Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now
Profile for Snerdle > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Snerdle
Top Reviewer Ranking: 31,254
Helpful Votes: 1904

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Snerdle "davewright29"
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
pixel
Dad's Army - The Complete Collection [DVD] [1968]
Dad's Army - The Complete Collection [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Arthur Lowe
Price: £18.00

119 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest complete - at last!, 27 Sept. 2007
Well, as I predicted in an earlier review of Steptoe, the BBC have now made all the Dad's Armys available in one box, having made sure we've already bought them individually over the past couple of years. They know mugs like me will fork out all over again in order to get the 3 Christmas specials which weren't previously available. Okay they can be bought separately, but who's going to give up the chance to have all the episodes of perhaps the greatest comedy series of them all in one handy package?
The 3 Christmas specials are: 'Battle Of The Giants', 'For The Love Of Three Oranges' and 'My Brother And I'. The latter, where Arthur Lowe plays Mainwarings's disslolute brother, is incidently one of the great Dad's Army episodes.
It's annyoying that, so many years into the DVD age, they've only just made all the existing episodes of this sublime comedy available, when so many lesser comedies have been available for ages. They did the same with Only Fools and Horses and One Foot in The Grave; releasing them complete with some specials after spending years releasing them individually, and I see they're also doing this annoying practice with Steptoe and Son and Hancock. I wonder, now that they've released everything they can how they will continue to re-sell us what we already have?
What's to bet in a few years these series will be re-released yet again in 'collectors editions', which just means different packaging, as they did with Fawlty Towers and Blackadder?
Mind you the Steptoe series could definitely do with a few extras!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2013 11:23 AM GMT


Out Of Nothing
Out Of Nothing
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.87

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One long, tuneless dirge!, 24 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Out Of Nothing (Audio CD)
I listened to this again very closely the other day and I can't believe how bad it actually is. Gravity is great, Ashes and A Glorious Day are good, but the rest is one long, samey tuneless and totally forgettable dirge. All the songs are slow, unmemorable and overproduced. The follow up album is probably even worse with only two decent tracks - Nature's Law and Target.
Some people have really gone over the top with this band and album - 'best band and album of all time, etc, etc.'
Well if it's that great why are they now virtually giving it away?


Sun Essentials
Sun Essentials
Price: £17.02

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time greats!, 27 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Sun Essentials (Audio CD)
I used to love rock and roll when I was younger then slightly lost interest in it as I turned to other popular music forms and I also began to explore classical and jazz. It's true that rock and roll is a relatively limited style, but for some reason my love for it, which never died, but just waned, has revived.
My favourite rock n roller is Chuck Berry, who is my single favourite solo artist of all time. I also love Elvis. I had single discs by all the other great rock n roll stars - Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, the Everlys, the Coasters and some lesser known names such as Lloyd Price and Larry Williams. I also have a couple of compilations rounding up many others who had fewer hits such as Bill Hayley & the Comets (never been that keen on him to want to explore too deeply) and Danny and the Juniors. However I only had multiple discs of Elvis and Chuck Berry. I decided maybe it was time to explore some of the others more deeply. Love Little Richard, but his style was very limited, and a single disc is all the Little Richard I felt I needed. It was the same with Fats Domino, again he's great, but 20 or so songs is ample. Similarly with Gene Vincent. In some ways Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran were the most talented of the early rock n rollers after Chuck Berry, in the sense that they were both writers and in the case of Cochran a guitarist and producer. Both were more varied than any of the others apart from Presley, but of course both died young, so their output was a fraction of Elvis's.
However, it was when I played my Jerry Lee Lewis disc again that I realised he would be the one I wanted to explore further. I'd actually forgotten how great he was. Not only an overwhelming exciting pianist comparable to Little Richard, but he had a great and distinctive voice. His material, whilst not as varied as Presley's - there were no big ballads and little straight pop for example - had a greater range than most of the other early rock n rollers. Jerry Lee moved more into country music as he got older, however he never lost the excitement of the rocking sound.
This is the definitive compilation of his Sun years 1955 - 1963, and although it doesn't contain by any means all he recorded at Sun, everything of real note - the well known stuff and some lesser heard delights - is here in excellent sound. It also comes with an informative booklet. Apart from his own hits included are his covers of hits by Elvis, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Ray Charles, Roy Oribison and Chuck Berry. Indeed I'd say the three Chuck Berry songs are amongst the best ever versions of these frequently recorded numbers - it surely is THE definitive interpretation of Little Queenie. As I say, a substantial amount of the box is country; there are nearly a dozen Hank Williams songs for example. I'm not the greatest country fan, but love everything Jerry Lee did in that genre. All in all for under £20 a great bargain for anyone who loves piano driven rock n roll, country and r n b.


