Running With The Boss Sound –  Today is January 26th and for me, one of my favourite and most cherished albums was released into the world way back in 1979.  I still play it regularly as it had a big influence on an impressionable young lad.  From the attractive lady on the cover to the pills never mind four gangly lads with leather trousers and scruffy died hair. It was everything I wanted it to be and I can still remember twisting my mothers arm to let me go home from Woolworths with my very own copy tucked under my arm and when I got home it might as well have been welded to the house stereo because it only left the turntable to get turned over for what must have been weeks or months even.

‘Valley Of The Dolls by Generation X might not be as revered as ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ or ‘The Clash’ it doesn’t get talked about as much as The first Joy Division album or the first few classic Buzzcocks records but to me it might only be outclassed from the 70’s releases by ‘Damned Damned Damned’, ‘LAMF’ and ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’.  It was the Dogs danglies as far as I’m concerned and still is and much like the previously mentioned favourites it still gets played quite frequently by myself. 

‘January that year was the first glimpse of these four pirates as ‘King Rocker’ is released as a single and one of those seminal moments in time as Idol sneered his way through their performance on TOTP.  Reaching a very respectable number 11 in the UK charts at the time was quite an achievement although their label wasn’t so happy.  It came out with a picture of each band member on specific colour pressings something that bands have copied since to increase sales – me I only ever got the tony James cover but it was on red vinyl (still got it)

The album came out on this very day forty years ago and took a right panning in the written press , with reviewers slateing it as “overblown and artistically hollow” and only managing to reach number 51 in the UK album charts the next single being the albums title track only managing number 23 in the singles charts things weren’t looking good for the band amidst trouble at their live shows the summer saw the third and final single being released off the record and ‘Fridays Angels only managing number 62 which must have been a killer for the band and their management not even hitting the top 40. the band began to fragment with Andrews leaving before the year was out and Laff following suit soon after via a harsh sacking from James and Idol due to the classic musical differences.

I was also gutted to find out many years later about the internal squabbling involved in the making of this album and when the band got Ian Hunter in to produce he wasn’t impressed with LAff and his drumming and got Clive Bunker from Jethro Tull in to play the drums as hunter didn’t feel Laff was up to the job in the studio.  Now had I been in the band and as much as I love Ian Hunter I think I’d have told him to fark off over there and then fark off a little bit further as being in a band was all about a gang you know four lads who shook the world riding in to the valley of the dolls and all that comrade but it seems not every band is like that and Bunker was indeed drafted in.

There was an interview with Andrews in 2013 where he stated “The style changed in as much as we had a famous ‘rock-star’ producer in Ian Hunter, a bigger budget, more time and a wider gap between the two older guys and me and Laff. It was actually heartbreaking for Mark Laff to be told by Ian, Billy and Tony that he was not going to play on this album and for him to choose a replacement drummer. He chose Clive Bunker from Jethro Tull and whilst teaching him the parts with two kits set up it was decided it sounded great with two drummers. If I took too long tuning up for an overdub I could see Tony James through the studio glass calling Chris Spedding! It wasn’t the same camaraderie as the first album”

that’s a real shame because in my eyes VOTD has stood the test of time and in 2019 it deserves to be championed as a bit of a classic and for all the rock star buzzkill that was happening at the time they did manage to write and record some fantastic songs.  I think its more in line with the style and sound of Hanoi Rocks than they get credit for and maybe this record was a little bit ahead of the game and would have gone down much better had it been released maybe five years later who knows?

 

Buy Valley Of The Dolls Here

Recorded back in 1976 in Woodstock the late Great Mick Ronsons ‘Just Like This’  finally get the release this posthumous collection of recorded songs deserves.  Sure it only contains seven songs but the quality is awesome and the tracks themselves aren’t too shabby either.

The title track is a great riff that just seems to glide as the band hammer down that groove. It sort of sets the tone for what we are about to hear to be fair and on ‘Hard Life’ I love the way the band throws in a snippet of ‘Ziggy’ in the middle of the track as the band is locked in and jamming out.

Ronson is joined by Mick Barakan on Guitar & Backing Vocals, Jay Davis on Bass and Backing Vocals plus lead vocal on Takin’ a Train & Hey Grandma, whilst Bobby Chen plays Drums and Backing Vocals.  The songs are described as having a harder edge which is fair to say but the playing remains the (Not So)  secret weapon and the players involved recollect that they didn’t realise how good Mick was as a player until they got up close to the guy in the studio but you don’t get to work with the likes of Bowie, Hunter and Dylan by being average I guess.  It’s also mad to think that these tapes and songs might never have seen the light of day due to lack of funds at the time and the classic record label unhappy with what they were hearing now that would have been a tragedy had we never have been able to drop the needle on these tunes..

