Monday, November 28, 2022

The Pirates - Shakin' With The Devil / The Best Of The Pirates (1977-79 uk, powerful tough boogie roots 'n' roll pub rock, 2011 double disc digi pak)

Legendary UK music scribe Mick Farren once defied anyone to name two guitarists who could out-cut Mick Green and his battered Fender Telecaster, having just witnessed his band The Pirates in full throttle at the height of punk. The trio, also comprising bassist/singer Johnny Spence and brick shithouse drummer Frank Farley, had brazenly reunited during tumultuous 1977 having first played together behind cutlass-brandishing Brit-rock’n’roller Johnny Kidd. That early 70s incarnation laid down the acknowledged template for any power trio line-up that followed, with Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson unashamedly homaging Green’s jaw-dropping lead-rhythm combination.

Embraced by both musicians and punk crowds, The Pirates laid waste to the nation’s gig circuit. In between times, they managed to capture their live mix of punk-shot compositions such as All In It Together and their own rock’n’roll classics on three albums (Out Of Their Skulls, Skull Wars and Happy Birthday Rock’n’Roll), catalysed by renowned back-to-basics producer Vic Maille.

The trio split after record company disinterest and Green’s elevation to session royalty, before his sad death in 2010. This rampant double-disc set of album highlights, plus outtakes, jingles and incendiary live workouts, pays suitable tribute, with added annotation by veteran journalist Roy Carr.
by Kris Needs, 07 September 2011

When Mick Green died in January 2010 a month short of his 66th birthday after a long illness, British music lost one of its best known session musicians.

Green spent the 1980s and 1990s touring the world and recording with Paul McCartney, Bryan Ferry and Van Morrison, but will always perhaps be best known as the guitarist in the early 60’s rock ‘n’ roll group Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.

By the time Green joined the Pirates in early 1962, shortly after Johnny Spence (bass guitar) and Frank Farley (drums), both of whom he had grown up with him in Wimbledon in South London, Kidd, another Londoner, had already had his biggest hit with a previous incarnation of the group and the 1960 number one hit, ‘Shakin’ All Over’.  

The Green-Spence-Farley line-up of the Pirates, however, remains the definitive version of the band.  Green’s fiery guitar work and ability to play the lead guitar and rhythm guitar simultaneously was an influence on both the Who’s Pete Townshend and Wilko Johnson, the guitarist with Dr Feelgood. They also became a very visual act, having an effect on both Alice Cooper and Adam and the Ants. Kidd, who wore an eye patch over his eye, would wave about a cutlass on stage, and he and his band, all of whom wore nineteenth century pirate costumes, would perform in front of a huge backdrop of a pirate galleon.

Green left Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in 1964 to join Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, while Spence and Farley stayed on with Kidd until in early 1966. In 1976, ten years after Kidd was tragically killed in a car accident later on in 1966 and shortly after forming another incarnation of his band, the New Pirates, Mick Green, Johnny Spence and Frank Farley reformed, calling themselves the Pirates. 

The Pirates’ swaggering and raucous brand of rock ‘n’ roll made them an instant success on their native London live circuit and was embraced by the punk movement. The trio, who continued to wear pirate attire on stage, signed a deal with Warner Brothers with whom they released two albums, their half live, half studio-recorded debut ‘Out of Their Skulls’ (1977) and its follow-up, ‘Skull Wars’ (1978), before moving to independent label Cube Records to release their third album, ‘Happy Birthday Rock ‘n’ Roll’ (1979).

They broke up in 1982, but Green and Spence from 1999 continued to play together sporadically as the Pirates, eventually without Farley who retired from live work due to ill health in 2005, and recorded a last studio album, ‘Skullduggery’, together in 2006.

2011 has seen a release of two disc, fifty two track box set, ‘Shakin with the Devil-the Best of the Pirates 1977-1979’, which has come out on the reissue label Salvo Music, and, beautifully packaged, contains the first three studio albums and also rare and unreleased tracks.
by John Clarkson, 27/10/2011
Disc 1
1. 'Out Of Their Skulls' LP radio promo spot - 0:34
2. Please Don't Touch (Frederick Heath, Guy Robinson) - 2:22
3. I Can Tell (Ellis McDaniels, Samuel Smith) - 2:28
4. Linda Lu (Intro) - 0:20
5. Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini) - 2:18
6. Lonesome Train (Glen Moore, Milton Subotsky) - 3:07
7. Shakin' All Over (Frederick Heath) - 2:33
8. Honey Hush (Willie Turner) - 2:09
9. Milk Cow Blues (Kokomo Arnold) - 3:31
10.Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee ("Stick" McGhee, J. Mayo Williams) - 2:58
11.Sweet Love On My Mind (Wayne Walker, Webb Pierce) - 3:21
12.Do The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 2:40
13.Gibson Martin Fender (Mick Green) - 3:31
14.Don't Munchen It (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:37
15.That's The Way You Are (Mick Green) - 2:44
16.You Don't Own Me (Alan Lancaster, Mick Green) - 2:48
17.'Skull Wars' LP radio promo spot - 0:34
18.Long Journey Home (Mick Green, Roy Carr) - 3:43
19.Dr Feelgood (Curtis Smith) - 1:58
20.All In It Together (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:15
21.Johnny B Goode's Good (Mick Green) - 2:26
22.Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry) - 4:05
23.I'm Talking About You (Chuck Berry) - 3:02
24.I'm In Love Again (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 3:11
25.Voodoo (Mick Green) - 2:32
26.Four To The Bar (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:51
27.Honey Hush (Willie Turner) - 2:26
28.Diggin' My Potatoes (Traditional) - 3:37
29.Shake Hands With The Devil (Johnny Spencer, Mick Green) - 3:28
Tracks 2-16 from "Out Of Their Skulls" 1977
Tracks 18-29 from "Skull Wars" 1978
Disc 2
1. Shakin' All Over (Frederick Heath) - 2:59
2. Saturday Night Shoot Out (Mick Green, Roy Carr) - 3:57
3. The Witch Queen of New Orleans (Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) - 3:08
4. Lonesome Train (Glen Moore, Milton Subotsky) - 3:01
5. All By Myself (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 1:42
6. Sweet Love On My Mind (Wayne Walker, Webb Pierce) - 3:18
7. Gibson Martin Fender (Mick Green) - 3:39
8. Don't Munchen It (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:34
9. Linda Lu (Ray Sharpe) - 3:38
10.Tear It Up (Dorsey Burnette, Johnny Burnette, Paul Burlison) - 3:33
11.You Can't Sit Down (Cornell Clark, Delicta Muldrow, Kal Mann) - 3:07
12.Hey Mary (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:33
13.Golden Oldies (Mick Green) - 3:34
14.Alarmer (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:57
15.Lady (Put The Light On Me) (Phil Wainman, John Kenneth Goodison) - 3:47
16.Happy Birthday Rock'n'Roll (Mick Green, Pete Cage) - 4:53
17.Going Back Home (Mick Green, Wilko Johnson) - 3:14
18.Lemonade (Mick Green) - 2:52
19.1:30, 2:30, 3:35 (Neville Crozier) -2:40
20.Hard Ride (Mick Green, Alan Lancaster) - 3:20
21.Mercy Pirate (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:33
22.Hard Sell - 4:33
23.All By Myself (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 1:44 
Tracks 1-10 from "Skull Wars" 1978
Tracks 11-23 from "Happy Birthday Rock 'N' Roll" 1979

The Pirates
*Mick Green - Guitar, Vocals
*Frank Farley - Drums, Vocals 
*John Spencer Louts - Bass, Vocals 

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