The Black Album (The Damned album)

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The Black Album
Studio album by The Damned
Released October, 1980 CWK3015
Recorded Rockfield Studios (Monmouth, Wales)
(May - June 1980)
live tracks:
Shepperton Studios (Shepperton)
(26 July 1980)
Genre Punk rock, post-punk, gothic rock, psychedelic rock, art rock, art punk
Length 77:42
Label Chiswick
Producer The Damned (as The Kings of Reverb), Hans Zimmer
The Damned chronology
Machine Gun Etiquette
(1979)
The Black Album
(1980)
Strawberries
(1982)

The Black Album was the fourth album by The Damned, and the first to feature Paul Gray on bass guitar.

It was released in October 1980 on Chiswick as a double album, with "Curtain Call" filling the whole of side three, and a selection of live tracks recorded at Shepperton Studios for Damned fan club members on side four.

The song "13th Floor Vendetta" pays tribute to the film The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), opening with the lyrics "...the organ plays to midnight on Maldine Square tonight".

Reissues[edit]

The Damned's Chiswick back catalogue was acquired by Big Beat in 1981, and The Black Album was reissued in August 1982 as a single album that omitted "Curtain Call" and the live tracks.

The artwork for the reissue parodied the sleeve of The Beatles' White Album, rendered in black with no details other than the group's name embossed in capitals. "It was said that The Beatles had their White Album, we had our Black Album", says David Vanian. "The sleeve isn't related to The Beatles in any way". However, Scabies said: "of course it was to do with The Beatles, I was so sick about the debates of what we should have on the front of it. I said: 'put the thing in a plain black sleeve and we'll have a go at The Beatles and The White Album". The live tracks were reissued in their own right as Live Shepperton 1980 with four extra tracks.

The first subsequent reissue on CD reinstated "Curtain Call" and the original artwork, and the 2005 double-CD reissue also reinstated the live tracks. The 28-date Black Album UK tour kicked off in December 1980, with support band The Straps - who were also a London based punk outfit.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [1]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic called the album hit-or-miss, but added that "tracks of note are still thick on the ground" and that "it's still a surprisingly good blast, a tour de force for Vanian particularly".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Rat Scabies/Captain Sensible/Paul Gray/Dave Vanian except * by Scabies/Sensible/Gray/Vanian/Billy Karloff, ** by Scabies/Sensible/Gray/Vanian/Giovanni Dadomo.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Wait for the Blackout" – 3:57 *
  2. "Lively Arts" – 2:59
  3. "Silly Kids Games" – 2:35
  4. "Drinking About My Baby" – 3:04
  5. "Twisted Nerve" – 4:39
  6. "Hit or Miss" – 2:37

Side two[edit]

  1. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" – 4:35 **
  2. "Sick of This and That" – 1:50
  3. "The History of the World (Part 1)" – 3:45
  4. "13th Floor Vendetta" – 5:05
  5. "Therapy" – 6:12

Side three[edit]

  1. "Curtain Call" – 17:13

Side four[edit]

All songs written by Scabies/Sensible/Vanian/Algy Ward except ** by Scabies/Sensible/Vanian/Ward/Dadomo, ‡ by Brian James.

Song entitled "Second Time Around" is actually "Machine Gun Etiquette", the title track from the band's previous album.

  1. "Love Song" [Live] – 2:10
  2. "Second Time Around" [Live] – 1:46
  3. "Smash It Up (Parts 1 & 2)" [Live] – 4:24
  4. "New Rose" [Live] – 1:49 ‡
  5. "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" [Live] – 3:55 **
  6. "Plan 9 Channel 7" [Live] – 5:12

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc one[edit]

  1. "Wait for the Blackout" – 3:57
  2. "Lively Arts" – 2:59
  3. "Silly Kids Games" – 2:35
  4. "Drinking About My Baby" – 3:04
  5. "Twisted Nerve" – 4:39
  6. "Hit or Miss" – 2:37
  7. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" – 4:35
  8. "Sick of This and That" – 1:50
  9. "The History of the World (Part 1)" – 3:45
  10. "13th Floor Vendetta" – 5:05
  11. "Therapy" – 6:12
  12. "Curtain Call" – 17:13

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Love Song" [Live] – 2:10
  2. "Second Time Around" [Live] – 1:46
  3. "Smash It Up (Parts 1 & 2)" [Live] – 4:24
  4. "New Rose" [Live] – 1:49
  5. "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" [Live] – 3:55
  6. "Plan 9 Channel 7" [Live] – 5:12
  7. "White Rabbit" - 3:00
  8. "Rabid (Over You)" – 3:44
  9. "Seagulls" - 2:36
  10. "The History of the World (Part 1)" [Single Version] – 3:48
  11. "I Believe the Impossible" - 2:54
  12. "Sugar and Spite" - 1:30
  13. "There Ain't No Sanity Clause" - 2:29
  14. "Looking At You" [Live] - 5:51
  15. "White Rabbit" [Extended Version - Original Mix] - 5:24

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]