The Undertones “The Undertones”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#627 in the Series) is The Undertones.

This is an album that claimed a place in my heart 30 years ago and retains it to this day. And that’s not just because of its musical merits, of which there are indeed many. It’s also due to the time, the place and the circumstances during which I first really got into it, and the company I was keeping at the time, all of which invoke nothing but good, happy memories.

I’d like to take you back now, way way back to the long, hot, glorious (in my recall at least!) summer of 1982. Back when I still had my youth, my good looks (!) and a full head of hair. It was a fantastic year and a great time to be young, especially if you loved music. I turned 16 that year, slap bang in the middle of that summer in fact, at the start of June.

At that time there was a group of us, friends from the same area, who would hang around together getting up to all kinds of mischief. We were a pretty close bunch back then, myself, my younger cousin and four or five other good pals. We didn’t get up to anything  too serious, teenage stuff mostly, and our main pursuits were playing football every day until it got dark, buying as many records as we could afford and getting drunk on cheap sherry at the weekends, Bliss!

Every Friday and Saturday we would gather at the infamous  Bevvy Tree armed with alcohol and a Ghetto Blaster. These were fun filled nights when it seemed like we didn’t have a care in the world.

My best friend at the time was a guy called Alan and before we headed out on those weekend nights he’d come over to my house. We’d go up to my room and play records until it was time to go and meet up with the rest of the gang. And there were two albums that we played almost constantly: London Calling by The Clash and this superb effort, The Undertones self-titled debut. The Undertones were Alan’s favourite band and it was him who got me into the album, like most people at the time I already knew the singles from it : “Jimmy Jimmy,” “Get Over You,” “Here Comes The Summer” and of course “Teenage Kicks,” one of the greatest singles ever made. The full album turned out to be joyous though, song after song of punk/pop delight, all focused on the very things that affected us at the time, girls, lack of money, arguing with your parents, not having a job etc, etc. This was one major reason why we liked the band, they were just like us, council estate kids with the same hopes, dreams and worries that we had. Hell, look at the cover, they even dressed just like us!

So, old Al and I would stand at my bedroom window looking out at the world and chatting about life, love, the universe and all that bollocks. As you do. I may even have still been nursing a wee bit of a hurting heart at this time, there’d been a girl recently who had, in short order, dumped me, caused me pain, starting going out with my cousin then moved away down to England with her parents !  Oh well, you get over stuff like that a lot quicker at that age and my friend and this record helped me through it in no time.

As I’ve said, they were happy times but even all the great memories from those days are slightly tinged by sadness.

As is the way of these things, we all moved on. Got jobs, started new relationships, moved away from home…the  gang broke up over the next few years and scattered to the four winds. My old pal had a few bad times . I won’t go into it much because it’s his personal business but it would be fair to say that a few (well, a lot) of the things in his life didn’t work out the way he would have wanted them to. We didn’t see each other for a long time after he joined the army and when he left it he then left town for years, worked on the oil rigs for a time. When he eventually came back we met up a couple of times but soon lost touch again.

Nowadays I still see him occasionally, we bump into each other on the odd Saturday, if I’m down in the town centre. We’ll have a brief chat and when I walk away I’m always smiling . In my head I just cannot separate the memories of those carefree happy times and the hours we spent listening to this album, they are inextricably linked and always will be.

This one’s for you Miv, a true Rockin’ Humdinger.

— Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland

Track Listing

Side One

  1. Family Entertainment (ONeill) 2:37
  2. Girls Don’t Like It (ONeill) 2:19
  3. Male Model (Bradley, ONeill, ONeill) 1:54
  4. I Gotta Getta (ONeill) 1:53
  5. Teenage Kicks (ONeill) 2:25
  6. Wrong Way (Doherty) 1:23
  7. Jump Boys (ONeill) 2:40
  8. Here Comes the Summer (ONeill) 1:42
Side Two
  1. Get Over You (ONeill) 2:44
  2. Billy’s Third (Doherty) 1:57
  3. Jimmy Jimmy (ONeill) 2:41
  4. True Confessions (Bradley, ONeill) 1:52
  5. (She’s A) Runaround (ONeill) 1:49
  6. I Know a Girl (Bradley, ONeill, ONeill) 2:35
  7. Listening In (Bradley, ONeill) 2:24
  8. Casbah Rock (ONeill) 0:47

Personnel

  • Feargal Sharkey (lead vocals)
  • John O’Neill (guitar and vocals)
  • Damian O’Neill (guitar, keyboards and vocals)
  • Michael Bradley (bass and vocals)
  • Billy Doherty (drums)

Links

Listen to the complete album below

Here are some more cool Punk/Post Punk Albums

  • Eagulls Treat Phoenix Faithful to High Energy Show
  • Lovesick Saints 'Dia De Los Muertos'
  • Nina Hagen Band 'Nina Hagen Band'
  • The Jam
  • Tuff Darts 'Tuff Darts!'
  • Pussy Riot 'Punk Prayer'
  • The Shaggs 'Philosophy of the World'
  • Talking Heads 'Naked'
  • Robert Gordon 'Rock Billy Boogie'
  • Wreckless Eric 'Wreckless Eric'
  • Old Man Markley 'Down Side Up'
  •  Gibby Haynes (with Jack White) 'Paul's Not Home'
  • Blondie 'Parallel Lines'
  • Minutemen 'Double Nickels on the Dime'
  • Bram Tchaikovsky 'Strange Man, Changed Man'
  • Romeo Void
  • Iggy Pop
  • New York Dolls
  • The Clash
  • Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters
  • The Undertones
  • Garland Jeffreys
  • The Ramones
  • The Wildhearts
  • The Teardrop Explodes
  • Jim Jones Revue
  • Stiff Little Fingers
  • The Screaming Blue Messiahs
  • Orange Juice
  • Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • Echo and The Bunnymen
  • Lou Reed
  • The Clash
  • Ramones
  • Sex Pistols "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols"
Posted by Larry Carta

4 Comments

  1. coachmaddog (12 Feb 2012, 9:13)
    Reply

    Still one of the all time classic albums. There is such teenage/young adult innocence on this album. The later albums, while not as great as the debut, are pretty solid as well. Their late career (with the original lineup) leanings towards soul are also great.
    I was at Wax Trax record store way back and the Undertones were in there shopping. What little guys they are. I wonder if their gigs are any good? Would Feargal ever reconsider joining them seeing as he just left his government job? Would the guys even consider him?

  2. Stephen dalrymple (13 Feb 2012, 1:02)
    Reply

    I agree and i’m a BIG fan of their final , much under-rated album , The Sin Of Pride. Hope to feature it in the future !
    I saw the band on the farewell tour in 83 and met them afterwards, a nice wee tale for the piece.
    Having seen a great documentary on the band, there’s no way a reunion with Feargal will happen i’m afraid !

  3. Steve Robinson (15 Feb 2012, 10:11)
    Reply

    Nice piece. This one is a special one for me too. I left the UK in ’82 for the US and this was one of the few albums I brought with me (along with assorted Jam, XTC and Bunnymen records). It does have a joyous feel to it doesn’t it? I never tire of Feargal’s voice either.
    It’s funny, I joined a band within weeks of my arrival in the States and as I remember, I insisted we do at least one Undertones tune (Get Over You). I think it’s a shame that the band didn’t get to develop further; their later stuff was brilliant in my book.

  4. Stephen dalrymple (16 Feb 2012, 13:55)
    Reply

    Thanks Steve, all feedback appreciated. I’m hoping to do The Sin Of Pride in the future. Or, why don’t you, Larry’s always after fresh input !



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