NEEDLE TIME - Warsaw Pakt (Captain Trip)

Another boss-ass release from the wonderful Captain Trip label of Japan, who've also brought us virtually the complete Deviants/Mick Farren catalog reissued, as well as live wonderment from ex-MC5ers Wayne Kramer and Rob Tyner.

Warsaw Pakt were, of course, Deviants axe murderer Andy Colquhoun's '77 Ladbrooke Grove (former hotbed of hippiedom) London punk outfit, and as you'd expect from hearing Mr. Colquhoun's latter-day output (and the fact that drummer Lucas Fox had already played in Motorhead), they were a cut above the average run of Garageland tyros that dominated that particular much so that they were actually able to record "Needle Time" live in the studio and release it within 24 hours (the band wanting to make some kinda statement about how immediate technology had made Art, as if they were Pete fucking Townshend or something). It sold an astonishing 5000 copies in a week, at the end of which Island inexplicably elected not to release any further copies and shelved the master tapes. The band released some outtakes (included here) under the title "See You In Court!" and then promptly evaporated, leaving Mr. Colquhoun to go on to undying fame with Tanz Der Youth (with Damned founder member and Wayne Kramer's present-day Mad for the Racket mate Brian James), the Pink Fairies, and the Deviants.

This is "punk" from the days before R&B influences were eradicated from the canon (post-Ramones). The proximate models are Dr. Feelgood, the early Who (whose "It's Not True" the Pakt cover) and Pretty Things (jeez, if I didn't know better, I'd think these guys were Thee Michelle Gun Elephant). Singer Jimmy Coull tortures his tonsils a la Joe Strummer, the rhythm boys bash away with wild abandon, Colquhoun shows a few flashes of the brilliance to come, Farren contributes a few lyrics, and the whole thing zooms along like the proverbial runaway tube train - less of a period curiosity than you'd expect because of the relatively high quality of performance.

I'd be remiss if I failed to comment on the beautiful packaging that Captain Trip has provided - this thing comes in a handmade corrugated cardboard box, like they usedta use to mail elpees back in the day. These Japs really know how to do The Romance of the Artifact! All in all, it's a worthwhile acquisition for anyone who dug the "Go and Do It" Aberrant compilations or early punk stuff in general. - Ken Shimamoto