Somewhere deep in the archives of East of the M60 was a post which referred to K-Tel’s gloriously bad yet strangely listenable compilation album entitled ‘The World’s Worst Record Show‘. Almost 35 years ago, the late Kenny Everett did a run down of the worst music ever committed to vinyl. Part of the show, which aired on Capital Radio was recorded for posterity and made publicly available to an unsuspecting public. Needless to say, the creator of this blog is a proud owner of the said album.
Musos would have come across a song entitled ‘Kick Out The Jams’, though this is more likely to be MC5’s rather than the version I’m wittering on about. Likewise The Smiths with ‘Panic’, rather than The Scoop’s version which appeared on Chart Hits ’81. Same titles, different songs again.
Tubthumper’s version (or Tub-Thumper as displayed on the 7″ single) bears no resemblance to MC5’s mother trucking classic from 1969. Instead, it is a head rush of Cozy Powell style drums, a few ‘hey hey heys’, possibly inspired by T-Rex’s ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’, and a slab of lead guitar. In the background, there is sampled applause, air raid sirens and – near the end – wedding bells.
‘Kick Out The Jams’ is the 17th track on K-Tel’s ‘The World’s Worst Record Show’ LP. It appears after Eamonn Andrews’ version of ‘The Shifting Whispering Sands’ and comes before ‘My Feet Keep Tapping’ by Adolph Babel.
It has also appeared on the soundtrack for the film ‘Hot Fuzz’ and is more readily available on RPM’s 2003 compilation album ‘Velvet Tinmine’.
In the United Kingdom and West Germany, it was released on the Alaska Records label as a 7″ single with ‘Kamoutec’ on the B side. The label was formed by John Schroeder in 1972, who had hitherto worked for EMI as an A&R man. Among his discoveries was Helen Shapiro. In the mid-1970s, the Alaska label specialised in novelty records. The label’s biggest hit was ‘Naughty Naughty Naughty’ by Joy Sarney (1977), a reggae song featuring Punch and Judy. Football songs were another forte, including one arranged by Derek Hilton for Manchester City by Harmony Blend (an adaptation of Una Paloma Blanca).
Since the Alaska label was disbanded, John Schroeder continued to work in the music industry. He has since written an autobiography and a fiction book entitled ‘Cosy Cats Cottage plc’. His website is www.johnschroeder.co.uk and worth a look.
In the Netherlands, it was released on the Pink Elephant label, an imprint of Dureco (which was Shakin’ Stevens’ first label with The Sunsets, prior to his more successful solo career).
Life After Tubthumper
Tubthumper’s version of ‘Kick Out The Jams’ didn’t trouble the charts in the UK, Netherlands and West Germany. More significantly, culturally, was the future direction of its producers Jeff Jarratt and Don Reedman. In 1981, they would produce the highly successful ‘Hooked on Classics’ series of albums and singles with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Louis Clark. The rest, as they say, was Double Physics.
S.V., 21 February 2013.