Live & Rare: Vol 1 - Subway Sect


Subway Live & Rare

Subway Live & Rare

Live and Rare Vol 1 is the first in what will be an ongoing saga of releases, which will include live tracks, with an eclectic mix of line-ups, rare demos and some unexpected arrangements, from 1976 to the present.

The first two tracks were recorded by Jordi Valls, a Catalan abroad in London and featured in Jordi's exhibition at Arts Santa Monica Barcelona in 2010 'The London Punk Tapes'
The London Punk Tapes
15 July - 26 September 2010. In 1976 Catalan poet Jordi Valls travelled to London where he spent the next two years recording a new type of anarchic music known as punk. The city of London found itself playing a pivotal role in this rebellious, angry scene, generally associated with disaffected youth whose wild hairstyles drew considerable attention. Valls was not to know at the time but he was documenting the climax of a movement which proved both short-lived and self-destructive. (I found this at 'What's on in Milan??)

The CD starts in brutal fashion at a Night of Treason at the RCA November 5th 1976. Our first two gigs, in September and October '76, had gone ok and awful and the RCA gig was make or break time. We thought we played pretty well but obviously not well enough to keep Paul Packham interested, he left after a few more gigs to join the army. Our next drummer was Mark Laff, his first gig was at the Harlesden Coliseum, and after one tour (White Riot) he left to join Generation X.  Bob Ward joined and became the Sect’s mainstay on drums until his last gig at the Music Machine in 1980. He really enjoyed the new musical direction the Sect were taking from Punk to Northern Soul beats, in fact so much so that soon after he left to join Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

The next four tracks are by the line-up I most enjoyed singing live with- Sean McClusky, Chris Bostock, Rob Marche and David Collard. They made doing the Swing thing easy with their musical and vocal skills. Never a dull moment on tour with them!! There is some great crowd comment on the verse of Just in Time that we had to keep in, someone saying we're a bit boring and they should have gone to see Joy Division. There are probably better ive versions of Stamp of a Vamp but I like the trumpet and vocal where I’m trying to get away with being as lazy as is allowed. ( Post Sect this combo went on to become the Jo Boxers with Dig Wayne )

This 1996 version of George Blake Masterspy, the latest in a growing tradition of  Sect instrumentals, is a classic with a one off line up with Neil Palmer (Last Party) on drums, Edwyn Collins on slide guitar, Simon Rivers on rhythm guitar, Dan Ashkenazy on bass and Paul ‘Wizard’ Baker on keyboard and vocals ( all three from Bitter Springs),  turning in superb performances. GBM came out on the album Long Term Side Effects. 
Nasty Man is one of those songs that crops up in a live Sect set every once in a while but, while it always gets a good reception, it seems somehow to have slipped through the net as far as recording goes, so I thought we’d include this version with the Leopards (members of the Creeping Bent stable- ), Pete Saunders and Wizard-a line up blended together for this one gig at the LSE, with some blistering guitar from Mick Slaven.

The Bitter Springs- (Simon Rivers lead guitar/vocal, Paul McGrath drums, Dan Ashkenazy bass, Paul ‘Wizard’ Baker keyboard, etc, Nick Brown guitar/tambourine and Phil Martin violin/ukelele) did many turns as the live Subway Sect from the late nineties for about eight years. Over that time we included about nine songs in the set from the Irvine Welsh collaboration ‘Blackpool-the Musical’. We recorded several tracks – the four best, Blackpool, Hand Jobs, the Sewer Song and the Working Class Song, came out in 2010 as an epcd on gnu inc- our own micro label. I hope to finish recording the rest of the songs and releasing day. One of the best, unreleased numbers is The Wedding Song with Wizard on drums. Wizard moved back to his keyboard for the laid back Dylanesque rendition of Ambition. After some in depth research by our latter day musical chroniclers Lee Mcfadden and Tracey Holloway, we discovered the two tracks from Brentford Stripes Bar were recorded by Andy Driver of Fishwife's Broadside -

La Maison ou J’ai Grandi  came via Celentano/ Francoise Hardy and the Wet Dog Sect. A rare demo, one of only four recorded with this line up- Leigh Curtis, Sophie Politowicz, Becka Gillerion and Paul ‘Trigger’ Williams.

Of all the songs I have done with the Bitter Springs the ones I most enjoy performing with them are Blackpool, recorded here at St Aloysius Social (as well as many other venues over the years) by Lee Mcfadden-a great way to end Live and Rare, and Hand Jobs, which will be in Vol 2, also courtesy of Lee.

Vic , December 2011.

Live and Rare Vol 1, Blackpool epcd and We Come as Aliens vinyl are all available from me via the website:

Order HERE now.