Sound City Beat has been a project that I’ve been very familiar with over the past year plus. I had met the Radiator’s Philip Chevron in March of last year when he was in Boston gigging with his other band to discuss Shite’n’Onions doing the US release of the Rad’s 3rd album – TROUBLE PILGRIM. He had given me a heads up on what the Rad’s were already planning for their 4th album – a collection of covers of Irish rock/beat groups for the mid 60’s to early 70s ranging from tracks from the legendary (Van Morrison’s Them, Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher’s Taste) to the long, long forgotten (Sugar Shack, Blue Ace’s, The Creatures) – the primordial soup era of Irish rock if you will.
Now, while it would be pretty easy for a band as good as the Radiators to knock out the 18 tracks here on SCB and call it a tribute or a history lesson but not so as the boys have obviously spent a tremendous amount of time on picking the right track from each band covered as opposed to picking the bleeding obvious, so that each song on the album flows effortlessly into the next and almost to the point where the listener could be convinced into believing that SCB is an album of originals. How does it sound? While the songs are true to the origins, whether beat/garage/ psychedelic/folk rock or even pure pop but dragged through ’77 for the attitude and snarl and reborn into the 21s century yet still as fresh as it was ’67.
Sound City Beat is out on the legendary Chiswick Records and the Radiators are joined by Henry McCullough (the only Irish man to play Woodstock and who was Paul McCartney’s guitar man for years) who add licks on the version of Eire Apparent’s – Yes, I Need Someone – Henry was Eire Apperent’s guitar player but unfortunately got booted from the band prior to their debut album being recorded with Jimi Hendrix twiddling the knobs – so a nice opportunity to complete some unfinished business for Henry. Also joining the Rad’s is Terry Woods, Philips mate from his other long time gig and Eamon Carr drummer from Horslips who does the spoken word portion of Thin Lizzy”s Dublin….which makes a decent lead into The Lady Wrestler, the long lost, should have been Horslips debut single but was never released that spiritually closes the albums – my involvement with the Radiators came about trying to compile a Horslips tribute (which is still ongoing) and the offer of the band to cover The Lady Wrestler. While never really a beat group it seems to fit the album and symbolically close out the era in the same way the Johnny’s Wedding, Horslips debut single was the beging of the new era of Irsh rock….and rest is history
Not a Pogues album, not a punk album but something that anyone interest in Rock music from Ireland (or just an interest in perfectly performed though uncompromising rock’n’roll) should own.