# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Various - Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the 70s

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 13 / 7 / 2020

Various - Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the 70s
Label: Cherry Red Records
Format: CD Box


Excellent and exhaustive Cherry Red box set celebrates the under-rated era of ‘70s UK pub rock

The short-lived, influential London pub rock scene is usually overshadowed by other ‘70s music scenes that came before and after, especially punk and post-punk. There were some survivors into that era, such as the mercurial Elvis Costello and The Vibrators (not featured here), but pub rock on its own has not yet received the rock history attention it deserves. This is a shame, because it produced quite a lot of amazing music, despite many of the bar bands from the time not recording anything. Surrender to the Rhythm is a very welcome retrospective of this era. Bless the Cherry Red team for putting in such excellent work on the 48-page booklet for this box set. The first CD contains psychedelic and rockabilly precursors to pub rock, close harmonies, hard-edged R&B, and songs that qualify as novelty or even vaudeville, which provide a historical context for what became identifiable rootsy pub rock by the time of titans Dr. Feelgood, Dave Edmunds, Graham Parker, and Thin Lizzy. The second CD shows the genre’s further evolution: ‘60s rock ('I Ain’t Got You' by the Count Bishops, 'Shakin’ All Over' by the Pirates), soul, blues, pub sing-alongs (Chas & Dave), early stirrings of punk ('Jailbreaker' by the Razorbacks, 'Keys to Your Heart' by Joe Strummer’s pre-Clash the 101’ers), and the kind of barrelhouse/boogie woogie piano that Jools Holland gleefully plays. Pub rock was concurrent with early disco, so it’s not surprising that some elements of dance music seep in. At first glance the choice of songs, 'Back to School Days', to represent Graham Parker and the Rumour seemed like an odd one. There are better songs from Graham Parker, even from the album the song was originally on ('Howlin’ Wind'). But the live version here with the Rumour is nothing short of wonderful. My only real complaint is that throwaway 'Schoolgirl Funk' (Strapp) should have been reserved for a compilation of songs with creepy, tasteless lyrics. The vast majority of tracks are a fun, high-energy joy, especially “'Have You Seen My Baby?' (Steve Ellis), 'Dirty Water' (The Inmates), 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' (The Jess Roden Band), 'Cheque Book' (Legend), 'Surrender to the Rhythm' (Brinsley Schwarz), 'Ain’t Nobody Owns Nobody’s Soul' (Clover), 'Bedsit Girl' (Chris Spedding), and 'Loud Music' (Streetband). With a nicely struck balance between lesser-known gems and top notch favourites, 'Surrender to the Rhythm 'is a good investment as well as a starting point for further exploration.

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