Scared to Dance
At last, a quality CD release for The Skids debut album which reached No. 19 in the UK charts when first released by Virgin in '79 and which now comes with eight bonus tracks. Includes the UK hit singles "Sweet Suburbia" (No.70), "The Saints Are Coming" (No. 48) and Uinta the Valley" (No. 10) as well as the ultra rare "Charles" EP. Booklet includes lyrics to all the songs, detailed liner notes and pictures of all of the relevant singles releases to give a deluxe package. As with all Captain Oil releases this will be sent to well over 100 fanzines and underground media and will also be serviced to the 'mainstream' rock press so expect some cracking reviews. CAPTAIN OI! 2005.
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If you like English protest punk, this is a must have. Along with TMTCH, the Alarm, and of course the Clash, the Skids gave voice to the working class kids ignored or left behind by the rise of Thatcherism.
Another highlight is Melancholy Soldiers, a brooding rocker where voice and guitar beautifully complement one another. The evocative imagery of the defiant Hope And Glory is delivered over an impressive display of guitar virtuosity. I love the droning effect of the guitars and the stabbing rhythms of Six Times, whilst the melancholy Calling The Tune sounds like a negative, despairing U2 and Integral Plot has a lovely tune around which the vocals and guitars lovingly embrace.
Charles is another gem of this great album, a potent protest song that is melodic and poetic. This re-issue has been enhanced by extra tracks which include the single version of Charles and other great moments like Test Tube Babies and Sweet Suburbia. This music is full of power and passion, an example of the magnificent rock that came out of the UK in the late 1970s. I also recommend Sweet Suburbia: The Best Of The Skids.
Sweet Suburbia: The Best of the Skids
Through a Big Country: Greatest Hits
Each of the four Skids albums were distinctly different from the others, and each represented a new stage in their journey that did not end well but had impressive landmarks along the way. This first one was the rawest, the most 'kinetic', (to use one of Richard Jobson's words), and closest to straight-ahead punk. It contains the recently-revived (by U2 and Green Day) "The Saints Are Coming", the famous "Into The Valley", and the iconic "Charles". The lyrics are impenetrable and pretentious but still probably mean something in the aggregate - war and death were Jobson's frequent preoccupations, and they get a full airing here - and Adamson's distinctive guitar sound appears more-or-less fully-formed on its first outing (The Edge has talked about how inspiring the sound of this album was for U2, and how they 'borrowed' the guitar sound in their first albums).
On stage, The Skids were even more 'kinetic' than their songs, but this album comes closest to capturing their energy. Scared to Dance is a terrific album that refuses to age.