PAGANS - Shit Street LP
The first of two CD reissues (the other being The Pink Album Plus) from 2001 that cover the Pagans' existence as thoroughly as can be, Shit Street is almost evenly divided between studio takes from 1977 to 1979 and a slew of live cuts, almost all from an August 1979 show. Concentrating on the earliest and for many best incarnation of the group, the disc brings together all its four singles plus every last rarity and demo one could imagine, including a slew of covers that show the band's varied roots in everything from the Rolling Stones to Johnny Rivers and Benny Spellman. Unsurprisingly "What's This Shit Called Love" kicks everything off, and if for many it'll be all the Pagans they'll ever want, it's still one hell of a monster, as perfect a bridge between disaffected heartland American punk and later twists as could be imagined. That Hudson sounds exactly like Mark Arm would later sound isn't a surprise at all in retrospect. If nothing else quite stands up to that supreme moment, there's still plenty to enjoy, including the aggro sneers of "Haven't Got the Time" and "Not Now No Way" and enjoyable enough reworkings of the old psych nugget "The Little Black Egg" and the Stones' "Heart of Stone." Meanwhile, the live cuts make for a great bit of late-'70s crash and bash, concluding with some help from Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero of the Dead Boys, sitting in on covers of Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now" and the Stooges' "Search and Destroy." The sound quality of the studio tracks varies as it goes, with some being noticeably more tinny and trebly than the others, while the live songs suffer a bit from an unbalanced mix but otherwise come through well. Exhaustive liner notes from Hudson, rare photographs, useful website links, and more complete this well-assembled collection.