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All Our Times Have Come

April 12, 2021

Jon Savage has been reeling in the years through a fascinating series of year-by-year singles compilations from Ace, starting with 1966 so as to correspond with his book of the same name.

With All Our Times Have Come he reaches the period 1972-1976 and this is my era. I was delighted to find that of the 44 tracks arranged across 2CDs I have 26 on 7” vinyl. A prominent exception is Eno’s Third Uncle which would appear to have been released only in France and Germany and is now ultra-rare as a result (love that ping-pong bass intro). I do have a ferocious version from 801 Live so that sort of makes 27. The title of the compilation is from Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper, included in truncated form with the guitar solo excised: the most important piece of single editing since Light My Fire! The full tracklisting is here .

Of the tracks I have not heard before I am pleasantly surprised by the muscularity of Neu’s After Eight and I liked the heavenly choirs in Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity. I can’t match Jon’s enthusiasm for Easy To Slip (Little Feat) or Full Circle (Byrds) – both bands made much better singles. Andy Warhol by Dana Gillespie and Max’s Kansas City by Wayne County are interesting but period pieces.

However the good stuff is incendiary. Do Ya by The Move has just the best riff ever and a massively bonkers ending. End Unkind is a welcome reminder of Nils Lofgren’s early songwriting talent. The Groovies Slow Death and Big Star’s When My Baby’s Beside Me are part of my DNA by now. The compilation ends with the casual off-hand lyrical brilliance of Nick Lowe’s Heart Of The City and the otherworldly blues of the Count Bishops Train Train, which for some reason reminds me of the (original) Charlatans.

Jon’s sleevenotes are typically thoughtful, making the case for the punk breakthrough pre-empted by this era being only one possible outcome: other musical directions were available. But I for one am very happy that music took heart from the ingenuity and passion shown here and got spiky and snarly (for a bit)

I love that Jon praises Brian Hogg’s Bam Balam magazine. In a pre-internet age Bam Balam educated Jon (and me) about the best of the 1960s bands, raving about the Yardbirds, the Move, the Small Faces, the Byrds, the Springfield. Brian also loved the Groovies, Big Star, the Stooges and the Dolls so his magazine bridged the gap between hard pop and nascent punk. I still cherish my battered and over-read copies of Bam Balam.

By a total coincidence the CD cover features Rod Melvin of the Moodies, a high concept / low output setup who feature in my current bedtime reading, The Tightrope Walker by Hermine Demoriane. More on this anon.


From → Music

  1. Mike Baess permalink

    I’ve looked in at the previous compilations Savage has put together and they’re all generally good but obviously you’re sure to find a few irksome inclusions.

    That said, I think Little Feat’s Easy To Slip is excellent and the first real sign that the band were destined for rock’n’roll greatness.
    A pity too that he chose to include The Byrds’ version of Full Circle rather than Gene Clark’s original from the superb Roadmaster album in 73.

    Also great to hear Murray Head’s classic Say It Ain’t So Joe which was also covered by three quarters of The Who for a Roger Daltrey solo track.

    It’s an interesting mish-mash and while it obviously is a roadmap to the beginning of punk in mid-1976 in hindsight it may look questionable to include, say,
    Grin, Little Feat, and The Byrds.

    Like you, Simon, this was the period where I came of age and the afore-mentioned bands were never deemed uncool at the time but I think they seem a bit incongruous to the general feel of the collection. Perhaps he could have included Blue Ash’s mighty power pop hit Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her); Golden Earring’s Radar Love; Maid In Heaven by Be-Bop Deluxe; Judy Teen by Cockney Rebel or even Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ American Girl which were all popular with teenagers who became punks overnight.

    The 1972-1976 years certainly were an exciting time to be in your mid to late teens and for me artistes like The Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Dr Feelgood, Eno, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Flamin’ Groovies, New York Dolls, and Patti Smith all were stepping stones to the biggest cultural change the western world had seen in the last 50 years.


  2. I think half the fun of these comps is deciding what you would leave in and what you would replace. With you on Petty but never got Blue Ash or the Wackers. With few exceptions Powerpop has not worn well apart from a few isolated tracks. My theory as to why Big Star transcend the Powerpop genre is to do with them having more r’n’b in their rhythm section as well as peerless production and two strong songwriters.

    I would defend the inclusion of Grin – I was listening to them and Crazy Horse during this time, the connection being Neil Young who was also at his peak (discuss). I remember Mark P of Sniffin’ Glue robustly defending BOC, Little Feat and Who’s Next. And of course far from 1976 being Year Zero we now know that Mick Jones was massively into Mott, Strummer loved the Stones whilst Captain Sensible was a massive Syd Barrett fan.

    A tree with roots indeed.

  3. …and branches. 1973 must’ve been a wake up year to the 9 year old me: Blockbuster! and 48 Crash (surely this deserves an exclamation, too?!); TOTP being pretty much my only access to music. The connection being Mike Chapman and Nick Chinn.

    1975. I spent the summer holidays at my uncle and aunt’s in Essex. They were greyhound trainers and driving to and from Hackney and Wimbledon dog tracks on a regular basis they only ever played one 8 track. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). I never found out what this weird music was for another 10 years I think. It remains one of my desert island discs.

    Wracking my brains trying to think of what to add to this ace Ace comp. It sounds solid to me now as a 56 year old RnR tree climber!

    Great cover, too.

  4. You started with The Fat Lady of Limbourg.

    I started with Slade Alive!

    But sounds like we’ve ended up in the same place…

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