I still own the original Oddball recording. I went to see The Buzzcocks in '78, on the 'Love Bites' tour, at the Liverpool Empire, and the Sect were supporting. I don't know what it was about them that so enthralled me, but I went out and bought 'Ambition/Different Story' (which i still possess) the next week, and since that day I never really looked back. Vic's music has appeared at almost every critical junction of my life, but when this album came out I loved it just from reading Dave McCullough's review in the Record Mirror (which is included in the sleeve notes). The song titles alone are genius: 'Empty Shell' 'Stool Pigeon' 'Watching The Devil' 'Enclave' - the list just goes on. In fact, there's nothing in DM's review I could improve on, except to say that although every track has a different angle, they are all equally brilliant, though if I was pressed to name a favourite I'd plump for 'Empty Shell', even though 'Make Me Sad' is possibly the most sumptuous and gorgeous melody Vic has written, apart from 'The Addison Brothers' which I taped from a Mark Lamarr session and which has oddly never appeared on any subsequent release. could someone please remedy this situation, and release Vic's take on the track 'The Long Decline' while they're at it.
This is one of those canonical albums that so many bands cite as an inspiration, yet no-one ever seems to listen to. So why ever not ? This is one of the best half-dozen albums that year (and maybe the best from outside Liverpool) I can't claim to understand it. How did '50s beat and skiffle make it through the cynicism of punk's most sneering age ? I'm glad it did though. This is what punk should have been about. No pomp, no glam, no big record labels, just a great songwriter doing it as simply as possible on a budget of sixpence ha'penny.
Vic Godard was and still is the most consummate songwriter of his era. This album is a brilliant summation of his work up to that point. Check out the new 1978 Now album, which includes the 'original' arrangements for many of these songs but buy it soon because Vic's albums seem to go out of print very quickly; a sad fact that reflects the public's general lack of apprecation for such a talent. Pikeyboy - 'The Addison Brothers' is a song by The Bitter Springs and appears on From the Parish of Arthritis - Vic guests on this song and another (Boorman's Son).
Never mind lost pop punk nugget! This is simply one of the best records ever made. Released in 1980. Here was Vic Godard taking on his songs that he had dragged through the toilets of punk rock and polished with a twisted pop sensibility. Here is an individual who saw the failure of so many of his punk peers and made this truly brave record as an answer and an antidote. Vic's voice was as unique and strong as Kevin Rowland's. His songwriting as effortless and skilful as Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley. It could be the shamalama "Stand Back", it could be the perfect pop of "Split Up the Money" or it could be the gorgeously melancholy "Make Me Sad". I dunno what it is. I bought this when it came out.... people have then raked through second hand shops for hours searching for a scratchy vinyl copy. Mostly in vain. Search no more, my friends. Its out on CD. Remastered. Great sleeve notes by the Likes of Edwyn Colins and Davie Henderson who know or thing or two themselves about producing great guitar pop music. Added bonus of the late great accordion-driven Rough Trade 45 "Stop That Girl" and a Peel session where we see some of these songs put through the guitar mangler. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for your little sister. Buy it for your Mum and listen as she whistles "Empty Shell" doing the dishes.