A very wise man (and record producer) once told me that he thought “some of the best songs ever written start with a chorus.” I argued back that in rock that’s not usually the done thing, you build to the hook, but he then went on to list a whole host of Atlantic Soul, Tamla Motown and Stax tunes just to prove his theory, and it’s something that’s obviously stuck with me to this day.

Whether producer James Bragg had the same conversation during the recording of the long awaited eighth studio album from London Oi!/streetpunk legends Cock Sparrer (Bragg returning to duty following his sterling work on the band’s ‘Forever’ opus), I’ll probably never know, but it’s exactly how ‘Hand On Heart’ begins. BOSH! Straight into the chorus of ‘With My Hand On My Heart’ and this 2 and half minute belter is an instant classic.

What quickly becomes obvious though is whatever chats were had, this time around the Sparrer boys are doing things a little bit different. Yes ‘Hand On Heart’ is quintessentially the band we all know and love, but this time around they are (just like Desperate Measures have done with their recent album) pushing the punk rock envelope just a little bit more. Take the distorted guitar and thumping drum introduction that segues into the fantastic ‘Mind Your Own Business’ for example, is the hook here the gang vocal chorus or the guitar riff? I’ll let you decide, but for me it’s one of the many highlights that ‘Hand On Heart’ has to offer, and yeah this could finally be the sound the band has always looked for from a studio record.

‘I Belong To You’ is up next, and this is a song that if you could cut it open would positively bleed Cock Sparrer, as would ‘No Way Out’ which follows at the album’s mid-point, the latter reminding me of the band circa the ‘Here We Stand’ era (a record which is now 17 years old, jeez). This is feelgood music to shine your cherry reds to getting ready for a Friday night on the town… classic Cock Sparrer.

Talking of which, the lyrically brilliant ‘Rags to Riches’ is all about just that; dressing to impress and having a sense of self pride whatever the world can throw at you. Something that the chugging ‘Take It On The Chin’ (a track that had previously featured the ‘Garry Bushell presents: Oi! 40 Years Untamed’ LP) echoes and it’s at this point I have to say that its tremendous to hear Colin McFaull in such fine voice, delivering some of his most impassioned work to date.

That punk rock envelope I mentioned earlier gets well and truly ripped to shreds by the time we reach the opening bars of ‘One Way Ticket’. Is this the band writing for a yet to be filmed Bond movie theme? Whatever it is, it’s epic, and the early-70s Slade-mid section is absolute bloody genius, as is the “Where are they?” vocal hook that drives home the pounding ‘Nowhere To Be Found’, a song that could easily have come from (Sparrer guitarist Daryl Smith’s other band) Argy Bargy’s superb ‘Hopes Dreams Lies & Schemes’ album.

Oh, and then there’s my real highlight of ‘Hand On Heart’, the beautiful, (yeah you read that right) ‘My Forgotten Dream’. The string section arranged by Simon Dobson (who’s worked with everyone from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Bring Me The Horizon) is like a ray of spring sunshine cutting through the clouds on this most wonderful of Cock Sparrer moments, and even the hardest of heart listening to this is going to melt just a little bit, trust me on this one.

Which leaves us just enough time for the album’s final track ‘Here We Stand’, a boisterous call to arms kind of affair, cut from the same cloth as ‘One By One’ from ‘Forever’, and if this really does go on to prove to be the band’s final hurrah, what a way to end it all eh?

There’s no one out there that writes Oi!/streetpunk anthems quite like Cock Sparrer, and that’s a fact. That they have taken their magic songwriting formula and augmented it with new ideas and techniques fifty-two years after the band first got together shows their continued commitment to be the band other band’s look up to when it comes to punk rock music.

‘Hand On Heart’ is released on 5th April 2024 via Captain Oi!/Cherry Red Records on a multitude of formats to suit everyone’s needs and you can catch the band live at two exclusive album release shows at  O2 Shepherds Bush Empire – Saturday 6th April 2024 and O2 Academy Glasgow – Saturday 13th April 2024.

