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
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