'Action Man' (What's The Damage John?, 1981).

Excellent punk from early 1981 just before mohawks and studded leathers became the norm. The Dalex formed at college in Luton in 1979 with Nick Beggs on bass who swiftly moved on to Art Nouveau and then chart toppers Kajagoogoo. Meanwhile The Dalex with a more suitable bass player in tow were restricted to releasing this self financed single and playing local gigs, though they did support a few big names including Angelic Upstarts and The Mo-dettes. The Dalex later developed into something a little more commercial sounding under a different name but that soon fizzled out.

'Howard Hughes' Shoes' (Deccamondo, 1980).

The late Tom Hibbert, a journalist and brother of Jimmy from Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias was the main man behind this obscurity. Tom was the editor of Smash Hits during it's peak period and later worked his magic at Q magazine. While brother Jimmy was getting full page ads in the music press for his 'Heavy Duty' LP, 'Howard Hughes' Shoes' only publicity was a low key review in the short lived New Music News written by Tom himself under a pseudonym. Key words in the review included 'unknown pranksters' and 'good' though he did acknowledge the Velvet Underground plagiarism on the B-side 'White House'.

'Tell Him' (Secret, 1980).

A frantic powerpop version of a song that was originally a UK top 10 hit in 1963 for Billie Davies (the female singer, not the Mondo lot above). Temporary Title had label mate Martin Atkins (Brian Brain) helping out on drums for this single with the Title's Billy Sturgeon returning the favour by adding some keyboards to the Brian Brain LP. Sturgeon's brother Bobby played guitar for Brian Brain, while Billy himself was briefly with Cuddly Toys though it seems he wasn't pretty enough to fit their image. Temporary Title released a 2nd single also on Secret that isn't as good and recorded other tracks for a planned but never released album.

'Jet Boy Jet Girl' (Lightning, 1978).

This and the two records below are all quite common but the versions here might be slightly more difficult to obtain. This version of 'Jet Boy Jet Girl' was released a couple of months after the original and features a few lyric changes in an attempt by Lightning to get some airplay to rival the UK release of Plastic Bertrand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' which was a huge hit across parts of mainland Europe. Ultimately it was Bertrand that came out on top on the head to head, with Elton Motello being restricted to cult status. If you are looking, the airplay version has a larger Hansa logo on the label and a high percentage don't have a picture sleeve. 'A collector's item as well as a hit, which one have you got?' says a Lightning press release. Obviously everyone needs both!

'I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk' (Razz, 1980).

I'm still gobsmacked that The Freshies only had a minor hit with this record. Even with MCA securing some daytime radio for the re-issue it still fell short of the Top 40. This version is from the original Razz Records white label promo and according to an official Razz catalogue it's a different take to the MCA 'Certain' version. I'm not sure what the differences are as my MCA copy is the 'Virgin' version but I can tell you that this uses the 'Singalong Version' as the backing track though apparently there may be differences between the Razz and MCA 'Singalong'. The B-side of this is the 'Virgin' version with various bleeps and buzzers over the word 'Virgin'.

'7 Teen' (Rialto, 1979).

The Regents were formed by Damian Pew and Martin Sheller in the summer of 1979 with two female backing singers Bric and Cath. Pew and Sheller had previously played with Out To Lunch who released a couple of singles in 1976 on Transatlantic Records. One of those singles was re-issued by Transatlantic's successor Logo Records in September 1979 despite it's dated jazz/rock sound. '7 Teen' was anything but dated, capturing the moment perfectly when new wave and pop happily co-existed. This is the uncensored version with the only difference being the word 'erection' in place of 'reaction' and a more prominent tape hiss which I've manage to tame a little on the audio sample. That tape hiss was due to the song being recorded on a 4 track Teac tape recorder.

'Boring' (Lightning, 1978).

Lightning Records released a steady flow of under the radar punk singles throughout 1978 with the only publicity being a guaranteed top 10 on Lightning's new wave chart published in trade paper Music Week. At the time these records were viewed with more than a hint of suspicion, but with hindsight we needn't have worried as even the less authentic ones (Horrorcomic for example) were pretty good. Martin And The Brownshirts came from Chester and disappeared into oblivion just as quickly as their record dropped out of Lightning's chart. A-side 'Taxi Driver' finishes with a locked groove which left me with a decision to make on how to end the needledrop. Eventually I decided on a fade after 5 revolutions but then thought I'd bore you with the B-side instead.