Hand on heart, punk rock doesn’t get much better than this, so get your copy on pre-order NOW! Here



Author: Johnny Hayward

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




Always an absolute pleasure to get an earful off The Boys and this much-anticipated box set has come at just the right time in what has been or rather what is a bonkers year.
In a nutshell (or should that be clamshell), what we have here is Safari Records five-disc set of Boys material beginning with the fantastic ‘To Hell With The Boys’ followed by ‘Boys Only’ then the ones that will have fanboys salivating. One CD of Rarities (Granted many of which have already seen the light of day, here and there, like when Captain Oi! released the ‘To Hell’ they included five bonus cuts which are all present in one form or another.
These discs have been lovingly remastered by Matt and James Bragg and are a cornucopia of loud guitars and cheeky chaps doing what they do best… play exceptional Rock and Roll.  The five discs are all accompanied by a really smart  booklet with excellent notes from Matt Dangerfield which gives you a feel for where the band was at the time and corresponding pictures that help paint what the band were up to at the time.
From Cas’ swirling keyboards that sit on top of the mix of ‘Rue Morgue’ these songs could have been mastered underwater and they’d still sound sharp as a tack.  The fact that a lot of these songs still sit prominently in the live set would show how highly the band still regards the ‘To Hell’ album. Tunes such as ‘Terminal Love’, ‘You Can’t Hurt A Memory’ & ‘See You Later’ shows how versatile and creative the band was.
Man, they don’t make Rock and Roll bands like this anymore The Boys had everything, more than the one songwriter, a pair of great guitar players who had their own styles and a whole extra dynamic with more than one vocalist helps with some fantastic backing vocals.  They were never afraid to put a rocker like ‘See You Later’ next to such a mellow laid back and sweet song as ‘You Can’t Hurt A Memory’ with one of Matt’s finest vocal deliveries hitting the spot perfectly, a fantastic arrangement and getting John Mayall to hoot along on this was inspired and all for the price of a bottle of Vodka! Brilliant.  I love ‘Kamikaze’ for those honkin’ Sax breaks and I didn’t realise it was Johns first foray into lead vocals.
To be fair having this all pulled together in one place long after most of this is hard to get hold of unless you have deep pockets is an achievement in itself and the booklet with all the fantastic memorabilia is a great addition and well worth checking out even for the casual its the perfect gateway into the band and their music.
The BBC live album is a corker but then if you’ve ever seen the band live you’ll know they don’t do bad shows and this foray into the BBC and the heart of the establishment, mixes up their output thus far with old and new songs and spot-on delivery.
As the blurb says 71 tracks in all, 22 rare and previously unreleased songs, the X Rated Yobs Crimbo album just in time to play around the table as your nan tucks into her Christmas dinner round your house. Of course, I highly recommend you buy this box set, its a keeper and for those who are looking to tie up loose ends, this is perfect maybe 2020 hasn’t been a total bust after all its not every year you get a Boys box set.  Buy it!
“Anyone buying the Box Set directly from The Boys this month (September 2020) will be given a PDF document of Matt Dangerfield’s full Safari notes along with an unreleased 1979 demo of “New Guitar In Town”. For more information email The Boys at info@theboys.co.uk
Buy it from Cherry Red Here
Author: Dom Daley

Rumour has it that that well-worn adage of “if you know, you know” was actually written especially for Wythenshawe’s finest Slaughter And The Dogs.

Having played the legendary 1976 Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall show with the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks they were actually one of the first UK punk bands to sign to a major label (Decca), and in 1978 (along with their then labelmates Cock Sparrer) they released their debut album ‘Do It Dog Style’. To this day though it’s hardly ever Slaughter & The Dogs (or for that matter Sparrer) who get name-checked in any punk nostalgia pieces run by the mainstream media, and always the likes of The Clash, The Damned, and of course the compulsory Sex Pistols.  I wonder why? As ‘Do It Dog Style’ really is something of a stone-cold “classic” album from that first wave of UK punk.

