The Witch Of Berke­ley

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - Ge­off Bar­ton

Live and not so dangerous.

What do The MC5, Hüsker Dü and Jane’s Ad­dic­tion have in com­mon? An­swer: all made their record­ing de­buts with live al­bums.

In 1980, at the apex of the New Wave Of Bri­tish Heavy Metal, A II Z joined that il­lus­tri­ous trio (as did Vardis, but that’s an­other story) with The Witch Of Berke­ley. Record la­bel Poly­dor per­suaded the Man­cu­nian hope­fuls it would be a good idea to kick out the jams on their first full-length – but not at the Grande Ball­room, Detroit, but in the rather more pro­saic sur­round­ings of Hazel Grove High School, Stock­port.

Poly­dor were ob­vi­ously try­ing to grab a bit of NWOBHM suc­cess on the cheap, and it showed. A II Z had some tremen­dous songs – the ti­tle track, Dan­ger U.X.B. and The King Is Dead are up there with the very best of the era. But the near boot­leg qual­ity of this record­ing did them no favours at all. So in­stead of ar­riv­ing at a Park Lane pent­house, A II Z ended up in a back al­ley in Ber­mond­sey.

This two-CD set in­cludes the sin­gles and B-sides, plus a BBC In Con­cert record­ing that shows the band’s met­tle far bet­ter than the of­fi­cial al­bum did.

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