As my learned colleague, Craggy waxed lyrically when he reviewed ‘Honked’ the first of these Anniversary albums from Diamond Dogs, I went on a journey down the Rock and ROll highway and played every Diamond Dogs album released and the overriding thought I had was –  Damn this band was smoking hot when they got in that groove.

They were honking on the whole Faces early ’70s Stones vibe and they were killing it every time and the most important thing was they had the tunes to go with the swagger and if those five albums were my gift to the world I’d be so proud of my band and the songs we’d created. Its quite some collection and as the band aged like a good wine they changed taste but remained true to their roots and sound.

On reflection, it seems like yesterday the band were rolling into my small village and pitching up their amps in a restaurant at the rear of my local boozer on a Sunday night after having a show in the City cancelled they then proceeded to Rock the socks off the locals with a wonderful and impressive set. These sets are pressed on vinyl as well as CD and contain a plethora of bonus tracks (singles B Sides) to wrap up the tunes from that period in a perfect set.

As Your Greens Turn Brown: After the keys introduce the listener with a bit of ‘Bloodshot’ before kicking up a shitstorm in the shape of the fantastic no holds barred ‘Goodbye, Miss Jill’ even now it makes me smile a five-mile smile when the band kicks in and the harmonica starts honkin’.

The record ebbs and flows superbly with the highs being particularly high and when the band gets going man they sounded authentic and passionate.  The lulls when they’d kickback. Their blend of Hammond and Rock and Roll overdrive mixed with a few horns stabs here and there is timeless. Let the good times roll on the ballsy ‘Hardhitter’ and then they can drop a few gears as they venture off into Small Faces territory via ‘Singing With The Alleycats’ it’s easy to see how these guys got gigs with Punk rockers like the Damned or Rockers like The Cult and Nazareth when you hear the raw ‘Bite Off’ with its too fast to live riff and with that variety in mind you pick up the flavour of just how talented a songwriter Sulo is and he lives these songs and wears them on his sleeve you can’t bluff Rock and Roll this good which is why he attracted the likes of Darrel Bath and Steve Klasson into the fold.

 

The band were comfortable letting go and cutting loose as they were doing the jig is up country-tinged ‘Anywhere Tonight’ as they were doing the whole Thin Lizzy duel guitar kick-off that had songs like ‘Boogie For Tanja’ being so effortlessly good. Then when they needed to turn down the lights they could glide into ‘Yesterdays Nymph’ in one fell swoop. When Sulo took the mood down he has a wonderful tone on his voice and as far as taking on the Brits doing the whole R&B thing there’s no contest Diamond Dogs were more consistent than a lot of their contemporaries churning out albums of exceptionally high quality and this bad boy is right up there with the best of them and when your B Sides are as good as your A-Sides you know you’re onto something.

Fifteen songs of exceptional quality its like they once said Too much is never enough! Bring on the next one and I’ll get me filled up on more trips down memory lane and promise myself to play these records more often they deserve it and so do you – Buy it!

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Author: Dom Daley

35th Anniversary 3CD Box Set featuring a remixed version with extra tracks, the live version, the original album plus a 36-page booklet and the reinstated ‘Tie Me Up’

Coming September 11th – FULL TRACKLISTING and PRE-ORDER HERE
The 1985 studio album – ‘Resurrected’ – revamped with two new tracks plus six bonus outtakes, all remixed by The Vibrators’ Pat Collier.
Disc 2 is ‘Que Sera Sera – live in Europe’ – 18 mostly unreleased recordings, 1984-85.
Disc 3 is the original album mix and related single tracks.
Packaged in a clam-shell box with a 36-page booklet featuring new notes by Johnny’s biographer Nina Antonia, plus lyrics and unseen photos

In 1985 Johnny Thunders went into the studio in London, to record his third and final solo album. He gathered friends Mike Monroe, Patti Palladin, John Perry, Wilko Johnson, Henri-Paul Tortosa, Nasty Suicide, JC Carroll, Stiv Bators, Glen Matlock and others, and the resulting album was christened ‘Que Sera, Sera’.

