9 Jul 2012

The Rivals - First Ever Sessions CD review

The Rivals, First Ever Session 78 & Demos. 1977 Records (link)

Having had a very worn out tape of The Rivals for years, i was looking forward to getting this CD. The previous CD "If Only" puts together all the best known Rivals tracks and has been in my player for ages so was really excited when this dropped thru the letter box.

So what we have is a collection of twelve tracks which show The Rivals at their best and rawest. the first seven tracks compromise the Session 78 part of this CD compilation.
Two Of the tracks, live favourites Bastard Blues and American Faces are vastly different versions than appeared on "If Only". Paul singing Bastard Blues instead of Mark, with a sneering dont care attitude that epitomised what punk was all about. Superb.
The CD opens with Outward Bound and its long instrumental begining which was quite novel for a punk band at the time. Marks unique guitar style cutting thru most of the track and quite an excellent intro showing what good musicians The Rivals realy were
Waiting For The Dead was a title i didn't know but soon realised that it had a different title on the tape i had where it was called Good Friends. Next the aforementioned American Faces swiftly followed by Evil Place which i feel was missing from If Only.
Following Bastard Blues is Saturdays Anthem with its huge triple guitar onslaught at the begining and dual vocal throughout followed swiftly by Never Sixteen, teenage angst spread all over it.
The next 5 tracks are from the original demo tape the exceedingly rare Fatal Strips cassette. The track listing here is slightly misleading as track eleven is listed on the cover as Hideaway (the correct title) but listed on the CD as Happy Days (and listed on my tape as Just A Game).
The wonderfully childish Schooldays is on here complete with hilariously childish intro as is the equally childish Roll Over Mary Whitehouse.
Essential listening and nice to hear the tracks without the tape hiss, wow and flutter

I dont know if this CD is available in the Uk or even Europe - my copy came from Japan with a free Rivals badge of the front cover.

Bloody expensive for 32 minutes but a must have for any Rivals fans out there.

Note to The Rivals.
If there are any more unearthed Rivals gems you may want to get out there please dont opt for a Japan only release. Get in touch and im sure we can do something.

Live Rivals would be excellent

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