Veteran music journalist Kris Needs has been back to his record collection for a follow up to last year’s compilation Dirty Water: The Birth of Punk Attitude.
Once again he’s gone for an eclectic set of influences of punk, from Germany’s Faust to George Clinton’s Parliament and from 1960s obscure acts such as United States of America to the political charged folk of Woody Guthrie.
As with the previous collection it is a fine record of how punk developed and this time around features some of the earliest new wave and punk acts. Blondie’s 1976 track X Offender gets a spot and shows just how much 1960s girl groups influenced their take on new wave.
Across the 39 tracks there is also a welcome place for ‘Freakin Out’, another stormer from mid 1970s Detroit trio Death, and among our other highlights is the Tom Verlaine guitars on the intro to ‘Man Enough To Be A Woman’, by Jayne County.
There’s some familiar tracks ‘Suffragette City’ by David Bowie, ‘In The Street’ by Big Star and ‘Zig Zag Wanderer’ by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, but it is the obscurities that make this compilation such a stand out for us. ‘Children of the Sun’ by The Misunderstood and ‘The Story Of My Life’ by The Unrelated Segments are among our obscure highlights.
Also worth noting is the influence of reggae on punk. It is ‘Police and Thieves’ by Junior Marvin, which was later covered by The Clash, that is the welcome inclusion from the genre on this set.
As with any 39 track compilation it doesn’t all work. Jazz man Dizzy Gillespie’s style may have influenced punk, but his track ‘Bepop’ seems out of place here. The same can be said of The Silhouettes, who may have had a DIY approach to making music, but the barber shop track ‘Headin’ For The Poorhouse’ doesn’t quite work on this compilation.
These are small criticisms though. Dirty Water is fast turning into one of the best set of compilations around and we look forward to more obscurities being unearthed should a third volume be on the cards.
by Joe Lepper
See Also: Dirty Water: The Birth of Punk Attitude.