Buzzcocks

Secret Public's: Best in Good Food

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Available only via the band's website, this generic-sleeved CD collects 21 live songs from nearly as many venues over the last decade -- since Tony Barber (bass) and Phil Barker (drums) joined alongside originals/legends Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, for longer now than the original group. The obvious weakness is the wildly-varying sound quality, bouncing willy-nilly from eminently releasable board-tape criterion to audience bootleg mud. But if this is a "for-fans-only" release, those deeply thrilled by the myriad Buzzcocks tours since their reformation in 1989 (at first with the old lineup) will find much to quietly enjoy. Like a you-are-there document of so many hot nights over such a long span, it again makes a clear case for the wisdom of that decision to return. For how great, wholly distinctive, and downright flooring that wall-of-Buzzcocks sound remains on any stage they plop down on?! Furthermore, since the material is half vintage and half from the three LPs this Mach II lineup has released, you get a much better showing of how good much of the All Set and Modern material sounds on stages, played with that older sound. Of course, the 1995 Paris workout, French, is a better place to experience what this lineup is like on any given night (and the older lineup's live documents are even better). But as Trade Test Transmissions was the only Mach II LP when French was recorded, www.buzzcocks.com is more comprehensive of the battery of great songs this lineup has produced, as well as the enduring incredible riches still represented by the old songs. One listen to Diggle's "Sitting Round at Home," "You Know You Can't Help It" "What Do I Get," or "Operator's Manual," and it's all that one needs for "argument closed..." -- even with up and down sound qualities.

Track Listing

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blue highlight denotes track pick