Penny Black Music: The Wildebeests: "Gnuggets"
Fans of what might be called ‘The Medway Sound’ should be familiar with the members of rhe Wildebeests - they’ve done time in the Delmonas, Masonics, the Thanes, the Kaisers, the Pop Rivets and Milkshakes. If you’ve got a Billy Childish album this compilation of 33 tracks previously available on a wide range of singles and suchlike will offer absolutely no surprises. If you are the easily surprised type, the 'Nuggets'-aping cover will presumably allow you to void even that.
Although the style is lo-fi garage rock crash’n’bash throughout, the trio of John Gibbs, Lenny Helsing and Russ Wilkins do trespass past 1963, covering such classics as the Stooges ‘I Feel Alright’ and the ever-appropriate ‘Garageland’ by the Clash. There’s also a few left-field - not too far left mind you- offerings such as Devo’s ‘Mongoloid’, Wires ‘12xu’ and PIL’s ‘Public Image’.
Mind you, they all sound right at home alongside battered surf numbers such Link Wray’s ‘Dinosaur’ and ‘Comanche’; freakbeat crunchers such as the Eyes ‘I’m Rowed Out’ and blues faves such as ‘Parchman Farm’ and Little Walter’s ‘Mellow Down Easy’ (on which the harmonica could remove paint).
Much of ‘Gnuggets’ sounds like it was recorded in a tin can, but there are a few (barely) polished moments, such as a run through Paul Revere and the Raiders’ ‘Just Like Me’.
If you like your rock’n’roll raw and rowdy, it would be hard to beat ‘Gnuggets’.