This reissue of John Cooper-Clarke's very first album is nothing less than a riot -- and shows how well Salford's best Bob Dylan lookalike was able to handle an audience and make poetry into a popular art form again. His stylistic masters are the Liverpool poets of the '60s, and their influence is apparent in pieces like "Film Extra's Extra" or the hilarious social comment "Daily Express (You Never See a Nipple In)." Plenty of his best-known poems get an early airing here (before a relatively welcoming audience), including "Kung Fu International" and "(I Married A) Monster from Outer Space," in addition to his very first single, "Psycle Sluts (Part 1)." For all the humor, though, there's plenty of acute social observation going on in the words once the wit has grabbed the ear. A mix of live performances, demos, and rehearsals (all largely unaccompanied, without the Invisible Girls, who'd accompany him on his later studio albums, although tracks like "Split Beans" actually have fairly accomplished, if minimal, backing). Maybe it's ultimately for completists, but given the small amount of Cooper-Clarke material available, every little bit is to be grabbed at. And this is definitely not the sound of a barrel being scraped. A joy and a shambles, but still a hoot.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson