Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

SEPTEMBER 29, 1997: 


The United Kingdom of Punk
Music Club

TRUE TO ITS ethic of more bang for the buck, the Music Club outdoes this benediction with the 16-track compilation, The United Kingdom of Punk. All but a few of the tracks were recorded live, many at the legendary Roxy. They're served runny and raw, as properly befits old-school British punk rock. The selections run the gamut of Brit punk, opening appropriately enough with Dave Goodman's rough-hewn demo of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK" and closing with Only Ones' "Oh No." Tucson Weekly's contributor Ron Bally, himself long a veteran of the New York punk scene, is the mastermind behind the compilation of tracks, and he also gives lip service to his selections in the disc's detailed liner notes. Stand out tracks include the X-Ray Spex "Oh Bondage, Up Yours," the Buzzcocks' classic "What Do I Get," recorded live at the Roxy, and Spizz Energi's cheeky spoof "Where's Captain Kirk?" Eddie and the Hot Rods' "Do Anything You Wanna Do" is the cleanest, most solid track--easily as accessible as anything that passes for radio play today--and as a live track, it sounds nearly as polished as ATV's studio offering, "Action Time Vision."

--Lisa Weeks


Dig Out!
360 Twist

ANYONE REMEMBER THE over-saturated '80s retro-garage band market that included a few shiny nuggets like the Fuzztones, Miracle Workers, the Chesterfield Kings and Gravedigger Five? Well, the Element 79 sure does. These Denver garage revivalists, like their cave-stomping brethren, take the bulk of their influence from scuzzy '60s basement-hatched bastards like the Sonics, Wailers, Standells and Count Five. The Element 79 are a fuzz-bustin', treble-propelled trio that carves its way through eight tasty tenderloins of trashy-blues punk damage on Dig Out! Wrap-around sunglasses, black turtlenecks and vintage Rickenbacker guitars top off this respectful and complimentary packaging of six-oh injected swagger. Beginning with the ominous surf garage instrumental, "The Creeper," which kicks off this brief eight-song slab of wax, The Element 79 produces one savage Neanderthal whomp for such a sparsely attended three-piece stag party. "Mystreat Me" and "Five Years Behind"--a backhanded tribute to the primal thump of the Haunted's "Five Years Ahead of My Time"--both clobber you over the noggin with hooks-filled, club-heavy blows. Og say: You buy now. Ugh.

--Ron Bally


STEEL RAILS: Classic Railroad Songs, Vol. 1
MYSTERY TRAIN: Classic Railroad Songs, Vol. 2
Rounder Records

A RIBBON OF steel courses through American music, crossing over genres; folk, blues, bluegrass, jazz, country and rock alike have ridden it, producing a huge body of music unlike that of any other nation. KXCI disk jockey Michael Hyatt has been collecting railroad music for years, and in this two-CD set he offers some of his favorites, from well-known tunes like A.P. Carter's "Wabash Cannonball," here performed by Roy Acuff, to a roster of wonderful but perhaps less famous songs: Guy Clark's "Texas, 1947," the Delmore Brothers' "Pan American Boogie," Mary McCaslin's "Last Cannonball." Every cut is a standout, but a few songs are definitive--Ervin Rouse's "Orange Blossom Special," Herman Parker's "Mystery Train" (in an obscure version by rockabilly master Sleepy LaBeef), Tom Russell's "Lord of the Rails," and Jimmy Rodger's "Waiting for a Train," the last, Hyatt opines, the best railroad song ever written. This collection--and more volumes are in the works--will delight rail buffs and roots-music fans alike.

--Gregory McNamee

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