Big Bad Bollocks: Hanged at Gibbet Rock

Originally released in 1991, Big Bad Bollocks’ Hanged at Gibbet Rock has been re-released on the “Load a’Bollocks” label for 2008 and available through the bands website, along with their other fine products.

“…Gibbet Rock” starts off as strongly as any Bollocks release, (or even as strongly as any young Paddy-Punk band can hope to,) with the song “Whiskey in me tea” (and for an idea about what I mean, check out the video on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHNQ4BGjskc,) and keeps up that pace through the disc’s ten tracks including a beautiful rendition of “Sally Gordon,” and the appropriately enthusiastic standards, “Waxies Dargle” and “Leaving Liverpool.”

The original songs on this earlier release are all of the upbeat, party, “happy-drunk” variety that the Bollocks’ have become known for and have that same quality of an incidental Celtic lilt as well as lyrics that seem as much of a cathartic purging of unresolved issues as they do odes to, and about, Johnny Allen’s days gone by back home in his native Derbyshire.

There’s no denying that Mr. Allen’s got a powerful and distinct voice, and even on this earlier release his crooning bravado seems fully developed and presents as a comfortable and commanding entity directing the energy of each of the ten tracks. This does pose a bit of an inconvenience on the other instruments, however, relegating the majority of them further back in the mix, giving the disc less depth and polish than later Big Bad Bollocks’ offerings.

Although lacking the theme, finish and shine of the “Night on the Tiles’ or even the production depth of “Where the Beef Meets the Sea,” “Hanged at Gibbet Rock” presents as an early snapshot of the swaggering Johnny ‘Alien’ Allen and co. as a fledgeling outfit still developing their sound, and cruising past a point where many the lesser bands have peaked.

2008

Review by Christopher Toler, THE Blathering Gommel

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