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Through The Past, Brightly

Yardbirds ’68 2CD ( )

The Rolling Stones On Air 2CD (Polydor)

Two stunning double CD sets to end the year, both great examples of how familiar material can be sonically upgraded to allow the richness of the performances to shine through.

Yardbirds ‘68 is a live/studio set and represents the culmination of many years work by Jimmy Page. The live set has in the past been released officially but controversially by Epic as The Yardbirds Live At The Andersen Theatre Featuring Jimmy Page. Page sued successfully to get the LP withdrawn, considering it a desparate record company ploy to get some final product out of a rapidly disintegrating group. Previous releases have been marred by a poor mix with overdubbed bullfight-type cheers at random intervals. Page has completely remixed the original tapes to reveal a tough, exciting gig by the final Yardbirds line-up in which he plays a prominent part. Gone are the extraneous crowd noises, replaced by the sturdy and flexible rhythm section of McCarty and Dreja, Keith Relf in fine form on vocals and harp and Page himself sounding suspiciously good – if he really got this guitar tone in March 1968 he really was, in the words of The Third Bardo,  Five Years Ahead Of His Time. You get a real sense of what was coming next –the first Led Zeppelin live dates were played under the name of the New Yardbirds – with fine versions of Dazed and Confused and White Summer. The companion CD ‘Studio Sketches’, recorded in New York around the same time, features an instrumental version of Knowing That I’m Losing You, later to emerge on Led Zeppelin III as Tangerine.

Also featured on the studio CD are a fierce alternate Drinking Muddy Water and a cover of Garnet Mimm’s My Baby plus some atmospheric works in progress such as Spanish Blood and Avron’s Eyes. Sound quality is improved from when these tracks appeared on the NMC Cumular Limit CD. Taken together with the Little Games Sessions set, Yardbirds ‘68 makes a convincing case for the Page-era Yardbirds being much more than unsuccessful pop playthings for Mickie Most. Please note that there is a minor drop out in the live Over Under Sideways Down and corrected CDs are being sent out to all who have bought the set direct from

The Stones set is available in various formats but the Deluxe 2CD set delivers maximum bang for your bucks with 32 tracks recorded for the BBC as part of their “needle-time” allowance. Recorded from 1963 to 1965 the tracks are presented in non-chronological order so as lead with the hits. The booklet provided has key recording details in white reversed out of pale pink making them mostly illegible. However everything else about this set is terrific. Careful  ‘de-mixing’ of the tapes at Abbey Road has brought a clarity and level of detail unimaginable from the myriad bootlegs we have listened to over the last fifty years. And what treasure! A version of Come On that eclipses the stiff studio single. A delicate, calypso style Crackin’ Up which would not be played again until the El Mocambo gig in 1977. A version of Everybody Needs Somebody To Love which starts with some lovely piano (played by who?). I Can’t Be Satisfied with a stunning Brian Jones slide part. A driving 2120 South Michigan Avenue that really motors. And loads of covers never officially recorded like High Heel Sneakers, Cops And Robbers and Memphis. The long-lost  Jagger/Richards harmonies feature strongly, sometimes slightly askew  but more often ragged but right. A fuzz-box driven, stomping Satisfaction from September ‘65 is the most recent recording and points the way ahead, leaving behind beat group staples and moving towards Nanker Phelge world domination.

Get on the hotline to Santa. You need both these stuffed in your stocking.



Dessert Island Discs

Like most music fans I fantasise about what 8 records I would choose if the BBC invited me onto R4 Desert Island Discs 

Realistically that is never going to happen. So I have written it anyway. At the risk of sounding a bit Nick Hornby it is liable to change on a weekly basis.

1. Lola, The Kinks
This was the first song I can remember listening out for on the radio. I was around 12 and I thought it was weird the way Ray Davies sang “Cherry Cola” – only much later would I discover that the BBC had made him re-record this line. The rest of the lyrics added considerably to my teenage confusion about everything.

2. Virginia Plain, Roxy Music
The second band I ever saw live (the first was the rather less credible Uriah Heap). A gang of us saw their first UK tour in 1972 at Guildford Civic Hall just as Virginia Plain was entering the charts. Somehow we ended up backstage after the gig and were massively impressed by the champagne and glamorous girlfriends.

3. Couldn’t I Just Tell You?, Todd Rundgren
The soundtrack to a lot of teenage and early 20’s angst (see also the first two Big Star LPs). For some reason Todd Rundgren was massive in the suburbs of South West London during these pre-punk days: his Everybody’s Going To Heaven is an all-to-accurate description of our then lifestyle. I even tried to mimic the multi-coloured hair he sported on the cover of Todd (1974) with purloined gold and silver brush-in hairdye.

4. Lovers Of Today, The Only Ones
Punk cut through the London music scene like a knife through butter and I was a convert, having seen the Pistols in 1975. It was a time for great singles, but albums – not so much. Exceptions were the Heartbreakers and The Only Ones. In my 20 years of writing for Bucketfull of Brains magazine the band I liked the most were the Only Ones, and their guitarist John Perry remains a friend to this day.

5. Start Me Up, Rolling Stones
I have not missed a Stones tour since Knebworth 1976 – a gig it took me a week to get home from. Most recently I saw the band in Paris on the No Filter tour and they can still cut it. This is my wife’s favourite song and we paid daft money to be down the front at Wembley Arena in 2003. We were so close we could have counted Keith Richards wrinkles (he calls them laughter lines, but as George Melly pointed out, nothing is that funny)

6. Sunrise, The Who
Really a Pete Townshend solo track from The Who Sell Out and a key song from the cassette I made to accompany our wedding breakfast. Breathtakingly beautiful.

7. Left Of The Dial, The Replacements
With my collection of 7” vinyl singles approaching 1,750 I decided to start working as a DJ. My highest-profile gig to date has been the brace of Replacements gigs at the London Roundhouse in June 2015 where I met Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson and was able to thank them for all the fine music they have given us since 1981 . Left Of the Dial is not just a great song and a brilliant performance: it also functions as a call-to-arms for independent music.

8. Where Did Our Love Go?, The J Geils Band

The best gig I ever saw was J Geils in at Manchester Free Trade Hall, June 2nd 1980. A crowd of less than 200, rattling around in a huge venue – the band could have been forgiven for going through the motions. Instead they played as though it was a sold-out Wembley Stadium. This cover was a highlight, check it out on the Blow Your Face Out double live LP

The One Record I Would Keep
Start Me Up.

Book (excluding The Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare)
The All Music Guide To Rock (3rd Edition, 2002) – nerdy but sometimes you just have to know when Da Capo was released

An infinite supply of cheese and pickle sandwiches (has to be cheddar and Branston)

So what are your 8 platters that matter?

Maria McCormack RIP

The Guardian appreciation I wrote is here


New book with Trash connection

First Posted on April 19 2016


Clinton Heylin’s new magnum opus is being published by leading independent publisher Route – more details here

Jane and Simon were both interviewed by Clinton about seeing the Sex Pistols at Weybridge

Here is the press release:

Anarchy in the Year Zero Collector’s Edition


Posted: 18 Apr 2016 12:59 PM PDT


by Clinton Heylin

‘For those who weren’t there, but swear they were, now you are.’
– Richard Boon, former Buzzcocks manager

Be amongst the first to read Clinton Heylin’s account of the birth of Punk. A special signed and numbered collector’s edition is available to order now and will be despatched one month prior to general release. At standard cover price, the collector’s edition comes with a set of original postcards. First come first served. Click here to order.

Anarchy in the Year Zero: Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Class of ’76 by Clinton Heylin is an account of a movement that not only changed the face of British music, but had a profound and lasting effect on the course of British culture as a whole. This is a forensic, passionate and breathtaking chronicle by one of the world’s leading rock historians, who was there in 1976 at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, when the course of popular music changed forever.

Published to coincide with Year Zero’s 40th anniversary, the book reconstructs the narrative of ‘Punk ’76’ – the real Year Zero – authoritatively, if not dispassionately; to connect the dots not only literally (providing, for the first time, an accurate chronology), but laterally – by showing how many of the characters that circle the Sex Pistols spin off into new vistas of music, fashion and pop culture. Heylin’s distinctive approach of using multiple eye-witness accounts of all the key players in the story skillfully combines the objective rigor of a biography with the personal immediacy of a memoir. The result is that the reader feels as though they are there, on the inside, as the drama of this truly transformative year for British culture unfolds before us.

Clinton Heylin is one of the leading rock historians in the world, with over two dozen books to his name. These include biographies of Bob Dylan (Behind The Shades), Van Morrison (Can You Feel The Silence?), Bruce Springsteen (E Street Shuffle) and Sandy Denny (No More Sad Refrains), as well as his acclaimed pre-punk history, From The Velvets To The Voidoids, the one and only history of rock bootlegs, Bootleg, and, most recently, the highly acclaimed It’s One For The Money: The Song Snatchers Who Carved Up A Century of Pop, nominated for the 2016 Penderyn Book Award. He lives in Somerset.

‘Heylin has done a masterful job of mapping the when, where and who’s who in the Pistols pied piper saga.’
– Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth

>>Click here to order Anarchy in the Year Zero Collector’s Edition

>>See Trailer on Anarchy Year Zero Website

Anarchy in the Year Zero will be launched on 4th June 2016, 6pm, at Watertsones, Deansgate, Manchester, on the 40th anniversary of the first Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.


…and here is what Clinton’s new book actually says

 First posted on April 20 2016

Here is what Clinton Heylin has written about the night that the Sex Pistols played St. George’s Hill, Weybridge!


Simon in The Guardian talking about seeing The Sex Pistols

First Posted on November 24 2014


Last Saturday (November 15) Simon was interviewed for an article about seeing the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club at the Punk Rock Festival of 1976. The article also mentions legendary Trash co-vocalist Jane Wimble (as was) and is illustrated with a fine Barry Plummer photograph

See it here

Don’t bother with the comments that follow the article. Online commentators might not be so unpleasant if they had to post under their real names….

Trashlinks Various

Detour Records – Trash webpage

First posted on March 12 2012


Trash pages on Bored Teenagers website

First posted on March 12 2012

Group of 6

Punky Gibbon: Another punk website featuring Trash!

First posted on April 21 2014

Jane @ Punky Gibbon has completely updated her entry on Trash, for which many thanks. It’s here:

We have also done a brand new Q + A which you can find here:


Trash in “Punk Britannia”

First posted on June 19 21012

Thanks to eagle-eyed David Key for pointing out that Trash appear in the third instalment of this excellent BBC4 documentary. There’s a shot of the Priorities sleeve on the wall of Rough Trade Records! It comes about halfway through, blink and you’ll miss it.




This Is Complete Trash CD Reviews


Vive Le Rock CD Review


First posted on March 12th 2012

Trash – This Is Complete Trash! (8/10) Spasms – Return of the Spud Gun Kids (7/10)

Only Fit For The Bin Records

A fan of obscure late 70s lost punk rock oddities? Two previously unacknowledged discoveries here via Bin Liner Records, each accompanied by arch sleevenotes that demonstrate the participants weren’t entirely blinded by ambition, nor have their memories been too cruelly scalded by regret. Naturally then, it’s going to be low-grade, clueless bedroom thrashing that was never released for a very good reason. Well, no. The Spasms disc, despite the graffiti’d brick wall cover, is far more expansive than you might imagine. There are evident post-punk influences (especially on ‘The Guilty Go Free’ and the excellent ‘The Stranger’), and some unexpected playfulness in terms of both lyrics and rhythm that place them, occasionally, somewhere between Squeeze and the Members. Trash are slightly rockier, absolutely in the best traditions of the New York Dolls, and more than competent at it. Their Polydor singles ‘Priorities’ and the Shel Talmy-produced ‘N-N-ervous’ are included, alongside an unreleased third; the genuinely enthralling ‘In On All The Secrets’.

Alex Ogg, written for Vive Le Rock magazine

First posted May 27th 2011


Record Collector CD Review

 Trash – This Is Complete Trash!


Take no notice, they’re just being modest

Trash formed in October 1976 by students at the Food Technology College in St George’s Hill, Weybridge. As singer Simon Wright says in his sleevenotes, “The Food Technologists would have been a great name for a band,” but they went for Trash “partly because of the New York Dolls song, but possibly because we thought it would put us beyond further criticism.” How wrong they were.

Trash discovered punk when Wright and Jane Wimble, who shared lead vocals in the early days, caught the Pistols playing one of their infamous “unannounced” support slots at one of their college dances – and the die was cast. John Peel’s manager, Weybridge resident Clive Selwood, secured the band a deal with Polydor, and the label released Priorities in November 1977. N-N-E-R-V-O-U-S, produced by Shel Talmy, followed in June 1978, but when neither single sold (despite airplay from a “gerrymandered” John Peel), Polydor dropped them.

It was a shame, as Trash’s combination of punk, pub-rock and NY sleaze deserved a better crack of the whip. Rescued from the bin, this collects both singles, previously unreleased studio and live tracks, and a 1977 interview on Radio 210.

Only Fit For The Bin | OFFTB 013

Chronicle Sep9 1977

Hyped2Death CD Review

TRASH -This Is Complete Trash! CD (OFFTB 013)

H2D: Their classic first 45 (‘Priorities’), a less-impressive second, a fine, melodic, neverbeforereleased ’79 session, and some good-to-generic live tracks. None of it’s terrifically original, but who cares when the touchstones are the Heartbreakers, Saints, Birdmen, and various punky 60s sounds… 12 tracks and an informative 12-page booklet.

Amazon User Reviews


Bucketfull Of Brains review