The Dogs D'Amour – ‘Swinging The Bottles: The BBC Radio Sessions’ (Cargo) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Friday, 18 August 2017 04:00

Dogs Damour Swingin The Bottle cover300dpi 1024x1024What many might refer to as "the classic line up" at the absolute peak of their powers is where I'd probably pitch this recording. What has been bootlegged for many, many years now has a very decent vinyl and CD issue.  As someone who was present for the live recording when they were supporting Hunter/Ronson at the Dominion Theatre London, I just couldn't get enough of the Dogs D'Amour; it seemed like just another Dogs show at the time, because every time I saw them over that period (of about two years) they were absolutely untouchable and the shows just merged into one another as they got better and better, from the chaotic and hilarious performance in HMV on Oxford street to The Astoria Christmas show and the curtain swinging, or the Town and Country Club rib breaking escapades.


Listening back to this performance (for the first time in many a year) brings it all back, because in the late ‘80s they were unique. Nobody else was really doing rock and roll like them, or as good as them. Sure we had bands coming through a little later, but we were crying out for some real class and these four were it.  You can keep your LA scenesters, because what was happening in and around Soho was infinitely better - genuine rock and rollas who walked the walk as well as talked the talk, these debauched pirates were exciting and leading the charge The Dogs D'Amour were undisputed kings of the castle.


This double disc (pressed on lovely yellow vinyl) is limited to 500 copies and will be a much sought after item in no time at all. It begins with a bunch of classics that were originally aired on Radio One and the Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show, if I'm not mistaken, beginning with my favourite Tyla song 'Firework Girl': it had everything, and this version doesn't disappoint either.  Great lyrics and sounding like a marauding gang of pirates are pillaging your ears in search of more whisky or treasures and, if nothing else, they were going to leave an indelible mark on you as the music burned an everlasting mark on your heart. I get goose bumps looking back on when I heard this song, and every time I hear it now those memories are dragged to the fore: magical times. There isn't any let-up either as the harmonica and saxophone combo of 'Wait Until I'm Dead' was a noise that nobody else was doing at the time: it was mesmerising, and it was a gang I just had to be a part of.


The sessions then jump to the ‘Errol Flynn’ period for a cracking romp through 'Planetary Pied Piper' before returning to the seminal debut album and a sleazy stroll through 'Everything I Want', before that hit – yeah, you know the one: 'How Come It Never Rains'.  Let's not gloss over this for a minute: go with me here but let me know if you have a finer debut single from a debut album that is better than 'How Come It Never Rains'. I'm gonna say it here folks - 'Rains' is an epic; from the amazing lyrics through to the anthemic chorus, it is one of the finest songs ever written by anybody - and that's not something I say lightly. As far as singles go, it should have been number one in the hit parade and people everywhere should be familiar with it. This version is a stone cold killer: if you don't believe me, then grab a copy and check it out, then come find me and tell me I'm right on the money.


The quality doesn't stop there, because 'I Don't Want You To Go' and 'The Kid From Kensington' are up next and to prove a point these too are faultless. 


Up next is the recording from the Dominion, and from Bam hitting his sticks to signify they are about to start, it’s a band on fire. For the next 30 minutes, the Dominion belonged to Tyla, Bam, Jo and Steve; they absolutely slayed the place as the audience in the main looked on not quite sure what to make of what they were witnessing – but, at the same time, there was a growing number inside the theatre who knew exactly what was going on.  'Last Bandit', 'Everything I Want' right into 'Heartbreak', a criminally underrated song.  A band with 'Dynamite Jet Saloon' and 'Errol Flynn' now in their sky rockets, they must have known how bloody good they were, be it on record or on the stage, and it’s credit to the BBC for taking the outside broadcast crew down to the West End to capture this and releasing it (all be it all these years later) for everyone to enjoy. It's a snapshot of time captured forever.  'Trail Of Tears' is ragged beauty and the version of 'Drunk Like Me' captures the essence of everything these four were capable of. 


As I've said, at the time they were untouchable, from Tyla the ring master pulling the elements together to perform what were mostly his songs, to Jo's licks to Bam’s fills and flamboyant style to Steve’s backing vocals and tight bass lines, they were on fire, and it wouldn't have been the same had one of these parts not been in the right place at the right time.  The progression from the first to the second album was seamless and it seemed the world was theirs.  Regardless of what happened and what tilted this line up off course (I hope at some point things could work out), they should rightfully be massively proud of what they did as a band, and the songs they performed and captured on this here BBC recording is nothing short of magical.


Great artwork, great album, great demos, great live performance from the greatest of them all - raise a glass folks to the Dogs D'Amour. Simply untouchable! Don't just buy one - buy both the CD and the vinyl: you won't regret it. Chin Chin!


‘Swinging The Bottles’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour play the HRH Sleaze festival in Sheffield on Sunday 3 September, followed by The Fulford Arms in York on Friday 8 September and the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill (Northern Ireland) on Saturday 9 September.


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