Thursday, 29 November 2007

Two Weeks Too Long

An entire fortnight. I know, I know - it's not good enough. To be fair, there's been a lot of stuff going on, but hey - you haven't come to a blog like this to hear me witter and moan. I'll try not to leave it so long in future, I promise.

Anyway, to help ease the undoubted pain of two weeks without the trash, here's the rest of the Prisoners stuff for you to feast your ears on and then track down and buy from whichever grubby corner of the earth you can find it in (naturally I've left out the albums proper - you can quite merrily get these from your local CD vending emporium, something I heartily endorse and yea, even encourage. Of course you'd prefer to hear them in wonderful vinylphonic crackly sound, so you'll still end up on ebay, frantically clicking. I'm undecided about the split live LPs. I'll get back to you on that one).

The Prisoners - There's a Time (Munster Records; 1999)

A1: There's a Time
A2: Revenge of the Cybermen
B1: I'm Looking For You
B2: 96 Tears

I guess the date there could/should say 1983 - after all, that's when the songs first emerged. However, this is a bit of an oddity - a late reissue of the early single (the A side) coupled with previously unreleased songs from the same sessions. The reissue is of Spanish origin, the original was French (on Skydog records). Confused? I know I am! Well, a bit. Actually, not at all. Did sound good, though. Like, whatever. Regardless, it's a four song set that anyone would be proud to call their own. And now you can, too.

The Prisoners - Shine on Me (Deceptive; 1997)

1: Shine on Me
2: Judgement Song
3: Small

Not a reissue, but something of an oddity all the same. A singular child born of a brief reunion. A shame more wasn't made of it, as the three songs ("Judgement Song" in particular - despite it's late appearance, it's firmly one of my favourite Prisoners songs) make you feel like they'd never been away. Still, if Graham had been one for forever looking backwards, then we wouldn't have had the magnificent Solarflares albums (still to come, I will get round to them though) and the Prime Movers, amongst other things (one of those other things being the frankly sexually good Graham Day and the Gaolers album, which I trust you have all eagerly snapped up with indecent haste. I might put the "Get Off My Track" single up at some point now that it's no longer in print, but I really must insist that you go buy the album).

The Prisoners - Rare & Unissued (Hangman; 1988)

A1: Coming Home (live)
A2: Revenge of the Cybermen
A3: He's in Love (radio session)
A4: Trophies (demo)
A5: Far Away (radio session)
A6: Ain't No Tellin' (demo)
A7: Come to the Mushroom (live)

B1: Happyness for Once (demo)
B2: Be On Your Way (demo)
B3: Buccaneer (demo)
B4: Deceiving Eye (live)
B5: Mourn My Health (demo)
B7: Pop Star Party (demo)
B8: Mourn My Health (demo 2)

I often find that rare and unissued compilations serve only to reinforce a single point - that things remain rare and unissued for a bloody good reason. This, however, flies forcefully in the furry face of this opinion. The Prisoners simply accumulated a bunch of rare and unissued stuff because they were too busy striding from one musical masterpiece to another to sit down and collect the goodies that had happened to fall by the wayside along their path. You have live tracks demonstrating the full force of their on stage goodness, radio session tracks that sound as good as any studio effort (testament to the wonderfully live feeling captured on their very best records), unreleased demos that many another band would kill to have as an a-side, and demos to some of their better known efforts that leave you unable to decide which you actually prefer. Some of these are incorporated on the CD re-releases (with additional demos and the like), but I guess I just prefer them collected here together where they belong. Whether this is because I'm right and this is how it should be or because I'm an old curmudgeon who has been listening to it like this for twenty years, I've really no idea.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

It's been a long time...

...about a week, actually. I did consider the Eric B & Rakim route in completing that title, but ultimately decided against. Wisely, in my opinion. I just don't think I have what it takes to pull that off, if I'm honest.

Anyhoo (as only really irritating people say), I'm back. And not only that, I'm back in the garage - the Medway one at that.

