The Black Album (The Damned album)

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The Black Album
Thedamnedblackalbum.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 November 1980 CWK3015
RecordedMay–June & 26 July 1980
Studio
GenrePunk rock, gothic rock, new wave, psychedelic rock
Length77:42
LabelChiswick
Producer
The Damned chronology
Machine Gun Etiquette
(1979)
The Black Album
(1980)
Strawberries
(1982)
Singles from The Black Album
  1. "The History of the World (Part 1)"
    Released: September 1980
  2. "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde"
    Released: 13 February 1981
  3. "Wait for the Blackout"
    Released: 6 May 1982
  4. "Lively Arts"
    Released: 10 October 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 3 November 1980 on Chiswick as a double album, with "Curtain Call" filling the whole of side 3, and a selection of live tracks recorded at Shepperton Studios for Damned fan club members on side 4.

The song "13th Floor Vendetta" paid tribute to the film The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), opening with the lyrics "...the organ plays to midnight on Maldine Square tonight".[1]

Music[edit]

The Black Album represented a change in the career of the group and an expansion of their sound. AllMusic critic Ned Raggett noted that "some of the numbers show the band following their original punk vein, but by this point the four...were leaving straight, three-chord thrash to the cul-de-sac revivalists", and that it was "a chance for the band to try everything from straightforward rock to gentler atmospherics".[2] Raggett described "Wait for a Blackout" as a "dramatic psych/punk surge" with "overtly-serious goth affectations", and qualified "Drinking About My Baby" as "goofy but still enjoyable". Captain Sensible later said that Dave Vanian's vocals were moving to a darker direction, and stated "It is goth; we didn't set out to do that but that is just the way it is. He did have a hearse, he was a grave digger".[3]

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' The 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", said 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, with four extra tracks, as Live Shepperton 1980.

The first subsequent reissue of The Black Album on CD reinstated "Curtain Call" and the original artwork, and the 2005 double-CD reissue also reinstated the live tracks.

Tour[edit]

The 28-date Black Album UK tour began in November 1980,[4] with reformed 1970s streetpunk band the Straps as support.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars [2]

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".[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Rat Scabies, Captain Sensible, Paul Gray and Dave Vanian, except as noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Wait for the Blackout"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Billy Karloff3:57
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
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
7."Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Giovanni Dadomo4:35
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"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Fay Hart6:12
Side three
No.TitleLength
12."Curtain Call"17:13
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
13."Love Song" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Algy Ward2:10
14."Second Time Around" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward1:46
15."Smash It Up (Parts 1 & 2)" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward4:24
16."New Rose" (Live)Brian James1:49
17."I Just Can't Be Happy Today" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward, Dadomo3:55
18."Plan 9 Channel 7" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward5:12
Note
  • The song titled "Second Time Around" was also known as "Machine Gun Etiquette", the title track from the band's previous album.

Deluxe Edition[edit]

All tracks written by Rat Scabies, Captain Sensible, Paul Gray and Dave Vanian, except as noted.

Disc 1
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Wait for the Blackout"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Billy Karloff3:57
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"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Giovanni Dadomo4:35
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"Scabies, Sensible, Gray, Vanian, Fay Hart6:12
12."Curtain Call" 17:13
Disc 2
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Love Song" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Algy Ward2:10
2."Second Time Around" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward1:46
3."Smash It Up (Parts 1 & 2)" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward4:24
4."New Rose" (Live)Brian James1:49
5."I Just Can't Be Happy Today" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward, Dadomo3:55
6."Plan 9 Channel 7" (Live)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Ward5:12
7."White Rabbit" (Non-album single)Grace Slick3:00
8."Rabid (Over You)" (B-side)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Andy Le Vien3:44
9."Seagulls" (B-side)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian2:36
10."The History of the World (Part 1)" (Single Version) 3:48
11."I Believe the Impossible" (B-side) 2:54
12."Sugar and Spite" (B-side) 1:30
13."There Ain't No Sanity Clause" (Non-album single)Scabies, Sensible, Vanian, Dadomo2:29
14."Looking At You" (Live, B-side)Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, Rob Tyner5:51
15."White Rabbit" (Extended version, previously unreleased original mix)Slick5:24
Notes

Adapted from deluxe edition liner notes.[5]

  • "Rabid (Over You)" and "Seagulls" – recorded at Wessex Studios, February 1980; B-sides to "White Rabbit"
  • "White Rabbit" – recorded at Wessex Studios, April 1980; scheduled for a UK single release in June 1980, it got as far as a test pressing before being cancelled; released in France and Germany only but arrived in the UK on import in July
  • "There Ain't No Sanity Clause" – recorded at Rockfield Studios, May–June 1980; released as a single on 24 November 1980
  • "Looking At You" – recorded live at Shepperton Studios, 26 July 1980; B-side to "There Ain't No Sanity Clause"
  • "The History of the World (Part 1)" – sound effects on single version recorded at Nova Suite, August 1980; released on 22 September 1980
  • "I Believe the Impossible" and "Sugar and Spite" – recording date and location unknown; B-sides to "The History of the World (Part 1)"

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from deluxe edition liner notes.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Damned - the Chaos Years: An Unofficial Biography by Barry Hutchinson
  2. ^ a b c AllMusic review
  3. ^ Louie Bones. "Interview with captain sensible". "Bigwheelsmagazine.com". 11 November 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011
  4. ^ "The Damned: Live Performances". www.whiterabbitskgs.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b The Black Album (CD liner notes). The Damned. Chiswick Records. 2005.CS1 maint: others (link)