Monday, April 7, 2014
Twist & Shout '77/Legs & Co./Northern Dreamin'/Before You Were New Wave (repost from August 2011 with video links up again)
I can thank Ricky for originally introducing me to the Holyground staple of records by dropping A-Austr on me several years ago. Next, I stumbled upon a Canadian fanzine from 1977 in the barn, Twist & Shout, which had some excellent crossover coverage of material that 1977 "punks" getting whole heartedly behind the new wave probably pretended they never listened to just twelve months before. What is pretty great about Twist & Shout is that it lacks that insularity that comes from a lot of year zero punk zines. Dude, you did like all the Chinn-Chapman singles and you may have even had a Yes record at one point. Hell yes, Twist & Shout liked Status Quo, Sparks, Be Bop Deluxe and pub rock as much as any current import punk 45 from south of the border or the UK. At least they didn't lie about it. In 2011, I guess we can proudly call people like the Twist & Shout folks record nerds. What A-Austr and the cover story of Twist & Shout had me curious about was the involvement of Bill Nelson in the whole Holyground enterprise and his shaggy, bearded and sneaker wearing self before the takeoff of Be Bop Deluxe. He may look like Bill Fay's relative, but "Northern Dream" aint "Time of the Last Persecution." That said, it is worth checking out to see how far Nelson came in such a short time before "Axe Victim." Not so sure about that dodgy cover cartoon cover art - I would have opted for the photo on the side of the bed writ large.
As has been pointed out, there is something Thin Lizzy-ish about this great 1975 single. But it is clearly in that the band is incredibly tight. Was there another Kiwi musician with as high a profile in the UK at that time as Charlie Tumahai. Gotta say that Nelson cleaned up pretty nicely by ditching both the early 70's beard and 60's mustache. Can you touch the guy sartorially? "Landed"/"Unlimited Edition" Can comes pretty close - Exhibit A from the barn below. Compared to the 1975 other pop hits, this one is pretty classy.
I have to say, that this oddball Top of the Pop clip clip will give you newfound appreciation for Be Bop Deluxe's crossover appeal (if you can avoid creepy Saville - which was a story that broke after I first published this back in 2011). A great 1974 live version of "Sweet Jane" sounding as good as Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet version of the same year? Here is the whole Twist & Shout interview. The Sparks interview is great and needs a full reproduction here soon.