SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewingTeenage Glampage – Can The Glam 2, 4CD Box Set

TEENAGE GLAMPAGE!  (Can  The Glam 2)    Various Artists

Released this Friday (17th( is this eagerly anticipated follow up to the original ‘Can The Glam’ compilation, as previously reviewed in these pages. With it being a critical & commercial success, the boys at 7T’s Records have trawled the archives to bring you this follow up 4CD box set featuring a further 80 tracks from the early to mid 70’s when Glam Rock reigned supreme. Featuring big hitters, the also ran, the obscure & a wedge of tracks making it onto CD for the first time. Roughly 4 hours of foot stomping that takes you back to those heady days of platform shoes, outrageous make-up, insistent drums & memories of my Dad looking askance at Steve Priest of Sweet on Top Of The Pops & muttering darkly ‘what is that?!’ Pouting lips, swastika armbands & glitter make up on men were definitely alien in his world! As is pretty obvious it is a play on Sweet’s  hit ‘Teenage Rampage’ that forms the title of this new compilation & that track kicks off Disc2, However, lets not get ahead of ourselves. Disc1 starts off with a track i confess i don’t ever recall hearing before, from UK Jones, a pseudonym for writer Mike Berry who had a hand in many one off 70’s singles. There are many shouts of ‘hey hey’ abounding & as you progress through this compilation you realise just how ubiquitous that drum sound that Mike Leander & the now disgraced GG came up with for ‘Rock & Roll Parts 1&2 was, as it seems to appear across so many varied tracks from so many bands jumping on the Glam bandwagon.  Track 2 featuring the ‘B’ side to Lieutenant’s Pigeon ‘Mouldy Old Dough’ entitled ‘The Villain’ sounds like something The Glitter Band might use to warm up. Up next is a track i remember fondly, being Harley Quinne (another Cook/Greenaway creation) with their version of the old classic rocker ‘New Orleans’ a record i spun many times at Disco’s at the time. Big names featured on this first disc include T Rex, Wizzard, Mott The Hoople & Geordie. It’s good to hear ‘Ball Park Incident’ as opposed to the usually compiled ‘See My Baby Jive’ & also the 3rd hit single from Geordie with ‘Can You Do It’ which was the record that did well for them in Australia & brought lead singer Brian Johnson to the attention of AC/DC where some years later he would become their new lead singer. I remember supporting the band around the time they released this single on Hastings Pier, great live band. On to Disc2 as aforementioned this kicks off with Sweet to be followed by Ricky Wilde with his teenybopper anthem ‘Teen Wave’, incorrectly billed here as Kim Wilde’s older brother, he was/is in fact her younger brother (a rare mistake from this label!) Ricky was signed to Jonathan King’s UK Records & JK was convinced he could make him the next Donny Osmond, it never happened though & Ricky became much more successful writing & producing big hits for his sister. Next up is the obscure band Buster with a great bouncy number entitled ‘Superstar’. Adrian Baker, the man behind the band would go on to fame and chart success in the future with Gidea Park, notably with his cover of the 4 Seasons ‘Sherry’. Well known names on Disc2 come in the shape of Brotherhood of Man, Slik, Don Fardon, The Glitter Band & Cozy Powell. Don Fardon’s cover of Geordies ‘Don’t Do That’ is rather good as is The Glitter Band’s reworking of the old Exciters hit ‘Tell Him’. Amongst the lesser known names an honourable mention goes to Big John’s Rock N Roll Circus with ‘Lady Put The Light On Me’ a record favoured by Johnny Mason on his CHR radio show where i have heard it played several times. As ever, sadly i don’t have the space to comment on every track contained in this compilation, however on the remaining Discs 3 & 4 you will find the likes of John Paul Young, Chicory Tip, Mud, Barry Blue, Bay City Rollers, Hello, Kenny & Suzi Quatro all names you will be familiar with. But scattered amongst these big names you will find a plethora of unfamiliar gems, which for me is always the source of the greatest enjoyment, discovering obscure tracks new to me even after all these years. I commend to you the likes of Hush,  Method, Snaps, The Times & Rosetta Stone all acts previously unknown to me that i have enjoyed making the acquaintance of whilst listening to this release. The whole collection comes housed in 4 separate card sleeves contained within a sturdy clamshell box complete with a 32 page colour booklet showing sleeve covers & with notes on each track giving a wealth of information & invaluable trivia to enthusiasts like myself. All those who invested in the first Can The Glam compilation will not be disappointed with this follow up edition. Enjoy

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Til next time………..stay safe…Colin

Colin Bell… Forgot to mention in my review there is a track on the compilation by the band Fancy, which was produced by Mike Hurst with lead guitar from Ray Fenwick, 2 guys who i know many local musicians are well acquainted with!

Will Cornell… I  didn’t know ya’ll had K-Tel albums over there too! And if you miss the days of the “Tribute Album”, in the 90s we had the tribute to the K-Tel album, awful 70s earworms done by 90s alt-rock stars like Smashing Pumpkins, et al. As they say in the liner note, the K-Tel albums culled only the best radio hits of the day and were one or two cuts plus or minus, the equivalent of “Beatles ’65”. So what if your Aunt Martha gave them to you for your birthday, why wade thru a whole album of Terry Jacks when all you wanted was “Seasons in the Sun”?

Alan Esdaile… Yes the K-Tel albums were very popular in the UK, Will but the quality wasn’t so good. Also a similar compilation range called ‘Ronco’.

Will Cornell… I remember Ronco well. When I worked at Hastings/Western Merch (stores and company name, not your fair city) as a budget music buyer, K-Tel stuff, 6 months or so after they were on TV, became part of what we could sell in stores, and cheaper than the TV price. They actually had some good stuff on occasion. Indeed, give or take a few cuts here and there and a typical KTel album with the hideous cover art, were one of two cuts above or below “Beatles ’65” as far as having great songs. The Motown compilations much the same, but with K-tel they stretched across multiple labels. And face it, did you really want a whole album by that band that did the “oog-ah-sogg-ah” version of “Hooked on a Feeling”? No, you wanted just that song on an LP alongside other songs by similar artists.

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