Friday, January 25, 2008

Ronco Goes Punk

Well, kind of.

I have long enjoyed this very Friday 1980 compilation of punk, post-punk, new wave and chart pop from the legendary label, mostly I think because it brought together a whole bunch of good stuff from the time, and back then not many LPs did.

I am certain it was never hip, since 1) by 1980 the cognoscenti had long moved on from this sort of thing 2) there are one or two very strange things on it that don't belong here at all (The Nick Straker Band - 'A Walk In The Park' ??) 3) it's on bloody Ronco for chrissakes!!! I mean, Live At The Roxy '77* it ain't, but nuts to all that, I love it.

Where else until the majors started knocking out all those retro new wave compos in the noughties can you find The Skids 'Circus Games', Magazine's 'Sweetheart Contract', The Members 'Sound Of The Suburbs' and The Sex Pistols 'Pretty Vacant' all in one place? It's got Gary Numan on it doing 'We Are Glass' and some John Foxx too! And isn't the cover hilarious? Yeah, well street there Ronco.

Pah! For a fifteen year old in a sleepy seaside town with a red bulb in his bedroom, it was the bollocks. And in many ways for a 42 year old in a leafy corner of South West London, it still is.

Track I loved most then - Magazine, easily (hadn't heard it before).  
Track I love most now -Magazine, easily (have heard it a thousand times).

The full track listing here. And for your delectation today...

Magazine - 'Sweetheart Contract' (1980)
Public Image Ltd - 'Public Image' (1978)
XTC - 'Making Plans For Nigel' (1979)

[*actually Live At The Roxy '77 is rubbish].


  1. I think it was compulsory for these compilations to feature a track that clearly didn’t fit the concept. Still is if Mrs Mick’s ‘Jacky’ compilation is anything to go by. Disc 3 features such early 70s glam faves as Slade, Mud, Suzi Quatro then suddenly hits you with Barry Ryan’s ‘Kitsch’, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. It wants to be like his earlier hit ‘Eloise’ but doesn’t quite manage it. Sounds completely anomalous on that disc.

  2. Ooh. That's covered by Marc Almond on this cracker from last year. And The Damned did 'Eloise' didn't they?

    I love that Mrs Mick has the 'Jackie' comp.

  3. Marc Almond - Kitsch?

    That song was made for him to cover. The Damned version of Eloise is great too. I love the way Dave Vanian doesn't let the fact that he can't reach the high notes bother him.

    Some trivia for you: Eloise (the Barry Ryan version) was one of little Mick's first records. I went 'halves' with my brother (he's still got it). It was on the MGM label.

  4. ...and talking of the 'Jackie' comp we showed the kids how to dance to 'Tiger Feet' and they disowned us.

  5. that cover could've been shot yesterday in old street station - kids today, i don't know....

  6. Another couple of great comp's from the same era were '20 of Another Kind' Polydors Punk sampler, and 'We Do 'Em Our Way' on MFP, an album of Punk bands covering trad' tunes which probably wouldn't get the novelty 'Mona Lisa with green mohican' on the cover treatment today.

    Has anyone else noticed how Johnny Depp has liberated Dave Vanian's 'Eloise' period look for Sweeney Todd?

    Spookily - there's an oscure booty remix on Planet Mondo today which uses XTC's 'Nigel' as source material

  7. I used to have both those '20 of A Different Kind' albums, I'd give my left nut to still have them (along with 99% of the records I've sold over the years)

    The soundtrack to the early 80s movie "Last Summer" is a brilliant new wave comp too (I still have that one). No idea what the film was like, it bombed.

  8. I had completely forgotten about this LP.....

    Mine was unplayable within a couple of months as I played and pogoed at the same time, thus causing the needdle ob the Dansette to jump all over the place..

  9. But wadda way for it to go eh?
    Rock and flippin' Roll.

  10. Oh wow! Haven't heard that Magazine track since... well, the last time you had this record out!



  11. ...and to think what I missed growing up on the Jersey Shore. I always knew I was an Anglophile for good reason.

  12. You're 42? Younger than I!! but with the same superb taste in music.


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