Yes, I confess, the Dickies were my first punk obsession. Sure I'd heard the Pistols and the Clash but in 1982 I was a thirteen year old misfit obsessed with the X-Men and the Doors when these California pop-punk goofballs first knocked me flat.
My older brother, bragging he'd got some "real punk”, brought home two L.P.'s, Dawn of the Dickies and the Incredible Shrinking Dickies (a self-referential lot these boys) and kick-started my problem. Jacked up 4/4 tempos, choppy three-chord riffs, mercilessly simple hooks, relentless back-up vocals, shrewd covers and daft B-movie lyrics: Fucking yeah! It's no wonder the band sold a million singles in late seventies Britain AND managed to inspire everyone in California to start a pop-punk band; forever.
Those early singles (none of which I heard till this CD came out in 1989) defined the term 'kiddie-punk' for all time. Hell, with those cartoon theme covers and the sugar-rush levels of zaniness, they seemed to be pursuing their own Saturday morning show ("Next on ABC, following The New Shmoo, it's those lovable Dickies, a show about band named after the lead singer's obsession with his penis, called Stuart" - okay so the show didn't get the green-light for good reasons.) What confuzzled my brother and I back in '82 was how a band (long centered around Leonard Graves Philips on vocals and Stan Lee on guitar) who wrote lethally infectious songs like, "Manny, Moe and Jack" could not get radio play on our local stations. And now, of course, half the kids shows' themes sound like Dickies' outtakes. Life; she's weird as fuck.
Great Dictations, now out-of-print, was the only Dickies available for a long time, but thanks to Captain Oi! allowing another American band (with solely British chart success) onto his label, you can buy their albums with the singles appended. It's a glorious offer and I held tightly onto this album until those re-issue separated me and my money.
(Image courtesy of record collectors of the world unite)