The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jet, Radio Stars & Andy Ellison

11-26-07 Jet, The Radio Stars & Andy Ellison

Nothing like finding a favorite old record after nearly 30 years! A while back, I found a beautiful copy of the self-titled LP by the British group Jet from 1976 at a swap meet for $2. Having been a sucker for British 70’s glam rock since ’03, I naturally became enamored of this fine LP. I recognized singer Andy Ellison’s name from him having had a solo 45 on Track Record in England (I am a compulsive discographist of Track Records). Also in Jet was guitarist Davy O’List who used to play in The Nice with Keith Emerson. He didn’t make it past their self-titled LP. It’s neither fish nor fowl – glam rock? Punk rock? Wrockrock?

Going back ages and ages – Andy Ellison comes from the group John’s Children – who infamously included Marc Bolan as a one-time member. Aargh – the John’s Children ‘real 60’s’ album “Orgasm” isn’t very good, readers.

Jet transmogrified into The Radio Stars, who made two amusing ‘polished punk rock’ LP’s towards the end of the 70’s, “Songs For Swinging Lovers” and “Holiday Album”. They sound almost exactly like Jet. “Macaroni ‘N’ Mice”! “The Beast of Barnsley”!

The bassist for both Jet and The Radio Stars is Martin Gordon, a former member of the anglo-l.a. poseur band Sparks. To be fair, Gordon wrote most of the material for both groups. It must be said that Andy Ellison was / is a very amusing vocalist – the only singer I can even think of comparing him to is the guy who sang for Punishment of Luxury (was it Brian Bond?). No, I was never much of a Sparks fan, sorry. (I would be curious to hear any of their work with Martin Gordon, however.)

So whether you want to wear your glam rock platforms or have your spiky punk hair, both Jet and The Radio Stars have some top quality British entertainment for you to behold! I found a CD of “Songs For Swinging Lovers”, and all of the original LP’s – but I cannot tell which of the assorted Jet CD’s contains their CBS album – and it doesn’t help matters that there is a recent British band also called Jet – gee, I wonder if anyone got paid for the use of the name?

As far as I know, just about everyone involved is still alive. I always hate it when you hear something interesting, and when you go to look it up in Google, you find that assorted members of any given band have died (and you never knew about it). (I recently looked up The Mothmen, and discovered that one of them was murdered!)

All hail Andy Ellison, Jet and The Radio Stars!


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Jet

That cover is a TOTAL Jack Kirby Mister Miracle rip! As a kid, I never read much of Kirby's "Fourth World" saga. I remember seeing an early Jimmy Olsen comic where he was starting to wig out the DC continuity as it happened, but truthfully, I never liked Jack Kirby art as a kid. It hurt my eyes to look at it! I much preferred Steve Englehart's take on the same material [Mister Miracle] in the late 70s. But do I really want to waste a few hours of my life reading a superhero comic. Probably not.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Davy O’List was the first Roxy Music guitarist pre Phil Manzanera. And you consider yourself a glam fan and DON’T like the first 4-5 Sparks lps. Have you heard those lps??? All are recommended. “Wonder Girl” from the first Bearsville lp as Halfneslon (and "reissued" when they changed their name to Sparks) from ’71 or so is a good ten years ahead of its time.


1:56 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Jim-san - you need to hear this album! Irrespective of cover art.

JB - no go on the Sparks. Can't do US glam rock. I know, Martin Gordon is in there.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Always respect to Davy O'List for his Nice work and his demos of Roxy Music material sound pretty good to me! I can't consider Sparks glam. To me they predate the synthpop/keyboard duo aesthetic. Sparks are to synth pop what the Stooges are to punk rock. And I like synthpop way more than punk rock.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Sparks = 10cc

Not glam. Wiseguy metapop?

Actually, early Sparks remind me of early, pre-split 10cc if nothing else! Take "I'm Not In Love" off of "The Original Soundtrack" and what is it but a Sparks album?

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is goal!
Some songs seems brit pop 20 years before. Brett Anderson reminds me Andy Ellison.
"Whippings and apologies", from Sparks second album sounds like Suede & "Underground" sounds like Blur.
And I think Pulp sounds very similar to Doctors of Madness, another mid-seventies british group.

12:57 PM  
Blogger REVO said...

Well, pre-hit Pulp might have a hint of Doctors Of Madness in them. Quite frankly, I didn't like "Freaks" and got rid of it. But I enjoyed "Figures Of Emancipation" and Richard Strange's solo career!

12:21 PM  

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