All the Young Droogs. 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks, Rock’N’Glam (And A Flavour Of Bubblegum) From The 70’s - Various Artists (Cherry Red)
What a fucking great title. Almost as good as The Clash's "All the Young Punks" - itself a take on that Bowie song "All the Young Dudes" - wonder how many 1977 punks got that? Even though it was right in their alley?
You know how, during summer, assorted neighbours will play loud music, usually horrible, and, when the hours wind down and the drink begins to blur the world, they get maudlin and soppy and play those lachrymose ballads...? Sure you do. Well, when this happens at 230 am, that is your cue to dash over, swap their copy of Kamahl's Greatest Hits with any one of these three discs, flick the switch and revel in their dismay.
Either that or, rather suddenly, the party's on again and the police want to know your personal details. Again.
Cherry Red describe this collection as "60 tracks of the finest slices of JSG in its various guises, as established by collectors around the world over the past decade. Including tracks from the USA, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Australia as well as homegrown UK. Some previously unreleased, many first time on CD."
Past I-94 Bar contributor Mr Earl O'Neill was in Adelaide recently and, among other multifarious topics of conversation which arose was that of those obscure garage band collections which arose in the wake of the Pebbles and Nuggets series (a doubtless fictitious title might be "High School Bands of South-Western Ohio, 1965", and no doubt chockas with bands so obscure that your collector and music completist chums grow a sad little boner in response). In response to the avalanche of protests from many of my sad friends, I do own a copy of "The History of Northwest Rock, Volume 1", and it's pretty good - particularly the two tracks by The Sonics.
Anyway. "All the Young Droogs" is not an "area" type compilation. Nor, I must hastily add, is it like those free CDs you get on the front cover of some UK music magazines, usually with about four or five decent tracks and the rest being hopeful tosh. This is a reminder: you get what you pay for, and 'All the Young Droogs' is that rare beast, a cracking compilation which you will, essentially, thrash to death.
The first disc begins with Ray Owen's Moon and ends with Stevie Wright - but the trip itself includes swerves through Iggy and the Stooges, The Brats, Iron Virgin and Supernaut. And that's the least of it. Of the second disc, again, I know about four of the band names, and of the third ...
Every track has been chosen with care and love, and each disc is like listening to yer favourite radio show without the deej jive and gatter. This ain't a collection of 1972 High School bands. This is the real deal, people putting out the best they could do, and this is a glorious tribute to a musical underground (which was also overground) which we need to remember - and play very fucking loud.
Cherry Red continue: "Themed by arch JSG collector and musician Phil King into three groups; Rock Off! for the heads down boogie sounds; Tubthumpers & Hellraisers for the footstomping hand clapping pop pounders; Elegance & Decadence for the mascara masquerading gender bending weird and wonderful. The box set sweeps up a colourful array of musical renegades and nomads as they moved and shook the scene, such as: first Juicy Lucy vocalist Ray Moon, ex-New York Dolls Rick Rivets band The Brats, Baby Grande the forerunners of The Church, TV Smith pre-Adverts in Sleaze , Jimmy Edwards a cohort of Jimmy Pursey in Sham 69 in earlier solo mode and, as in house producer of Steve Elgin at Dawn, ex- Spider From Mars Woody Woodmansey.
"60’s northern soul chanteuse Glo Macari backed by Slowload who get their own track as produced by Vic Maile, actor Richard Strange as Kid Strange in Doctors of Madness, Angel produced by Mick and Andy from The Sweet. Plus stalwart pop auteurs Jonathan King and Mike Berry. Some further context comes from inclusion of relevant cuts by Mott The Hoople, Hello, Iggy & The Stooges, Be Bop Deluxe, Third World War. Three discs in individual wallets, housed in a clam shell box, which also includes a 36 page booklet. The booklet contains a fascinating and highly-informative 2000 word essay from an authority on the genre – Tony Barber – the bassist with the Buzzcocks."
Who the hell is Phil King? Sometime bass player in The Jesus and Mary Chain (you remember, that band which so many disaffected youth bought so they could provoke an argument with their parents? And then turned into a pop band?) and current writer with 'Uncut' (yes, one of those UK magazines which proffer a free CD on the cover)
By now many commentators are acknowledging the huge debt English glam is owed by English punk. One of the elements of the glam age was the acknowledgement of the football terraces, and youth gang violence. It's right there if you look - 'Super yob', for example, we'll all remember that. And, like a streak of opal through a seam of pale potch, is the legacy of a great deal of ground-breaking literature.
In particular, Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange", as narrated in a modern argot called "nadsat"; the teen slang. In Burgess' nadsat, "droog" or "droogie" means :close friend", or, if you like, "trusted accomplice".
So, before we get to the horrorshowness of it all, a confession. First, before punk, I liked what passed for glam here in Australia. That's right, I blub at the memory of enjoying the first two Skyhooks LPs, and wanting to strangle Daryl Brackawhacker. I bought 'Spunky. The Fortnightly Freakout' magazine, and occasionally 'Scream!', one of which ran articles on bands like Rabbit, Buffalo, and (I recall) praised roadies for the remarkable swiftness of their turnaround (an unusual event in those pre-Celebrity Roadie days).
'What?' I hear you cry, 'Brokenmouth was a squealer in the front row, rending his garments in front of Red Spewmonds?'
Well, no, I just loved music from an early age. And until December 1975, when I encountered a chap who had real music taste, I was at the mercy of trad AM, where all the best and most crunching chords were on adverts - because it got people's attention. Hell, I was barely 12 when I discovered real music, give us a bloody break ya bastards...
Here's a link and another if you need a few physical reminders that these niche-worlds existed Are they available in the National Libraries of Australia, I hear you fail to ask? Well, yes, but not in any great quantity. After all, it's only an underground music magazine. And you know. Underground culture doesn't matter that much. We grow out of it, so, you know. Not important. It's like slang. It changes.
All the more reason, you'd think, for us to celebrate our past. It's a big thing.
And that, folks, is one reason why purchase of 'All the Young Droogs' is essential. The other is, quite simply, that it's a cracker of a release. Sure, a couple of songs you'll know. But most you won't. And, you'll realise that the world is a connected place, even back in those pre-internet days, when we didn't have the means to constantly be shifting data back and forth all the time. There was a connection between us all, like there always is.
You can get "All the Young Droog"' here or pester your local dealer (sorry, pc freaks, your local record shop), and, if this review has left you feeling strangely ignorant, get what is arguably Burgess' best book,"A Clockwork Orange", read it from cover to cover and consider it a good thing that the USSR never got that much of a hold on Seventies youth... instead... we have Russia ... and China ... oh, wait, that's censored...
Haven't spotted any writers coming up with the equivalent of 'A Clockwork Orange' lately, but hell. 'All the Young Droogs' is the closest equivalent of 'Pebbles' or 'Nuggets' the young folks are gonna see this side of 2020. And, arguably, it's better.
Get it, gentle children; like measles or chicken-pox, it should get you off (school).