Formed in 1976 around the creative axis of school mates (singer) Wayne Barrett and (guitarist) Mick Rossi, Slaughter And The Dogs actually took their name from two of Barrett’s favourite albums Mick Ronson’s ‘Slaughter on 10th Avenue’ and ‘David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’ and after adding bassist Howard ‘Zip’ Bates and drummer Brian ‘Mad Muffet’ Grantham to their line up it wasn’t long before they were playing shows like the aforementioned Free Trade Hall gamechanger along with the likes of The Hope & Anchor and the Roxy in London.

Releasing their blistering debut single ‘Cranked Up Really High’ through indie label Rabid Records in May 1977 it was this important stepping stone that saw Dogs snapped up by Decca and almost immediately they had ‘Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone’ released as a single and were sent out on tour with fellow Manchurians The Drones offering up the prospect of Slaughter On The Streets for those lucky enough to snap up a ticket.

Two singles later ‘Dame To Blame’ and ‘Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run)’ (the latter featuring their hero Mick Ronson) and an early 1978 tour of the UK with the also criminally underrated Eater in support it was finally in June of that year that ‘Do It Dog Style’ hit the shelves….a week after (well, if legend is to be believed) the band split up.

And herein is the reason why I think Slaughter And The Dogs are not looked upon with the same sense of reverence as many of their punk rock peers. With the guys never achieving any of the sales figures or tabloid infamy of their former gig mates the UK music press always seemed to stop well short of affording them the rightful respect they deserved. Hence this 3CD set (from the always reliable Captain Oi!/Cherry Red joint venture) which finally fully celebrates the ‘Do It Dog Style’ album in all its expanded glory should be an immediate addition to any music fan’s collection. I’ve had it on vinyl for years – but here with an additional 29 tracks added in the shape of early singles, demos and live performances I don’t think it’s ever been afforded such an in-depth or (in fact) loving tribute.

Disc one is ‘Do It Dog Style’ in full, kicking off with the frantic bass driven ‘Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone’ which for me is still right up there with ‘Neat Neat Neat’ as a true anthem of 1977 and along with tracks like ‘Boston Babies’, ‘’I’m Mad’ and ‘We Don’t Care’ the glam meets punk riffing and lyrics of Rossi and Barrett truly shine…and again if I’m totally honest it has more than a little in common with the early days of their then label mates Cock Sparrer.  For the uninitiated it’s perhaps the band’s choice of covers that best exemplify their sound and influences with Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ and New York Dolls’ ‘Who Are The Mystery Girls’ (once again complete with Ronno on guitar) both given a “Dog Style” makeover, the latter being perhaps one of the best Dolls cover versions of all time. I kid you not.

Disc two brings together 19 non-album tracks which includes the ‘Cranked Up Really High’ debut single, plus their two song contribution (‘Run Away’ and a truly savage Boston Babies’) to the seminal ‘Live At The Roxy WC2’ LP. Plus, there’s a whole host of non-LP B-sides, the scarce ‘It’s Alright’ EP and studio demos to keep even the diehards happy.

If this wasn’t enough there’s also the raw sounding third disc ‘Live Slaughter Rabid Dogs’ to help round things off. This ten song, 38 minute blast of live energy was recorded in Manchester in 1977 and originally released the following year by Rabid Records and sound wise it is streets ahead of most live recordings from that period – I swear you can almost hear the whistle of the pint glasses flying at the band prior to ‘Victims Of The Vampire’.  It’s brutal stuff that’s for sure and also a fitting way to bring this most handsome of deluxe CD sets to a close, as during a reprise of ‘We Don’t Care’ the gig appears to end in total chaos, not unlike the band themselves would seemed to make a habit of it in the decades that followed.

‘Do It Dog Style’ – if you know, you know.

Buy it Here

Author: Johnny Hayward




Captain Oi will release a 5 CD Clamshell “The Boys on Safari” Box Set on 25 September 2020. It will comprise:

 71 track 5 CD clamshell box set covering legendary Punk band The Boys’ period with Safari Records between 1979-81.

