Saturday, 10 March 2018

"No More Heroes" by THE STRANGLERS (March 2018 Parlophone 'The Classic Collection' Expanded Edition CD Reissue - Peter Mew Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...






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"...From Out Of Town..."

Although Amazon doesn't give this March 2018 CD Reissue a secondary title - 'The Classic Collection' Series by THE STRANGLERS encompasses the British Punk and New Wave band’s first seven albums on United Artists and Liberty Records - everything from their debut "IV - Rattus Norvegicus" in April 1977 through to "La Folie" in November 1981 (see full list below).

Each CD contains the same liner notes covering all seven albums in a 32-page booklet, but the booklets also provide original artwork, lyrics, additional period photos, picture sleeves and Extras. These are PETER MEW Remasters (probably done at Abbey Road) and as you can see from the list below - each comes with a generous amount of Bonus Tracks. Here are all the Dagenham Daves...from out of town...

UK and EUROPE released Friday, 2 March 2018 (9 March 2018 in the USA) - "No More Heroes" by THE STRANGLERS on Parlophone 0190295892548 (Barcode 0190295892548) is an Expanded Edition CD Reissue with Five Bonus Tracks. It is the second of seven CD titles in 'The Classic Collection' Reissue Series and plays out as follows (54:50 minutes):

1. I Feel Like A Wog [Side 1]
2. Bitching
3. Dead Ringer
4. Dagenham Dave
5. Bring On The Nubiles
6. Something Better Change
7. No More Heroes [Side 2]
8. Peasant In The Big Shi**y
9. Burning Up Time
10. English Towns
11. School Mam
Tracks 1 to 11 are their second studio album "No More Heroes" – released September 1977 in the UK on United Artists UAG 30200 and in the USA on A&M Records SP-4659. Produced by MARTIN RUSHENT – it peaked at No. 2 on the UK LP charts (didn’t chart in the USA).

ASSOCIATED RECORDINGS (Bonus Tracks):
12. Straighten Out – non-album B-side of "Something Better Change" – a July 1977 UK 7" single on United Artists UP 36277
13. In The Shadows - non-album B-side of "No More Heroes" – a September 1977 UK 7" single on United Artists UP 36300
14. 5 Minutes
15. Rok It To The Moon
Tracks 14 and 15 are the non-album A&B-sides of a January 1978 UK 7" single on United Artists UP 36350
16. No More Heroes (Edit) – a September 1977 UK 7" single 1-Side PROMO on United Artists FREE 8 sent out to UK DJs. The standard single is 3:25 minutes, this version is 2:58 minutes

THE STRANGLERS were:
HUGH CORNWELL – Guitar and Vocals
JEAN JACQUES BURNEL – Bass and Vocals
DAVE GREENFIELD – Keyboards
JET BLACK – Drums and Percussion

DAVID BUCKLEY – author of the band's official biography "No Mercy" published in 1997 by Hodder – has helmed the extremely detailed liner notes from Page 6 to 21 with the rest of the pages filled in by album artwork (rat looking up out of the wreath), photos of the band live, lyrics (including the non-album singles), a picture sleeve for "Something Better Change" and the usual original LP/CD reissue credits. It's very nicely done although it's obvious that diehard fans buying all seven CDs will be yawning at the repetition of liner-notes info and its odd that no-one involved with the reissue thought to feature the 1-sided UK promo of the "No More Heroes" as a picture/rarity (the album’s most famous song isn’t pictured as a single anywhere in the booklet).

But the Audio is fabulous (a Peter Mew Remaster), the price appears to be pitched at mid-price (less than a tenner and cheaper still if you look around) and it's frankly so good to see these underrated gems out there again in digital-land (they haven’t been available as Remasters since November 2001). Let’s get to the school Mam and controlling promiscuity after hours...

If the April 1977 "Rattus Norvegicus" debut album was a grubby and grimy skirt-grabber (look at all them peaches Jean) – the IV boys became even more sleazoid with LP number two - released only five months later in what was to be Punk’s most explosive year. The single "No More Heroes" was a monster – an anthem of the British New Wave and pummelled the album up the UK LP charts into No. 2 – two places better than the debut. There were few bands using the offensive word gollywog in a chorus – yet when The Stranglers do so - they come at you with a righteous anger felt by the disenfranchised as the Pimpo character in their pumping song makes them feel used and abused. The Audio is fantastic and when it then kicks into "Bitching" you can already hear that their songwriting was on fire – a killer tune that a clever ‘gospel truth’ chorus.

A huge Bass opens the so-cool "Dead Ringer" followed immediately by treated guitars that still sound exciting and fresh like Television and their masterpiece "Marquee Moon" (and don’t ask me what a conkeroonee stringer is?). From out of town, Dagenham Dave works the scaffolding during the day, spending his big bucks on drugs at night only to lose himself amidst the city creeps. Jean gives it some mock-German vocals on the uncomfortable "Bring On The Nubiles" – a tune where you feel the band is just a little too smarty pants for their own good. Better is the Side 1 finisher and obvious single - "Something Better Change" where the IV are impatient (ain’t got time to wait) and won’t mind sticking their fingers up your nose to get what they want.

Side 2 opens with a killer-double – the genre defining anthemic title track (Leon Trotsky got an ice-pick) and the studio version of "Peasant In The Big Shi**y". The delightfully-titled "Peasant..." had been one of the sides of the 2-track Free single that came with UK copies of the debut album in April 1977 – only that cut was a live version (its a Bonus Track on the "IV - Rattus Norvegicus" CD reissue). Here it feels right at home as a studio cut packing just as much punch and vitriol. The final trio "Burning Up Time" (the most Punk tune on the album), "English Towns" (towers of saddened ivory) and "School Mam" round up the school-holidays impishness of the band in fine style. Damn good album overall and the stand-alone "5 Minutes/Rok It To The Moon" UK single (two of the associated recordings) feel like Extras actually worthy of the word Bonus.

Great audio - comprehensive (f not a tad repetitive) packaging and a decent price - what's not to love? I'm having the first four for sure with the sap in me probably wanting the other three. And the first commandment reads, straighten up and line the walls...Amen to that...
  
UK and Europe released 2 March 2018
'The Classic Collection' CD Reissue Series for THE STRANGLERS 
Includes the following albums (all have 32-page booklets)

1. "IV - Rattus Norvegicus" (April 1977) - Parlophone 0190295892586 (Barcode 0190295892586) - 6 Bonus Tracks
2. "No More Heroes" (September 1977) - Parlophone 0190295892548 (Barcode 0190295892548) - 5 Bonus Tracks
3. "Black And White" (May 1978) - Parlophone 0190295892524 (Barcode 0190295892524) - 7 Bonus Tracks
4. "Live X-Cert" (February 1979) - Parlophone 0190295892500 (Barcode 0190295892500) - 8 Bonus Tracks
5. "The Raven" (September 1979) - Parlophone 0190295892487 (Barcode 0190295892487) - 7 Bonus Tracks
6. "The Gospel According To) The Meninblack" (February 1981) - Parlophone 0190295892463 (Barcode 0190295892463) - 7 Bonus Tracks
7. "La Folie" (November 1981) - Parlophone 019029892449 (Barcode 019029892449) - 7 Bonus Tracks

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