David Quantick wrote for the NME for about 15 years, invented the phrase "pop will eat itself", became a comedy writer, and now writes for The Word, Uncut and Harry Hill's TV Burp. He has liked the music that Ace puts out since for ever.
The Cadets meet The Jacks
Doo wop was what happened when young black Americans wanted to be The Ink Spots but were too excited; and this collection of songs by The Cadets, who were also The Jacks, is the perfect illustration of that. Vocal harmoes and songs like Fools Rush In are overwhelmed by quaking energy and witty early rock’n’roll. The title track – famously covered by the New York Dolls – is one of the funniest and most exciting singles of all time.
Back in the “day”, you couldn’t go into the Rock On shop without hearing Taylor’s Brand New Cadillac (especially after The Clash covered it) and this compilation explains why. Taylor, UK-born and LA-raised, came home after hearing Tommy Steele and realising that Steele was what Brits thought rock and roll was. After that, he transformed rock’n’roll, making it sexy and weird, invented David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust is, literally, based on Taylor), went mad on LSD and recorded the very strange title track to this great collection of rock madness brilliance.
Lemmy’s 1960s background in the near-garage Rockin Vickers makes Motorhead’s debut one of the least heavy metal rock albums ever. Sadly, his version of the Birds’ version of Eddie Holland’s Leaving Here is absent, but a great Train Kept A-Rollin’, a fantastic White Line Fever and the awesome title track (“moving like a parallelogram”) explain why this is my favourite Motorhead album.
McLain’s keening voice and Louisiana roots combined to make Sweet Dreams become the highlight of the great Another Saturday Night compilation, but there’s so much more here. Before I Grow Too Old, covered by Joe Strummer, is a beautiful, wistful song in which McLain sings of travelling the world and meeting lots of women, in a voice which suggests he never will. Elsewhere, his love of Fats Domino is highlighted, and, really, that’s it. A great singer.
Recorded at a time when The Damned were punk hasbeens, Machine Gun Etiquette not only named a cool Japanese band (the Machine Gun Elephant) but also turned them into a hit singles act (the great Love Song, the greater Smash It Up) and established them as a real band. Vanian’s horror songs, Sensible’s insane riffing, Scabies’ drums, and above all a coherent Roger Armstrong production all worked together to produce a record as good as London Calling or Never Mind The Bollocks.
Hot Hits And Hot Ones, Is This The Way That You get Your High?
Psych / Garage
I heard Dirty Water when the Inmates did it, and it was OK. Then I heard the Standells do it and that was better. And then I heard Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White. Good Lord. The Standells are the perfect example of an American band who thought the Rolling Stones were sleazier than the Rolling Stones thought they were, and made the greasiest, roughest, singles ever. Of course, they also made great soul garage records and even some daft pop songs, but this set sees them sticky and nasty like a biker’s comb.
He has songs – Anna and You Better Move On – on the first Beatles and the first Rolling Stones albums. He wrote A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues. He wrote Every Day I Have To Cry. He was Arthur Alexander, who I’d argue is r’n’b in one man, with the earthy bounce of Stax and the hurt brilliance of Smokey Robinson, all in one voice. His songs sound like Motown and country, and rock’n’roll, and soul, and everything, all at once. His lack of fame is mystifying, but here you have all his early brilliance. Beautiful.
The Nips and Nipple Erectors
I used to go into the shop where Shane MacGowan works and buy unreleased Nipple Erectors singles off the shop’s owner, Stan Brennan, who produced those songs. I loved the Nips from the night I saw them supported Dexy’s, and when one night Pogue Mahone did King Of The Bop, I was very happy. Now I am friends with Shanne, also a former Nip, and was at the 100 Club when the Nips did a one off show. Even without all those things, I’d still love this band’s unique mixture of rockabilly and r’n’b, the new wave’s answer to Van Morrison’s Them.
Another Saturday Night
Of all the compilations that Ace has released, this is the one. It single-handedly introduced not only Cajun, but the whole world of New Orleans and Louisiana music to the world. Tommy McLain I’ve mentioned, but here also is the great Promised Land by Johnny Allen, a song which is one of the rare Chuck Berry covers to out-Chuck Chuck. Every track here is like a telegram from another planet, only you can dance to them, and cry, and drink little glasses of bourbon. Wonderful