• Disc 1 is the band’s third studio album “To Hell With The Boys” which reached No.4 in the Independent Chart in early 1980 and features the Indie Chart hit singles ‘Kamikaze’ (No.9) and ‘Terminal Love’ (No.32).

• The second disc is 1981’s “Boys Only” album which features the singles ‘You’d Better Move On’ and ‘Weekend’.

• Disc 3 is a 22 track “Rarities” round-up containing eight previously unreleased studio demos alongside non LP B-sides and rare mixes.

• The fourth disc is the X rated “Christmas Album” issued under the name The Yobs, which now has three added bonus tracks. Long out of print on vinyl or CD and currently an expensive collector’s item.

• The final disc is an “In Concert” recording for the BBC in 1980.

• The 28 page booklet contains detailed track notes by original vocalist Matt Dangerfield and lots of clippings, memorabilia and pictures of all the relevant record sleeves.

• Matt has also supervised the mastering of all the tracks.

· The band are still going to this day, 44 years on! And they will be playing again… just as soon as pandemic conditions allow!

Both “To Hell With The Boys” and “Boys Only” have been remastered directly from the original Safari master tapes so sound far superior to any previous CD releases of the albums.
Full Track Listings:
1. SABRE DANCE (Trad Arr The Boys)
2. RUE MORGUE (Dangerfield)
4. SEE YA LATER (Steel/Dangerfield)
5. YOU CAN’T HURT A MEMORY (Steel/Dangerfield)
6. KAMIKAZE (Plain)
7. LONELY COWBOY (Dangerfield)
8. WAITING FOR THE LADY (Penfold/Reid)
9. BAD DAY (Steel/Dangerfield)
10. INDEPENDENT GIRL (Steel/Dangerfield)
1. WEEKEND (Dangerfield)
2. WRONG ARM OF THE LAW (Dangerfield)
4. MONOTONY (Plain)
5. NOTHING VENTURED (Dangerfield)
6. WONDERFUL WORLD (Campbell/Adler/Albert)
7. SCRUBBER (Plain)
9. GABRIELLE (Dangerfield)
10. MISS YOU (Plain)
12. LET IT RAIN (Steel/Dangerfield)
1. SCHOOLGIRLS (Steel/Dangerfield/Plain)
2. JAP JUNK [1979 Demo] (Plain)
3. SEE YOU LATER [1978 Demo] (Steel/Dangerfield)
4. CRY TOMORROW [1979 Demo] (Plain)
5. LOVE IN PAIN [1979 Demo] (Steel/Dangerfield)
6. SCHOOLDAYS [1979 Demo] (Steel/Dangerfield)
7. YOU CAN GIVE IT [1979 Demo] (Walker)
8. TERMINAL LOVE [Original Mix] (Plain)
9. RUE MORGUE [Original Mix] (Dangerfield)
10. KAMIKAZE [Single version] (Plain)
11. TERMINAL LOVE [Single version] (Plain)
12. I LOVE ME [Single version] (Steel/Dangerfield)
13. YOU BETTER MOVE ON (Alexander)
14. WALK MY DOG (Dangerfield)
15. JIMMY BROWN (Steel)
16. LITTLE RUNAROUND [1980 Demo] (Dangerfield)
17. WEEKEND [1980 Demo] (Dangerfield)
18. LET IT RAIN [1980 Demo] (Steel/Dangerfield)
19. NOTHING VENTURED [1980 Demo] (Dangerfield)
20. WRONG ARM OF THE LAW [1980 Demo] (Dangerfield)
21. COOL (Dangerfield)
22. LUCY (Steel/Dangerfield)
1. RUB A DUM DUM (Davis)
3. ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (Dangerfield)
4. DOGGY (Merrill)
5. JINGLE BELLS (Trad Arr The Yobs)
6. AULD LANG SYNE (Trad Arr The Yobs)
7. SILENT NIGHT (Trad Arr The Yobs)
8. SILVER BELLS (Livingston/Evans)
9. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S (Trad Arr The Yobs)
10. GLORIA (Trad Arr The Yobs)
15. RUB A DUM DUM [Single version] (Davis)
16. ANOTHER CHRISTMAS [Single version] (Dangerfield)
17. YOBS ON 45 (Trad Arr The Yobs)
1. FIRST TIME (Plain)
2. RUE MORGUE (Dangerfield)
3. YOU BETTER MOVE ON (Alexander)
4. KAMIKAZE (Plain)
5. COP CARS (Steel/Dangerfield)
6. NEW GUITAR IN TOWN (Plain/Stride)
7. BRICKFIELD NIGHTS (Steel/Dangerfield)
8. WORM SONG (Trad Arr The Boys)
10. LIVIN’ IN THE CITY (Steel/Dangerfield)

