The Slits’ debut Cut has come to be regarded as one of the classic post-punk albums. But they sounded nothing like that whenever I saw them live: for the first couple of years they were widely mocked as a joke band. (more…)

I remember the first time I saw Siouxsie and the Banshees – supporting Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers at the Music Machine (now Koko) late in 1977. They sounded like no other band, with a cold industrial edge, accentuated by Siouxsie’s ice-maiden persona. (more…)

Here’s a recording that never gets mentioned in lists of the best cover versions… but it probably should. It takes the Righteous Brothers song in an entirely new direction. (more…)

I didn’t realise my copy of Echo & The Bunnymen’s debut single, The Pictures On My Wall, was one of a limited edition of 4,000. I bought it in May 1979 and a few months later I went to see them for the first time at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. (more…)

Wah! Heat – Better Scream

12th September 2022 · 1970s, 1979, Music, Punk

Late-seventies Liverpool again… and one of my favourite singles of all time. Pete Wylie might not have had the public acclaim of his erstwhile bandmates Ian McCulloch and Julian Cope but he was arguably the most talented of a supremely talented trio. He certainly thought so. (more…)

Liverpool had never loomed large in my musical education. I was never sold on Cilla or Gerry & The Pacemakers or even the big names like, er, The Swinging Blue Jeans. Merseybeat left me cold. Until I heard the Teardops. (more…)

Punk before punk was invented, The New York Dolls made a sensational debut on British television’s Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973 – much to the disgust of host Bob Harris. (more…)

I was lucky enough to get to see Queen Ida and her Bon Temps Zydeco Band about 40 years ago when she was just a stripling in her early 50s. She’s now 93 and still going strong, incredibly. In fact she’s about to go out on tour. (more…)

A long time ago I took my folk-fan brother-in-law, visiting from Ireland, to the Hackney Empire to see Bert Jansch. This was not the rather more celebrated affair with Pete Doherty, which came later; it was just Bert and his acoustic guitar. (more…)

Soul music comes in many guises but I think the one I love best is slow-burning deep soul from the Deep South. This is a prime example by Mable John, who died on 25 August at the ripe old age of 91. (more…)