I love The Damned, have done for years, and this has always been my favourite Damned album. From the joyous jump-around start of "Love Song", through the sinister "These Hands", wonder at the brillinace of "Looking at You", and then calm down with the first part of "Smash it Up", before part 2 'punks' up the volume. Smashing stuff. Lots of additional track tracks bulk out this edition - some b-sides, some original versions, and part 4 of "Smash it up", previously released. All good fun but I wish they had included the "Fiddling About" version of "Anti-pope", which appeared on the b-side of the "Sanity Clause" single, which, as far as i know, has never been on CD before. Buy this - play it at your sister. And watch out for those Okapis!!!!!!!!!
When it comes to punk albums there's none better, when it comes to daft punk albums then the Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette is special. I now own this album on vinyl,cassette, CD and 25th Anniversary CD, I can't get enough of it. From Love Song launching the album through to Plan 9, Channel 7 and ending with Smash It Up parts 1 and 2 every track is a real classic. I recently saw the Damned live at the Nottm Rock City (my favourite venue) and they played just about every track from Machine Gun Etiquette which highlighted the importance of this album to the band. Once you have heard this you will be hooked, go on buy it and be happy forever.
My favourite of The Damned albums in my collection! Also a great start to the second phase of The Damned's career. Of course the early Brian James stuff was good too and definetly shouldn't be overlooked, but the post James line-up seem to incorporate more elements and styles into the songs, giving them more variety. This is an exciting burst of punk energy and in "Love Song", "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" and "Smash It Up" has some of The Damned's finest singles. Other great songs include "Noise Noise Noise", a brilliant cover of The MC5's "Looking At You" and "Melody Lee". This is one of The Damned's albums where all the tracks are strong enough and fit together well. The bonus tracks are also worthy inclusions. "Smash It Up" is always a great track but the intricate melodic build up to it on the album makes it even more formidable. There's a metal influence on the good Captain's guitar playing and the overall sound, but in a good way rather than putting off non-metal/punk fans like myself. It helps add a new element to the music. The Damned at their best!
I used to have this on vinyl years ago and decided it was time to own it again. A first rate album and every song is great and some even better than I remembered. It is exactly the same (artwork wise) as the old vinyl LP from years ago. There are no bonus tracks or anything, which for me is no problem because it's good to hear the songs all following on EXACTLY as you remember them. Great memories just no crackles! (which I kinda miss!)
The only grumble I have in fact is that it is so thin and more like a CD out of a box set, ie no jewel case. Apart from that though, it's well worth buying again.
Arguably, The Damned's finest album. The band reformed after the disappointing Music For Pleasure with Captain Sensible changing from bass to lead guitar and showing off a wide range of his influences. Whereas The Damned under Brian James' leadership were stuck with James's Stooges fixation, the new line up allowed them to show off a wider range of skills. Highlights include guitar heroics and proto goth vocals from Vanian on Plan 9 Channel 7, the brilliant singles, including Love Song and Smash It Up and a blistering version of the MC5's Looking At You. Unfortunately, one reviewer seems to think this is a new Damned album and not the great return to form that most punks took to their hearts in 1979. Anyway, what's wrong with new Damned material? Grave Disorder included some great tracks and the band still put on one hell of a show!
Two albums in ("Damned Damned Damned" in February 1977 and "Music For Pleasure" in November 1977) - and with enough personnel chopping and changing and displaying of frazzled dangly bits to embarrass a British Royal Family orgy - THE DAMNED dropped LP number three in November 1979 on the little but mighty independent Chiswick Records (a UK-only release).
But not many seemed to notice let alone be thrilled by its sheer bleached bravura - peaking at a modest No. 31 in the UK and not charting at all Stateside (an import there) when The Clash were tearing up all and sundry on the 2nd British Invasion - championed by a getting clued-up musical press.
Still snotty and insubordinate and preceded by two storming great 7" singles in "Love Song" and "Smash It Up" - "Machine Gun Etiquette" should have done better in New Wave Britain - never mind a worried and dubious America who barely saw any imports. But the album was and is a tad overlooked - a forgotten gob in the mouth of a grateful nation. Time to rectify the public's myopia and sorry lack of good taste. Here are the noisy bullets...
