❉ These original punks may have passed some people by, but their output remains strong.
Founded in 1975, Wythenshawe’s Slaughter And The Dogs were one of the earliest punk bands to emerge onto the nascent UK scene. Their big break came in 1976 when they supported The Sex Pistols at an iconic gig in Manchester (a gig that seemingly every Manchester musician of the right age claims to have attended), but they unfortunately never managed to become a household name in the same way that some of their contemporaries did. It wouldn’t be fair to describe them as also-rans, but it’s true that they never really lived up to their earlier potential. This release gives us their debut album from 1978, plus early singles, compilation appearances, B-sides, demos, as well as a live recording from 1977.
Slaughter And The Dogs are a band I’ve seen live on several occasions, but have never owned any of their music, so this review offered me a chance to dig a little deeper into their early output. They’re a band with strong punk credentials, but they also crossover into glam rock territory (the clue is in their name – a mix of Mick Ronson’s Slaughter on 10th Avenue and David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, two of the band’s favourite albums). This led to accusations of being chancers, or bandwagon-jumpers, but based on what’s on offer here they come across as nothing less than the real deal.
Disc One contains their debut album Do It Dog Style in full, kicking off with the tremendous Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone?, beloved of Oi! fans worldwide. Boston Babies is another great track which can hold its own against any of the iconic punk songs from the first wave. There are no real weak tracks on here, as the band had time to hone their craft before recording the album, and it shows. The musicianship is a slight cut above the norm, and expectations were high that this band would have an illustrious career on Decca Records, one of the major labels of the day. Sadly, it wouldn’t quite work out that way, but there’s plenty more to enjoy here. It’s a more-than-solid debut album.
Disc Two has 19 non-LP cuts including their debut 45 Cranked Up Really High, plus their contribution to the seminal Live at the Roxy LP, non-LP B-sides, the scarce It’s Alright EP and studio demos. Cranked Up Really High really stands out here as one of their best songs, an aggressive and fast track that instantly grabs the listeners attention. I’d describe Situations as the best song they ever recorded. An absolute classic, but never released as a single until 2015, sadly. This disc stands out for me as containing their best work.
Disc Three contains the frantic Live Slaughter Rabid Dogs LP. The recording is quite basic, but it shows the band in their prime, brimming with youthful arrogance and aggression, everything a new band in 1977 should be doing. It’s by no means a classic live recording, but it perhaps tells you more about the band and their attitude than any studio recordings ever could. The banter with the crowd raises a few smiles. There is also a booklet included which provides extra information.
This is a very good release, and strongly recommended to both fans of the band and fans of punk in general. Slaughter And The Dogs are a band that may well have passed some people by, but their output is strong and they deserve to find a wider audience. The band still exist in a new form with only singer Wayne Barrett remaining, but guitarist Mick Rossi’s absence is noticeable. Hopefully they can put their personal differences aside at some point in the future and get back to doing what they do best.
❉ ‘Slaughter And The Dogs – Do It Dog Style’ (3CD Set) is available from Cherry Red Records/Captain Oi, RRP £16.99. Order your copy here 👉 http://cherryred.co/DoItDogStyle3CD
❉ Brad Shepherd is a regular contributor to We Are Cult and is the frontman of punk band Monkish. Their debut album, “You Can’t Polish a Turd” was released in 2011, and the new album “Quorn is Murder” is out now: https://monkish.bandcamp.com/