The Who - Live in Houston Texas, 1975 [DVD]
The Who - Live in Houston Texas, 1975 [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Who

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The end of a great era in dodgy quality!, 6 Aug. 2007
I'm not sure what's going on with this release. It isn't available at present on Amazon, but I bought it legitimately from elsewhere. However it reminds me somewhat of the Dylan DVD of TV performances which was released a little while ago and then quickly withdrawn, in that it seems like a semi-bootleg. The packaging and annotation is minimal to say the least, and it certainly doesn't seem to be anything to do with the Who themselves.
I'm not sure who filmed it, but some of the camera and lighting work is rather rather ropey even for the time; the number of cameras seem limited and anyone expecting anything like the quality of modern music DVD's or even other Who releases will be disappointed. It's possibly not even up to the standard of the Who At The Isle of Wight 1970, and that wasn't brilliantly filmed. The band's performance was of course excellent as ever. As with the IOW the camera is static for much of the time here (a massive contrast to modern DVD's where it cuts from one angle to another so quickly it makes you dizzy!), consequently one hardly sees John Entwhistle at all, apart from his turn on Boris The Spider. There is also no sight of the audience, again suggesting that maybe it was a bootleg film. The DVD reminds me very much of how concerts used to be in the 70's - a dark stage, suddenly lit up by spotlights on indvidual musicians. Little of the time is the stage entirely lit, and some of the time Daltrey is surrounded by a glaring red/orange tinge like the kid in that breakfast serial ad from years ago, and it certainly makes for weird viewing.
Having said all this it is a rare opportunity to see a complete concert of the greatest live band of them all at the very end of their peak era. The Isle of Wight concert is an opportunity to see them at the beginning of their peak era; unfortunately there's little in between as they prevented filming of their concerts in the early 70's when they were at their very best. There are a few bits and pieces on The Kids Are Alright and 30 Years of R n B, but nothing anywhere near as complete as this or the IOW concert. It's just a pity that this isn't anywhere near as pristine as the reissued Kids are Alright footage. Incidently the brilliant clip of 'Roadrunner' on there, was from the same US tour as this, but from a performance at the Pontiac Silverdome later in the tour. It seemed a better performance than here, as this was actually the first date of the tour. There is of course plenty of post Moon footage of the band available, all of it in far superior quality than this, but it just doesn't seem the same watching a bald Townshend sometimes strumming an acoustic guitar and a bespectacled Daltry shorn of his flowing locks surrounded by other musicians. Despite the dodgy quality of this release this how I prefer to remember the greatest live band of them all. It's just a pity we don't see more of the Ox!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2011 1:27 PM BST


Roots & Echoes
Roots & Echoes
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Safe - but so what?, 6 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Roots & Echoes (Audio CD)
I've already seen a rather average review of this album describing it as safe and predictable. So okay, the Coral may not be innovative, but who is these days - there's nothing really new under the sun.
Personally I think the Coral make great melodic music. Okay it might not be that memorable, and despite having all their previous albums and enjoying them thoroughly, I'd be hard pressed to remember the names of even half a dozen of their songs. But the fact remains when the discs are playing they are full of melodic, well constructed, sixties influenced pop/rock music and this album is no different. It's difficult to single out individual tracks - suffice to say that there isn't a bad tune on the album, and if you've liked the Coral's previous work, or you're a fan of other Merseyside bands such as the Zutons or the Stands (who I understand have now disbanded), you will certainly enjoy this. It's also certainly better than the new Thrills album. The Thrills are in some ways a similar type of band, but they've disappointed since there first album; it helps that the Coral have a much better singer too! The Coral might not have broken any new ground with this release, but they've certainly not disappointed and it's easily as good as any of their previous albums.
I'm not sure where the band can go from here as rather like the Beautiful South did they've probably taken their type of music as far as it can go. I do fear diminishing returns with their next release, but whatever happens in the future at least we have four excellent albums from them.


