Sham Pistols - Live In Glasgow 1979
(Sanctuary Records CMRCD351)

Sham Pistols Track Listing: What Have We Got / I Don’t Wanna / Rip Off / Tell Us The Truth / Angels With Dirty Faces / No One Is Innocent / Ulster Boy / They Don’t Understand  / Borstal Breakout / Hurry Up Harry / If The Kids Are United / Voices / Who Gives A Damn / Money / Day Tripper / You’re A Better Man Than I / Questions And Answers / Joey’s On The Streets Again / Borstal Breakout / Hersham Boys / Pretty Vacant / White Riot / If The Kids Are United / What Have We Got

Some of us with long memories recall that one of Sham 69’s ‘farewell’ concerts, billed as 'Sham's Last Stand', was recorded by Polydor for release as an album in its own right. Alas, all that emerged on the Polydor label was the final encore,  'What Have We Got', on 'The Adventures Of Hersham Boys' album.

Whether or not you welcome its eventual release may depend on your opinion, firstly of Sham 69, and secondly, of the Sham Pistols episode. Hindsight may have tarnished many people's views, but in 1979 both the music press and a large number of Sham and Pistols fans were excited about the possibilities of the proposed Sham Pistols merger. In this context, this release is a welcome historical document.

The concert itself runs for over 79 minutes and delivers 24 tracks, of which Steve and Paul come on stage for the final encore to perform on four songs, 'Pretty Vacant', 'White Riot', 'If The Kids Are United', and the aforementioned 'What Have We Got'. These four tracks were released in 1989 on Links Records, with inferior sound quality. Here it's perfect, with the in-between chat left intact. The overall sound and mastering of the CD cannot be faulted.

Time may not have been overly kind to the reputation of Jimmy Pursey, but there is no doubting his sincerity, as his delivery and between-song rantings testify. Sham fans will love this disc, while fans of Cook and Jones should also appreciate its long overdue appearance. Hard core John Lydon fans may be less kind about the whole Sham Pistols saga, but that isn't what this release is about. It's about reliving a brief moment in mid-1979 when the Sham Pistols looked like becoming a reality. In an era of rehashes and repackaging, Sanctuary Records have unearthed a nugget.

Minor gripes; the track listing states Sham as performing the Pistols' 'No One Is Innocent'. They don't, the track in question is 'George Davis/Cockney Kids/Everybody's Innocent'. Also, why not utilize photos taken at the gig, on the cover? There’s a number of great shots in the booklet to choose from.

Not so minor gripe; the concert took place in June, not July as stated on the sleeve.

Further information about the Sham Pistols saga is contained in The Swindle Years.

Review by Phil Singleton
April 2001

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