Long out of print, John Lydon’s excellent 1994 autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs sees a welcome reissue. It’s a vivid picture of John’s childhood and formative years until the break-up of the Sex Pistols. Unrelenting honest and darkly funny, it vividly captures his time growing up in an Irish family in the north London in the 1960s and 1970s. Amongst Lydon’s memories is his dogmatic refusal to accept the status quo and railing against issues and contemporaries is (school, monarchy, Malcolm McClaren); a theme that would shape his life.
He gives over sections of his story to his friends, plus a piece from his father giving a touching perspective. His time in the Sex Pistols is covered in great detail, almost repetitively so. However what it does show is the tension between band members and the different forces that created such a incendiary band – Glen Matlock’s commercial edge, Steve Jones and Paul Cook’s power tied to John’s sneer and cutting lyrics.
It’s difficult to articulate this better than the man itself so I will give John the last word: “You cannot separate the Sex Pistols from the real world, which is what past publications have tended to do. In order to understand why people do what they do, you must first understand why they’ve done it, who they are and where they come from.” Indeed.
Bob Jackson joined Badfinger in 1974, heavily featuring on their Head First album and playing in various different line-ups over the following 10 years. It was a troubled and tragic period. The legacy of lead songwriters Pete Ham and Tom Evans is a string of classic hits, albums and material that should have been much bigger.
After playing in various bands over the past 30 years, including The Dodgers and The Fortunes, Bob is revisiting Badfinger’s body of work with a UK tour and new material.
Jason Barnard speaks to Bob as he revisits this legacy:
A bundle of aural treats from Fruits de Mer have been imbibed recently here at Strange Brew HQ for release in August. All of which come highly recommended.
The first EP out shortly is the very welcome return of California’s Sidewalk Society. What a great idea for the band to do four covers, two early Bowie and nice pair from The Action’s lost masterpiece Rolled Gold. Taking such great source material always promised to deliver! Sidewalk Society kick off with in incendiary version of David’s mod anthem ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’, quickly following up with The Action’s ‘Look At The View’. It’s great to hear this track afresh with full production, seamlessly meshing mod and psychedelia.
Sidewalk Society then give a outstanding band performance on David’s early gem, ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’. To finish is another barnstormer, The Action’s masterpiece ‘Strange Roads’. The group stick fairly closely to the template on this one and rightly so. How can you improve perfection?
In summary, Sidewalk Society’s Bowie-Action release is the best Fruits de Mer covers EP since Vibravoid ‘s legendary ‘What Colour Is Pink?’ release.
And speak of the devil! On another slab of vinyl we hear Vibravoid’s monster 15 version of Iron Butterfly’s ‘In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida’. It’s split across two sides of a new coloured 7 inch and starts by mirroring the psych cornerstone. However Vibravoid then fly off into hypnotic percussion and prog before journeying back to the source. See them and a host of other talents at the 14th Dream of Dr.Sardonicus Festival in Wales, 5-7 August.
In true Fruits de Mer fashion, we also have the imminent release of the marvellously bonkers ‘The Fruits de Mer Records Guide to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. Don’t Panic! Astralasia, Icarus Peel and Blue Giant Zeta Puppies all bring their own unique space-rock interpretation to The Eagles’ definitive theme.
At the 14th Dream of Dr.Sardonicus festival, revellers will be presented with a multitude of free goodies although it’s worth highlighting the three lathe-cut singles that will be exclusively sold there.
All sets of original material, my fave is Aethereal’s ‘Walking Away’, a new take on The Electric Prunes style adding their own vision into the mix. The Sons Of MOD’s ‘LoveByrds (A Ballad for Malachi)’ takes a more anglophile approach to 60s psych and no less successful.
Next to the pairing of The Insektlife Cycle and Cold Bath. Hailing from The Phillipines, The Insektlife Cycle’s ‘Schizodelia’ brings a David Watts guitar refrain to English 70s prog. The other instrumental is Cold Bath’s Dune. This Swiss band execute light and dark shades that Echoes the spirit of Meddle.
The final lathe cut single is another fine pairing. The Gold Needles give us gentle the acoustic folk with ‘First Sunrise’, whilst The Cats Never Slip’s heavy anthem ‘Vishnou’ teases the ears.
Take a journey through the British heavy psych and hard rock underground scene 1968-1972 with David Wells, compiler of a new 3 CD box set I’m A Freak Baby. Speaking to Strange Brew host Jason Barnard, David plays highlights from this new collection, balancing the familiar with the obscure.
The Pink Fairies – Do It (Single A-side, Polydor, 1971)
Open Mind – Cast a Spell (Single B-side to Magic Potion, Phillips, 1969)
Crushed Butler – My Son’s Alive (Not originally issued, rec 1970)
Factory – Time Machine (Single A-side, Oak, 1971)
The Mickey Finn – Garden Of My Mind (Single A-side, Direction, 1967)
Deep Purple – Fireball (Single A-side, Harvest, 1971)
Iron Claw – Skullcrusher (Not originally issued, rec 1970)
The Taste – Born on the Wrong Side of Time (Single A-side, Polydor, 1969)
Wicked Lady – I’m a Freak (Not originally issued, rec 1972)
Groundhogs – Cherry Red (Split, Liberty, 1971)
Charge – Rock My Soul (Charge, SRT, 1973)
Fleetwood Mac – Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) (Single A-side. Reprise, 1970)
Gilbert O’Sullivan’s songwriting soundtracked the 1970s and Nothing Rhymed and Alone Again (Naturally), in particular, are recognised as classics. All his material is currently undergoing a critical reappraisal and his latest retrospective The Essential Collection recently hit the UK top 20.
Transcribed from his extensive podcast interview with Jason Barnard, Gilbert talks about the hits as well as the rarer cuts that deserve wider attention: