Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Teenaged Warning

Rather surprisingly one of my favourite albums from this period has become the Angelic Upstarts Teenage Warning. Why surprising then? ...Well it came as a surprise to me because I just wasn't expecting them to be a band I would especially like (due to their skinhead ‘Oi’ connotations) let alone love all over again. In fact The Upstarts barely registered with me at the time of the release of Teenage Warning in 1979 when the punk explosion was dissipating yet it is the best discovery I have made since delving into the punk archives. Of course I was aware of the excellent aggravated single "I'm An Upstart" and the title track rang a few bells....very loudly... with its terrace chant vocal backing but the rest...well it's like hearing a new release.
Teenage Warning isn't a classic album by any means. It's very limited in what it does (but then again so was most punk) and the song-writing isn't always the best but somehow I find even this lack of craft endearing , something which would probably make them puke but then how elementally punk is that. The aforementioned tracks are the strongest but I also like "Never Again " , "The Murder Of Liddle Towers" and "Police Oppression " but really though pretty much the album whole is a blast ...a one dimensional one but a blast none the less. Mensi sings with goggle eyed fervour and it's always great to hear a band who sounded genuinely angry. Why aren't there any bands like this around now? (If there are and I have missed them please educate me) The world is (arguably) more up the spout now then it was then so there is still plenty to be irate about. Maybe Mensi was right...... maybe no one was listening.

Newcastle’s (South Shields) Upstarts are already, for obvious reasons and not so obvious reasons, being prepared by the vulture voyeurs as the successors to Sham 69. I’m not sure what that means. I suppose it means that because of appearance, anthemic noise, naive determination and the violent impulses of their crass visions they’re set to attract similar sorts of publicity-soaked fans, and thus to adopt the lethal mantel of the voice of the hairless confused.
Such thoughts are a sad indication of the way factions and labels have unfortunately established themselves, and how spitefully bigoted people can be. The problems of greatest concern to Angelic Upstarts in the coming months will not be how to expand and extend their music, but how to control the indulgent, ignorant fervour that is likely to greet it. Jimmy Pursey’s career as Personality has been crushed, or at least redirected and compromised, by the unprecedented interference of thugs who took their vague identification with Pursey’s frail and hopeful philosophies to ludicrous and disturbing depths. The Angelic Upstarts have it in them to be the pop group the Damned never were. But they won’t be given a chance.
The Upstarts, a bunch of apparently illiterate and petulant Geordie hooligans, have dropped into a position where they could well be forced to confront the danger, with little outside help or compassion. But, for now, stupidly avoiding the issue, what must be done is to celebrate the release of their debut album on Warners after the illustrative JP Production fracas. It’s cuddly, with a few pin pricks of frustration. Teenage Warning is the audacious, frantic, Pursey produced work of four youngsters from the north east of England, whose fate of dockyard dole and premature drunken middle age has been temporarily halted. I don’t expect I’ll play it many times, but it’s good to have around.
There are 12 fun, energetic and explosive punk metal expressions here that have been blasted out of confusion and frustration with unexpected consistency and effective crudity by people who still seem shocked that they have found a way to vent their feelings. Tradition has it that this the Upstarts one burst. From here on they are destined to go the way of Slaughter And The Dogs or Eater or The Damned or, of course, Sham 69. The fate of such groups has always been all but certain, because of limitations and immaturity. These groups though, do leave behind records, made so affectionately and convincingly, that are at worst atrociously bad-good and at best raucously loveable and, in a tritschy way, timeless.
This is a classic of that genre.
Cheaply packaged, excruciatingly but proudly designed, it contains five pulp gems that place it many rungs higher than the Eater or Dogs bursts, and only just below the Damned debut. The ultimate masters of the genre, Clash and Sex pistols, are credited as ‘inspiration’…along with the Northumbria Police. In many ways the album is something like that which Sham would have made if they were less Pursey dominated and directed…a record of urgent unity. There is no outstanding individual like Pursey in the group and Pursey’s production seems to exaggerate all the Pistols/Clash aspects to splendid proportions. This is predictable, punk condensed heavy metal without the parody of the Pistols, the imagination of The Clash, the starstruck indulgence of Slaughter, the comedy of the Damned or the sloppiness of UK Subs. The purest late 70’s punk rock, in fact: excitable, blank songs that snap leave me alone, moan about the problems of young life, loathe the Police, mock students, scream at the kids to be united, and advocate a sensible form of anarchy. Dedicated to their Mums and Dads, and put together with the passionate feeling that it is the most adventurous, brave and poetic music of its time. What can you say? What can you do?
Not the greatest listening experience, but I had great fun reviewing it, and in years to come it will no doubt say one hell of a lot about the times when it was made. Love them, but don’t abuse them.

Paul Morley’s review of the Angelic Upstarts’ first album from the NME, 11 August, 1979.

Ripped unceremoniously from the 2003 re issue to glorious MP3 @ 320kbps

Angelic Upstarts; Teenaged Warning
1.     Teenaged Warning
2.     Student Power
3.     The Young Ones
4.     We Are The People
5.     Never Again
6.     Liddle Towers
7.     I’m An Upstart
8.     Small Town Small Mind
9.     Youth Leader
10. Do Anything
11. Let’s Speed
12.Leave Me Alone
13.The Murder Of Liddle Towers (Single Version)
14.Police Oppression (Single Version)



  1. The POLICE killed Liddle Towers! I remember seeing the Upstarts at the Electric Ballroom with the Cockney Rejects and Jimmy Pursey's brother's band (I think they were called the Low Numbers) ... anyway, the gig was completely ruined by the far right skinheads that were beating anybody up that had a braincell, I managed to swap a pair of battered 8 hole DMs for a spanking pair of 14 hole DMs but that's another story

    Gig finished early, Basement 5 were playing just up the road, got to see them as well, all in a fucking good night was had!

    1. forgot to say thanks for the up, the Zounds was an inspired choice as well