In many ways this is a follow up to previous shows of early American and British Punk, mostly 45's from 1975 to 1977. This show covers some of my favorite records from 1977 and 1978 and is not just punk anymore. Seventeen of these tracks were on 45 back then and I am playing 17 of the 21 cuts from vinyl.
The opening set has my two favorites from Damned, Damned, Damned, the mostly chanted, Stab Your Back, and the powerfully brooding, Fan Club. I did not include the late 1977 Jam 45, The Modern World in earlier shows, so it appears here.
Penetration featured the incredible vocals of Pauline Murray, and Don’t Dictate was the band’s first 45; it came out just a few weeks after The Modern World in the UK. Murray went on to greater chart success after Penetration broke up; Don’t Dictate and their first album, Moving Targets, represent her best work and recordings.
Before Cow-Punk band Rank and File, which at one point included Alejandro Escovedo, there was a band from Carlsbad, California, the Dils, formed by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, who also formed Rank and File. Their debut 45, programmed here, has always been a favorite. Their follow-up, Class War/Mr Big is also worth hearing. The Ramones return with a station break from Television, Prove It, in between. It was the second 45 pulled from the band’s debut album (the b-side was Venus). Ending the set is the 12-inch 45 by The Heartbreakers that ended up on their only-released-in-the-UK album LAMFT. Devo’s original, 45 version of a Rolling Stones classic is in between.
The records of the first two sets were all released in 1977. Not so our final set, which flies out of the gate with the 45 debut of Magazine, Howard Devoto’s hyper-intelligent, art-punk-prog band. Released in January 1978, it certainly surprised many expectant listeners. Much more pop, and from a few weeks later, is the second single from XTC, Statue of Liberty. The very charming chorus and melody meet up with surreal, anthropomorphic lyrics about France’s huge, cast metal gift to America.
I Am the Fly is the second single by Wire and it ended up on their second album. Wire also returns.
Fan Mail, like the two tracks by the Damned, is only on an album, the second Blondie album. It is my favorite recording by this group and features some superb screaming from Ms. Harry. Another female voice follows, the estimable and very prematurely deceased, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs. The Day the Earth Turned Day-Glo is as prescient now as it was in February 1978 when it was first released as the band’s second 45. We desperately need more groups doing the kind of material X-Ray Specs were recording over 35 years ago!
Magazine and XTC are again paired with their 45 follow-ups, both released in April. This Is Pop had been on the debut XTC album, but was re-recorded with a different producer for 45 release. The show’s penultimate track is the spirited, The American In Me, by the Avengers, a San Francisco band that, the first time around, existed for less than two years. Penelope Houston is an engaging singer and this 45 shows them at their best.
As promised, Wire returns with the A-side of their third single, Dot Dash, a performance that is musically metronomic while lyrically abstract, a fine indication of how much 'punk' changed and metamorphosized during its initial three years.
- Stab Your Back
- The Modern World
- Fan Club
- Don’t Dictate
- I Hate The Rich
You’re Not Blank
I Remember You
- Prove It
- Swallow My Pride
- Chinese Rocks
- Born To Lose
- Shot By Both Sides
- Statue of Liberty
- I Am The Fly
- Fan Mail
- The Day the Earth Turned Day-Glo
- Touch And Go
- This Is Pop
- The American In Me
- Dot Dash