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The Boys - The Boys...On Safari (Captain Oi!/ Cherry Red Records)

21 September 2020

Punk is escapism into reality. That’s what separates it from other genres, nothing is sugar coated, and since the first clatter of nasty chords the message was always clear. In the States, the Ramones, the Dolls and the Dictators lit up the New York skyline. On the other side of the Atlantic the same mission statement was thrown forth by this band, The Boys. An outfit born from the ashes of the Hollywood Brats and the revolving door act, the London SS. They became the galvanizing glue as the UK pub rock of Dr. Feelgood moved towards the incendiary sound of the Clash. Indeed, The Boys were the first UK punk band to get a record deal. While the list of aforementioned bands might seem like an exaggeration, there is no denying the importance or influence of The Boy. 

All that brings us nicely on to this five disc set, The Boys…On Safari. A set which captures the releases by the band from ’79 onwards on the now defunct Safari Records label. The set includes To Hell With The Boys, Boys Only, a disc of demos, The Yobs Christmas Album (Boys Anagram), and finally a live set recorded at the BBC. In total a whopping 71 tracks remastered by Matt Dangerfield, who also provides the liner notes. All this is a proper retrospective of The Boys final lash of creativity. Like the band themselves these releases are worth exploring. The mastering does breathe a new life into the recordings, and these are albums that were in dire need of an audio polish. 




To Hell With The Boys is perhaps their strongest album after the self-titled debut. Both indie chart hits “Kamikaze”, and “Terminal Love” appear fresh, retaining their original glorious impact. The disc of Demos is exceptional. It is the essence of the band in a raw, incendiary form. Across the 22 tracks there is a mix of both To Hell With The Boys, and Boys Only represented respectively. A comparison perhaps with the Pistols Spunk release is not that much of a stretch. For example the track “Jap Junk” is utterly explosive and chugs along wonderfully. Here the listener gets eight unreleased demos plus those rare ‘B’ sides. On the other hand, the x-rated Christmas Album is fun, pure and simple. It is a rapid, run through of well loved Christmas numbers, kicked in the head with a Doc Martin boot.



Similarly to the Disc of demos, the fifth and final inclusion, the live sessions, are excellent. From “First Time”, a pin is pulled on a grenade of exceptional music. This box set comes closer to a time capsule experience, a moment in music captured for eternity. What is also worthwhile noting is that The Boys are still very active on the live circuit. The initial band of Dangerfield, Casino Steel, Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid, Honest John Plain, and Jack Black went their separate ways in 1982 shortly after the release of Boys Only. But, in 2014 they followed these recordings up with Punk Rock Menopause with ⅗’s of the original lineup, and have become regulars on the touring scene since. 

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TRACK LISTING:
DISC ONE
TO HELL WITH THE BOYS

1. SABRE DANCE
2. RUE MORGUE
3. TERMINAL LOVE
4. SEE YA LATER
5. YOU CAN’T HURT A MEMORY
6. KAMIKAZE
7. LONELY COWBOY
8. WAITING FOR THE LADY
9. BAD DAY
10. INDEPENDENT GIRL

DISC TWO
BOYS ONLY

1. WEEKEND
2. WRONG ARM OF THE LAW
3. POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL
4. MONOTONY
5. NOTHING VENTURED
6. WONDERFUL WORLD
7. SCRUBBER
8. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED
9. GABRIELLE
10. MISS YOU
11. LITTLE WHITE LIFELINE
12. LET IT RAIN

DISC THREE
RARITIES

1. SCHOOLGIRLS
2. JAP JUNK (1979 DEMO)
3. SEE YOU LATER
(1978 DEMO)
4. CRY TOMORROW
(1979 DEMO)
5. LOVE IN PAIN (1979 DEMO)
6. SCHOOLDAYS (1979 DEMO)
7. YOU CAN GIVE IT
(1979 DEMO)
8. TERMINAL LOVE
(ORIGINAL TO HELL MIX)
9. RUE MORGUE
(ORIGINAL TO HELL MIX)
10. KAMIKAZE
(SINGLE VERSION)
11. TERMINAL LOVE
(SINGLE VERSION)
12. I LOVE ME
13. YOU’D BETTER MOVE ON
14. WALK MY DOG
15. JIMMY BROWN
16. LITTLE RUNAROUND
(1980 BOYS ONLY DEMO)
17. WEEKEND
(1980 BOYS ONLY DEMO)
18. LET IT RAIN
(1980 BOYS ONLY DEMO)
19. NOTHING VENTURED
(1980 BOYS ONLY DEMO)
20. WRONG ARM OF THE LAW
(1980 BOYS ONLY DEMO)
21. COOL
22. LUCY

DISC FOUR
THE YOBS CHRISTMAS ALBUM

1. RUB A DUM DUM
2. THE BALLAD OF THE WARRINGTON
3. ANOTHER CHRISTMAS
4. DOGGY
5. JINGLE BELLS
6. AULD LANG SYNE
7. SILENT NIGHT
8. SILVER BELLS
9. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S
10. GLORIA
11. TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
12. WHITE CHRISTMAS
13. WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
14. MAY THE GOOD LORD BLESS & KEEP YOU
BONUS TRACKS
15. RUB A DUM DUM (SINGLE VERSION)
16. ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (SINGLE VERSION)
17. YOBS ON 45

DISC FIVE
BBC IN CONCERT 1980

1. FIRST TIME
2. RUE MORGUE
3. YOU’D BETTER MOVE ON
4. KAMIKAZE
5. COP CARS
6. NEW GUITAR IN TOWN
7. BRICKFIELD NIGHTS
8. WORM SONG
9. TERMINAL LOVE
10. LIVIN’ IN THE CITY