Tuesday, 4 December 2007


So I was undecided about posting the live albums last time. So now I'm decided. I'm funny like that (although being asked helps - I'm always open to requests within the scope of this meandering mess. Cheers, chief!).

The Milkshakes vs. The Prisoners (Media Burn; 1985)

A1: The Milkshakes - Shimmy, Shimmy
A2: The Milkshakes - Pretty Baby
A3: The Milkshakes - Did I Tell You
A4: The Milkshakes - Club MIC
A5: The Milkshakes - Black Sails
A6: The Milkshakes - Bo-us Diddley-us
A7: The Milkshakes - Remarkable
A8: The Milkshakes - Brand New Cadillac
A9: The Milkshakes - Hound Dog
B1: The Prisoners - Melanie
B2: The Prisoners - Reaching My Head
B3: The Prisoners - Hurricane
B4: The Prisoners - American Jingle
B5: The Prisoners - 96 Tears
B6: The Prisoners - A Taste of Pink
B7: The Prisoners - Love Me Lies

A quality live album from start to finish. Just a plain old quality album really, never mind the live bit. With the exception of the first couple of singles, it's probably my favourite slice of The Milkshakes. Energetic, full of vim, vigour, fun and tunes - it really is the sound of band right at the top of their game, a game that everyone wants to join in with. Bruce in particular does himself proud on this.

Swap "The Prisoners" for "The Milkshakes" in that paragraph, and you have a fair comment on the second side, too. Although you'd have to take out the Bruce Brand bit, obviously. Storming out of the blocks with the very best available version of "Melanie", there is barely a chance to draw breath until the arrival of "American Jingle" (which the eagle-eared amongst you will recognise and the tune that ended up as the little jingly bit between "Whenever I'm Gone" and "Who's Sorry Now" on The Last Fourfathers). Driven, powerful, impassioned, the chaps turn out a fearsomely tuneful garage racket that temporarily renders all other forms of music quite redundant. The onslaught eases slightly through the second part ("A Taste of Pink" is welcome, but I've never really been a fan of 96 Tears in any of its incarnations) before we close with another of Graham's peerless pipe workouts, a wholehearted and thrusting take on "Love Me Lies". Quality.

The Last Night at The Mic (Empire; 1985)

A1: The Prisoners - Coming Home
A2: The Prisoners - Revenge of the Cybermen
A3: The Prisoners - There's a Time
A4: The Prisoners - Runaway
A5: The Prisoners - Little Shadows
A6: The Prisoners - Sitting on My Sofa
A7: The Prisoners - Don't Call My Name
B1: The Milkshakes - Brand New Cadillac
B2: The Milkshakes - Nothing You Can Say or Do
B3: The Milkshakes - Soldiers of Love
B4: The Milkshakes - Jezebel
B5: The Milkshakes - Comanche
B6: The Milkshakes - You Did Her Wrong
B7: The Milkshakes - It's You
B8: The Milkshakes - Please Don't Tell My Baby
B9: The Milkshakes - Farewell to the Mic

Sound quality is a bit of a dip from t'other split live album, but still passable. The main attraction with this one is the slightly less "obvious" tracklist, in particular the triumvirate of "new" songs ("new" because one is a cover, and the other two would probably have ended up on record sooner or later, had fate not intervened. Stupid fate). "Runaway" is an alright way to spend two minutes - the fellas do their best with it, but there's only so much you can do with it, really. "Little Shadows" foreshadows The Prime Movers whilst still feeling entirely Prisoners, whilst "Sitting on My Sofa" probably leans more JTQ-ward. The Milkshakes, meanwhile, do their Milkshakes thing, possibly lacking a little of the freshness of the previous album and suffering a little more than The Prisoners from the dip in sound quality (whilst crystal clear production is so far down the list for both groups that it isn't even on the list (it's probably on the anti-list), you still need a certain level of aural clarity). It's all good though, just not as all good as the other album, really.