UK released October 2007 - "Machine Gun Etiquette" by THE DAMNED on Ace Records/Chiswick CDHP 027 (Barcode 029667028523) is a straightforward CD Remaster of the 11-track LP and is part of Ace's 'Hip Pocket' Series of CD Reissues sporting 6" Card Repro Artwork (including the album's original inner sleeve) and plays out as follows (36:50 minutes):
1. Love Song 2. Machine Gun Etiquette 3. I Just Can't Be Happy Today 4. Melody Lee 5. Anti-Pope 6. These Hands 7. Plan 9 Channel [Side 2] 8. Noise, Noise, Noise 9. Looking At You 10. Liar 11. Smash It Up Part 1 12. Smash It Up (Part 2) Tracks 1 to 11 are their 3rd studio album "Machine Gun Etiquette" - released 2 November 1979 in the UK only on Chiswick Records CWK 3009. Produced by ROGER ARMSTRONG and THE DAMNED - the LP peaked at No. 31 on the UK album charts.
THE DAMNED were: DAVE VANIAN [David Lett] - Vocals CAPTAIN SENSIBLE [Raymond Burns] - Guitar ALGY WARD [Alasdair Ward] - Bass RAT SCABIES [Christopher Millar] - Drums
The 'Hip Pocket' card repro artwork reproduces the original British LP sleeve as was with its 'cartoon' inner sleeve (the CD has all the writing credits). The Remaster was carried out by ADAM SKEAPING at Sound Mastering and like the LP itself - ROCKS like a monster.
"Ladies and Gentleman. How do!" After the dialogue and snarling jeers from the boys - the sheer sonic assault of "Love Song" (2:21 minutes) is followed by the equally short and quarrelsome album title track "Machine Gun Etiquette" where the band sounds not unlike a boozed-up Motorhead wanting to have words in your shelllike. After the pasting the "Music For Pleasure" album received - the sheer power of the reformed band on the two openers literally screams 'we're back!'. And just when you were getting used to another nosebleed - you then get something more sophisticated but just as good - the Stranglers-tight "I Just Can't Be Happy Now" which Chiswick smartly released as a 7" single in the UK on Chiswick CHIS 120 and were rewarded with a No. 46 chart placing. "Melody Lee" is another brilliant album track as is the rhythm-rattling shakedown of "Anti-Pope" Side 1 ends with "These Hands" - a swirling laughing fairground organ song about 'turning blue' - complete with its high-heels on the pavement ending.
Side 2 opens with the riffing and strangely melodic "Plan 9 Channel 7" which at 5:09 minutes feels like Prog Rock after what went before. Chiswick put out "Noise, Noise, Noise" as the B-side to "Love Song" as far back as April 1979 on Chiswick CHIS 112 on red vinyl - a great stomper with echoed vocals about 'noises for heroes' and massive guitar from Sensible. You'd have to argue that their cover of MC5's "Looking At You" (from their 1970 "Back In The USA" LP) is one of those cover versions that rivals and at times exceeds the original and that guitar-playing throughout its 5:08 minutes is absolutely astonishing. The LP then sucker punches the listener with two fantastic Punk groovers - the 'never tell the truth' of "Liar" and the two parts of "Smash It Up". Chiswick used the faster part of "Smash It Up" as an A-side on another red vinyl 45 just before the album arrived - Chiswick CHIS 116 in October 1979 - and were rewarded with a No. 35 chart placing. A great ending to a great album.
I should mention that other issue. The November 2004 '25th Anniversary Edition' Enhanced CD Reissue and Remaster of "Machine Gun Etiquette" on Ace/Chiswick CDWIKD 250 has 9 bonus tracks - the six non-album 7" single B-sides, three new Previously Unreleased Audio Versions of key album tracks and a Previously Unseen Video of "Plan 9, Channel 7" (use Barcode 029667425025 in Amazon's search bar if you want that issue). And of course with those extra goodies it therefore offers better value for money (still available relatively cheaply too). But I'm a sucker for that repro artwork and the album presented 'as is'. It's true this 'Hip Pocket' CD would have been stronger with killer B-sides like "Burglar" from "Smash It Up" and their rattling cover of The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" tucked away on the flip-side of "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" - itself one of their strongest efforts. But you pays your money...
