Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot: The Billy Childish Story 1977-2018 - Billy Childish (Damaged Goods)
How do you sum up the musical career of Billy Childish, England's finest, over two CDs or six sides of vinyl? "Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot" (translation: Punk rock is not dead) pulls it off pretty well.
The Childish oeuvre isn't for everyone. Across various groups - the Pop Rivets, Thee Milkshakes, Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, Musicians Of The British Empire, The Buff Medways and CTMF among them - Billy has been the poster child for low-fi, crudely-recorded, minimalist rock and roll.
Whip smart lyrics, sometimes confessional and often sardonic or profane, delivered in the voice of a street hooligan and set against distortion and dissonance. As a guitarist, Billy is no Steve Vai and for that we can all be eternally fucking grateful.
Childish has spat out about 130 albums and along the way he's received adulation from Kurt Cobain, some bloke from Blur and Jack White. Kylie Minogue loves his books.
Summing up this compilation is hard. It's all of the above and more. Punk rock to its Doc straps, Shaped by the ;70s, it's what the '60s beat groups would have sounded like if they'd all killed their producers and recorded themselves. In caves.
Plenty of accomplished musicians hate Billy Childish because he's amateurish and self-taught. The rest of us love him for his stylistic twists, back-to-basics lack of pretension and honesty. Whether he's wearing a deerstalker, British calvary helmet or he's channeling the sound of the Mop Tops in Hamburg circa 1961, he's the real deal.
Just like his career, "Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot" widely varies in its sonic quality. Some of the live cuts sound like they were recorded on a Walkman (and probably were) but what you hear is what you get and that should be no surprise.
Three Headcoats songs - "Girl From '62", "All My Feelings Denied" and th title stack - are among my personal favourites. "Troubled Mind" by The Buff Medways is the closest thing to a "hit" (read: widely recognised) song here. The more recent stuff with CTMF is right up with Billy's best. "Mr Hitler" (Wild Billy Childish And The Blackhands) mad me laugh in a "Dad's Army" kinda way.
Forty-eight tracks. Buy it here. Long live the Medway Sound!