Thursday, February 7, 2019

COCK SPARRER: Ten Reasons


Ten Reasons Why You Should Love:

COCK SPARRER


Apart from a few hiatuses over the years, Cock Sparrer is the UK’s longest-standing Punk outfit.  Formed in 1972, the band’s unique take on raw Rock ‘n’ Roll and Glam evolved in their early years, eventually becoming a melodic blast of energy that coincided with Punk’s emergence in 1976. Although they did not align themselves with the first wave of notorious UK Punk bands (The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, etc.), Cock Sparrer become one of the most popular Oi/Street Punk bands of the era. And 47 years after their formation, they are still as relevant as they ever were, if not more so.

And why didn’t they hit bigger in the U.S.? Well, perhaps they were ‘too British’ for the average American. Or maybe it was all in the band’s name… 


At their core, Cock Sparrer is a great Rock ‘n’ Roll band. In many ways, they are the bridge between early Status Quo and classic Buzzcocks with some UK Subs and Sweet thrown in for good measure. On the other hand, they are entirely unique. The quintet features four original members – vocalist Colin McFaull, lead guitarist Micky Beaufoy, bassist Steve Burgess and drummer Steve Bruce – plus ‘new kid’ Daryl Smith on guitar, who joined the line-up 27 years ago. Cock Sparrer may be part of the Oi and Street Punk movements but, to be honest, it is extremely difficult to pigeonhole the band. Luckily, if you are not yet a fan, you can start anywhere in their catalog and work your way backwards or forwards (or both).

Cock Sparrer’s songs are melodic anthems that speak TO the people. Without any pretentions whatsoever, the band has always presented themselves as equals with their audience because they ARE equals. They sing about real issues that affect us all. Instead of always giving the government the finger, they offer their audience a sense of hope. They deal with global issues as well as personal politics straight from the pub. Many of their songs are hook-filled anthems that will stick in your head long after they are done spinning on your turntable/CD player/iPod. And in the 41 years since their debut recordings on Decca Records were released, they’ve offered listeners top quality songwriting and energetic performances right up through their most recent album FOREVER (2017).

One of their most recent songs, “Every Step Of The Way,” may not have been written with their own music in mind, but it is safe to say that Cock Sparrer’s recorded output could easily offer the encouragement that many of their fans need in tough times: “I'll be there, every step of the way/The voice inside that gives you hope to face another day/I'll be there, every step of the way/The strength to give you courage to fight another day.” Long live Cock Sparrer.


Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records released TWO Cock Sparrer boxsets in 2018 containing the band’s entire studio output (plus a live set) and both boxes are essential additions to your collection. The first box – THE ALBUMS 1978-87 – contains the albums COCK SPARRER (1978), SHOCK TROOPS (1983), RUNNING RIOT IN ’84 and LIVE AND LOUD (1987), all with bonus material. The second box – THE ALBUMS 1994-2017 – includes the albums GUILTY AS CHARGED (1994), TWO MONKEYS (1997), HERE WE STAND (2007) and FOREVER (2017), all but FOREVER including bonus tracks. The band may not have been as prolific as their contemporaries but we’ll take quality over quantity and day. Bear in mind that most of these are out of print separately so this is a great deal.


If you’ve never heard Cock Sparrer, here are ‘Ten Reasons’ why you should love them. With so many great songs to choose from, I’ve chosen 10 tracks that should serve as a proper introduction to the band. Longtime fans may find many great songs missing and/or disagree with my choices, but I choose these in hopes that they will attract the unconverted to the mighty Cock Sparrer catalog. They are in random order...


1. "Every Step Of The Way"

2. "A.U."

3. "Because You're Young"


4. "Runnin' Riot"

5. "We're Coming Back"

6. "Nothing Like You"

7. "Take 'Em All"

8. "Working"


9. "England Belongs To Me"


10. "Too Late"


Keep on truckin',
Stephen THE CHANCELLOR Schnee


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