Absolute Garbage [Special Edition Cd]
Absolute Garbage [Special Edition Cd]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An appropriate name at times!, 24 July 2007
I must admit I was a latecomer to Garbage; there's just too many bands around these days it's impossible to know them all. Perhaps wrongly, I usually don't bother with American modern rock, as I find the UK equivalent much better. So I first came across Garbage on TV performing Bad Boyfriend at one of the summer festivals a couple of years ago. That excellent rocker was from their then latest release, Bleed Like Me. I was impressed and immediately bought the album. I didn't know at the time that Garbage had been going around 10 years and had released 3 albums prior to Bleed Like Me. I then immediately bought the previous release, Beautiful Garbage. However as I began to listen to Bleed Like Me more closely after a time I decided that I only really liked a minority of tracks - the aforementioned Bad Boyfriend, Boys Wanna Fight, Happy Home and best of all the excellent It's All Over But The Crying; I found other tracks such as Why Don't You Come Over and even the singles Why Do You Love Me and Bleed Like Me repetitive and annoying. It wasn't long before I downloaded my fave tracks into itunes and sold the album. The other album Beautiful Garbage was similar with some fine tracks and some annoying ones. Again the opener and single Shut Your Mouth for me falls into this latter category. However this album did have enough good tracks for me to retain it, although I wasn't by then inspired to investigate the first two albums.
However, when this compliation album came out I thought I'd buy it to fill in the gaps in my Garbage collection. Well, I'm afraid I'm very disappointed. Some of the better tracks from Bleed Like Me and Beautful Garbage such as Bad Boyfriend and Androgyny are missing. Both are available on the second disc of remixes, but personally I find this disc absolutely worthless - the remixes are dreadful and for me totally unlistenable. Similarly, I was unimpressed with at least half the songs I hadn't already got. This is not a good ratio for an alleged greatest hits. In some ways I find Garbage like the band Ride, not in their sound, but in the sense that there is a promising band struggling to get out of an ultimately disappointing one. I think Ride's best tracks aren't the ones that are on their best of. I actually had all their four albums, but I burned my own compliation and then sold them, as all four had too many poor tracks amongst the decent ones for me to retain in my over large collection. I think Garbage are similar; they have a number of good, even beautiful songs, such as It's All Over But The Crying, but they are often let down by the production. I'm no expert on production, but I find the production, which is supposed to be clever (after all the band are producers as well as musicians) often very annoying.
Garbage are ultimately a most frustrating band. A lot of their songs are just repetiive and annoying, but they also have a number of excellent pop/rock songs but it seems they frequently have to submerge any melodic content under a load of modern techno/industrial (or whatever you call it) production noise. The whole of the remix disc is like this, that's why I find it unlistenable. Now if they did another set of remixes, cutting out the techno noise and letting the melodies stand by themselves unadorned they'd be worth another couple of stars!


