Women And Captains First Import
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Digitally remastered and expanded edition of the eccentric British Punk popstar's 1982 debut solo album featuring six bonus tracks including one previously unreleased track from the Captain's own archives. Captain Sensible was a founding member of legendary Punk band The Damned. Whilst still a member of The Damned, he signed a solo deal with A&M Records. In June 1982, he reached #1 in the UK with a cover of Roger's and Hammerstein's 'Happy Talk' from the musical South Pacific (included here). The album also includes the follow up hit singles 'Wot' and 'Croydon'. Cherry Red. 2009.
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If the reissue was just the album proper it would be worth the purchase. However the bonus tracks, mostly b-sides except for one unissued song, add value here as they show a wider picture of Sensible's musical POV. "It" is a slight piece, mainly Captain thanking people for buying the "Happy Talk" single followed by an invitation to all to think about the same thing (a few seconds of silence, then Sensible saying "Great!"). The next piece, "I Can't Stand It", is terrific, a Merseybeat/punk number that Sensible recorded in his bedroom with guitars and a cheap drum machine. It wouldn't have fit on either Women and Captains First or the contemporary Damned release, Strawberries, but it's a fine number that has been deservedly resurrected here. A funny ending, as well, as he noodles on guitar to an indefinite conclusion, then the tape breaks up, followed by the reverb to the last note of "Happy Talk". Just as fascinating is "Strawberry Dross", the b-side of "Wot?". This is a collection of unfinished scraps of songs, all anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds in length, that run the gamut from guitar/drum machine raveups a la "I Can't Stand It", to piano instrumentals, to psych/folk hippy musings. There's also a running joke in that a few of the segments have Sensible saying "sounds great", apparently a reference to Chiswick Records head Roger Armstrong's standard response to the Damned while they were trying out songs for their Machine Gun Etiquette album. More wacky humor comes to the fore in "Damned On 45", a "Stars on 45" style disco medley of Damned and Sensible songs that hangs together better than you'd think. This is the one track here that's chronologically out of place, as it was the b-side of "Glad It's All Over" from the Power Of Love album, and probably should have been placed there. The disc finishes with Sensible paying tribute to two more of his childhood influences, "Jimi Hendrix's Strat" (b-side of "Croydon") and the previously unissued "Joe Meek".
If you like the Damned, or if you like circa 1982 synth pop and want to try something that falls more on the fringes of that style, give this disc a try. You'll get to hear one of the great maverick performers of the last 30 years. Nice interview with the man in the liner notes as well.