The Kravin' "A"'s - Krave On! (Hangman; 1991)

A1: Pay Day
A2: Tripwire
A3: Girlse Like That
A4: High Time
A5: I'm Gonna Leave (Scream & Shout)
A6: You Know It Is
A7: Sometimes
B1: Baby What's Your Game
B2: Look Back and Laugh
B3: Free Girl
B4: Beatnik Girl
B5: Bad Time
B6:Lyin' Lyin' Lyin'
B7: Take My Hand

I thought about a picture of the cover (the Beatles mock-up sets a tone that shall be taken up further later on), but then I decided against it. Why? Well, you can see that anywhere, and I thought the space would be better used with this picture of big bad Bruce Brand:

Never has trap rattling looked so mightily fucking cool. Well, apart from when Nick Knox did it. Anyway, the Kravin' "A"'s. Bruce has drummed the good drum for many a great outfit (too many to list in their entirety, so I'll just pick The Len Bright Combo to mention here, because they were bloody marvelous too), but not the Kravin' "A"'s. Oh no. Here Bruce stepped off the drumstool and into the guitaring limelight. I mentioned the Beatlescopycover, and this is a theme continued in good ol' Hasty Bananas' sleevenotes. This, however, is where the Beatles nonsense stops, really. A key difference is that the "A"'s (as nobody calls them) are good. Plus, this miniature classic of an album takes a chock-full grab-bag of early sixties-esque beatpop-type influences, fuses them with their contemporaries and previous experiences and predilections and makes something that sounds like nothing but The Kravin' "A"'s. More fun than you can shake a stick at (if shaking a stick at fun is your idea of a good time), more tunes than anyone has a right to shake a stick at, and not a duff song to be found. I'd pick out a favourite or two but, well, I've already done the tracklisting. I quite simply adore this album, and so should you.

Kravin' "A"'s - Pushin' and Shovin' (Screaming Apple; 1993)

A1: Born Yesterday
A2: You're Lookin' Fine
B1: Right Now
B2: (Don't Gimme) No Lip

The only other Kravin' "A"'s release, a quality little EP that squeaked into existence a couple of years after the album finally got a release (it had been recorded a good two or three years previously as I recall). As worthwhile an experience as the album, although the Beatlesyness floats dangerously near the surface at times (that time being most of the time during the verses of the first song). Thankfully, it would take more than that to dent as splendid a collection of songs as this, so try not to worry too much. Just click, wait a bit, listen, and then frug yourself senseless. Here's Bruce with very little hair. He's still cool though, he couldn't be anything other if he tried.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Brief interlude...

I'm sorry. Hellgate: London has taken over my life. Well, the spare time part of it, at any rate. It has seriously impinged on the trashabillydelic onslaught on the musical interwebs, I can tell you. Anyway, I'll be back soon with more wonderful chunks of garagesomeness (I have some thoroughly deserved days off soon. All two of them) and, in the mean time, you could do worse than check out the two latest linky additions - Thee Head Vein, which does a nice overlapping line in some awesome music and Last Night from Glasgow Indie Eyespy, the weird, wonderful, occasionally disturbing yet ultimately fulfilling trawl through the people, sounds and peoplesounds of Glasgow at night. Sort of like David Attenborough's "Planet Earth", only with more music talk and weirder creatures.

Right, I'm off to shoot rare zombies in Piccadilly Circus. It's quite true to life in that respect.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A Quick One...

No, not the Who, just a really quick post whilst listening to the footie. The other half of the neo incarnation of Happy Drivers (before the chap from Wampas joined and they went psycho), including the studio version of "Nervous Man" (as enquired about).

Happy Drivers - Indians on the Road (Crazy Love; 1988)

1: Indians
2: I'm Not a Hero
3: Tear it Up
4: Nervous Man
5: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
6: Crawdad Hole
7: Chez Maria

Very much more of the same, but this is certainly no bad thing. If anything, the world could have done with quite a bit more of it. And that's all, I can't concentrate, Ronaldo just hit the post. Enjoy.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


No Meteors here, sorry. I just occasionally get mildly obsessed with the word. Zorch!