'Tearaway' (Decca, 1979).

The Jets had the misfortune of sharing their name with several other bands so we can't be sure how active they were on the live circuit. Chances are any gig listings were other people and this lot were more likely living up to their previous moniker of 'Stagefright'. Signing a deal with Decca Records who were struggling financially was another bad move. Promo copies of 'Tearaway' were more common than stock copies so even if you did hear the record on the radio or were impressed with the 'showband rock' put down in a Record Mirror review you would've struggled to find the record in the shops. Of course Record Mirror were well wide of the mark as 'Tearaway' is a stone-cold powerpop classic with an equally wonderful B-side.

'Gob On You' (After The Break, 1979).

'Gob On You' featured in one of the early episodes of sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News. There is actually two versions of the song, this version was released in late 1979 as a B-side, while an inferior mono mix with added laughter can be found on another B-side and also on a BBC soundtrack LP. On the fake punk scale it's doesn't quite hit the heights of Gyppo or Airship musically but the lyrics are quite entertaining if a little cliched. 'Gob On You' was somehow missed by the compilers of the under the counter fake punk comp 'Who's A Punk' and the record is also conspicuous by it's absence from the '45 Revolutions' book. Apparently cabaret band Hippo (of 'Hot For Hippo' fame) covered 'Gob On You' in the new wave segment of their live set back in the day.

'19th Nervous Breakdown' (Brum Beat, 1978).

'Everybody's On Revolver Tonite' sang 'O'Level on their 1978 'Malcolm' EP, that 'everybody' even included Brum cabaret punks Brent Ford And The Nylons who raced through two of the tracks on this record during the show's new artist slot. Unfortunately that TV appearance didn't do much to improve sales of the 45 which had appeared a few weeks earlier with half the pressing still remaining unsold months later. Those remaining copies were then housed in a folded Christmas card picture sleeve and if you were lucky they were signed inside by the band in character. Other songs given the 100mph treatment in a typical Nylons live set included 'Gloria', 'Highway 61' and 'Little Queenie'.

'You've Got Nothing' (Tramp, 1978).

B-side of The Bleach Boys snotty punk classic 'Chloroform' and every bit as good. Produced by Tramp Records owner Terry Friend who was a folk singer by day and a grave digger by night (or was it the other way round?). Judging by how amateur this record is I'm not sure if Terry was qualified to call himself a producer or how Bleach Boys bassist Chris Sutoris was previously trusted to play on a 1974 LP by Terry's band Stonefield Tramp. The release date of The Bleach Boys next record 'Stocking-Clad Nazi Death Squad Bitches' has been a matter of much debate but an SRT number scratched in the dead wax confirms it was 1988 which is much later than most thought.

'Sell Out' (Woodbine St, 1979).

I don't know anything about Phil Canning, but Cheeky who backed Phil on this single I do know. Cheeky also released a single on Woodbine St that attracts interest from both punk and NWOBHM collectors. Ask Cheeky which side of the fence they favour and they'll say they were just high energy pub rockers with a live set heavy on Status Quo covers. Thankfully any boogie fixation they might have had was kept to a minimum while backing Phil Canning to give 'Sell Out' the much more appealling description of 'pub punk', though the flip side 'Underground' is a little too much like the Quo for my liking. If anyone can fill in the blanks on Mr Canning's career, tell us something, anything!

'Tell Her I'm Ill' (MCA, 1981).

The late Chris Sievey is undoubtfully one of pop music's true mavericks. His band The Freshies moved seamlessly through the gears from haphazard DIY'ers to daytime radio releasing some wonderful records on the way. The next level was always going to be a step too much as you get the feeling that Chris might have viewed Top Of The Pops as a bit of an inconvience when there were video cassette inlays waiting to be cut and folded for his next vanity project. 99% of other bands would give there right arm for a song as good as 'Tell Her I'm Ill' but in typical nonchalant fashion The Freshies buried it on a B-side (twice!).

'Library Book' (Rip Off, 1979).

