ANGELIC UPSTARTS – “The Murder Of Liddle Towers” / “Police Oppression” (Rough Trade / Small Wonder 001) September 1978
Angelic Upstarts “The Murder Of Liddle Towers” – they were one of those punk bands that I was always aware of but somehow never got around to buying any of their records. That changed a couple of years ago when I decided to end my wait with a copy of their debut disc from 1978. It was originally released in a run of 500 on the indie label Small Wonder but heavy sales and a need for more issues led to a re-issue of sorts and a joint enterprise with Rough Trade.
This punk group were from my neck of the woods, Tyne and Wear. They were well known in the South Shields / Sunderland area and had a huge following even before this first record came out in the middle of 1978. Both sides are anti Police rants of controlled anger and aggression. I must say that I’m impressed not only by the sparse production but also the lead guitar playing especially.
Both sides are in my opinion classic street punk. ”The Murder Of Liddle Towers” is a about an incident in 1976 when local hard man Liddle Towers was arrested outside a Night Club in Birtley, beaten up by the Police and taken to the nick in Gateshead. It was here that he was beaten up again in his cell and died from his injuries. After an initial verdict of ’justifiable homicide’ the case was re-examined following an Appeal and changed to ’death by misadventure’
The number is a slow brooding lament with whispered and wailing punk vocals. It’s certainly the real deal and a spectacular first record by Angelic Upstarts. (EXPO67)
Liddle Towers was a Geordie hard-man arrested for drunkeness who ended up, the coroner opined, looking like he’d been in a head-on car crash.
Ex-miner – and Clash devotee – Thomas ‘Mensi’ Mensforth remembers, as a kid, hearing The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ in a documentary about skinheads. He told guitarist Mond he wanted a similar feel for his ode to Liddle.
Self-financed and locally recorded (Wallsend’s Impulse studio), 500 copies were pressed. Rough Trade quickly reissued this slow, grinding lament, topped with whispered vocals and delicate-to-disonant rock guitar.
Mensi philosophises “I went down the King’s Road when it all started but that wasn’t for me.” This is the real punk-from-the-streets deal. (Mojo)