On 25 September 2020 Captain Oi will release a 5 CD Clamshell Box Set titled “The Boys on Safari”.
The Boys On Safari
Matt Dangerfield – guitar/vocals
Kid Reid – bass/vocals
Honest John Plain – guitar/vocals
Casino Steel – keyboards/vocals
Jack Black – drums
Along with the Sex Pistols, Clash and The Damned, The Boys were part of the first wave of the mid-1970’s UK punk explosion. Armed with an arsenal of killer Steel/Dangerfield songs The Boys became the first UK punk band to sign an album deal in January 1977. Highly regarded by the music press and their contemporaries, their well-crafted songs, together with Steel and Dangerfield’s love of harmonies, led to them being described as ‘The Beatles of Punk’ but they could (and should) just as deservedly have been compared to the Ramones – fast, alternately brattish and tongue-in-cheek, and gloriously anthemic.
Having released two albums and three singles with NEMS, they moved to Safari Records in 1979 where two further albums and five more singles followed…
Think you know The Boys?
Here is your chance to find out more and maybe discover a gem or two that you had maybe missed out on, never heard before or, hear a remaster of one of your favourites. On 25 September 2020 Captain Oi will release a 5 CD Clamshell Box Set titled “The Boys on Safari”. Scroll down for a special deal if you buy directly from The Boys…
The release will include a 28-page booklet featuring track notes and observations by singer/guitarist Matt Dangerfield. The package also includes eight never previously released Boys demos.
Disc 1 – “To Hell With The Boys“
Disc 1 is the band’s third studio album “To Hell With The Boys”. This album reached No.4 in the Independent Chart in early 1980 and features the Indie Chart hit singles ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Terminal Love’. You will also find a blistering version of Sabre Dance, which Matt explains was used as a set opener for many of their gigs. You Can’t Hurt A Memory features vocals from Matt, this rolls in at just over 7 minutes, is a superb listen. The superb remaster brings the song back to life with the all intricacies and instrument variations clearly audible. Matt explains “I deliberately put a twist on Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arm Round A Memory” and I also pitched the song so it would be a strain on my voice and push it to the edge of cracking.”
This disc includes the two single releases. Pounding drums and a revving motorbike leads you into Kamikaze. This song was the first time Honest John Plain took lead vocal duty in The Boys. The superb Terminal Love, complete with the just wonderful Knocking on Heavens door section. Just wait ’till the remastered guitars hit you on Rue Morgue, what a track and it sounds as fresh and vibrant – and punky as it did when it was recorded. Duncan Reid did the main vocals on this one.
Matt said recently in an interview “So listening to it now for me is almost like hearing it for the first time and it all sounds fantastic from start to finish!“”
Disc 2 – “Boys Only”
The second disc is 1981’s “Boys Only” album which features the singles ‘Weekend’ and ‘Let It Rain’. Weekend opens up disc 2. This has almost The Cars guitars sound (Best Friend’s Girl). But then this songs really opens up to so much more. The remaster on this disc is again superb. These recordings have never sounded so good. The band sound great and those vocal harmonies on the chorus on Weekend are killers. Matt explains “This song stood out in the “Boys Only” sessions as being the track everyone agreed should be the first single. It was UK Radio 1 Peter Powell’s Single of the Week on its release in October 1980.”
CD 2 is packed full of quality tracks and includes The Boys take on What a Wonderful World. The lyrics of Scrubber are brilliant! A kind of stripped back song – guitars, drums and some complex bass patterns. Its a punchy little track. The other single release Let It Rain closes this disc, Matt recalls “producer Nick Tauber kept encouraging me to add more and more backing vocals, I was at it for at least half a day!“. And let me tell you it was well worth the wait to hear that again. I had not heard much from this album, but it has edged into my top release list from The Boys. And also a mention of Gabrielle and how good a song this is, Matt on total form for this one, “I recall laying down the lead vocal in Olympic Studios with the sun streaming through a high window and realising that this was going to be a great track.” It really is a terrific album.
The work that has gone into the remastering of the first two discs is extraordinary and shows how it should be done. No just twiddling with the treble or just compressing things up a bit more. These albums are full of vibrancy, warmth and colour. These albums sound as if they have only recently been recorded using the latest techniques. Hell yes, its The Boys!
If you own both of these albums from other sources, then you really do need these new versions. You will be blown away by the audio differences. Superb job. The albums really do show off the talent of The Boys. The albums fully display the collaborative song writing firepower of Casino Steel, Matt Dangerfield and Honest John Plain. The songs have never sounded so authentic and good!
Both “To Hell With The Boys” and “Boys Only” have been remastered directly from the original Safari master tapes so sound far superior to any previous CD releases of the albums.
Disc 3 – “Rarities”
Disc 3 is a 22 track “Rarities” round-up containing eight previously unreleased studio demos alongside non LP tracks, B-sides and rare mixes.
