-18.   The Psylons - Waiting Nation
2-19.   The Wigs - The Dead
2-20.   Thee Headcoats - Young Blood (Live)
3-01.   The Playn Jayn - You Weren't Born You Were Created (Live)
3-02.   Thee Milkshakes - Brand New Cadillac
3-03.   The Surfadelics - Don't Be Sorry
3-04.   Marionette - Too Far Gone
3-05.   The Beatpack - No Great Shakes
3-06.   The Unholy Trinity - Rock And Roll Traitor
3-07.   The Delmonas - He Tells Me He Loves Me
3-08.   The Wolfhounds - LA Juice
3-09.   Revolving Paint Dream - Garbagebrain
3-10.   Clapham South Escalators - Leave Me Alone
3-11.   The Primevals - My Emancipation
3-12.   Change Lings - Shelter From The Rain
3-13.   The Surf Rats - Plutonium Mind Shock
3-14.   The Golden Horde - The Curse
3-15.   The Delmontes - So It's Not To Be
3-16.   The Gruffmen - Farmer John
3-17.   The Krewmen - The Hell Train
3-18.   Sunglasses After Dark - Hellhag Shuffle
3-19.   The Jackals Of Fresh Kid - Ringing In My Ears
3-20.   The Screaming Dead - This Is The End Of The World (Demo)

Cherry Red’s latest compilation brings together 60 blistering songs from the UK underground garage scene of the 1980s and is a must-have compilation for all lovers of that stripped back primitive sound.

At the turn of the 80s a generation of bands began to bubble in the underground rock ‘n’ roll scene in the UK. A group of musicians no doubt raised through their formative years on their parents’ record collections, brought up on a diet of British Invasion sounds, The Beatles, and the garage-psych sounds of inspired US bands like The Sonics. The rise of punk as they hit their adolescence infused them with a DIY spirit, three-chords-now-form-a-band attitude, and, as the old guard of punk bloated and faded, as the New Romantics took on the mainstream, a vast bunch of future garage upstarts kept the ideals and sounds alive. On this new compilation, Cherry Red have taken a snapshot of the bands that maintained the garage-trash sound throughout the 80s in the UK.

Naturally, the only place to start such a compilation is with Billy Childish, the nominal godfather of the inspirational Medway scene and the placement of Thee Mighty Ceasars’ Little By Little front and centre is no coincidence, and by no means the only time he surfaces across the three discs that contain sixty great garage tracks. A live version of Thee Headcoats’ Young Blood and Thee Milkshakes’ version of Vince Taylor’s Brand New Cadillac (of course made famous by The Clash) also make the cut. One could make an entire three disc compilation of Childish’s contributions, but there’s plenty more on offer on this compilation.

From within the Medway scene bands like The Prisoners and The Dentists feature, along with more proto-punk inspired Auntie Vegetable with their cover of The Yardbirds’ Stroll On, itself a rip of Tiny Bradshaw’s Train Kept A-Rollin’, seeing the rhythm and blues influence coming full circle. It’s clear that the bands were channelling their influences and stamping their own mark on what had gone before. However this compilation is by no means a Medway-focused indulgence as it casts its eye further across the UK. A definite stand out on the first disc is The Inmates’ classic Mr Unreliable from the band’s 1979 debut album First Offence. In fact the band themselves were subject of their own Cherry Red compilation just last year. An early purveyor of the trash garage sound in the UK at the time, they no doubt lit the way for many of the bands here.

Coming out of the 70s, there were clearly a number of influences at play in the burgeoning UK scene, not only the punk and beat sounds. Most notably perhaps is the inclusion of Jesus & The Mary Chain’s cover of the unreleased Pink Floyd song Vegetable Man (the b-side of their debut single Upside Down), which showcases the crunching and driving wall of sound that they would continue to develop throughout their career, themselves spawning future copyists. There’s also a definite hint of The Cramps’ Human Fly in the song and they are clearly not the only band here who were inspired by the rising psychobilly legends. The Tall Boys’ Ride This Torpedo takes the lurking danger of The Cramps and ramps it up in a galloping rhythm, King Kurt’s Nervous Breakdown creates a grooving rockabilly jive, but of course it would be impossible to not recognise The Cramps’ influence on the UK trash garage scene when The Meteors were writing songs like Swamp Thing. The clearest example of basking in Lux’s light however comes in the form of The Bananamen’s 1983 cover of Nova’s 1964 classic The Crusher, which of course featured on The Cramps’ 1981 album Psychedelic Jungle.

Elsewhere on this compilation there are gems of post-punk (The Psylons’ Waiting Nation), Tom Waits inspired (or inspiring?) surrealist irony (Sexton Ming’s You Can’t Polish A Turd), rollicking organ-driven surf wipe-outs (The Surfadelics’ Don’t Be Sorry), and Stooges/Gun Club-influenced chugging rock ‘n’ roll (The Primevals’ My Emancipation). What’s clear from this fantastic collection pulled together by Cherry Red is that while the music scene of the 1980’s veered more and more towards the increasingly glossed sheen of over-produced pop, there was a vast array of bands who still continued to embrace the brash and rough punk and garage sensibilities. Spiky and confrontational, the scene may have poked its head above the parapet in the middle of the decade, but for the most part it was a well-kept secret, a treasure trove of gems that continued the vein of the 60s’ British Invasion garage sound and make up an important part of the heritage of the style that still today reigns in the underground.
Nathan Whittle / Louder Than War

Donald Byrd ‎– The Best Of Donald Byrd (1992)

Style: Hard Bop, Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funkay
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label:   Blue Note

01.   Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)
02.   You And Music
03.   Blackbyrd
04.   Think Twice
05.   Onward 'Til Morning
06.   Lanasana's Priestess
07.   Street Lady
08.   Flight Time
09.   Places And Spaces
10.   Wind Parade
11.   (Falling Like) Dominoes (Live)
12.   Steppin' Into Tomorrow

Illustration – Hirschfeld
Liner Notes – Chris Philips

One of his last efforts with the Mizell production team was definitely not his most critically acclaimed, but Caricatures continued Byrd's commercial winning streak that started years previous with 1969's Kofi and such '70s Blue Note classics as Places and Spaces, Black Byrd, and Street Lady. His last release for the label was no exception to the formula set forth from the previously mentioned albums. One of Caricatures strongest features is the level of musicianship from start to finish. Byrd recruited some of the top '70s soul-jazz musicians, such as Gary Bartz, Alphonse Mouzon, David T Walker, and future '80s R&B hitmaker Patrice Rushen, to help complement the musicianship laid down by Byrd and the Mizell brothers. The atmosphere is light and soulful, with musicians bouncing off one another for ideas that shift closer towards R&B while maintaining a sense of jazz ideals. While there is no truly memorable anthemic release or hit to speak of, Caricatures serves its primary purpose of being a jazz fusion record to make both people dance and purists wince at the notion that jazz can fuse with other elements and achieve success. 
Rob Theakston / Blue Note