KEVIN Bryan reviews a restrospective anthology from punk rockers 999, a 2010 Livingston Taylor recording, and a remastered Peter Bardens two-CD set.

999, A Punk Rock Anthology 1977- 2020, Cherry Red Records

This is the first retrospective to embrace the complete span of 999’s four-and-a-half-decade recording career, with contents which run the gamut from the band’s 1977 debut ‘I’m Alive’ to their most recent long playing creation ‘Bish Bash Bosh’. 

Frontman Nick Cash’s piercing vocals have always been something of an acquired taste but 999’s early output in particular ensured them of a fairly exalted position in the punk rock pantheon, with a string of infectious singles including ‘Homicide’, ‘Emergency’ and ‘Feelin’ Alright With The Crew’, which have lost little of their initial potency with the passage of time.

Most of 999’s contemporaries from the late seventies fell by the wayside long, long ago, but Cash and company still soldier on regardless despite the occasional temporary hiatus.

This two-disc digi-pak anthology supplies an ideal introduction to their energised sound.

Livingston Taylor, Last Alaska Moon, Wienerworld

There was a period during the early seventies when it seemed that every member of the large and unusually gifted Taylor family had ventured into the recording studio in order to regale listeners with their introspective musings on the human condition.

Some of the Taylors have fallen by the wayside for a variety of reasons since then, but Livingston and his much better-known brother James are still plying their trade with taste and distinction, and ‘Last Alaska Moon’ must rank as one of the former’s finest offerings to date.

This mellow Nashville recording dates from 2010 and finds Livingston working with an array of top notch sidemen including Vince Gill, Leland Sklar and guitarist Larry Carlton as he tackles some impressive self-penned material alongside a radical reimagining of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Girl Is Mine’ featuring a guest appearance from his cousin Ben Taylor.

Peter Bardens, Long Ago, Far Away, Cherry Red Records

Peter Bardens is best remembered these days for his exploits with Camel of ‘Snow Goose’ fame, but the prog-rock keyboards ace had already assembled an impressive body of work before this very successful phase of his musical career, and Cherry Red’s newly remastered two-CD set shines a welcome spotlight on the soulful and innovative recordings that he made for Transatlantic Records between 1969 and 1971.

An uncredited Peter Green guests on guitar on several tracks as Bardens and his musical cohorts indulge in some memorable flights of instrumental fancy, including the epic ‘Homage To The God of Light’, which Camel would later perform as part of their live set.

Written by Kevin Bryan