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Wayne County & The Electric Chairs - The Safari Years (Cherry Red Records)

29 October 2020

Before anyone did anything, Wayne County had done it all. Forming the first proto-punk band Queen Elizabeth in 1972, followed by Wayne County And The Backstreet Boys, and then this band in 1977, Wayne County And The Electric Chairs. Of course the influence of Wayne can be felt through music then, and still today, laying the foundations for the Ramones, Patti Smith, along with forging the ideas picked up by Lou Reed and even David Bowie. Nowadays however, Wayne is known as Jayne County, another side of the inspiring fearlessness this artist has shown. 

There is no discounting the music Wayne County created, which is what makes this four disc set something extremely worthwhile, and indispensable. Between 1977-79, Wayne County And The Electric Chairs released four albums of material on the now defunct Safari label. Three studio releases, and one live set. That itself displays the work rate of the outfit, therefore the contents of this set, 57 tracks, are the go-to retrospective for this revolutionary outfit. 




The first disc, and first release is the The Electric Chairs from ’77. At the height of Punk, this album exploded on the scene. Recorded in London, these albums never saw the light of day in County’s home country. Instead, lapped up by European audiences. The sound of The Electric Chairs is a combination of New York Noise Rock mixed with Glam. Featuring such blasts as “Rock And Roll Resurrection” and the ode to County’s playground “Max’s Kansas City”. Though here it sounds remarkably energetic and more alive than previous reissues, but the trove of outtakes begins here with an additional eight tracks. Which included The Electric Chairs and Wayne County anthem “Fuck Off”, with a young Jools Holland on piano. 



The second disc is the more satisfying Storm The Gates Of Heaven. Produced by the late Martin Birch (Iron Maiden), the album is closer to The Electric Chairs’ live sound. Containing again another staple of Jayne County’s original mission statement “Man Enough To Be A Woman”. The album remains an exceptional listen, but low on bonus material with only two added tracks. Still it is a quality recording. Moving on to the third disc, and the ’79 album Things Your Mother Never Told You. This time produced by David Cunningham (The Flying Lizards), the album is a strong release, and includes the classic, haunting “Berlin” single, the real meat on the bone here is the bonus recordings. They include a  John Peel session from June of the same year, and it is an incendiary set. The four tracks are made up of “C.4”, “Waiting For The Marines”, and a third version of “Berlin”, the other is the album and bonus extended version. 



The fourth, and final disc is the cracking live album. Recorded on New Year’s Eve ’79 in The Edge, Toronto, it is a remarkable close to the decade. Rock And Roll Resurrection is a raw time capsule, a sonic, thrashy mix of explosive music and clever lyrics. This album sounds like the last hurrah to the Punk era. Upon its original release in 1980, Rock And Roll Resurrection managed to chart respectfully, and it wasn’t long before Wayne was no more and Jayne was born. 



All-in-all this is an exceptional set. Four albums that contain some of the best work by one of the most outrageous, and outspoken figures that ever graced CBGB’s. With a booklet included, that features liner notes by Record Collector’s Freek Kinkelaar, it is everything for the completist or newbie to indulge in. – “Rock me Jesus, roll me lord and wash me in the blood of rock and roll”.

TRACK LISTING
DISC ONE
ELECTRIC CHAIRS
1. EDDIE & SHEENA
2. BAD IN BED
3. HOT BLOOD
4. WORRY WART
5. 28 MODEL T
6. OUT OF CONTROL
7. MAX’S KANSAS CITY
8. ON THE CREST
9. PLAIN OF NAZCA
10. BIG BLACK WINDOW
11. TAKE IT
12. ROCK & ROLL RESURRECTION
BONUS TRACKS
13. FUCK OFF
14. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CLEOPATRA
15. NIGHT TIME
16. TOILET LOVE
17. MEAN MUTHA FUCKINMAN
18. OUT OF CONTROL (MONITOR MIX)
19. WORRY WART (MONITOR MIX)
20. ROCK & ROLL RESURRECTION
(MONITOR MIX)

DISC TWO
STORM THE GATES OF HEAVEN
1. STORM THE GATES OF HEAVEN
2. CRY OF ANGELS
3. SPEED DEMON
4. MR. NORMAL
5. MAN ENOUGH TO BE A WOMAN
6. TRYING TO GET ON THE RADIO
7. I HAD TOO MUCH TO DREAM LAST NIGHT
8. TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY
BONUS TRACKS
9. IT AIN’T HOW MUCH YOU GOT
10. EVIL MINDED MOMMA

DISC THREE
THINGS YOUR MOTHER NEVER TOLD YOU
1. WONDER WOMAN
2. WALL CITY GIRL
3. BOY WITH THE STOLEN FACE
4. UN-CON-TROLL-ABLE
5. THINGS (YOUR MOTHER NEVER TOLD YOU)
6. BERLIN
7. C3
8. MIDNIGHT PAL
9. WAITING FOR THE MARINES
10. THINK STRAIGHT
BONUS TRACKS
11. BERLIN (EXTENDED)
12. SO MANY WAYS
13. J’ATTENDS LES MARINES
JOHN PEEL SESSION 18.6.1979
14. MIDNIGHT PAL
15. C.4.
16. BERLIN
17. WAITING FOR THE MARINES

DISC FOUR
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RESURRECTION
1. NIGHT TIME
2. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CLEOPATRA
3. ARE YOU A BOY?
4. BAD IN BED
5. HANKY PANKY
6. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RESURRECTION
7. FUCKED BY THE DEVIL
8. CREAM IN MY JEANS
9. STUCK ON YOU
10. FUCK OFF

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