BRIAN JAMES: Damned If I Do: CD


Some of the seminal punk anthems of 1976 including the U.K.’s first ever punk single “New Rose” redone by the man who wrote them with today’s sound and a ton of energy. It may be a short album, but the enthusiasm and love that James gives to these songs really makes for a great listening experience.Starting with the majestic “New Rose” introduced by Gaye Advert, we get the ball rolling on a great re-interpretation of songs that are classics. “New Rose” is played with the venom and energy that will get you smiling right off the bat. “Born To Kill” adds some piano to great effect, “You Take My Money” has exemplary guitar playing and power, “Feel The Pain” has some interesting accordion playing with James just letting everything get a little loose on this track, and “Sick Of Being Sick” takes the song and amps up the ferocity and makes this a blistering track. The band and James really take control of these songs and infuse them with a modern punch that really adds to the songs and unlike others who have tried this in the past, it doesn’t take away from the great heritage of the originals. “Alone” keeps the intensity going on this album, while “I Fall”, “Fan Club” and “Neat Neat Neat” are one hot trio that will leave you speechless.

Most people will wonder, “Why bother to pick this up when I can get the originals?” The answer is because this is a great album that has the writer of some of the greatest punk songs having fun and it comes out loud and clear on these recordings. Don’t compare, just enjoy the music and turn it up loud.

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IGGY POP: California Hitch-Hike: CD

With THE STOOGES, Iggy Pop helped create punk rock  and after being ignored by most music fans before punk, by 1979 he was getting recognized for all the great music he was a part of and had a band that included punk veterans Brian James from THE DAMNED, Glen Matlock from THE SEX PISTOLS, and Ivan Kral from THE PATTI SMITH GROUP, along with Klaus Kruger from the definitely un-punk TANGERINE DREAM. This is compiled from two of the four dates performed at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco and has a completely unheard track, “Hitchhiking in California”.

These sixteen tracks came at a time where punk and new wave were getting recognized by both the public and the media around the world and Iggy was getting ready to release what he was hoping to be the album that would put him over the top, the relatively bland Soldier album and went out on the road to try out the songs on the unreleased album. The songs from that album actually have meat on them on this live recording, “Take Care Of Me”, “Dog Food”, “Play It Safe”, and “Knocking ‘Em Down (In The City)” all have the energy and enthusiasm that was missing on the studio versions. The now classic songs like “TV Eye” , “Real Cool Time”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun”, and “China Girl” are amazing and full of the piss and vinegar that you would expect from this band. The unheard track “Hitchhiking in California” is an interesting spoken word track with synthesizers and the band sounding like they are doing an improvisational background. Add on a pretty good version of THE KINKS “You Really Got Me” to the mix and you’ve got a live album that actually makes the other live releases sound lousy in comparison.

This also comes in an elongated slipcase, has a postcard of Iggy and his band, a booklet with sleeve notes, an interview with Brian James, and many colour and black and white shots from the shows. From the quality of the package to the great job on the sound, this is a release that you need to pick up and hear what Iggy was trying to get across to the public, but never got it right until a little later in his career on records.

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