What’s A Review Worth?

One of the entertaining things about trawling through old music newspapers is clocking the reviews and seeing how off they so often are. Yep, that’s what reviews are worth – nothing. All too often the record they’ve sneered at goes on to become a classic of the time. These reviews from the NME, 11 March, 1978 include Werewolves Of London, Piss Factory and GLC getting snarked, each of ’em now much loved and thought of as amongst the best records of the time.
The reviewer is Monty Smith.

Patti Smith
Hey Joe (Version) (Sire)

Warpo Patti’s ‘version’ of “Hey Joe” seems to be about Patty Hearst spreading for a well-hung black revolutionary. Not too many laughs here, despite Tom Verlaine being on lead guitar. Seventy-three minutes of “Piss Factory” on the flip which we all love, or not. A grand, sweeping social commentary in the finest Zola tradition, in which all the characters wind up pregnant and get run over by a bus in the end.

Warren Zevon
Werewolves Of London Asylum (Asylum)

A jolly nonsense piece which appears to concern Chinese takeaways and those mutilation murders so popular amongst young californians. Nicely played, of course, but the sum total adds up to sweet FA. Nick Kent reckons the flip (“Tenderness On The Block”) but it all sounds the same to me – dead naff.

Johnny Paycheck
Take This Job And Shove It (Epic)

Hard ass country, well produced by Billy Sherrill, and a great shame that it doesn’t quite live up to that great title.

G.L.C. (Small Wonder)

“You hate it and the kids in the shop love it,” says Pete in his scribbled note from Small Wonder. I don’t hate it, I just think it’s funny: good ol’ headbanging-on-low-ceilings punk, the chorus (“GLC, GLC, GLC – you’re full of shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit” delivered so fast that the object of their ire comes across as Chelsea. Wotch it dahn the Shed, lads. If they’re serious, then this is a joke – but if it’s a parody, it’s brilliant, down to the rhyming of magistrate with masturbate and the ‘Fuk Orf The World’ etched next to the matrix number. Now look, let’s not get high-handed about this but so long as the Labour Party are in power then I don’t worry overmuch about petty bureaucrats in regional government. And if, as seems likely the Blue Rinsed Iron Maiden does emerge as a serious contender for Downing St, then I’ll leave it to the deeply felt chauvinism and influence of the working/unemployed man (remember the three day week?) to sort things out. Are we not men?

Hard Left’s Tim and Donna back from a trip to Small Wonder.


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