Arista Years
Arista Years

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great band in decline, 20 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Arista Years (Audio CD)
The Kinks are perhaps my favourite band ever; certainly only the Beatles and The Beach Boys would dispute top place in my all time top list, however this doesn't blind me to the fact that they were in irrevocable decline by the time these albums were released.
Ray Davies is probably my favourite pop song writer too; as Paul Weller once said 'Waterloo Sunset' is perhaps THE greatest pop song of all time. For that one song alone Ray deserves all the plaudits he gets. Unfortunately his songwriting was massively inconsistent by the time the Kinks joined Arista.
The first two albums in the collection, Sleepwalker and Misfits aren't actually bad at all and many would argue that they were a vast improvement on anything the Kinks had produced since Muswell Hillbillies. Personally I feel the RCA era taken as a whole knocks spots off the Arista years, as the music was far more varied. However Sleepwalker is a fine album. The title track, the excellent rocker Life On The Road, the poignant Brother and Stormy Sky, together with one of the bonus tracks On The Outside (present in 2 versions) are highlights; but there's barely a bad track on the album, something that can't be said of any subsequent release in theis box set.
The second album, whilst generally not as consistent does contain one of Ray Davies' greatest ever songs in Rock n Roll Fantasy. This tune is genuinely up there with Celluloid Heroes and even Waterloo Sunset itself, a stone cold classic and easily the best thing Ray has written since the early seventies. Misfits itself is also great, whilst Black Messiah and the bonus track Father Christmas are worthwhile.
The next album Low Budget was where the Kinks started to get into arena rock and become 'heavier'. It still contains some worthy numbers in Catch Me Now I'm Falling, Wish I Could Fly Like Superman, the title track and the great bluesy number A Gallon Of Gas, but the rest is forgettable and would be a precursor of things to come. A live album One For The Road, which turns many of the songs into generic sounding heavy rockers, follows and is largely disappointing. The Kinks might have been great on stage but never made a really decent live album.
The following release Give The People What They Want is for me truly dreadful, and ranks in my opinion as perhaps the worst album released by any band I love. There's only one decent track and that's the closer Better Things; most of the rest of it is tuneless shouting, which apparently equated with what Ray must have thought was the commercially successful arena rock of the time. Personally I've always thought arena rock was tuneless and this album is no better. As for being heavy metal, well Ray never had a 'heavy metal voice', so consequently had to just shout. I also thought that Dave Davies didn't have much of a voice at all, nor was he (despite what others say) a particularly talented songwriter. Apart from Better Things the only other track from Give The People What They Want which made it to the Come Dancing Arista years compilation was Destroyer, the best known number on the album, but I still think it's dreadful.
Fortunately things pick up somewhat on the last two albums State Of Confusion and Word Of Mouth, although these are still inferior to the first three Arista albums. State Of Confusion contains the excellent, catchy Come Dancing which was the Kinks biggest (and in the UK, only) hit for years - since Apeman way back in 1971. I'm not sure why as they had some equally catchy RCA singles. However, apart from this and the fine ballad Don't Forget To Dance there's not much else memorable on the album. The final release Word Of Mouth also contains a superb number in Good Day, but apart from the opener Do It Again, once more there's relatively little else of merit. So like the RCA box there's a lot of rubbish amongst the good stuff, except this time the bad outweighs the good. Unless you like 'arena rock' which as I say seems to equate to tuneless shouting, then you'd be advised to steer clear of this box and just pick up the Come Dancing compilation album of these years. This is an excellent eighteen track collection which gathers nearly all the best material from these inconsistent albums, although it does miss Brother, Black Messiah, On The Outside and Stormy Sky whilst including the dreadful Destroyer.
What made the Kinks special was their variety and Ray's lyrics and melodies. The lyrical quality is often still there (although sometimes obscured by the racket), much better than most heavy metal songs, but the melody and variety is lacking in the Arista years albums.
There is actually enough material for one great album out of these six studio releases (the live album is almost wholly dispensible). For what it's worth my track list would be Life On The Road, Sleepwalker, Brother, Stormy Sky, On The Outside (Sleepwalker) Misfits, Black Messiah, A Rock n Roll Fantasy, Father Christmas (Misfits) Catch Me Now I'm Falling, Wish I Could Fly Like Superman, Low Budget, A Gallon Of Gas(Low Budget), Better Things (Give The People What They Want), Come Dancing, Don't Forget To Dance, (State Of Confusion) Do It Again and Good Day (World Of Mouth).
By the way even if you collect both the RCA and Arista box sets and the Pye individual albums (Don't get the Pye box set as it misses all the bonus tracks, many which were classic singles) you still wouldn't have everything by the Kinks as they made three more albums after leaving Arista: Think Visual, UK Jive and Phobia. However from the samples I've heard and what I've read about these albums you won't be missing much without them!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2010 11:23 PM BST