By 1980 the UK’s finest purveyors of ‘erbert rock Sham 69 were all but a spent force. Singer Jimmy Pursey having long since become disillusioned with Sham chose the start of a new decade and the release of the band’s fourth album (‘The Game’) as a platform from which to announce his intentions to pursue a solo career (by way of a previously failed attempt to team up with Steve Jones and Paul Cook as Sham Pistols in 1979). Thus, leaving the remaining Sham members Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass) and (drummer) Rick (Goldstein) Rock singer-less and wondering what the hell to do next.

Quickly hooking up with (ex-The Dead Boys) frontman Stiv Bators (I’ll not share the story here of how this came about as the excellent Dave Parsons penned sleeve notes included in this reissue pick up on the finer detail) The Wanderers were soon born and signing to (Sham’s old label) Polydor they were dispatched to write and record what would become their one and only album ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’.

Having long since been out of print on any format (copies of the original LP and the reissue CD are currently going for around £40 online) and as such deemed very much a “collector’s item” amongst fans ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is thankfully now being given a long overdue reissue on vinyl (pressed up on a variety of random colours) by US label Gutterwail Records. I myself finally picked up a CD copy (released via Captain Oi! here in the UK) over a decade ago at Rebellion Festival for the princely sum of £5 and it’s still very much one of those go to albums in my collection, when someone asks that well-worn conundrum of “what band do you think should have been huge but never actually made it?”

Expanded here to fourteen tracks and finally including the (rumoured to be) lost track ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ which bizarrely had its lyrics printed on the original Polydor LP sleeve but was never included in the final track listing, this reissue offers up the chance for a whole new generation of fans to experience perhaps the definitive version of this much overlooked “cult classic”.

Sounding not unlike a poppier version of the band Bators and Tregunna would go on to form just a few years later it’s the Mick Glossop production on ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ that immediately has me wondering if had been building himself up for the bass and drums onslaught he would bestow on Waysted’s classic ‘Vices’ album just a few years later,  as here it’s the keyboards and trebly edge on cuts like ‘It’s All The Same’ and the parp-tastic ‘A Little Bit Frightening’ that tend to catch the ear.

In fairness (keyboards aside) the same production does give the album a kind of “timeless” charm and cuts like the Sham Boys crescendo of opener ‘No Dreams’, the glorious two minute pogo-pop overload of ‘Beyond The Law’ plus the superb proto Lords punks of ‘Ready To Snap’ all have me wondering what it would have been like to have seen The Wanderers live with the energy levels cranked to the max. Likewise the likes of ‘Sold Your Soul For Fame’, ‘It’s All The Same’ and  the aforementioned (faithfully restored from cassette) ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ add a depth and maturity to the songwriting that belies the band’s fledgling tenure.

I’m not entirely sure where the source of this reissue was taken from but my promo MP3s feature a couple of light pops and crackles – something that the Captain Oi! CD never had – and this makes me think it must have been taken from the original vinyl or perhaps the promo itself is a rip from a re-pressed LP? Either way, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is an excellent album, and is most certainly one every self-respecting fan of Sham 69 and The Lords Of The New Church should have in their collection.

Buy the record: Here (USA)

Buy the record: Here (Europe)

Author: Johnny Hayward