Shaking up the rock established order – archive, 1977

by Lionel Casey

Nineteen seventy-seven is proving a high-quality yr for rock tracks, and the feared protection pin brigade is liable for having shaken up what turned into becoming a complacent industry. So earlier than looking on the long-awaited new albums using such mounted heavies as Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Yes, I’ll start with a plug for my personal favourites of the month, which appear to be singles, and new wave singles at that.

St. Vincent performs at O2 Apollo Manchester in October 2017 in Manchester, England.

Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner (Berserkly BZZI) is a piece of honestly outstanding music, as lively, optimistic, and lyrically imaginative as one of the Chuck Berry classics. Against an easy, repetitive riff Richman bounds enthusiastically thru a surreal anthem to the joys of boating around in a vehicle at night time, listening to the radio, and feeling in contact with the energies of urban society – “I’m in love with the cutting-edge global, got the radio on.”

That may sound trite (specifically to the ones who’ve by no means had a threat to pressure in America at night time, listening to very good radio), but be assured that the consequences are superb. Also magnificent – in a completely distinctive, English, non-optimistic manner – is the Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant (Virgin VS 184). Six months ago, I’d by no means have believed I’d be praising Mr John Rotten’s musical abilities, but there’s no denying that that is a single nearly as much as early Who standards. As the Pistols aren’t allowed to play everywhere at a gift, and certainly are in hiding after a sequence of attacks on them, it’s not possible to inform if they may repeat this on the level, or just how much the experienced producer Chris Thomas turned into chargeable for the sound. No matter, it’s sneering, slyly humorous, and has a fantastic chorus line.

As the music enterprise all at once realises that the new wave received’t go away, and each person attempts to jump at the punk bandwagon, there’s additionally an awful lot of terrible new music emerging (Celia and the Mutations are all proper, as an instance. However I’m no longer eager on Venus and the Razorblades). One thrilling sampler of it all is The Roxy London WC2 (Harvest SHSP 4069), a compilation of stay sets from the Covent Garden club wherein it all started. There’s too much dull target audience chat, however in any other case an honest mix of the good and the terrible inside the do-it-your self-tune increase.

From New York’s new wave golf equipment, there’s an outstanding band called Mink DeVille, who has reputedly been around for years and were genuinely steeped in rhythm and blues earlier than adding a harsh new veneer. Their first album, Mink DeVille (Capitol EST 11631) sounds just like the missing link among Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, and the Drifters. Willy DeVille hasn’t Springsteen’s intensity. However, his material is outstanding, every so often echoing the Velvet Underground, on occasion the Philly bands, and on occasion sounding Spanish. Like Tom Petty and Bob Seger, DeVille knows his rock records, but he’s no longer simply repeating.

Finally, time for the rock status quo, sounding a bit worn-out after those disrespectful upstarts. Crosby, Stills and Nash (without Young this time) have got together again after eight years, and the result is CSN (Atlantic K50369). The backing is easy and sparse – simply piano or acoustic guitar at instances – and the 3-part harmonies are best and high-quality, though it’s a pity they may be often wasted on songs that most straightforward trace again to the first album, or have such dumb lyrics as Nash’s Cathedral.

Far, far higher is the state-of-the-art from Neil Young, American Stars ‘N’ Bars (Reprise K54088). While his three former companions waft dolefully if lucratively away, Young has discovered a brand new power. The first side, recorded this yr, is a rustic set. This is gritty, difficult and melodic – the whole lot Waylon Jennings should be. On the second one, facet is tracking from up to a few years returned.

Then there’s Yes, the band all serious rock critics are presupposed to go wild approximately. In Going For The One (Atlantic K60379), they may be re-joined through Rick Wakeman, after a three-12 months absence, for an album that is overflowing with the method and right taste and spectacular musicianship, but which I nonetheless only partially loved.

 

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