With Good Vibrations having the monopoly on Northern Ireland's young punk talent, the aptly named Rip Off Records had to make do with showband chancers and pub rock casualties. The Faders from Ballymoney belonged to the slightly less contrived latter category. More often than not there was something worthwhile on at least one side of a Rip Off 45 and The Faders deliver on the excellent 'Library Book'. This should have a printed brown paper bag sleeve but mine is missing having likely been recycled long ago by the clueless Lulu (not that one, surely?) who has also committed a further act of atrocity by defacing the label.

'She Makes Me Love Her (But She Don't Make It Easy)' (Zoom, 1978).

Edinburgh trio Nightshift released a total of 5 singles between 1978 and 1981, one of which ('Don't Rush The Good Things') was later covered by Tina Turner. The first two singles on Zoom Records have been a staple of cheap boxes locally for many years, in fact one ex record shop owner is still knocking out dead stock online for next to nothing. I've been as guilty as anyone of neglect with a recent catch up of rarely played 45's in my collection resulting in a 'how the hell did I miss that?' moment. Whoever decided that 'She Makes Me Love Her' should be the B-side has a lot to answer for!

'Rock 'n' Roll (Is Here To Stay)' (Parole, 1978).

The Four Kings were missed by Cherry Red Records when they compiled their recent pub rock multi-disc set, but they were never really part of that scene anyway. Instead they had their own thing going, one where rock 'n' roll started with Bo Diddley and ended with Chuck Berry, and nothing else mattered. Except maybe disco if you can take the A-side of this single seriously. 'Non-Stop Dancing' could be described as a novelty record if it wasn't a total car crash, which of course makes it totally brilliant. Not as brilliant as the B-side featured here, that's pure rock 'n' roll with an abundance of amateur charm and punk rock attitude.

'Nervous Breakdown' (Valium, 1979).

White Heat were originally known as Hartbreaker playing straight-ahead rock and were quite late in the day converting to the new wave. It seemed to be a change they were never really comfortable with given a lack of image and too many Springsteen-esque moments creeping in to later material. However, there are no such issues on this record with 'Nervous Breakdown' being widely viewed as a punkpop classic. The B-side 'Sammy Sez' is great too if a little more adventurous. Came packaged in a nice fold over sleeve, but using staples to hold the inner die-cut was never a good idea!

'Take Me In Your Arms' (Hillside, 1978).

Pictures I've seen of Silver Machine reveal a 'hair too long, trousers all wrong' image. If that's not enough to put you off then let me tell you that the A-side of this double A-side features a wimpy pop ballad that's placed firmly in club/cabaret territory. Thankfully 'Take Me In Your Arms' (the AA-side) is a full scale major upgrade. It's as if someone had accidentally turned up the guitars till they hit the red and the kids in the wrong trousers were inspired to knock out some first album Ramones with a healthy dose of Bolan boogie. If you're considering adding this to the wants list, the words 'deep pockets' and 'patience' come to mind.

'You Gotta Know Girl' (REL, 1977).

This lot were active in early 1977 under the name The Lurch playing rock and pop covers in and around the Edinburgh area. The addition of a few Ramones inspired originals to their set saw local press describe The Lurch as 'Edinburgh's first new wave band'. A name change to Bee Bee Cee and a more punk image followed though not everyone was on the same page with drummer Zokko seen wearing last year's jeans on the sleeve of their single! Thankfully, 'You Gotta Know Girl' makes all the right noises and is now much in demand among genre purists.

'Ice Cole Love' (Logo, 1981).

Cole Younger maybe would have liked to have been David Essex in 1975, or at least had the same level of success. Fast forward a few years and he had no such ambitions, instead he seemed content making the occasional great pop record with each one becoming more and more tuned to the new wave. The A-side of this single 'It'll Be Alright On The Night' is an excellent powerpopper but even better in my opinion is the flip 'Ice Cole Love' which compliments those ever present pop hooks with some noisy punk guitar.

'Gang Of Kids' (Big Bear, 1981).

It seems to be most people's opinion that The Quads peaked with their first single and I suppose there is some merit to that thought. Given that 'There Must Be Thousands' was recorded pretty much live in the studio with very little in the way of any post production, later records do lose a little of that obvious energy. 'Gang Of Kids' from the B-side of the band's 4th single comes closest to hitting the same heights as that debut adding some catchy Chris Spedding style lead guitar to their pub/punk formula.