An album that I played a lot reviewed in Sounds, 10 November 1979.
‘Jellied Eels To Record Deals’
(Chrysalis CHR1213) *****
There’s nothing quite as nifty as a last minute winner,the 33-1 outsider who comes from nowhere in the last two furlongs to steam past the post a head and a half in front of the favourite and furnish you with beer money for a week.
Most people had the Buzzards marked down as no-hope outsiders, one hit wonders with a one way ticket on the tube back to Leyton, and I’ve gotta admit I wouldn’t have bet the rent money on ’em either. Neither, obviously, have Chrysalis ‘cos ‘Jellied Eels’ has got ‘cut-price’ stamped all over it.
It comes in cheapo packaging, consists of their singles, some Peel session stuff and some demos, and retails at four quid … but screw me with a rag man’s trumpet if that ain’t more to do with punk than 98 days with some flash yank producer in a posh recording studio.
And all packaging and rhetoric aside the album is a guaranteed, last minute winner diamiind in the rough, the Buzzards’ story so far told in 18 trumpeting tracks of noisy pop and sod the niceties.
Now you don’t need to be Bamber Gascoigne to work out where the Buzzards are coming from. All the influences of Mott, Clash, even Slade, are here for all to hear in a happy-go-lucky collection which probably explains why the band have found recognition so elusive. They were inspired by punk but fell by the popular wayside by refusing to toe any strict tribal stance.
The brace of excellent 45s included here illustrates their diversity well, from the hardcore punk anthem of ’19 And Mad’ (“won’t reach 20 and I don’t want to”) thru the slow credibility Kate ironies of ‘Art School’, the magnificent lightly-reggaed nostalgic toast to growing up to reggae of the ’69 kind in ‘Saturday Night’, the poppy ‘Hanging Around’, and the raucous New Wave Slade manifesto ‘We Make A Noise’.
Elsewhere we get shar young pop of ‘Land Of The Free’ and ‘Sharp Young Men’ (an obvious next single with Harley and Hunter vocal throwbacks); a stabbing reggae singalong in ‘British Justice’; silly covers like ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’, a Status Quo pisstake on ‘People On The Street’ and riproaring punkouts like ‘Mixed Marriages’ and ‘No Dry Ice And Flying Pigs’ – another catchy tongue-in-cheek manifesto.
Like Mott, the band write about themselves a lot, and possess a nice line in strory-telling as exemplified by the excellent ‘Greatest Story Ever Told’ which is a sort of biblical account of punk’s rise and demise (“right before my eyes I see my dreams destroyed with fire and brimstone”)
But if you wanna know what the Buzzards are about check out the lyrics to the great should-have-been-a-hit single ‘We Make A Noise: “The music climate’s turned against us so it seems/We’re full of East End promise but we’ve lost our dreams/Now everybody says we’re a noisy band/We’ve got a one-way ticket back to Garageland”.
My only niggle about the Buzzards is that I’ve come across them so late. But then again as that bloated Tory twat Winnie says in their ad: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”