Monday, 12 March 2018

"Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts" by THE ADVERTS (November 2011 Fire Records 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...







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"...New Church..."

Bored Teenager. Exasperated Buyer From Too Many Reissues...is more like it. Personally The British New Wave excited me silly - as did The Adverts and their simple in-your-face power. It helped that one of them was fanciable too (beneath all that eye make-up). And although I don't normally get a rash at reissues that cavalierly alter the original artwork - this little 2011 CD peach does enough to reignite that 40-years passed passion.

History first. As fans will already know - since its February 1978 vinyl debut on England's Bright Records - "Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts" has been subject to a dizzying amount of reissues on both LP and CD (I'm sure I've missed a few issues in the explanations below). But I feel this is one of the best editions of it yet (and it’s one of Punk’s true LP winners) - so lets have at it...

UK released 12 September 2011 (reissued January 2017) - "Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts" by THE ADVERTS on Fire Records FIRECD 143 (Barcode 809236114327) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue with 12 Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (69:38 minutes):

1. One Chord Wonders
2. Board Teenagers
3. New Church
4. On The Roof
5. Newboys
6. Gary Gilmore's Eyes
7. Bombsite Boy
8. No Time To Be 21
9. Safety In Numbers
10. New Day Dawning
11. Drowning Men
12. On Wheels
13. Great British Mistake
The original February 1978 British LP on Bright Records BRL 201 had only 11-tracks.
To sequence it from this CD use Tracks 1 to 5 and Track 7 for Side 1 and Tracks 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 for Side 2.
It was re-issued October 1981 as a 12-Track LP on Butt Records ALSO 002 with "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" tagged onto the end of Side 2.
That 12-track version was again re-issued in December 1988 on Butt Records BUL 2.
In February 1997, Essential of Castle Communications re-issued the album as a 13-track CD on Essential ESMCD451 featuring two extra songs recorded at the same sessions as the original eleven - "New Day Dawning" and a US Market re-recorded "Gary Gilmore's Eyes". These were incorporated into the track run - now totalling 13. It is this 1997 CD configuration that's used by Fire Records in their 2011 reissue.

SINGLES (Bonus Tracks):
14. One Chord Wonders
15. Quickstep
16. Gary Gilmore's Eyes
17. Bored Teenagers
18. Safety In Numbers
19. We Who Wait

LIVE (Bonus Tracks):
20. On Wheels
21. Newboys
22. New Church
23. Gary Gilmore's Eyes
24. Drowning Men
25. No Time To Be 21
Tracks 20 to 25 were recorded at London's Roundhouse in 1978 and are Previously Unreleased

THE ADVERTS were:
TV SMITH - Vocals
HOWARD PICKUP - Guitars
GAYE ADVERT - Bass
LAURIE DRIVER - Drums

The first thing that hits home is the gatefold card sleeve with TV Smith on front instead of the 'Land Of Milk and Honey' Billboard that was used on the original British LP - that's been relegated (just the Billboard sign) to an inner card holding the CD with the album's title on the other side. The gatefold inner shows Guitarist Howard Pickup and Drummer Laurie Driver while the rear sleeve shows the gorgeous Gaye Advert - Punk's lady pin-up and the band's Bassist. 'The Eyes Have It' is the logo on the CD. The 20-page sepia-feel booklet features new liner notes from DAVE THOMPSON - lyrics to the songs - Adverts buttons on the last page and an explanation by TV Smith of the 'Ultimate Edition' CD reissue (13-tracks, singles, live material etc). It turns out that the six Previously Unheard live cuts come from a gig at London's Roundhouse in early 1978, probably only two months after the release of the album. Smith admits that the tape had remained lost for years until a house move revealed its battered existence (skin heads made the gig unbearable). And so duly baked (to protect the oxide), restored and processed - we can now just about hear what the Adverts were like as they literally faced the uglier side of Punk - ludicrous violence and adversity. Electrifying stuff...

The Damned played three and The Adverts played one - come to their gigs and you could hear all four chords! (as the flyers used to say). "One Chord Wonder" is a storming opener - "...we don't give a damn!" chanted as guitars slash their way to the finish line. Released in August 1977 - "Bored Teenagers" was originally the B-side of "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" as issued on Anchor Records ANC 1043 (Tracks 16 and 17 in the Bonus Material) - here the album version is more polished (if I can describe it that way) whereas the Larry Wallis-produced single had an energy I loved. "New Church" always felt American New Wave to me whilst TV and his mates get loose "On The Roof". People humour the "Newboys" while Smith obsesses over a killer's last wish in "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" - surely one of Punk's great singles with an impossibly hooky chorus (did those Apache drums at the beginning).

"No Time To Be 21" is the 'smash your windows in' anger of a lost generation - outcasts - while both "On Wheels" and "Great British Mistake" bring the album to a cool finish. The session outtake "New Day Dawns" was to be a B-side and it's a 'prepare to lose' and 'don't screw it up' thrasher - well worthy of anything on the album. As the live tracks kick in with "On Wheels" - the crowd's chants are pushed to the background - the sound is good rather than great - bootleg really with "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" wabbling on the chorus - a shame because the playing is firey. Within seconds they launch into "Drowning Men" and the same with "No Time To Be 21" - Punking it to a determined end - not allowing the crowd to dominate. "That's it! Bye bye!" and it's over.

"...People against things and not each other..." The Adverts snarled on "Great British Mistake". It's not perfect by any means and it's a crying shame that the excitement of the live stuff isn't in better fidelity - but what we do get here is a great reminder of a cracking debut...

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