Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

RAW




The May issue of the UK magazine the Word contains a nice thought provoking list of eleven punk 45rpm as chosen by contributing journalists to the magazine. They wind up their introduction by concluding that these songs sound best pulled from old sleeves and played on real record players, replete with crackles! My own addition to the list would be the Buzzcocks 3rd single 'What do I Get' / 'Oh shit', as far as these ears are concerned as near to perfection as you can get on a 7" piece of plastic under five minutes long. The list is as follows and in the same order as presented in the magazine:
- the Flaming Groovies "Shake Some Action" chosen by Rob Chapman
- the Users "Sick of You" chosen by Howard Male
- Siouxsie & the Banshees "Honk Kong Garden" chosen by Keith Drummond
- Jilted John "Jilted John" chosen by Paul Du Noyer
- Sex Pistols "Go Save the Queen" chosen by David Quantick
- Wire "Outdoor Miner" chosen by Rob Fitzpatrick
- X Ray Spex "Oh Bondage. Up Yours!" chosen by Jude Rogers
- Richard Hell & the Voidoids "Blank Generation" chosen by David Hepworth
- the Slits "Typical Girls" chosen by Sheryl Garrett
- Patrik Fitzgerald "Banging & Shouting" chosen by Mat Coward
- Television Personalities "Part Time Punks" chosen by Simon Barnet
There are two artists that grabbed my attention as they are both more a less forgotten today, Patrik Fitzgerald who we will come back to tomorrow and the Users. They first came to my attention back in 1977 or 1978 as they were featured on a Raw Records compilation which I had purchased on cassette and proceeded to wear out over the months that followed. Raw claimed to be one of the first UK independent labels to come from punk, ironically enough, considering punks year zero manifesto, the label was started by the owner of the Cambridge record shop Remember These Oldies. The Users heralded from the same town and the single was a home made lo-fi blast of Iggy fueled punk. They might well have been consigned to histories pages were it not for 'Sick of You' being sampled on the Atari Teenage Riot single 'Sick To Death' and more bizarrely upon John Peel passing away it was discovered that his record box contained two examples of the single! One for each ear?
The compilation contained another favorite track of mine from this period in the killjoys "Johnny Won't Get To Heaven", a classic blast of amphetamine charged punk and with a catchy chorus thrown in for good measure. This single is of particular historic note as it is the first time the vocal chords of Kevin Rowlands, later of Dexys Midnight Runners, were to grace a record. As mr Rowlands himself was to claim in 2001 "there was no doubt in my mind that I was at least as passionate and angry and as from the street as any punk rock singer you could name. But it was wrong for me to try to be part of someone else's thing", and so Kevin went on to do his own thing which as everyone knows culminated in his cross dressing in public! Interestingly enough the bands bass player Gem also went on to greater things, she filled bass duties for Girlschool after having been recommended by the bass players bass player himself Lemmy.
The Raw Records catalog has been rescued by Damaged Goods and thanks to them both songs are still available on 7" picture sleeve black vinyl or on a more boring CD compilation.

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