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Saturday 22 June 2024

V.A. Saturday

The 1977 various artists compilation album New Wave looks like a major label cash in (it came out on Vertigo, a subsidiary of Phillips/ Phonogram). The cover, bright red with a photo of leather jacket clad punk spitting beer at the camera in front of a corrugated iron fence, is typically '77 punk. The album's title looks like an attempt to make something threatening palatable, new wave rather than punk. But the fact is, it's a really good primer of mainly American 1977 punk bands with some pre- punk or proto- punk acts thrown in and there's hardly a song on it you'd skip (I make an exception for The Boomtown Rats who I'd always skip). The sleeve thanks Linda and Seymour Stein (who scooped up most of the US punk/ New Wave acts for Seymour's label Sire) and also Jake Riviera and Kosmo Vinyl from Stiff Records, both of whom knew their stuff. 

New Wave opens, as all punk compilation albums probably should, with The Ramones and one minute thirty two seconds of rushing buzzsaw guitars and Joey's snarled vocals about Judy and Jackie...

Judy Is A Punk

From there it's bam- bam- bam of U.S. punk and proto- punk- The Dead Boys, Patti Smith's Piss Factory, The Runaways, New York Dolls, Richard Hell and The Voidoids and Love Comes In Spurts. France and Australia are represented by Little Bob Story a Skyhooks. Flip it over and side two kicks off with Talking Heads (if you've placed the needle past The Boomtown Rats), jerky, staccato, New York art with two loves  that go tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet like little birds. 

Love Goes To Building On Fire 

The Damned show up with New Rose, the first UK punk single and the one that got them blackballed by the punk crowd for the crime of speeding up the recording in the studio, studio trickery being NOT PUNK. More Ramones, more Dead Boys, more Runaways, more Dolls and The Flaming Groovies who always seem like the outliers on this record, their 1967 San Francisco garage rock always feeling a bit too studied and retro for 1977 despite Shake Some Action being most definitely a good song. 

New Wave was a second hand shop staple for years- all the way through the 80s a record you could guarantee finding in the Punk section. Pulling it out again and playing it for this post, it still packs a punch, a 1977 sock to the face. 


John Medd said...

Probably *the* most influential compilation I ever bought. And I acquired it in '77.
Yes, a lot of what's on there would not have been what I considered punk (wrong side of the Atlantic and all that) but it certainly opened my eyes to bands like the Flamin' Groovies and Little Bob Story. Stand out track 'Shake Some Action'. In fact I've had a love affair with that song from the moment I first heard it forty seven years ago on this very album.


C said...

I remember it well too, never having owned it but borrowing it from my new boyfriend, it had been out a year or so by that point but was still the first time I had heard quite a few acts on it - Flamin' Groovies being one of them. I'm very much with John re. 'Shake Some Action', it's a perennial for me too.

exile 62 said...

yes a great primer for a 15 year old, you may also remember an album sountrack called That Summer from 79 featuring The Only Ones, Undertones,Wreckless Eric, Costello, Ramones and unfortunately 2 tracks from the Boomtown Rats...

Swiss Adam said...

Funny how Shake Some Action has weathered better than some of the contemporary songs on New Wave.