The Lurkers – ‘The Lurkers’ Box Set (Beggars Banquet) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 04:30

The LurkersWe've all seen those box sets that get released by the dozen of bands albums with a clutch of killer bonus material and never before released on CD albums well imagine my surprise when one of these said boxes dropped on my doormat only to reveal a pretty comprehensive five discs of Lurkers classics. 


Let’s start at the beginning of this 40th anniversary box set and the much-underrated debut 'Fulham Fallout'.  Imagine the Ramones playing New York Dolls songs? That's what the band set out to achieve and on this evidence even forty years later they probably don't get the credit they fully deserve because I tell you what they damn near nailed it.  'Aint Got No Clue' is full of energy and like a lot of bands who were influenced by the Dolls and then saw the Ramones, they got their sound right there.  Like bands such as The Undertones or Stiff Little Fingers, these guys were cut from the same cloth and knew what it took to pen decent tunes regardless of the commercial success.


Reproduced in card sleeves, 'Fulham Fallout' is fully intact, as is the follow up of 'God's Lonely Men', both originally released on Beggars Banquet and cited as the reason the label exists.  This is where the box set really gets interesting and will certainly pique the interest of Lurkers fans.


Disc three has amassed a collection of the band’s singles and some choice demos.  For the first time, 'Shadow and 'Love Story' are on CD. Raw and vibrant even today, the lead single sounds like a breath of fresh air.  'Freak Show' is punchy and sounds like a lost Damned track from around their ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ period.  If it's value for money you're after, disc three has 27 tracks on offer - even if some of the songs are doubled up, being demos and singles; it's certainly not overbearing like other bands where they have the same song about a dozen times over the discs. It's cool on songs like 'We Are The Chaos Bros' that you can hear the band chat as to how the song should go and it'll raise a smile before they kick it off: it’s highbrow mature stuff on offer here and an insight into how a band works.  The tip of the hat to those that passed before on 'Pills' is a fine take on a classic. It should come as no surprise that The Lurkers would come to work with members of the Boys in the shape of Peter Stride and Honest John Plain and their new guitars, because 'Suzie Is A Floozie' could easily have fallen off a Boys album. But I'm getting ahead of myself here: there's disc four to come first and in the shape of BBC sessions; it’s quite depressing how switched on the BBC once were towards good old rock and roll.


OK, so the BBC disc has 21 songs and, being the nature of the BBC sessions, there is a fair amount of duplication here - but the quality of the recordings is vast. Personally, I used to love the sound on the BBC sessions; regardless of who it was they always seemed to have a far bigger sound for many bands: Gen X, The Damned, Banshees, Dogs D'Amour, Boys… they all did some fantastic BBC session, and The Lurkers were no exception to that fine list of bands, as these 21 songs will prove. There are many highlights on offer, but some of mine would be 'Whatever Happened To Mary'; but, to be fair, it's like totally different mixes to the two albums the band released.  Maybe looking back, and being hyper critical, it would have been great to have included a live show from the band's peak with this set - but maybe I'm being greedy.



Anyway, onto the real tour de force of this box set and the inclusion for the first time on CD of the fantastic album 'New Guitars In Town': not a Lurkers album, no, but Pete Stride and John Plain.  As fine a rock and roll record as you'll get anywhere, fact!  It's great to hear this album without all the clicks and pops my vinyl has picked up over the years.  If you never had this album, then what better reason to buy this very reasonably priced box set than the inclusion of this album.  'Laugh At Me' is a brilliant opener, then it's the Lurkers song 'School Girls’ up next, which is quite different from the recording that's featured on the BBC disc.  'Cold Old Night' is also a version that is included on the BBC disc: although named differently, it's still the same song. Rock and fucking roll, but you knew that already didn't you? 


'Half The Time' sees the acoustic guitars come out for the first time as the boys run through some country tinged rock ‘n’ roll before the title track rolls in.  Still sounding fantastic, 'New Guitar In Town' is the perfected version from the demos one that's on disc two: maybe it needed some Honest John Plain to give it that extra few percentage and sprinkle some of his rock ‘n’ roll on it.  I love 'Cure For Love' as it builds then eases back down: it’s playing from the heart and you just can't fake that.


So, all in all, 86 tracks spread over five discs: every single, every BBC recording, a whole album never before released on CD - all for under 20 quid! Now, what on earth are you waiting for? This is an essential purchase for anyone who ever loved rock and roll, and for a bunch of temperamental so and sos these boys done good!


‘The Lurkers’ box set is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


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