Bristol Archive Records Blog

Posts Tagged ‘1977 Punk’

The Pigs

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

The Cortinas -Punk Rock Anthology

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The Cortinas

The word went out a couple of weeks ago. There was to be, for the first time ever, a compact disc of The Cortinas singles, album and Peel Session release. Hard to believe that no-one had thought to put all the recordings on to one CD before, but there y’go. Excitement reigned…well me and Steve Underwood were happy. And the 29th of November saw the official release. I found a copy on the internet for £4.50.
As a youth I loved The Cortinas. Never saw them live, never had the first LP but the first two singles are classics. They are here on the CD, tracks 1-4. Classics. My favourite being “Defiant Pose”. Teenage anthem for 1978. I remember buying it on 12″ format from a great record shop in St. Austell in 1978 whilst holidaying in Cornwall. I’ve always remembered where and when I bought the classics.
As a youth I “suppose” I liked “punk rock”, although I was never a fan of the “biggies” like Sex Pistols or The Clash or Buzzcocks. I liked The Damned for a couple of LP’s and The Jam had a few good hard chord songs, above all I liked The Stranglers up until and including their “Black And White” LP. I went more for the independent single, the stuff John Peel was playing the most and was 10p cheaper in the singles bin on Sanctuary Records (Lincoln) counter. Stuff like The Cortinas, Eater, Cyanide, The DP’s, Menace, Outsiders etc along with steadfast labels like Rough Trade and Factory and Fast Product – that was my stuff.
After the single tracks comes the Peel Session. Quite weak apart from the two tracks that were the single “A” sides. The album follows. I hadn’t heard the LP since 1980. I never owned a copy. A friend (Mark Collins) bought it and on first listen we declared it crap! Listening to it now 30 years later (and thirty years older) it still sounds pretty crap. Very weak and the songs have not stood the test of time. Unlike, say, The DP’s “If You Know What I Mean” LP or Eater “The Album”. I think the problem with The Cortinas is that they only had 5 and a half good songs and an album that only featured one and a half of them.
The booklet notes are a good read and really it is about time some person took it upon themsleves to write a book about the Bristol Music Scene in the late 1970′s, early 1980′s akin to the Sheffield tome “Beats Working For A Living”, there were some great innovative groups / labels around then. (It has a “Where Are They Now” section (which I love) and Nick Sheppard is a DJ in Perth, Australia. Tim..hunt the man down)!! The booklet kind of alludes to the band running out of steam when they signed to CBS, but the songs on the LP are really bad. What it reminds me of is……there must have been an interim when The Leyton Buzzards became Modern Romance. They must have had some tracks/songs and thought…these don’t really work as high energy punk tunes, why don’t we try and add a salsa or rhumba beat and lighten the guitars, and then thought sod it – let’s change our name and go all out pop. Well, The Cortinas LP is like The Leyton Buzzards in their interim period!

I was in Toulouse in 2006 where I found a lovely little second hand vinyl shop, and I found (for 10 Euro) a copy of the “Heartache” 7″. I had to buy it. B Side is their classic “Ask Mr Waverly”. And if you are wondering, the half decent track is “Radio Rape” (which could have been a DP’s song if you ask me).
The CD is a good document of a band with five and half decent songs who after one LP had the decency to call it a day…how many albums did The “bloody” Clash make? (whatever the number it was, it was that number too many). If seen for a fiver and you know of The Cortinas I say “buy it”.

1: CD Sleeve.
2: The Cortinas Live in Bristol.
3: “Heartache” Sleeve. (10 Euro)!

Taken from:

Great Album Review

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bristol “The Punk Explosion”

Possibly my favourite ever band, never mind just â punk band, came from Bristol you know? FIVE KNUCKLE were around in the mid 80’s and were obviously too late for a compilation such as this, but it just goes to show the depth and longevity of the punk scene in the South West.

This twenty-track CD highlights many of the bands that were around between 1977 and 1983. The whole point of this collection is to showcase the musical mood of Bristol during that period, but really it’s quite illustrative of what was going on in cities the length and breadth of the UK at the time. And where this album also scores is that the tracks are listed chronologically, so the listener can see how the punk scene was changing during that six year period, with the songs becoming harsher, harder and more abrasive as the album (and years) progress.