RCA Years
RCA Years

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'Lost ' Years rediscovered!, 19 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: RCA Years (Audio CD)
When I started collecting music in earnest the Kinks RCA years were a bit of a mystery to me as the albums were unavailable for many years. I'd remembered and liked the odd 70's single such as Supersonic Rocket Ship, Sitting In The Midday Sun, Mirror Of Love and Holiday Romance. Although only the first of these was a hit and then only a minor one. I can also vaguely remember music paper reviewers slaughtering the concept album years. I then managed to pick up in the days of vinyl the Celluloid Heroes compilation which became one of my most played albums. It was therefore frustrating that I couldn't get any more Kinks 70's material. So when Velvel first released these albums in the late 90's I was, probably because of the years of waiting, more anxious to get my hands on them than any other music release ever. The Kinks were great in the 60's so surely they couldn't have declined that much in the 70's?
Now they are all available in one (2 if you count the Arista years) handy package. The albums all come with the excellent original Velvel sleeve notes and bonus tracks, something the complete Pye box set of their 60's albums apparently does not; so if you want the extensive, and indeed essential, bonus tracks and excellent liner notes for those albums then you're better sticking with the individual albums.
The Village Green Preservation album from the Pye era is always said to be the Kinks greatest (and indeed only) classic album. I think that there are at least three other Kinks albums as good if not better than Village Green. Two are earlier ones from the Pye era: Face To Face and Something Else, but the third is the first album here, Muswell Hillbillies. The more I listen to this the more I think it's a truly great album with hardly a duff track on it. It does have a jazzy feel on tracks like Alcohol, Holiday and Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (great title!). This is maybe because of the horn section which was later derided, but works well here. There is also a country and western feel on songs like Uncle Son and the excellent title track. It opens with one of the Kinks greatest rockers in 20th Century Man, there's marvellous be bop in Skin and Bone, whilst Holloway Jail is another great song. Why this album didn't sell when it was originally released heaven knows.
The rest of the box set is not as strong. The next release Everybody's In Showbiz is part live, containing live versions of five songs from the previous album, but they are sufficiently different versions to make them worth hearing and all are great songs anyway. Of the new songs on Showbiz Celluloid Heroes is of course one of Ray Davies greatest ever songs and there's also the excellent aformentioned Supersonic Rocket Ship and Sitting In My Hotel, another classic.
We then get into concept territory with a vengeance with Preservation Acts 1 & 2, and from here on in all the Kinks albums for the rest of their career would be a mixture of great and awful songs. The great songs are still so great though that they make every album worth hearing. Preservation Act 1 has a brilliant single in Sitting In the Midday Sun, which was a Sunny Afternoon for the seventies, despite this, it was like all Kink's singles for the rest of the 70's, a huge flop. Preservation Act 2, originally a double album, is perhaps one of the ropiest albums in the bands entire catalogue, with its awful announcements to move the plot along. Despite this there are still perhaps half a dozen excellent tunes hidden away amongst the dreck, including the jazzy single Mirror Of Love, Oh Where Is The Love, Nothing Lasts Forever, Scrapheap City and Slum Kids. The final two RCA albums are also split about 50-50 between the great and the awful. From A Soap Opera Ordinary People, Underneath The Neon Sign, Holiday Romance, You Make It All Worthwhile and the idiosyncratic Ducks On The Wall are all good songs; the rest is fairly forgettable. Similarly Schooldays, Jack The Idiot Dunce, The First Time We Fall In Love, Headmaster, The Last Assembly and No More Looking Back are the strong tunes on Schoolboys in Disgrace.
Even though there is a lot of rubbish in this box set it is ultimately outweighed by the good stuff. I think what sets Ray Davies apart as perhaps Britain's greatest pop song writer/perfomer is his willingness to embrace a wider variety of styles than virtually anyone else, including even Lennon and McCartney! It doesn't always work but when it does it's great!
These albums are now in SACD format which doesn't mean anything to me, but they do sound pretty good. One of the problems with Kinks music especially around the end of the 60's/start of the 70's is that it didn't sound particularly clear, especially compared to the brilliantly produced Beatles' records. Whether this was because Ray deliberately mixed down his voice so the rude word on Apeman couldn't be properly deciphered I don't know!
But all in all this is a great welcome back for some long lost pop classics!


