Monday, September 24, 2012

The Adverts: The Wonders Don't Care (Complete Radio Sessions)

In his sharp, if occasionally plodding, biography of Joe Strummer, Redemption Song, Chris Salecwicz reduces The Adverts to "a punk group who had a couple of hits". Such bloody nonsense (he slams the Ruts as, "reasonably successful Clash copyists"), taints an otherwise well-written and meticulously researched piece of work. The Adverts and their leader, TV Smith, cannot be so glibly dismissed.

The Adverts' two late seventies albums, the sorta accessible one and the kinda difficult one, would be towering achievements enough. But over the course of his career, as band leader and as a solo artist, Smith has proven himself Strummer's finest peer. I mean if the Strummerian ideal is the fiery visionary spitting truth at power whilst rocking furiously then TV Smith has been what Strummer should've been in his later years.


Author, critic (and mega-fan) Dave Thompson argues that "Nobody would make music like The Adverts and nobody ever has. In terms of lyric, delivery, commitment and courage, they were, and they remain, the finest British group of the late 1970s". As proof, here's an out-of-print collection of their BBC recordings, which spans their brief existence.

1.One Chord Wonders 2.Bored Teenagers 3.Gary Gilmore´s Eyes 4.Newboys 5.Quickstep 6.We Who Wait 7.New Church 8.Safety In Numbers 9.Great British Mistake 10.Fate Of Criminals 11.Television´s Over 12.Love Songs 13.Back From The Dead 14.I Surrender 15.The Adverts 16.I Looked At The Sun 17.Cast Of Thousands 17.I Will Walk You Home

Tracks 1-5: Peel Session, first broadcast 29.4.77
Tracks 6-9: Peel Session, first broadcast 30.8.77
Tracks 10-14: Peel Session, first broadcast 11.9.78
Tracks 15-18: Peel Session, first broadcast 12.11.79

Hey Advert-tarians, give us a word or two on 
these BBC sessions in the COMMENTS section!

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  1. Here's a re-quested re-up, that deserves some some re-action (a.k.a.COMMENTS!) this time around:

  2. In my humble opinion, as punk rockers, the adverts never put a foot wrong, including breaking up.I love both albums equally, and applaude 'a cast of Thousands' for its brave session man style punk rock backing tracks which I hope was deliberate(but doubt it).Tee Vee's lyrics on that second album were astonishing.They looked good too, even Laurie Driver, who was obviously just along for the ride....and why not?

  3. They also didn't stoop to playing c-list metal like many oftheir peers ,including the pistols and second album clash.

    1. COT is a totally unique sounding record and an interesting way to have jumped out of the "punk box'.

      P.S. I still love Give ' Em Enough Rope, though

  4. Excellent stuff. Thank you so much. Brilliant blog.

  5. TV is one of the finest songwriters of not only the punk generation, but any generation you care to name. Angry, pithy, heartfelt, witty, enlightening, frightening and most of all honest. People are sometimes very quick to hang the "genius" accolade around someone's neck, but in TV's case he genuinely approaches it. Of course he'd be the first to tell you that he's just a bloke doing his best to make sense of this mostly senseless world. If only I could do that.

    1. "Of course he'd be the first to tell you that he's just a bloke doing his best to make sense of this mostly senseless world"
      And that's a huge part of what makes him a great artist and an upstanding man.

  6. i does love the adverts so much, crossing the red sea is one of the finest slabs of punkdom

  7. Ive never understood why people like The Adverts.
    Ideologically and "keeping it real" etc; ok, I get that.
    Lots of bands did that.
    How about giving the bands, who didnt sell out and make a record, some love for "keeping it real"?
    (partially a joke, but still...)

    Im still gonna download this and have a listen. Maybe I'll key in to what makes them so special to so many people who, at least partially, share my taste in music.
    It seems like it would be worth the effort.
    They sure are mentioned, quite often, with a lot of bands I really love.

    1. Hey, thanks for listening, that's all we can ask.

      And even if I didn't convince you of The Adverts greatness, you did at least dig some of TV's solo stuff and that's enough for me!

  8. A really great collection of, then, unissued sessions,sounding to my ears even better than the official releases...cheers.

    1. Some of these versions do beat the official ones.

  9. Hey Jeffen

    Gotta luv TV Smith.TV Smith has had a very good solo career.Too bad not enough people noticed.You just take the NME writers of the late 1970s with a grain of salt.Reading the NME in the late 1970s I learned that negative album reviews by some writers meant I would like the album.

    The Ruts first album is brilliant.Definitely did Jamaican music as good(probably better) than The Clash.If only Malcolm Owen had lived?

    Thanks for this!


    1. Yeah until I watched that TV doc, I had no idea how slagged off they were by NME et al.

  10. old fashioned anarchist skinheadSeptember 27, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    tim smith is still doing well in solo music and occasionally with friends as backing bands and still an absolute great, gentle and fantastic person. it's a big pleasure and also a big honour to learn him know personally years ago through playing support for him on numerous occasions here in germany with my different ska/reggae/punk/powerpop bands.
    with the ruts thing i absolutely agree- best white boy's reggae song ever is undoubted "jah wars".

  11. As a latecomer i am not able to get all these Advert posts anymore--any chance to reup yet again?Thanks for your sharity anyway...


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