Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Sham 69
Borstal Breakout/Hey Little Rich Boy


Released 1978 on Polydor
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 28/03/2002ce


Okay I admit it, I was and still am a card carrying member of the Sham Army (old habits die hard.) Sham still provide a useful function in my life. Like after listening to that new miserable hippie concept album by Spiritualized (it should have had a fuckin' Roger Dean sleeve) I ran into the basement and got out all my Sham 69 and Lurkers 45's and played them one after another to erase that shit-prog misery from my brain. It worked too, Sham rule O.K.!!!

This 45 is their classic, "Borstal Breakout" with Jimmy Pursey at his chest-beating best, slashing chords, terrace shout backing vocals and pounding drums round the thing out nicely. If the Bowery Boys of East Side Comedy fame were playing in a rock group this is how they would have sounded.

The flip is even better, "Hey Little Rich Boy, Take A Good Look At Me" is a powerful punk ballad which contains hearfelt lyrics from Pursey highlighted by a nifty guitar solo by Dave "Vicar" Parsons (who is clearly one of the most underrated UK guitarists ever.) I used to be friends with a rich kid and everytime I made tapes for him I would put "Hey Little Rich Boy" at the end of the cassette and not label it, until one day he got the message and got all pissed off at me (I was just trying to wind him up a bit, no harm no foul.)

This review is a total mess but that Spiritualized album pissed me off so much that my next step might be digging out all my old Eater records (Dee Generate where are you now when we truly need you!!!!)


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