The Biggest Tour in Sport/The Biggest Prize in Sport

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Some people call 999 'punk rock', but others call them rock and roll. Just listen to the chugging rhythmic guitars, steady backbeat, and snappy melody on "Homicide," the opening track to the U.S.-only live EP, The Biggest Tour In Sport. Recorded on their 1980 U.S. and Canadian tour to support the Biggest Prize In Sport LP, this six-track EP is spicy hot, containing the band (punk) rockin' and rollin' through four old classics, "Inside Out," and "Boys In The Gang," from Biggest Prize. Live recordings can be questionable, but this is one of the few where you don't have to worry about the sound quality: it's terrific. Up next on this disc are two non-album B-sides, and a non-album A-side; all three are worthwhile 999 pub/punk rockers. Those tracks are followed by one of the most important punk albums ever! Upon first listen, many folks were amazed to find out that 999 were a great rock n roll band, punk or no punk. The edges are still there, but they are well-rounded this time out, thanks to producer Vic Maile. The anthemic "Boys In The Gang" starts off the set in style (but 999 always knew how to kick-start an album). "Inside Out," with Guy Days' twisted guitar riff, picks up the pace. Although "Trouble" slows things down with its reggae groove, it's such a great change of pace (Nick Cash's wail sounds similar to the Specials' Terry Hall on this track). "Fun Thing" has a great little hook, and a powerful guitar solo that will grab you by the balls. "Hollywood," about their first trip to California, received solid airplay in the U.S., and has remained a 999 classic ever since. "Stop! Stop!" is a bouncy little bubblegum punk nugget. Practically every track is a classic! So, there you have it: a great live EP, three cool non-album tracks plus one of the best albums of its era! Captain Oi, we are not worthy!!

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