This disc is crammed with surprises, as the archives have been well and truly raided for this one! The 22 tracks will fly past you as the opening track indicates. Schoolgirls, Matt revealed “This song was written when we were invited to provide an original new tune for a children’s television programme exploring how records were made. Unsurprisingly, the television station deemed “Schoolgirls” unsuitable and it was never used!” Its a cracking rocker of a tune soaked in the unmistakeable The Boys rockin’ vibe. Some lovely guitar work, almost in a Dave Edmunds/Rockpile style on here and and soaring keyboards bring the song to a satisfying closure.
You will discover original versions in this pretty exhaustive selection, and some exclusive demo recordings, and so much more, for example the outstanding Schooldays. This was a demo recorded in 1979. It sounds great. This particular version has never been released before. From 1980 comes another demo Little Runaround, this is quite a short demo but it gives you a great sampler of just what The Boys were capable of and producing at that time.
Also well worthy of a mention is I Love Me. This was originally recorded for the “Junk” album which never happened.This version was recorded to be the b-side of “Terminal Love”. Matt said “It was normal for us to pilfer bits of music from our musical heroes in many of our songs in the hope that they would sue us. We figured what we might lose in songwriting royalties on the song would be offset by lots of great publicity, but sadly nobody’s sued us. Yet…” . A brave admission from Matt! Mid point into the song the drums kick in and what seems to reflect those those familiar guitar chords and scrapes from First Time appear.
This disc is worth the price of the box set in its own right! Truly stunning to hear these songs, and again a top job has been performed on cleaning up the audio and bringing everything to life. A most enjoyable listen. There are 22 tracks on this disc.
Disc 4 – “THE YOBS CHRISTMAS ALBUM”
The fourth disc in the collection is the X rated “Christmas Album” issued under the name The Yobs, which now has three added bonus tracks. Long out of print on vinyl or CD and is currently an expensive collector’s item.
Its Chrissssssstmas! Err well ok – not quite.
Track listing for this one includes: Rub A Dum Dum, Jingle Bells, Auld Lang Syne, Silent Night, Silver Bells, C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, Gloria, Twelve Days Of Christmas, White Christmas, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Bonus Tracks: Rub A Dum Dum (Single Version), Another Christmas (Single Version) and finally Yobs On 45.
Feels a little odd to be listening to the 17 track Christmas disc with the late summer sun still beating down, and conkers falling from the trees. But as the supermarkets are already putting out Mince Pies and mega boxes of Christmas Chocolates – why not! So with my Santa hat on….
Guitars pumping out the riff to Little Drummer Boy set the scene for this one! Some skilful lyric manipulation on display here. Some traditional favourites on here given a most un-traditional make over. Silver Bells, I always loved the Twisted Sister version, but The Boys, sorry The Yobs, have toppled them off the top of the tree! Check out Jingle Bells, another Christmas classic is targetted and gets all the joy mercilessly kicked out of it by The Yobs! The magnificent Yobs on 45 closes the disc. Matt recalls “The Yobs fourth single was a musical collage using snippets of Yobs songs. John and myself were the only Yobs involved although honorary Yobs including engineer Mike Pela and a few other friends came along to lend a hand.” 12 Days of Christmas is just a riot! You have been warned, you will not have heard this song delivered quite like this before – its brilliant!
Disc 5 – “1980 BBC In Concert”
Hot off the tour with The Ramones, this set was recorded live by the BBC. We get an intro and the album kicks off with one of the finest punk tunes put to vinyl – First Time. This is a treasure trove as some of The Boys earlier material from The Boys is available and is powered up, including Brickfield Nights. This is a must have addition to any collection. Its sounds great! The track listing makes this a special disc – First Time, Rue Morgue, You’d Better Move On, Kamikaze, Cop Cars, New Guitar In Town, Brickfield Nights, Worm Song, Terminal Love and Livin’ In The City. Worm Song on there, yes that Worm Song – “everybody hates me”. I had only heard this as a bonus track download on the recent vinyl release of The Boys, not live though.
I have to say I enjoyed every second of this quite magnificent collection. Many of the tracks I have now played over and over. Some of the tracks I have never heard and some I have never heard sounding so good. For a compilation, this one feels surprisingly cohesive and well put together with a stunning booklet stuffed with pictures and words. This has to be a must have collection. A real music box, full of rockin’ delights.
There is really a lot of material to enjoy here. These guys have always proved that they know their way around a grabbing riff or hook. Even this earlier material shows that The Boys have always had more than sufficient experience to know how to build songs, melodies and then punk things up for maximum effect. The whole collection makes a dynamic, exciting and richly textured album collection, that is over way too soon, yes and that’s all all 5 discs!
Exclusive: Buy directly from The Boys:
Anyone buying the Box Set directly from The Boys before 1 October 2020 will be given a PDF document of Matt Dangerfield’s full Safari notes along with an unreleased 1979 demo of “New Guitar In Town”. For more information email The Boys at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to The Boys.
Thanks to Matt Dangerfield.
Thanks to Steve Metcalfe
More info : The Boys are on Facebook
Thanks to Matt I from Cherry Red Records
Go grab a copy from Cherry Red Records – HERE
The Boys on Safari is Released September 25, 2020.
71 track 5 CD clamshell box set covering legendary Punk band The Boys’ period with Safari Records between 1979-81.
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