It wasn’t all plain sailing – with Johnny it rarely was. Johnny had spent the previous two years in relative stability. He’d been gigging around the world, and between tours he was filming in France. Life was a series of nice apartments and hotels shared with his constant companions – his girlfriend Susanne and his manager Christopher.

Now circumstances meant he had neither. Without a new release, touring slowed, and his high-maintenance lifestyle led him to seek friend favours for somewhere to live. The major labels that Christopher hoped would provide financial support hadn’t materialised.

In a row with Susanne, she complained that Johnny had never written a song for her. Johnny obliged, and along with new songs from his live set, he recorded I Only Wrote This Song for You. Before the album was finished, as soon as he had a rough monitor mix of the song, he flew to Sweden to attempt a reconciliation.

Those remaining at the studio were left to put the pieces together. Patti Palladin oversaw the mixing with the engineer, and found there wasn’t really enough for an album. Patti added Tie Me Up from the b-side of her Crawfish project, and Blame It On Mom was found from an earlier session. The title-track was actually an afterthought; recorded as a single 16 months later.

The album was well-received, and it got Johnny touring again, but there was always a sense that it could have been better, and that the guitar was restrained – in ’85 many artists were seeking mainstream crossover. Two tracks had been left off – Jerry Nolan’s Countdown Love song was unused as he hadn’t yet recorded it; and Talk About You, a lengthy blues workout that didn’t seem to fit.

With those two tracks in mind as bonus tracks for a reissue, Pat Collier, former Vibrators’ guitarist, was asked to mix them. When the results came through, it became obvious that Pat should remix the whole album using today’s technology and viewpoint.

In the multi-track tapes a few outtakes were discovered, and last year the ‘Resurrected’ version was released as a Record Store Day double-vinyl with 5 bonus live tracks. After interruptions, the CD version was reappraised and expanded to a three-disc box set. The original album is included, reinstating Tie Me Up and the old, familiar mixes. Three live gigs were uncovered, and they became the live version of the album as a bonus CD.

Johnny Thunders’ biographer, Nina Antonia, has written new notes with interviews for the 36-page booklet. It also includes lyrics and unseen photos from the recording sessions, the cover session and from one of the featured live gigs.

Tracks:
DISC 1: Resurrected: Alone In A Crowd, Countdown Love, Blame It On Mom, Talk About You, M.I.A., Little Bit Of Whore, Short Lives, I Only Wrote This Song For You, Cool Operator, Billy Boy, Endless Party, Que Sera Sera. Extras: Copy Cat, Blame It On Mom (outtake),Taking You Up Avenue D, Short Lives (outtake), I Only Wrote This Song For You (outtake), Cool Operator (first version).
DISC 2: Live in Europe: Geneva: Blame It On Mom, M.I.A., Cool Operator, Personality Crisis, Countdown Love, Little Bit of Whore, Amsterdam: Short Lives, So Alone, Sad Vacation, Too Much Junkie Business, Little Bit of Whore, Born To Lose, Chinese Rocks, Lyon: Countdown Love, Just Another Girl, Talk About You, Alone In A Crowd, It’s Alright (Blame It On Mom). (74 mins)
DISC 3: The original album: Short Lives, M.I.A., I Only Wrote This Song For You, Little Bit of Whore, Cool Operator, Blame It On Mom, Tie Me Up, Alone In A Crowd, Billy Boy, Endless Party. Extras: Cool Operator (Black Cat mix), Short Lives (Heavenly ver.), Short Lives (Johnny’s remix), Que Sera Sera

Rich Ragany & The Digressions release new video for the title track of the critically acclaimed debut album ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’.  RPM has been a big supporter of Rags and the band and we first interviewed the vocalist and songwriter when the site began (Here)  The album also featured in the writers top ten releases of 2019 (Here)  Check out the awesome video and the dates for the Status Quo tour Below.

Rich Ragany & The Digressions have been announced as support for Status Quo’s Nov/Dec Winter ‘Backbone’ tour of the UK.