Original ‘1998’ tape restoration & mastering was re-done in 2018 Re-Mastering duties were handled by Anders Peterson at Ghost Mastering & Post, Sweden. It’s great that recordings like this aren’t lost forever and still people care enough to preserve them and sadly in Ronson’s absence us folks out on the high street can finally enjoy some fantastic musicians making music.

Officially endorsed by Ronsons family this edition comes on blood red vinyl and with great sleeve notes reminiscing about the recording of these tracks by the people who mattered but its the music that is captured in the grooves that shine brightest.  I love the laid-back groove of ‘I’d Give Anything To See You’ which has some amazing restrained playing and then to follow it up with ‘Takin’ A Train’ is sublime.

 

who wouldn’t love the full-tilt groove of ‘Hey Grandma’ but my favourite has to be the epic ‘Crazy Love’ where you can easily get lost inside some fantastic guitar playing. Long live the music of Mick Ronson –  Ronno On! indeed such a cool talent that’s greatly missed.

Buy Just Like This Here 

Author: Dom Daley

COMPULSIONS Front Man Returns From Road, Releases Album Teaser Featuring ROLLING STONES Cover (Feat. GUNS N’ ROSES, RAGING SLAB Players)

From camping out in the recording studio with an army of killer New York musicians to racing around England and Germany on a co-headlining tour with
CRYBABYS front man, Darrell Bath (DOGS D’AMOUR, IAN HUNTER, UK SUBS), 2018 has been a busy year for COMPULSIONS leader, Rob Carlyle.
“I had a blast on the road with Darrell,” says Rob. “It’s rare for me to have that much in common with another musician. But musically speaking, we were two peas in a pod. Anyone who brings Now Look by Ron Wood on tour is all right by me! And after one of the German shows, I’m told someone on Facebook called us ‘The Two Greatest Rockers from Each Side of the Pond.’ So, I guess we did all right (laughs).”


But now that he’s back home, Carlyle’s been back in his second home: the recording studio. The New York-born frontman has been putting the final touches on Ferocious, the follow-up to his wildly acclaimed band’s sophomore effort, Dirty Fun (2015) – a release music scribes spilled much ink over as they favorably compared the underground underdogs to legendary artists such as AEROSMITH, THE NEW YORK DOLLS and THE ROLLING STONES.

“The recording process has taken longer than I expected but then again, we had about thirty tracks in the works,” explains Rob. “And it wasn’t until recently that we narrowed them down to the ten songs that’ll be on (Ferocious). But on the flip side, with the other 20 or so tracks already in progress, we have a great head start on the next couple of albums.”
As he continues to tinker with producer Ken Rich at Grand Street Recording, Rob springs a second Ferocious teaser video on the unsuspecting public.

To quickly backtrack: The first clip was unleashed in late 2017, featuring upcoming ditty, “Dirtbag Blues” – an obscenity-laced spurt of back alley sleaze with none other than Earl Slick (yes, DAVID BOWIE’s guitarist!) delivering a rapid-fire barrage of snarling CHUCK BERRY-style licks and riffs. In addition to Carlyle and Slick, rounding out the “Dirtbag” lineup was ex-NEW YORK DOLLS drummer, Brian Delaney, and ex-RAGING SLAB bassist, Alex Morton

Fast forward to today for the release of a second Ferocious video.

In this latest video, Rob and a seemingly heavily sedated nurse are sprawled out on a dirty basement floor while Rob strums his battered Telecaster. The music features THE COMPULSIONS tearing through THE ROLLING STONES’ country-inspired classic, “Dead Flowers”. The “Flowers” recording lineup consists of two GUNS N’ ROSES alumni, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal on guitar heroics and Frank Ferrer on drums, along with Carlyle and Morton in their respective roles – not to mention gospel-tinged backing vocals by Nicki Richards (borrowed from MADONNA and MARIAH CAREY) and boozy barroom piano by Andrew Sherman. The new teaser video featuring “Dead
Flowers”

An official release date for Ferocious has yet to be announced, however, Rob offered this: “I thought we’d release (Ferocious) in 2018, but between working on almost 30 tracks and the tour dates that popped up unexpectedly, we’re gonna now shoot for 2019. In the meantime, I hope everyone gets a kick outta this little clip. And please keep spinning THE COMPULSIONS real loud and please keep telling all your friends about the band. Rock ‘n’ roll needs your love… every little bit counts! God bless!” More COMPULSIONS news is coming soon. Check the website for details