"A want tae really be a scunner and dae things that are awfy, like pick ma nose and dip it in ma coffee" (Ah Want Tae Be a Punk Rocker) by Andy Cameron/Peter Nardini
Summer 1978. Scotland's footballer's had just qualified for the World Cup finals in Argentina. Even better than that, the English hadn't thus crowning the Tartan Army's vociferous campaign to alert the authorities to TV pundit Jimmy Hill's undetected crimes of poofery aforethought. It can't be slander if it's true:
"We hate Jimmy Hill, he's a poof, he's a poof"
Please be advised that where we grew up, a poof is not a homosexual. It just means someone who is a bit of a mummy's boy, a bit wet, has mittens tied to their duffel coat and a lot like erm...Jimmy Hill. The beard was circumstantial.
When the jungle goes on Safari: another overseas jaunt: another atrocious World Cup song. Ally's Tartan Army c/w Ah Want Tae Be a Punk Rocker by comedian Andy Cameron is certainly a shoo-in as the theme music for any envisioned reality TV show called 'Hostage to Fortune' (he even sang they would win the trophy but the Scots were eliminated in the first round as usual) However, this sonic fatwa against mental health reached number 6 in the charts and sold close to 400,000 copies.The lucky people raking in this wonky wonga were Klub Records, an imprint who normally put out country dance music albums by Moira Anderson, Jimmy Shand and other kilted enemies of the state. So with money burning a hole in their sporrans they took a punt on a group who were creating something of a stir on the local Pub/Student Union circuit, Chou Pahrot.
I've never seen an original of this highly sought after EP and my review is sourced from a cassette copy kindly provided for me by a friendly Glasgow record store owner.
Right from the outset, it seems abundantly clear that whoever engineered these sessions had never encountered a rock band utilising sax and violin before. Eggy Beard's violin in particular suffers from a brittle scratchy texture that is slightly jarring in the higher registers while Mama Voot's saxophone is divorced from the ensemble performance in a 'too hard basket' of the sound window entirely. Similarly, the wonderfully named Fish
Feathers McTeeth, an avowed improv/free jazz fanatic, has his kit timbres reduced to a squished rawk compress. That said, these three tracks are enjoyable enough and do at least represent a tiny peek into the huge and unfulfilled testament to a genuinely original band. Given the broad range of stylistic flavours Chou Pahrot contained, this recording cannot be considered as anything more than a menu teaser for what became an abandoned banquet. Rest assured however, that the disorienting, startling and miraculous jazz/punk meets classical/folk/rock in a head-on collision where everyone survives intact is preserved for posterity.
Greg Lake's description of the role of any studio recording is pretty apt here: it's like a cheque, it's not money, it's a promise to pay like a demo of what is only finally deLive
red in the Live
realm (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist)
I'm always struck by how vinyl record companies used the EP format as a short leash for puppies not yet house-trained i.e. they couldn't be trusted to leave an entire 40 minute long player unsoiled by 'impromptu evacuations'.
Don't pay the exorbitant prices being asked for this. If Klub Records had a vestige of nous within their entire organisation, they would remaster the original and release same on CD as bonus tracks bundled with the entire Glasgow Film Theatre performance which must have been truncated down for the subsequent Live
album. Don't hold your breath, Scotland lost to Peru but beat Holland (go figure).
Key to the house-trained doggerel:
scunner - source of irritation
awfy - awful