Wild Billy Childish &<br />the Musicians of the British Empire
Title: Punk Rock at the British Legion Hall
Catalogue Number: Damaged Goods DAMGOOD281LP
Review Format: LP
Release Year: 2007
Great Britain as a country has more than its fair share of eccentrics. Everybody knows their name (at least when they are trendy, anyway) but they never seem to get the rewards of fame. Yet somehow they manage to survive without lawyers, accountants and Bentleys. Billy Childish is one such eccentric. Not only a musician but also and artist and a poet, he has been around for more years than Bluesbunny can actually count. His current musical incarnation is called Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire and features Nurse Julie and Wolf Howard to assist him in the musical exorcism of our collective consciousness.
It's a rant by any other name but "Joe Strummer's Grave" kicks the album off with an almighty bang. The world has been sold to Rupert Murdoch and nobody listens, or indeed cares, anymore. Britain is full of hate but "… the shopping centres are open late". You might have guessed by now that the spirit of punk lives on in that song. Somewhat more upbeat - in both mood and lyrics - in a Shangri-La's meet the Slits way is "Date with Doug" that mixes grungy guitars with Nurse Julie's deadpan delivery to great effect. "Bugger the Buffs" is a less than whimsical look at celebrity and "Dandylion Clock" is actually a quality piece of pop disguised as Sham 69 style punk. "Unfold Me" was considerably darker in tone twisting the effect that people in our past have on our personality into a grungy slice of anguish. It would make a great country song although we doubt if Nashville could handle it these days. Our favourite was "Snack Crack" - an art punk attack on the consumer society and the triviality of modern existence. Well said, that man!
On the basis of this album, we have to say that Billy Childish is turning into a suitably grumpy old man. It is a very British thing to do and he does it well. However, he still has more energy than those half his age and that shows in the sparky performances. Bluesbunny listened to these songs (on glorious vinyl of course) and felt refreshed. As always, Billy Childish turns his anger and frustrations into great little songs and that is welcome therapy for all of us. Recommended as a cure for modern multinational music. Perhaps you could even get your doctor to prescribe it. It's medicinal.
December 30, 2007
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