I don’t really remember buying Concrete Jungle Wear and Tear. I bought it from the much-lamented Backstreets Records in Carmarthen on the day before my 17th birthday, I suspect it was sold to me as the latest flash US import, but hey I was a horny 16 year-old, let’s face it the chick in stockings on the cover is what sold it to me. Yup, that’s how lofty my ideals and ass-pirations were back in 1989*.
But first a warning – this is a definite genre LP, if you don’t like late 80’s American hair metal/hard rock then you won’t like this, if Lillian Axe or Mötley Crüe ever made your heart beat a little faster either now, or when you were young, dumb and full of some then you might like this one; if not, there’s nothing here to convert you/regress you into liking it. To my mind you cannot really criticize Wear and Tear for being hair metal, that’s just unfair like dissing cows for going ‘moo!’ and having horns**
First impressions back then were that Wear and Tear was alright, with the title track and their cover of ‘Great Balls of Fire’ being standouts. My assessment was a bit more charitable tonight, it’s quite a tough-sounding rock LP, far more slanted towards hard rock than the poppy glam end of the market. The likes of ‘Right on the Line of Love’ and ‘When I’m Gone’, rock big. The big handicapping factor of most indie-released rock/metal LPs, the production ain’t a problem here at all – it was released on New York’s ICBM Records and ‘Instrumental Production’ was by Roger Probert and Max Norman (who produced 1537 semi-fave Dirty Looks Cool From the Wire too).
Courtesy of a slightly yellowing insert sheet^ we can see that, rather surprisingly Concrete Jungle’s concerns revolve around hot chicks, from ‘Sweet Missy’ –
She’ll knock you out with her shake
She ain’t cookin’ she’s already baked
but there is plenty of variety here, they also sing about hookers (‘Ladies of the Night’ – Making money for love under the satin sheets), One night stands with strangely configured ladies (‘One Nighter’ – I didn’t notice her eyes were down her thighs^^), mean mistreating women (‘How Can Love Just Fade Away’) and even the eternal struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat predicted by Marx and Engels and the inevitable inequalities and hardships thus endured (‘Hand Over Fist’ – I see no middle of the class / I know it’s either first or last).
It’s average to good, as I said the track ‘Wear and Tear’ is the best here (although references to your mum’s birthing pains, sort of pricks the hot and horny atmosphere they were aiming to create elsewhere!), but this is no true lost classic. I was really intrigued though by the fact that used CD copies of Wear and Tear seem to routinely go for upwards of $150 on eBay – wow, I’ve struck hair metal gold! Actually thinking about it I shouldn’t have been quite so honest here, if I’d lauded this as a lost classic I might be able to flog my copy for even more ….
Note to Self: re-write review before publishing:
Well readers, I was just playing a true lost rock classic tonight, Concrete Jungle Wear and Tear. Now not a lot of people know this but Paul McCartney, Springsteen, Bono and Prince put this LP out under a fake band name in order to indulge in their love of tough melodic hard rock. Every track is a winner here and the picture of HRH Princess Diana in stockings on the cover will be a bonus for some of you out there.
It may work, if not I can still amuse myself by laughing at their funny haircuts on the back cover.
* obviously, as a 41yo now, I look at said hot chick and think, ‘what was she thinking? she’ll catch her death of a cold, going out dressed like that of a night’. True story.
**I should know, as part of a summer job once I helped de-horn an entire herd – the smell of burning following the saw haunts me still. I can also remember, rather ignorantly, looking into the dark hollow of the stump, to see if you could see the cow’s brain; as if we were offering them a free trepanning. True story. (P.S – 1537 doesn’t advocate drilling holes in your skull – like REALLY doesn’t advocate it y’all).
^have I really reached an age where things I bought as a teenager have started yellowing? oh dear.
^^like a freakin’ spider-chick hybrid?!! WTF?! I reckon it’s the sort of minor detail that wouldn’t have escaped my notice, even at 17.