27 Nov – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
28 Nov – Leicester De Montfort Hall
30 Nov – Cardiff St. David’s Hall
1 Dec – Birmingham Symphony Hall
3 Dec – Brighton Centre
5 Dec – London Eventim Apollo
6 Dec – Bournemouth BIC

The band is currently gearing up to go into the studio with celebrated UK producer Andy Brook and Grammy Award-winner Mario J McNulty (David Bowie, Glen Matlock, Raveonettes) mixing. RPM asked Rags for a quote about the awesome news of the Quo tour and he had this to say, “Woohoo, Yeah Allllright, settle down”  Get your tickets quick  before they all sell out.

 

With The Camden Rocks Festival this weekend coming it seems only fair for RPM to look at a few more of the bands to watch over the weekend.  with Camden still clinging onto its identity as a varied and embracing community and this festival growing year on year as a unique festival that embraces all genres of music from Rock to punk to indie to grunge to power pop to Action rock and beyond.

 

We’ve looked at the bands over the two days and Nev gave a list of his ones to watch over the two days.  Here I’d like to throw a few more bands into the mix some will clash and others are headlining but they all rock so I’ll start on Saturday and the Dublin Castle.

First up how about trying Sick Love hailing from Dublin this four-piece kick off at 14.00  with their loud guitar-based rock they’re in good company playing alongside the likes of The Hip Priests I’m sure songs like ‘Soccer Mum’ will go down a storm 

Also playing The Dublin Castle at 17.00 are Pet Needs who’s video we showed last week.  Alternative punks based in Colchester (what where?) With a bunch of highly energetic songs in their Arsenal The Dublin Castle seems like it’s going to take some stopping as it stakes its claim as the place to be let’s just hope they have the air conditioning on they might just need it.

As Nev wrote about The Hip Priests in his briefing we won’t mention them again except to say we recently saw their set in Newport and they were devastating so if its Explosive uncompromising Garage Rock and Fucking Roll you crave then 19.00 is the time – The Dublin Castle is the place and The Hip Priests are the band.

 

Moving over to Kolis at the lounge you have a choice to make.  Rich Ragany And The Digressions will be shaking it up and playing songs from their excellent ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’  but like the Hip Priests, Nev recommended them previously. Rags and his Digressions hit the Kolis stage at 19.00 but following them at 20.00 are the East Coast rockers The Sweet Things Having just released their debut long player we reviewed last week (Here) Such a cool timeless slice of Rock and Roll, these cats are laying down tunes in the time-honoured style of Primal Scream -that Black Crowes debut and a dash of the Stones for sure,  Hell, they borrow from the good and great and one listen to ‘Borrowed Shoes’ you’ll draw your own comparisons but you won’t deny that they have a slice of magic under their belts. It will be great to hear what they do live and I’m sure the joint will be jumping when they perform. One not to miss me thinks.

 

Heading over to the Monarch there are a couple of sets we think you might like to catch firstly at 14.00 in the afternoon The Wild Things will be doing their thing. their thing being rock and roll with plenty of hooks as played out on their debut album ‘You’re Really Something’ which travels through the acoustic pop of ‘Better Off Alone’ the upbeat title track the power pop of ‘Loaded Gun’ this guitar band offer something different and in Sydney Rae White they have great vocals besides people might recognise her from Netflix / BBC show ‘Uncle’ but her band have variety and a bunch of great songs. 

Another band to watch I’d certainly recommend Glen Matlock headlining @ Fest not only because he has a whole bunch of great songs at his disposal and always plays a blinder but he has a fantastic band featuring Chris Musto, Earl Slick and Jim Lowe.  His album ‘Good To Go’ was one of the best albums last year and with this line up those excellent songs will come to life and I’m sure will make for a worthy headliner.

