Love them or loathe them, Wayne/Jayne County has been challenging musical and gender boundaries for decades. Before the dawn of punk, with the band Queen Elisabeth and giving Jools Holland his first studio job providing the ivories on ‘Fuck Off’, it’s been quite a ride. That this 4 CD collection spans a mere 3 year period is an eye opener.
It’s pretty much an exhaustive collection; the three Electric Chairs studio albums; a live set from Toronto 1979, plus a John Peel set and various singles. ‘The Electric Chairs’ debut includes 10 extra tracks, and holds together better than I remember. The quality of both songs and musicians is surprisingly good, from the ballad of ‘Eddie And Sheena’ onwards. There’s a hefty nod to the Dolls on the likes of ‘Bad In Bed’ and ‘Rock N Roll Resurrection’, but Wayne’s personality was always centre stage.
‘Storm The Gates Of Heaven’ is, for me, their strongest set of songs, though the band weren’t keen on the rushed production of Martin Birch. It doesn’t detract from the likes of ‘Trying To Get On The Radio’ or the bold ‘Man Enough To Be A Woman’. The title track is like Alice Cooper with better lyrics, while ‘Speed Demon’ is perilously close to the Count Bishops’ version of The Kinks’ ‘I Need You’. Extras include the ‘Toilet Love’ EP.
‘Things Your Mother Never Told You’, divided into Side Us and Side Them, is part Lou Reed observationals like ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Midnight Pal’, and a side step into more experimental songs such as ‘C3’ and ‘Berlin’. The title track would certainly have suited Iggy at the time. And ‘The Boy With The Stolen Face’ may have influenced pre-fame Ants. Have a listen.
‘Rock N Roll Resurrection’, live in Toronto 1979, is tighter than you might imagine, though, unfortunately, there’s not enough between-song berating from Wayne.
If it’s to your (bad) taste, and you don’t own these already, it’s a great package at a reasonable price.
Buy The Safari Years Here
author: Martin Charmarette