In the far distant past, when I was but a teenager, printed (newspaper style) Sounds was the only real source of rock news; remember that the internet wasn’t even a gleam in Timothy John Berners-Lee’s eye, mobile phones were big red boxes with windows and complex operating systems like “press button A”; home computers were yet to appear (and when they did they had huge memory storage…64KB was the norm, 128KB if you were flash) and vinyl wasn’t a fetish or a fad, it was the only way to buy music…from shops!
I say this because it was in this era, and in the music publication that an acronym was used for the first time and entered the pages of history: Geoff Barton, the much-respected journalist was (and still is) writing studied and thoughtful articles on genres he clearly loves. He came up with the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” to describe a defining set of bands that changed the rock landscape forever. It also had the advantage of, albeit somewhat tortuously, pronounceable as ‘New-Wobb-Um’.
This preamble is not just an old git revisiting happy memories (if it was, I’d have mentioned every Thursday, when Sounds came through the letterbox from the newsagent (an early kind subscription service) I would grab a glass of milk, four half coated, dark chocolate digestives, go back to bed and not resurface until I’d read every page), it is also a way to herald the latest acronym to hit the rock world…NWOCR: the New Wave Of Classic Rock….or, ‘New-Woc-Er’
This is an entity made up of some of rock’s most influential labels and bands; that may be why some artists not featured aren’t err, featured and why some that are – do not seemingly fit in with the term Classic Rock (New Wave or otherwise); regardless, anything that promotes the music we love and provide a launching pad for new bands should be lauded and applauded rather than suffering nitpicking about the who is or isn’t on it.
It should also be noted that NWOCR isn’t just a label, it is an active group, made up of these artists, that have provided help and support to each other throughout the pandemic: remember that live shows are the lifeblood of these people and their crews…their mutual support through Facebook and more traditional means (talking to each other) has significantly helped them and, our support, so give ‘em a stream at least and buy, preferably the physical product direct, if you like them because that is where the artists make the most money. (A contentious and complex issue, but I read an article that said an artist would need to have a song streamed in excess of 3,000 times to earn the equivalent of one hour of the UK minimum wage…a stark statistic that warrants exploration, but not here.)
With forty-two tracks, I will only select the lesser-known and/or ‘misplaced’ artists because we all know Massive Wagons, The Dust Coda, The New Roses, the excellent Wolf Jaw etc. etc. These sub-four-minute songs deserve a deeper look and listen and there’s a lot to gained….quite a few of them are reviewed here on Bluesdoodles; use the search facility.) So, let’s look at a few blues first, NewWocers second, artists.
The essential Elles Bailey is here with her blues-drenched Woman Like Me (I fell in love all over again by the time she’d done the 1,2,3 count in!) This is a simply fabulous track and, if her presence here generates more interest in her work, I’m all for it.
Similarly, Jack J Hutchinson brings heavy rocking blues World On fire to the ‘New’ table with his Budgie like attack laced liberally with 70s rock sensibilities. Then there is the absolute genius of These Wicked Rivers with Shine On shining out with blues-rock of a rarely encountered calibre.
Elsewhere we get little gems like Ward XVI with the Alice meets SAHB in a lovely way; vocalist Psychoberrie lets her lungs unfold to round out the sound.
Bootyard Bandits bring glam in cowboy boots tinged rock to the fun track Hoedown Showdown from their Songs For The Saddle Sore.
Black Water Conspiracy sound like Alice getting elected on the intro to Soul Revolutionaries before becoming a heavy Asia but still good.
Anchor Lane adds a touch of punk to their blues-ish Fame Shame. Ashen Reach has a latter-day Europe tinge. Everyday Heroes bring ZZ riffs and an irresistible bounce to Find My Way.
Tomorrow Is Lost heavy, classy pop-rock. Collateral has a Southern Bon Jovi (but nicer!) craft on Merry Go Round.
Gorilla Riot is just that on the many-layered Still Doing Time. Takeaway Thieves come across like modern-day Ramones on This RocknRoll. Rews defy classification with Today We’re Warriors…not Halestorm exactly, not Evananescence but damn good.
The best band name goes to Shape of Water and with The World Is Calling Me their heavy, proggy-ish rock is quality.
There’s just too many to list them all and there’s is only one track I did not listen to as Motorhead light doesn’t do it for me: plus as I have Haxan, Sons Of Liberty, Doomsday Outlaw, Skam, Anchor Lane, South Of Salem, Thundermother, Wolf Jaw, Bastette, and the true blues artists named above, in my collection already, I hope you can see that many of these bands are worth a chance…and also give an indication of the value of such a compilation as this to your ears, wallet and, vitally, to all of these hard-working artists.
Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful introduction to many bands we need to hear and the added bonus of a reminder of how damn good the rest are.
New Wave Of Classic Rock – Volume One CD’s; T-Shirts & T Towels are available to support and celebrate the music.
Tracklisting and artists:
1. Massive Wagons – Tokyo
2. Mason Hill – DNA
3. Hollowstar – All I Gotta Say
4. These Wicked Rivers – Shine On
5. Anchor Lane – Fame Shame
6. Empyre – New Republic
7. Daxx & Roxane – Without You
8. Sons Of Liberty – Fire And Gasoline
9. The Hot Damn! – Dance Around
10. Everyday Heroes – Find My Way
11. Elles Bailey – Woman Like Me
12. Scarlet Rebels – No One Else To Blame
13. Wolf Jaw – I Ain’t Ready
14. Tomorrow Is Lost – Hideaway
15. Dead Man’s Whiskey – War Machine
16. Dig Lazarus – Tell Me Why
17. The New Roses – Whiskey Nightmare
18. Shape Of Water – The World Is Calling Me
19. Haxan – Killing Time
20. Revival Black – So Alive
21. Gin Annie – Devil In Me
1. Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – Son Of A Gun
2. The Dust Coda – When The Tide Comes In
3. Skam – Iron Cross
4. Collateral – Merry Go Round
5. Bad Touch – I Get High
6. Massive – Rise
7. Gorilla Riot – Still Doing Time
8. Thundermother – Driving In Style
9. King Creature – Captives
10. Rews – Today We’re Warriors
11. Twister – Call To Arms
12. South Of Salem – The Hate In Me
13. Jack J Hutchinson – World On Fire
14. Bootyard Bandits – Hoedown Showdown
15. Doomsday Outlaw – Turn Me Loose
16. Ashen Reach – Fighting For My Life
17. Bastette – Talk About It
18. Ryders Creed – Money
19. Takeaway Thieves – This Is Rock N Roll
20. Ward XVI – Broken Toys
21. Blackwater Conspiracy – Soul Revolutionaries
22. Massive Wagons – Tokyo (2021 version)
(Because of the strange way iTunes uses the alphabet, the next track in line was by Blackpool band, blanket (no capital) and their 2018 album, How To Let Go: prog and rock but not prog rock with unpredictable soundscapes which, despite being mostly instrumental, draws you in.)