Dad's Army - The Complete Ninth Series [1977] [DVD] [2007]
Dad's Army - The Complete Ninth Series [1977] [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Arthur Lowe
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.97

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never less than perfect!, 28 May 2007
There will never be a consensus as to what is the best ever situation comedy series as humour is such a personal thing. A friend of mine reckons it's 'Porridge', another insists it's 'Frasier', the general public usually vote for 'Only Fools and Horses'. For what it's worth my contention would be that it's 'Dad's Army'. The consistency over a large number of episodes is amazing. For example I think 'Only Fools' improved dramatically during the first series of longer episodes before losing it again towards the end of its long run. It's also been repeated to death! Whilst 'Frasier', good as it sometimes was, owing to the sheer number of episodes the Americans churn out was incredibly inconsistent. The only series that for me can compare with 'Dad's Army' for consistent quality would be 'Blackadder', although the first series was substandard, and 'Fawlty Towers'. Cleese's series is in its own way as great as 'Dad's Army' but of course didn't last anywhere near as long. Nor has ANY series had a greater range of classic comic creations. This is what really singles 'Dad's Army' out.

Incidently, it's interesting to note that modern comedians, such as Ricky Gervais, seem to have acknowledged Cleese's model that two series and the odd special is the optimum time for a comedy series to maintain its quality.

It's a good job that Perry and Croft didn't adhere to this back then as 'Dad's Army' would have finished before it really got into its stride, (as would Only Fools)!

Whilst this final series is not the best example of this great comedy it still has its moments and the first episode, 'Wake Up Walmington', is a classic. As others have acknowledged the cast, particlarly John Le Mesurier who had been very ill, are looking their ages. Consequently there is ever greater emphasis on Ian Lavender whose role had been increasing ever since the early death of James Beck during series six. 'The Making of Private Pike' is really his episode, and the 'man to man' talk he has at the end with 'Uncle Arthur' is one of the great 'Dad's Army' moments. Of course all the cast were excellent, but it's often forgotten what a great comic actor Ian Lavender was, and it wasn't until the later episodes that he was really allowed full reign. His impersonation of a German officer in 'Ring Dem Bells' in the previous series, an episode that is somewhat similar to 'Wake Up Walmington', is hilarious and shows that he had a greater range than just playing the 'stupid boy.'

Many of the comedy series from the 60's and 70's weren't always aware when they were making their last episode; unlike today, when following John Cleese's precedent with 'Fawlty', people like Gervais, Coogan, Peter Kay etc have the control to decide when to end something. However Perry and Croft were aware that 'Never Too Old' would be their last episode of this great series, and when the actors address the camera directly and pay the tribute to the real home guard at the end is quite poignant. Mainwaring's patriotic speech just prior to this is also absolutely perfectly written, striking just the right tone.

The writers would continue with 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' and go on to have success with 'Hi De Hi', both excellent series themselves, but it is for 'Dad's Army', very probably the greatest situation comedy of all time, that they will be forever remembered.


