Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases. Here, we dig into Charged G.B.H., Blitz, a summer compilation from 100 Hits and a Planet Beat collection from the Shel Talmy Vaults...
(Captain Oi! Ahoybx 357)/
Displaying oodles of energy and enthusiasm and rather less finesse, Charged G.B.H. and Blitz were two of the more popular of the many hardcore punk and oi! bands who emerged through the vibrant early 1980s independent label scene. Such groups often get a fairly raw deal from record companies these days, so it is nice to see these two clamshell-clad collections bringing together the most important recordings of Charged G.B.H. and just about everything by Blitz. Something of an acquired taste, Charged G.B.H. are represented by 64 tracks across four CDs, this being their introductory 1981 mini album, Leather Bristles Studs And Acne, full studio albums City Baby Attacked By Rats (1982) and City Baby’s Revenge (1983) and live set No Survivors, which emerged in 1989 but consists of 1983 recordings. There’s also a plethora of bonus tracks. An uncompromising and nihilistic collection, it is accompanied by a 20-page booklet with illustrations and memorabilia. Charged G.B.H. are still with us, and still recording, with three of their original members still active – but Blitz burned more brightly and more briefly, not recording after 1990, although they didn’t finally disband until 2007. More widely appreciated and successful, they are represented by 90 songs across five CDs, which, it is claimed, includes everything they released. It therefore houses their 1982 debut album Voice Of A Generation, 1983 follow-up Second Empire Justice and 1989 swansong The Killing Dream alongside the self-explanatory Live 1982 and a disc crammed with 29 singles, demos, alternate mixes and other rarities – and, of course, a 20 page booklet. One of punk’s most legendary bands, Blitz are still considered relevant today, and this is a fitting tribute.
100 Hits: Summer
(DMG/Sony Music DMGN 100219)
With Britain sweltering, and Now That’s What I Call A Summer Party topping the compilation chart, it is clearly the time to capitalise – and this new Demon box set, which houses 100 hits spread across 5 CDs, is suitably seasonal and scorchio. Available for around £5, it is a budget bargain, with original hit recordings of some distinction, and individual CDs themed for the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s 1990s and 2000s. The sixties CD, for example, evokes the summers of yore via Percy Faith’s Theme From A Summer Place, Fleetwood Mac’s equally soothing Albatross, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer In The City and other feelgood favourites like Light My Fire by Jose Feliciano and Scott McKenzie’s evocative San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flwoers In Your Hair). At the opposite end of the time frame, Leona Lewis is making Footprints In The Sand, Steps are celebrating The Summer Of Love, and DJ Sammy salutes The Boys Of Summer while Sean Kingston toasts Beautiful Girls and Pink wants to Get The Party Started. Also new at the same price point are 100 Hits: The Best Rock’n’Roll Album (DMGN 100218) and 100 Hits: The Best Rock Album (DMGN 100217).
Planet Beat: From The Shel Talmy Vaults
(Big Beat CDWIKD 341)
A companion release to Planet Mod (CDWIKD 336), which was released a couple of months ago, Planet Beat explores British mid 1960s beat group recordings made by legendary US producer Shel Talmy. Most famously the producer of The Kinks and The Who, Talmy also worked extensively with a large number of other acts, and has raided his personal archives for this 24-song selection, of which more than half were previously unreleased and a significant number of which (seven) feature future Led Zeppelin legend Jimmy Page as a session guitarist. Among previously released tracks – all of which came out between 1964 and 1966 – one of the best is Liverpool band The Dennisons’ You Sure Did It This Time, a slick track penned by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, who also wrote hits like Viva Las Vegas (Elvis) and Can’t Get Used To Losing You (Andy Williams). Fellow stand-outs come in the shape of London band The League Of Gentlemen’s How Do They Know, a strong, melodic band composition; and The Trekkas, whose almost waltz-time Please Go bears a strong vocal underpinned by organ. Making their debut are Romford band The Imp-Acts’ recording of It’s Superman, a catchy little song that originated from the short-lived Broadway musical It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman; Coventry act Johnny B Great & The Orchids’ raucous version of Ray Charles’ What’d I Say; and Birkenhead band The Pathfinders’ Love Love Love. As usual, extensive liner notes and superior sound quality make this another quality product from Big Beat.