 

There are enough choices to send your head spinning on Saturday along with Nev’s recommendations this little bunch should make a mess of peoples laminated stage times and venues there are a few playing Sunday that I’d like to give a mention to. from The Underworld Headliners The Wonder Stuff who I recently caught in Cardiff now with Malc Trecce back in the line up and a new album being recorded they stormed through a greatest hits set and I’m sure there will be more of the same in store for The Underworld and hearing those classics in a tight Underworld club will sound fantastic and something not to be missed at 20.45 on Sunday night. Mark Gemini Thwaite, Malc Treece, Pete Howard, Erica Nockalls and of course Milo now make up the Wonder Stuff and with plenty off ‘Hup’, ‘eight Legged Groove Machine’ and ‘Never Loved Elvis’ making up a chunk of the set they’ve clearly still got it and worthy headliners on the Sunday.

If you’re quick you should be able to make that Wonderstuff set from the Electric Ballroom where Ash get on with their set at 19.00 and again they have a new release to promote in the shape of their 7″ singles set so expect a greatest hits performance there which will more than put you in the mood for Milo and co.

If hearing Ash perform ‘Kunk Fu’ and The Stuffies blasting out ‘On The Ropes’ isn’t your thing and you want to get down and get with some glam stomping rock and roll then the place to be will have to be The Lyttleton Arms for Last Great Dreamers who hit the stage at 20.00.  Again they have a recent album to promote and a great live band, if it’s your choice to take in some ‘Dreamers’ then I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed as ’13th Floor Renegades’ was head and shoulders their best record to date and the band have been constantly on the road this year so will be match fit and up for the challenge of tearing the house down.

A resurgent Towers of London will be shaking their collective shit from 17.30 at Fest if their showing on the recent Wildhearts tour is anything to go by then Fest is in for a treat.  Resplendent in their black boiler suits and buoyed by the feedback the band will be looking to hit the ground running and have the potential to steal the show. Expect plenty from that debut album that served them so well on the recent tour as well as some new songs that also sounded great.

16.00 at The Monarch you’ll catch The Pearl Hearts  Two women that sound like a fuckin’ bomber full of dynamite as they rain down their garage heavy blues. It only needs two to sound like a bomb gone off as ‘Different Kinda Girl’ testifies. what better way to spend tea time in Camden Town?

Before you catch the Pearl Hearts why not head over to Kolis for Youth Illusion. Mid Afternoon or 14.00 to be precise will see these London homies play their brand of punk rock on their home patch.  Melodic punk is the order and they do it rather well and Kolis will be a heaving mass of sweaty bodies I’m sure of that as the band knock out songs like ‘Better Off’.

Finally, if punk rock isn’t your thing then Dingwalls Canalside is the place to be at 14.30 to catch The Silver Bayonets and their anthemic rock proving that Camden Rock Festival is unique in its presentation and in its roster of bands with plenty of established battle hardened bands that make up the headliners in the larger venues as well as securing some big bands to play smaller venues that you might not get the chance to see them play in such surroundings ordinarily which makes for  an interesting and memorable weekend.  But the real magic will no doubt lie in discovering your new favourite band or checking out one of RPM Online recommendations and digging who we’ve thrown light on because they’ve impressed us either previously live or on record.  Let us know what you thought and spread the word especially of the lesser known bands its the lifeblood of the underground and how bands survive and grow.  Have a good one and I hope there aren’t too many clashes and if you do see any of the bands here or as part of Nev’s ones to watch let ’em know we sent you and most importantly support the bands and pick up their merch and music.  Oh and wear comfortable shoes!

 

In a week when RPM brought you interviews Live Reviews and album Reviews from far and wide, we scoured the globe to bring you bands and releases that matter so you don’t have to do the hard work. Sit back skive off and enjoy.

 

As far as interviews go we went to Vienna for Reverend Backflash Swansea for Jack Jones out of Trampolene who head out on tour this month all over the UK.  we also brought you the words of Jeff Dahl and what his plans are for 2019. Right there are three reasons to keep it RPM for all the chatter that matters in the same week as well! Damn, how good was that?