What we do have, however, is a breakneck rip through some (requested) ancient delights of the neo and psychobilly variety. A minimum of fuss and less frills than a tin of one penny Tesco beans from me. Leaves more room for the bass slappin', a-team impersonatin', forbidden love rattlin', happy drivin', coffin nailin', apostrophe abusin' musickin'.

Well, something like that, at any rate.

Coffin Nails - Ein Bier Bitte (Nervous; 1987)

1: Skateboard Frenzy
2: Werewolf Bitch
3: Greased Lightning
4: Humungus
5: Let's Wreck
6: The Lone Ranger
7: The Plasma Pool
8: Myra Hindley
9: Natural Born Lover
10: Wind up Dead
11: Penetration
12: Uncle Willy
13: Ain't it True
14: House on the Haunted Hill
15: Brand New Cadillac
16: Outta This World

Even back then, they couldn't spell humongous. But he did play a mean guitar (it persistently refused to share it's sweets with the other instruments), was a bit better than former drummer Dave at singing (a comparison between this original take on "Penetration" and the one on Fistful of Burgers bears this out to a ridiculous degree. Humungus brings a faint air of the ludicrous to the increasingly outrageous rhymes, lending the song the hint of the comic that it needs and that this original somewhat lacks), and also lends his name to the semi-instrumental highlight of the album.

That sad, there are a number of highlights, about 12 out of 16, which ain't bad. Ain't bad at all. In fact, it's pretty fucking good. Just like the album! (although still not as good as Fistful of Burgers, and with a truly shocking album cover. I mean, just LOOK at it. Is that really the best you could do, lads? Is it really?).

Happy Drivers - Indians on the Road (Crazy Love; 1987)

1: Babe Please Don't Go
2: We Shall be Going On
3: My Bopping Rocking Babe
4: The Fun of It
5: Midnight Train
6: Popeye
7: Low Rider
8: Old Black Jack
9: Long Blonde Hair
10: You Will Never Come Back Again
11: Oh Babe
12: My Daddy's Banjo

Upmarket, top drawer neo-rockabilly straight from France. Moves with a real shuffling swagger (or possibly a swaggering shuffle) and, critically, brings it own solid tunes to the revival rather than almost completely relying on the same tired covers and tunetheftery that blights so much of the straightahead neobillysphere. Although, even after all this time, I can't hear him shout anything other than "SADDAM HUSSEIN!" at the start of the first song. It just adds to the experience really, albeit in quite an odd way.

The Rattlers - Never Say Die (Nervous; 1989)

1: Gone Forever
2: Cruisin' Around
3: For Your Love
4: She's the One
5: Savin' it All For You
6: Loaded Dice
7: Leavin' You Behind
8: Never Say Die
9: Man With the Twi-Light Eyes
10: For You, No More
11: Forbidden Love
12: October Moon
13: Never Catch Me Again

More quality neo-rockabilly, with a shade more bite than the 'Drivers (as nobody calls them) and comparable quality of tune. This is most definitely A Good Thing. As is the album, from the first note to the last. Lapses into the slightly stereotypical hiccoughing vocal style prevalent in the genre, but they do it well - and done well, this is also A Good Thing (witness Mark Cole, or Pip Hancox). All this and they still find time for a corking cover of "For Your Love". Whilst there is little that stink up an album faster than a poorly chosen or executed cover version, there are also few quicker ways to an eternal place in my musical heart than a good one. And this is a good one (like, obviously. I wouldn't have called it corking otherwise. Duh). Watch out for the well-spotted and recently requested album highlight "Forbidden Love", too. Very good call, Ronnie.

More from two of these three next time, but I think that is plenty for your musical brains to be getting on with, cementnoggins.