Compiled By Andrew Weatherall
It’s been over seven whole years since Soma launched their Sci-Fi Lof-fi series with this foray into the rebel heart of DJ, Producer and leftfield rennaisance man Andrew Weatherall. I for one bought this on release and it seems to have been on rotation in my car ever since (maybe I should change my car). I can clearly remember my first listen and I immediately had my favourites. In fact the first ten songs effectively transported me to a mid 50s to mid 60s mind-movie where teddy boys, bikers and sexual deviants danced with and fought over wild and dangerous girls with knives. I like this movie so much I’ve been to see it dozens of times and it never gets boring. Such is the atmosphere suggested on this most refreshing of DJ mix tapes.
Opening number Rock & Roll Radio by the brilliantly named Joe Boot And The Fabulous Winds literally blows in with smoke lined saxophone and hooky upbeat and soulful vocal. It’s like the sweet friendly welcome before things start getting a bit edgy. Renegade by The Rebs ramps up the sax to a cocky snarl and struts up the street smirking while Gene Vincent’s slick 45 Crazy Beat urges the gang to “snap your fingers …stomp your feet. . clap your hands and move to the rhythm ….” to this new and exciting thing they’re calling rock & roll “better pick up on this” intones Vincent on the fade, second later and we’re in. Snake Pit surrounded by glistening switchblades and the mocking rockabilly twang of Hipbone Slim And The Kneetremblers. The menace continues with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns’ unhinged version of Hank Mizell’s rockabilly anthem Jungle Rock. Soon after we’re drunk on moonshine as Charlie Feather’s Jungle Fever flips from spookabilly guitar pickin to garage funk-rock and back again. Johnny Burnette. The Milkshakes and Link Wray all deliver ‘don’t f*** with me’ thrills and spills around the back of the waltzers and into The Strangelove’s 1965 hit, the Bo Diddley beat driven. Want Candy which was covered famously by Malcolm Mclaren’s 80s toy de jour Bow Wow Wow. Of course you knew that but the illicit retro energy of SEX (Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood’s notorious clothes shop/punk rock launchpad) must have had I Want Candy on it’s jukebox. This compilation informs us of the roots of punk as much as anything else and it’s obvious Weatherall’s roots are below the same stomping ground. Rex’s b-side to 20th Century Boy, the forgotten but brilliant Free Angel makes the link to punk seamlessly into the Fall’s New Big Prinz and Mark E. Smith’s intoxicating Manc chunter setting the tone for The Flaming Stars and Primal Scream who both weigh in with their own equally moody flavours.
What comes next is my favourite record on the whole of this outstanding collection. At 2 minutes 25 seconds, it’s cruelly way too short but The Tropics Of Cancer’s cover of Diana Ross’s Upside Down is worth the price of this CD alone. Surely a deal with devil has been made here. The groove is deeply haunted by a dangerous voodoo shuffle and rumbling ethnic percussion, more spooky twang guitar punctuating the lyrics which now have a sleazy homoerotic suggestion to them, or is that just me? :). It’s confirmed in the next song when you hear the blatantly homo lyrics and post rockabilly strut of Shockheaded Peters I Bloodbrother Be (£4000 Love Letter). Just brilliant. Excellent and not obvious tracks from The Cramps, Killing Joke and one from Mr. himself bring what is a truly treasured CD in my collection to a close. If you have an adventurous musical spirit and you’re not scared of dangerous corners I suggest you check out this out.