Besides you gotta love any band with people named 'Captain Sensible' and Rat Scabies'. You know Prince Phillip would approve...
Titles in Ace Records Mid-Price 'Hip Pocket' CD Series of Card Repro Reissues are: 1. DONALD AUSTIN – Crazy Legs (Ace/Westbound CDHP 016, Dec 2006) 2. THE BISHOPS – Cross Cuts (Ace/Chiswick CDWIKM 256, June 2005) 3. HADDA BROOKS – Femme Fatale (Ace CDCHM 1129, Nov 2006) 4. THE CHAMPS – Go, Champs, Go! (Ace CDCHM 1126, Sep 2006) 5. THE DAMNED – Machine Gun Etiquette (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 027, July 2007) 6. THE ESCALATORS [ex Meteors] – Moving Staircases (Ace CDHP 017, Dec 2006) 7. THE EVERLY BROTHERS – The Everly Brothers (Ace CDCHM 1127, Sep 2006) 8. FUNKADELIC – Maggot Brain (Ace/Westbound CDHP 030, Aug 2007) 9. CHUCK HIGGINS – Pachucko Hop (Ace CDHP 024, April 2007) 10. B. B. KING – The Jungle (Ace/Kent CDHP 031, Nov 2007) 11. JOHNNY MOPED – Cycledelic (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 029, Oct 2007) 12. JACKIE LEE – The Duck (Ace/Kent CDHP 032, Dec 2010) 13. LONNIE MACK – The Wham Of That Memphis Man! (Ace CDCHM 1134, Nov 2006) 14. MOTORHEAD – Motorhead [1977 Debut LP] (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 021, Oct 2007) 15. THE OLYMPICS – Something Old, Something New (Ace/Kent CDHP 018, Dec 2006) 16. THE RADIO STARS – Songs For Swinging Lovers (Ace/Chiswick CDWIKM 5, June 2006) 17. THE SONICS – Here Are The Sonics! (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 022, Feb 2007) 18. THE SONICS – The Sonics Boom (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 023, April 2007) 19. ROOSEVELT SYKES [aka 'The Honeydripper'] – Sings The Blues (Ace CDCHM 1132, Nov 2006) 20. VARIOUS – For Dancers Only [Kent's 1st Reissue LP compilation] (Ace/Kent CDHP 019, Feb 2007) 21. VARIOUS – For Dancers Also [Kent's 2nd Reissue LP compilation] (Ace/Kent CDHP 020, April 2007) 22. VARIOUS – Hollywood Rock 'n' Roll [80ts Rockabilly compilation] (Ace CDHP 026, July 2007) 23. VARIOUS – Fool's Gold [70ts Punk compilation] (Ace/Chiswick CDHP 028, August 2007) 24. LINK WRAY – Early Recordings (Ace/Chiswick CDCHM 6, June 2006 25. THE ZOMBIES – Odyssey And Oracle (Ace/Big Beat CDHP 025, June 2007)
The 3rd album by The Damned, and to these ears their best. There's a huge sense of fun, a bit of experimentation with developing styles and, heaven forbid on a punk album, musicality. Starting off with a broad "Ladies and Gentlemen, 'ow do" we are off immediately with one of the group's all time classics "Love Song", with no let up straight into an equally frenetic title track. Things calm down a little with a great introduction to "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" with some fine keyboard work.
After a superb and breathless punk derived start to the album the rest of side 1 is more experimental, particularly on final track "These Hands", which belong to a demented circus clown with backing seemingly provided by an off kilter carousel ride.
There's a great opening to side 2 with live favourite "Plan 9 Channel 7" seeing a return to basics, with the solitary cover on the album, The MC5's "Looking At You" made their own. But what an ending with bona fide classic "Liar" preceding a slow introduction to "Smash It Up" before it sounds like the group take the studio apart with a strong ending - well not quite as there's still chance to be nibbled to death by an Okapi...
This is one of punk's best albums and a complete joy from start to finish. No filler, everything is strong, showing the powers of the new democratic writing policy in force following reformation without Brian James. It's as listenable today as back in 1979, when it was a regular feature on my turntable. An absolute pleasure to hear it again, The Damned at their peak were truly awe inspiring.