Opening with one of the two most famous bands of the time to come from the city (although there are several listed here who will be remembered by original punk fans) THE CORTINAS were one of the first pioneers of this new music. They played the city’s Roxy Club, released a couple of singles on the Step Forward label, were featured on the cover of the seminal Sniffin Glue fanzine and recorded a Peel Session. Defiant Pose is their contribution to the compilation and is pure old school punk bliss with everything you’d expect from an original punk band. Simple, repeated riffs, shouty vocals and gang-backing.

National Front by THE PIGS follows. Brilliant! A song with a distinct anti-racism message even if it is put across in a rather patronising manner: “The National Front are fascists, there’s nothing wrong with the black kids no way” the chorus goes. Genuine sentiment, of course but could that line pass the PC brigade today? A¦ the innocence of 1977!

THE PIGS actually have a second contribution shortly thereafter: Youthanasia. The recording sounds like it was done with their dads old tape recorder in the living room, but this just adds to the overall flavour of the album. The previous two tracks are interspersed by two from 1978 and SOCIAL SECURITY “I Don’t Want My Heart To Rule My Head” is the first, the guitar riff seemingly plagiarised from The Bannedâ hit at the turn of 1977, “Little Girl”. Their second song is Choc Ice which is slightly Buzzcock-esque in sound.

So off to a blistering start and it continues this way right through to the end. I’d happily write all night long in praise of this collection, but time and space is a bit of an inhibitor. Instead, I shall just mention the following highlights. Well, EVERY track is a gem, but these just shine a little brighter for me:

VICE SQUAD were always favourites of mine, so it’s good to see Resurrection included here. And the political age in which we lived then is brought to the for with two songs that relate to the troubles in Northern Ireland at that time: 48 HOURS have A Soldier (Demo) included and THE VERDICT sing IRA Man. THE X-CERTS have two songs that were previously unreleased Fight Back is a chugging guitar driven punk anthem with a shout-a-long chorus, while Stop The Fussing And The Fighting is a nine and a half dub / reggae epic. Again, the almost primitive sound on this just takes you right back to the time and parties in dingy basements.

Moving onwards through time, the album culminates with some early hardcore / Oi from the early Eighties. You can tell by the change of tone in the bands names that the music has taken on a more aggressive feel. The likes of DISORDER; CHAOS UK; LUNATIC FRINGE; CHAOTIC DISCHORD and ONSLAUGHT are all represented with tracks that just go to show even Punk moves with the times.

For anyone around at the inception of the punk scene, this is an essential!

It’ll be straight to the top of my personal playlist, I can tell you!

(Released through Bristol Archive Records and available now July 2010)

(10 / 10)

Taken from

Bristol The Punk Explosion – Album Review

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Various Artists: Bristol – The Punk Explosion (Bristol Archives)

Bristol Archive Records is my new favourite record label. Their sole reason for existence is to preserve the punk/post-punk musical history of Bristol. This compilation is almost perfect. For a start, this was the first time I’d listened to a punk compilation where I didn’t already know every song.

I grew up listening to punk compilations and samplers and mix tapes, and this is the first one that I’ve heard where the actual sequencing of the tracks made any sense. On The Punk Explosion, the tracks are ordered chronologically, starting in 1977 (naturally) and ending in ’83, this makes sense because it shows the development of the punk sound. We start off with some Buzzcockian poppy love songs (“she’s my choc ice”?!) and finishes with the birth of hardcore and thrash (Chaos UK and Onslaught, respectively).

What this album does best is present the Bristol scene as a microcosm of the punk scene in general. On an ordinary compilation, The Clash or Stiff Little Fingers would represent political punk, Dead Kennedys would be your dose of hardcore and X-Ray Spex would be the only female-fronted band. On this record those bands are replaced with 48 Hours, The Undead and Vice Squad.

By limiting the record’s scope to a very specific geographic location, Bristol Archive Records have avoided rehashing the same old bands and I’ve had a chance to listen to music by bands I’d only heard of from staring at the patches on other people’s clothes at gigs. Before Bristol Archive Records, the punk compilation wasn’t dead, but it was stagnant. Check this out if you like your music short, fast and loud. 9/10

Daniel Shields

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