GANG OF FOUR – ” 77:81 ” Limited Edition Box Set

Posted: February 8, 2021 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
New Gang Of Four 77:81 Limited Edition Box Set Announced

Gang Of Four have announced a release date for their limited-edition box set, “Gang Of Four: 77-81”, which was initially scheduled for release last year, but delayed due to production issues.

The brilliant, limited-edition box set gathers Gang Of Four’s influential early work – including “Entertainment!” and “Solid Gold” (both remastered from the original analogue tapes), an exclusive singles LP, and an exclusive double LP of the never officially released Live At American Indian Center 1980.

Additionally, the package includes two new badges, a C90 cassette tape compiling 26 never-before-issued outtakes, rarities and studio demos from Entertainment! and Solid Gold, and an epic 100-page, full-colour hardbound book. The book details the history and legacy of the original Gang Of Four with never-before-seen photos, contributions from surviving original band members, rare posters, ephemera, flyers, essays, artwork, liner notes and more. It also marks the first official publication of their lyrics.

Gang of Four was formed in Leeds in 1976 by bassist Dave Allen, drummer Hugo Burnham, guitarist Andy Gill, and singer Jon King. The band pioneered a style of music that inverted punk’s blunt and explosive energies — favouring tense rhythms, percussive guitars, and lyrics that traded in Marxist theory and situationism. They put every element of the traditional “rock band” format to question, from notions of harmony and rhythm to presentation and performance.

This original line-up of the band released two monumental albums, Entertainment! (1979) and Solid Gold (1981). A third, Songs Of The Free (1982), was recorded with bassist Sara Lee replacing Dave Allen. After Songs Of The Free, Burnham departed the band and Andy Gill and Jon King continued on to release Hard in 1983. After this release, the band broke up. In 2004, the original quartet reformed for tour dates and released Return The Gift (2005). Andy Gill died on 1st February 2020.

To mark the release of Gang Of Four 77-81, fans can watch a lyric video for the song “Damaged Goods”, as well as hearing the demo of the unreleased song, “Elevator”, which is included on the cassette in the box set.

Speaking about Elevator, Jon King said:

Andy & I both lived in a shitty house in Leeds where we used to sing The Band or Muddy Waters songs, chugging disgusting homebrew beer that I fermented in a dustbin. We started writing songs – mostly homages to Dr. Feelgood or the Velvets – recording them on a crappy cassette player. Inspired by the New York scene and with UK punk rock on a thrilling rampage, Hugo, Gill, and I formed a band.

The first couple of gigs were those early songs and a fast Beatles cover. Dave joining us raised the bar. He was really good, and we quickly came up with new material we all wrote together, built on grooves from Dave & Hugo, over which Andy and I would improvise until we’d got somewhere. Elevator always worked well live. It was a keeper until it wasn’t. By the time we got into the Workhouse studio to record ‘Entertainment’, it was in the dumper. I’d forgotten ever writing it until it was dug up for the box set cassette. I like it: the jangly riff, propulsive rhythm, and dopey lyrics take me right back to the day.”

The post-punk legends’ first two albums – 1979’s Entertainment! and 1981’s Solid Gold – are remastered for this excellent four-disc set, which also includes a disc of singles from the four-year period covered. Also included: an unreleased concert, Live at the American Indian Center, recorded in San Francisco in May 1980. Almost everything you need by Gang of Four – who’ve re-formed and issued more albums over the years – can be found on 77-81.

The limited edition box set, Gang Of Four: 77-81 will be available on vinyl on 12th March, and on CD on 23rd April.

A new tribute album, The Problem Of Leisure: A Celebration Of Andy Gill And Gang Of Four, will be released in May via Gill Music and features contributions from Flea and John Frusciante, Warpaint, La Roux, and more.

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