Another day another version of To Hell gets released. This one though features sleevenotes from Matt Dangerfield along with never before seen photos taken at the 1979 recording sessions at Nidaros Studios and a full lyric sheet. It’s available in regular black and limited edition blue vinyl from Mad Butcher Records. Originally released on CD by Casino Steel’s Revolution Records after the band had split. ‘To Hell’ might just have taken their power pop notoriety to the next level it had a little something extra and was the sum of their parts all rolled into one fantastic album they were no longer the punks of the first wave they were more than that and anyone who read previous reviews and interviews will know that The Boys are a massive influence on the records we play around HQ. ‘To Hell’ was given a kiss of life for record store this year but this has to be the definitive mix (being the original mix) it doesn’t have the original sleeve artwork but then Who doesn’t love a new fresh mix of a classic album? I certainly do and although it’s been a while since I spun this on vinyl I thoroughly enjoyed hearing a not-clicky-popping version that wasn’t a CD.
It seems a bit weird looking at the artwork and it not being the blue and red lit sleeve and this version is such a great cover in Black & White looking so youthful in black leather. A Japanese compilation came out on CD about seven years ago with this very image but like the music – not quite as sharp.
‘To Hell With The Boys’ curiously opened with an instrumental cover of ‘Sabre Dance’ and quickly bled into ‘Rue Morgue’ Johnny Thunders and Hanoi used to open their sets with Pipeline and I always saw this as the same kinda deal. ‘Rue Morgue’ being a swirling ball of energy and fine musicianship. The Keyboards punching in and out layer the track perfectly. The album contained one of those soft songs for hard men in the shape of the massively popular ‘Terminal Love’. ‘To Hell’ always had a great flow to the tracklist I love the rawness of the guitars on ‘See Ya Later’ a song that still features heavily in their set list to this day and it’s not difficult to see why. The same can be said for the ballad ‘You Can’t Hurt A Memory’ again so far from the punk bands of the day it’s a beautiful song with a great feel to it from the crisp piano intro and harmonies to the chorus. It’s also almost as long as a lot of punk rock albums on its own. Often described as Lennonesque, it’s certainly got similarities in the vocal effect but I always loved the harmonica and where it speeds up it’s got more in common with Mott The Hoople or The Stones in my humble opinion and that saxophone is a great piece of arrangement. ‘Kamakazi’ continues the use of sax again an influence on Hanoi Rocks no doubt about it. what’s not to like about songs about bikes and Rock and Roll.
I guess it’s fair to say the band was really mixing it up with the tracks like the powerful ‘Lonely Cowboy’ or the Reid written ‘Waiting For The Lady’ they really were a band that had a whole bunch of excellent songwriters and not just one. Each added their own special ingredient to make a well-blended record that flowed better than its predecessors.
rounding off the record as it was originally intended there are no B sides bonus tracks its just the ten of the best from the Boys ending on the Lennoneque ‘Independent Girl’ and then we were done. As good a power pop rock n roll album as you could ever wish to hear and with it being the original mix it’s a beautiful moment in time captured forever. ‘To Hell With The Boys’ is an album that should have wide appeal and one that should be played loud and often. To hell with whatever you had planned get on this bad boy before they’re all gone. Quite simply an essential purchase – Get one!
- Dom Daley, RPM Online
|A4||See Ya Later||3:02|
|A5||You Can't Hurt A Memory||7:46|
|B3||Waiting For The Lady||3:26|