Thursday, July 17, 2008
Captain Sensible - "Women and Captains First" (1982)
Of all the Damned guitarist Captain Sensible's many solo albums, this is by far his best. And it remains the only one (as far as I know) to never see a CD release; it remains frustratingly out-of-print. I think we can thank the corporate retards at A&M Records for that - this is his only major label release. It is also the album that contains his only hit, the massive rap attack Wot (though I think the goofy Happy Talk may have done something in the UK judging from the gloriously ridiculous Top Of The Pops clip on Youtube). This was a staple of the fledgling network MTV in its early days - it was a delightful irony back in the day that this corporate beast was forced to feature music so resisted by the American mainstream only because these bands were the only ones making videos (my favorite heavy-rotation vid was The Jam's Town Called Malice). Anyway, aside from the rap novelty which opens this record, there are many beautiful, melodic tunes. I suspect one reason for the (artistic) success of this LP is the songwriting participation of Robyn Hitchcock, then of the Soft Boys. There's some rockin stompers as well (well, only Yanks With Guns), but my favorites are the melancholic Martha the Mouth, the seven-minute Brenda and best of all the album's closer, Croydon, wherein the Cap'n looks back mock-wistfully on his hometown and cleaning toilets, from his anticipated home in L.A. from where he will always remember Croydon, "especially in the cold and rain". (As a bonus, I've included the superior 7" version and its B-side, as well as the Captain's version of Elton Motello's Jet Boy, Jet Girl [itself a piss-take of Plastic Bertrand's hit Ca plane pour moi] from the flip of The Damned's Wait for the Blackout 45. Lucky you!)
Back in '82 I went to see The Damned at Philadelphia's tiny East Side Club and we brought this album along for the Captain to sign. He happily did so, scrawling (literally) "Maggie Thatcher is a pig --Captain Sensible" across his mug on the back cover, backwards "e"s and all. It was beautiful. However, I lost this in a break-up (see "The New Wave Girlfriend" from the Wasted Youth post) and this vinyl rip comes from a replacement copy I found in a used bin a few months later. So be warned: this is a very scratchy copy and it's not my fault! I always took (and take) much better care of my records. That said, it doesn't skip and once the music kicks in you'll not notice it too much.
Featured in a 320 rip so every pop and click comes through resoundingly clear, haha. Get it HERE
02. A Nice Cup Of Tea
03. Brenda (Parts 1 & 2)
04. Yanks With Guns
05. Happy Talk
06. Martha The Mouth
07. Nobody's Sweetheart
08. (What D'ya Give) The Man Who's Gotten Everything
09. Who Is Melody Lee, Sid?
10. Gimme A Uniform
The Captain and an apparently unimpressed bouncer, Damned show at East Side Club, Philadelphia 1982
New! Bonus Bonus!
Get the Capn's 12" Single version of Wot! HERE!The B-Side, Strawberry Dross, is kinda like a mini-album of different, quick songs all interspersed with the "producer" exclaiming "Sounds GREAT!"