Goodbye Nashville Hello Camden Town
Goodbye Nashville Hello Camden Town

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Hit Wonders!, 19 May 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The years 1974 - 1976 were pretty poor years for music. The great rock bands who had dominated the previous 7 or 8 years - Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, Floyd, The Faces, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Roxy, Yes, ELP, Tull, Alice Cooper, etc, etc, had all produced their best work and were in decline or had broken up. Similarly glam rock was past its sell by date with Bolan and Slade in decline and Bowie undergoing a radical style change. Of the major British bands it could be argued that only Queen and, more controversially Genesis (who were extremely successful but had probably still already produced their best work), were at the peak of their game.
It was in this pre punk, post classic rock void that pub rock emerged. Of course many of the pub rockers had been around well before '74, and it is argued in the liner notes to this collection that the genre started around 1971. It was in the mid seventies however that the genre flourished. I say 'flourished' but it must be remembered that it was, at least in terms of hits, an almost totally commercially unsuccessful genre. Indeed I don't think there's a hit on this double disc compilation! In terms of commercial success, the aforementioned superstars, even in artistic decline massively outsold the pub rockers.
Of course because a genre is commercially unsuccesful doesn't mean that it is musically poor - it must be remembered that most punk bands were also subsequently extremely short of big hit singles or albums.
Pub rock was, like punk, initially very much a London based movement. However, unlike punk, it failed to become a national phenomenon, and by the end of 76 had been virtually swept away by the younger more agressive style. It is often said that punk actually had its roots in pub rock. And to some extent this is true. The main connection is Eddie and The Hot Rods who were perhaps the first UK 'punk' band, but did emerge from the pub rock scene. They are represented here by two numbers. Of course the Rods themselves were regarded as somewhat tame compared to subsequent 'proper' punk bands and soon became Bill Hayley to the Pistols' Elvis Presley. Joe Strummer, one of punks great icons also started in a pub rock band, The 101's, who aren't on here; as did Ian Dury, whose Kilburn and The High Roads have three tracks. Pub rock also had the simplified, back to basics ideal that punk soon exploited to the full.

Having listened to these discs, most of which I was unfamilar with, it must be concluded that pub rock was unsuccessful on record because most pub rock simply wasn't very good. It might have been okay live, but you didn't want to take the music home with you! Many of the songs and artists on this collection are listenable but totally unmemorable. The style is generally either basic rock n roll/r n b or occasionally a sort of Poco/Flying Burrito Brothers type country rock (but inferior to those American bands) which is often instantly forgettable. Indeed a few of these tunes on here sound like West Coast America (the kind of soft rock so beloved by Bob Harris) rather than the pubs of London.
I say most weren't very good; there are a couple of exceptions. Brinsley Schwarz, who were perhaps the best known of the early pub rock bands were an excellent, underrated group. They were named after BS himself, but singer, songwriter and bassist Nick Lowe was their mainman and he went on to become a solo star of the new wave era. I already had their best of and would argue that the track chosen here, 'Country Girl' is okay, but not amongst their best. The other exceptions to the general sub standard feel of this collection are of course the great Doctor Feelgood, who were probably the best band in Britain briefly during those barren mid seventies years. They are represented by one of their great numbers 'Roxette', which closes the first side and blows away much of what's gone before. I was also familiar with Ducks Deluxe, as I have a disc by them. Strangely they aren't directly represented here, despite being one of the main pub rock bands; although the Tyla Gang were a spin off and their track here, 'Fireball' (not the Deep Purple classic) was also recorded by Ducks Deluxe.
There was another double pub rock compilation called Naughty Rhythms (named after the famous pub rock package tour) released about ten years ago. This is now unavailable. This present collection has more tracks - at 59 songs it is an extremely generously filled package (many pub rock songs, like punk were pretty short), but the earlier compilation concentrated more on having 2 or 3 numbers from the main players - the Brinsleys, Feelgoods, Ducks Deluxe, Chili Willie and the Red Hot Peppers, Bees Make Honey, Eggs Over Easy and Kilburn and The High Road - rather than spreading themselves as wide as this one does. As I say one can't grumble at the number of songs and artists included. The Fabulous Poodles have two numbers. I remembered the name, but didn't even know they were a pub rock band. I thought they were an American r n b band; must be getting them mixed up with the Fabulous Thunderbirds! McGuiness Flint also have one song. MG did have two big hit singles in 1970 and 1971, but by the time of their song on here (1973) were commercially unsuccessful enough to join the pub rock cicuit!
I say most of it isn't memorable afterwards but at the time much of it makes for reasonably pleasant, undemanding listening. There is one notable exception however; NME journalist Mick Farrens's 'I Want A Drink' is dreadful - repetitive and grating - no wonder he was more famous as a rock writer!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2009 1:52 PM BST


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11