In the past few years 'Junk shop glam' has become one of the more interesting and fun developments in record collecting. 'What is junk shop glam?' I hear you ask? Good question and time for a little history lesson! While Sweet, Slade, T- Rex, Gary Glitter and Suzi Quatro were raking in the dough, monopolizing the singles charts in the early to mid-70's, there was believe it or not an underground scene of glam rock do-it-yourselfers releasing singles on their own or on small indie labels and developing their own local scenes. Sounds kind of like the punk rock circa 1976, or even the NWOBHM don't it? Yeah, and what's more interesting - junk shop glam pre dates punk rock, something that has been written out of most popular music histories with most elitist critics preferring to think of glam rock as David Bowie, New York Dolls and Roxy Music, treating Sweet and Slade as insignificant tripe, completely unaware that there were several underground bands wearing glitter and platforms that worshiped at the feet of Brian Connelly, critics be damned.
The British label RPM Records have culled several of these classic and in many cases extremely difficult to find singles on one CD. Now, I am not a huge fan of compilations and I only have about half a dozen in my collection. In my opinion compilations are often a mixed bag, thrown together without much thought, often containing an overlap of easily available material and in most cases make for an unsatisfying listen. Not so with 'Velvet Tinmine' since every track here is uniformly excellent, giving the listener a good overview of this relatively unknown scene. Yes, some of the groups owe quite a bit to the glam rock leaders of the day, in particular Iron Virgin, Hello and The Plod whose infectious hard rock could have certainly given Sweet and Silverhead a run for their money but there is some delightfully odd gems found here like the Stavely Makepeace instrumental 'Slippery Rock 70's' and Tartan Horde's wonderful 'Bay City Rollers We Love You' featuring none other than pop and new wave guru Nick Lowe. Arrows 'Toughen Up' will be of interest to GD readers since it features future Runner guitarist Alan Merrill with a power pop styled track and probably the least 'glam' tune on the disc. Flame's 'Big Wheel Turning' with its odd androgynous vocals, pompy keys and BTO influenced guitar riffs is something to behold, while Washington Flyers 'The Comets Are Coming' is nothing less than two and a half minutes of pure pop genius.
If you hadn't already guessed I love this style and period of music and 'Velvet Tinmine' receives my highest recommendation! Kudos to RPM for making this available and if this disc is not enough, check out the second volume 'Boobs The Junkshop Glam Discotheque' featuring Ice Cream, Hot Rod, Angel (no, not those guys! Irish band produced by Sweet's Andy Scott!), Hector, Light Fantastic and many others. If, after the glittery aural assault of these two disc does not satisfy your cravings and you are still interested in digging deeper into junk shop glam, there are plenty of singles that have not yet made it to disc by Giggles (who toured with Sweet), Merlin, Screemer, Zappo(Kim Wilde's father no less!) and Hot Rocks as well as countless who flew the glitter and glam rock flag proudly!
01 Iron Virgin - Rebels Rule
02 Hello - Another School Day
03 Warwick - Let's Get The Party Going
04 The Damned - Morning Bird
05 Sisters - Kick Your Boots Off
06 Flame - Big Wheel Turning
07 Arrows - Toughen Up
08 Crunch - Lets Do It Again
09 Bearded Lady - Rock Star
10 Simon Turner - (Baby) I Gotta Go
11 Brett Smiley - Va Va Va Voom
12 Shakane - Love Machine
13 Washington Flyers - The Comets Are Coming
14 Stavely Makepeace - Slippery Rock 70's
15 The Plod - Neo City
16 Ricky Wilde - I Wanna Go To A Disco
17 Tartan Horde - Bay City Rollers We Love You
18 Big Wheel - Shake A Tail
19 Fancy - Wild Thing
20 Tubthumper - Kick Out The Jams
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