The sound quality could probably be better. So what? The guitar could maybe be a little less metallic. Who cares? The vocalist could be a shade more in tune. It doesn’t matter. If you never saw Radio Stars at the peak of their 1977-1978 powers; or if you did, but it all seems like a dream now, Something for the Weekend is the album that proves that everything you ever heard about them was true. They really were that good. Recorded at a handful of stops across the U.K., Something for the Weekend is both the best of Radio Stars and a sharp-eyed reconstruction of a typical performance, at least in aural terms.
No, Andy Ellison does not leap off your wardrobe and come crashing onto the floor during a tumultuous “Beast of Barnsley”; no, 2,000 rabid punk rockers do not rise as one leather-and sweat-stinking mass to sing the chorus of “From a Rabbit.” But “Elvis Is Dead (Boring)” restores the familiar album version to its original lyrical thrust, “Johnny Mekon” still sounds like the best Mott the Hoople song that never existed. And “From a Rabbit” will have you bellowing the chorus at the top of your lungs and maybe even making a better job of it than the band. Good for you. Whatever you do with it, Something for the Weekend will keep you hopping all week long and, when you do finally collapse into an exhausted heap on the floor, there’s a bonus disc of Martin Gordon live in Boston in 2007. Which will soon have you back on your feet again.
RECORD COLLECTOR Unreconstructed and proud of it
Somewhere at the middle-to-tail end of the 70s, nestled rather impishly between the latter throes of glam rock and the brief magnesium flash of punk, was a clutch of decent, stompy, tuneful rockers that sometimes had the pub rock epithet bestowed upon them. In the case of Radio Stars, there’s an inherent likeability throughout these classic-sounding rock n roll tracks. Take Elvis Is Dead (Boring) for an instant singalong, or No Russians In Russia for a piece of dottiness that skirts the edges of political comment, before thinking better of it and gawping at the semi-naked shots of Page 3 “Stunna” Kathy St John that adorn the cover. A lovely girl who looks more than ripe for a date down The Feathers with Terry from Minder, where Dave has just put this collection of live and previously unreleased tracks on the jukebox. Good, occasionally dirty, fun.
Something for the Weekend is a compilation of live recordings by punky power pop band Radio Stars. It was recorded at various venues from their 1977/78 tours. Are they punk? No but they appeared as punk and new wave was exploding and they had a similar self-made quality. Both Andy Ellison (John’s Children with Marc Bolan) and Martin Gordon (Sparks) had form including both being members of Jet.
This has some excellent, very catchy tunes on it although you do risk finding yourself singing “I Want To Take So.me Dirty Pictures Of You” at inappropriate moments. I bought the single back when it came out and looked Nervous Wreck and No Russians In Russia as well. I was surprised the band didn’t go on to bigger success.
This is one of those groups that take me right back to my days in the sixth form (when I had more hair) and they are lots of fun. If you like power pop, I recommend that you listen to the mp3 samples. I think you’ll be impressed.