If those interviews weren’t enough we also brought you album reviews from legends like Glen Matlock who released a new record with some help from the likes of Slim Jim Phantom and Earl Slick. If that wasn’t enough to make you good to go then we also brought you music from Australia in the shape of the excellent Black Heart Breakers, Noo Yawk City in the shape of The Erotics and obviously it wouldn’t be right if Canada didn’t wade in with a new record from a band with immense potential and a bunch of tunes you’d expect from a band who have been around the block a few times in the shape of Sick Things whose album is just getting the vinyl treatment from Gods Candy Records.

 

We might have been a bit stingy on the live front this past week but we did venture to Vienna for some TV Smith and finish the week wiping the sweat and maybe a tear or two from one’s cheek as Jonny Cola And The A-Grades said hello goodbye and thanks for the ride which was a great place to check out for the week.

Now. This week we’ve already brought you Rich Jones and Paul Collins interviews and we have some killer live reviews from the likes of King Brothers and Eric Martin as well as plenty of albums we crack open from Dave Kusworth, Palmyra Delran and Estrons as well as a classic reissue that’s coming on RSD Black Friday that people shouldn’t miss.

 

Not too shabby on the old rock and roll front there I’m sure you’ll agree? Remember to keep it RPM and don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t any rock and roll anymore because we know and you know that’s just bull shit right? Right! If you think you have what it takes to join our band of scribes then drop us a line at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com and introduce yourself – we don’t bite and are quite a welcoming bunch.  thanks and as Lux said – stay sick!

Johnny Hayward.

It seems like only yesterday that RPM top boy Dom Daley and myself were watching Glen Matlock, Earl Slick and Slim Jim Phantom deliver a very promising headlining set on one of the side stages at the annual Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. It was, however, four years ago…so that’s how long I’ve been waiting to finally get to hear what this trio actually sound like on record.

 

That live appearance was certainly a tough one to try to pigeonhole, largely because whilst it was an infectious blend of all three musicians’ previous bands along with elements of some of their key influences, it also included their take on Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, an audacious curveball for any reviewer to try and get to grips with if ever there was one. Thankfully Glen Matlock decided well ahead of the release of ‘Good To Go’ to come out and badge the dozen tracks he’s recorded here with Slick and Phantom as “loud skiffle”, a genre he has apparently wanted to try since seeing Bob Dylan at the Albert Hall a few years back.

 

Dropping the CD into my player the opening 1-2 of ‘Won’t Put The Brakes On Me’ and ‘Wanderlust’ get an immediate thumbs up from me with the former a track that has a real 60s strut to it whilst the latter chugs along on a top-notch Slick lick chock full of lip curling attitude. However just as when I saw them live it’s Matlock’s vocal similarity to his Pistol-packing chum Steve Jones that really seals the deal for yours truly. Whilst we are talking of fat cockneys who like to sit around in swimming trunks ‘Sexy Beast’ is the first out and out rock and roller containing some trademark Slim Jim stick work and it’s a track that really wouldn’t look out of place on an Urban Voodoo Machine album with one hell of a catchy call and response chorus.

 

Elsewhere for your entry money, we get ‘Speak Too Soon’ which contains a wonderful Bowie-esque vibe whilst ‘Hook In You’ swaggers and sways on a dirty way past midnight 12 bar refrain. It’s at the midway point of the album though that I have to admit starting to feel a little bit of déjà vu creeping into ‘Good To Go’, but then up pops ‘Montague Terrace (In Blue)’ totally out of the blue (ouch) and yeah that’s the sound of me picking up my jaw back up off the floor. Tracks as sumptuous as this are exactly why the album format will always live long with serious music fans as this brooding bastard of a torch song is the main reason this record has been on constant loop on my stereo of the last few weeks. You really must listen to it all in sequence to get it though, okay?

 

As ‘Good To Go’ reaches the home straight ‘Strange Kinda Taste’ and album closer ‘Keep On Pushing’, both bring to mind the kind of thing Ian Hunter does these days, in so much that this is music that the musicians have grown into over their long and varied careers, and they sound very comfortable in their skin. Yes, it’s ultimately rock ‘n’ roll music (which I guess is what “loud skiffle really is anyway) but with ‘Good To Go’ Glen Matlock is certainly not trying to swindle you into thinking it’s anything else. Great stuff!

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