This political underground band played at the "Oz Police Ball" benefit for the Oz obscenity trial with Arthur Brown, Viv Stanshall, Pink Fairies, Egg, Roy Harper and Gnidrolog, but this group was different. They were singing about the rebels, the poor and uneducated people: the working class, the semi-skilled labourers, the yobos and the Hell's Angels. They were able to write excellent, sensitive melodies but in general their music and lyrics were ugly and real - like life itself. No punk band seven years later would have dared sing lyrics like:
"Let's free the working class
We're tired of licking the government's arse
We're tired of kissing the Monarch's arse
Letting its bad air out".
(from M.I.5's Alive)
"Get your arse down to Hammersmith town
Join the urban guerrillas
Take up arms against the crown
.... Don't talk about the wrong and right
Get out and fight."
(from Hammersmith Guerrilla).
Although their first album is essentially raw punk, on tracks like Ascension Day, M.I.5's Alive, Working Class Man, Shepherds Bush Cowboy and Preaching Violence, it does contain two purely acoustic tracks:- Teddy Teeth Goes Sailing and Get Out Of Bed You Dirty Red. Stardom Road Part 2 predates the eighties psychobilly bands! Hearing Terry Stamp's harsh voice singing:-
"Power to the people
Power to the poor
Power to the workers
Power to us all
And don't you know I feel proud
Just to shake your hand
Don't you know I feel proud
Just to make a stand when the old man dies
On Ascension Day when we rise."
(from Ascension Day)
is certainly an exciting experience.
Their second album is better musically, though the ingredients are similar. There's some good heavy rock'n'roll with fine guitar leads (Yoko, Urban Rock, Rat Crawl). The bluesy Coshing Old Lady Blues deals with Hell's Angels lifestyle, though not in the romantic Roy Harper way. The mellow Factory Canteen Mews with its fine guitar leads is a masterpiece and I'd Rather Cut Cane For Castro and Hammersmith Guerrilla are very good heavy rock (not rock'n'roll) numbers.
These two albums hold an exceptional place in early seventies rock. (Costas Arvantis).