“Fire Of Love” by The Gun Club - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1981Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Having found sympathy for their then-unusual approach of fusing Punk with the Blues via the Slash imprint Ruby Records, the L.A. 4-piece delivered their innovative debut long-player in August, 1981. They lined-up: Jeffrey Lee Pierce (23, vocals, slide guitar), Ward Dotson (guitar, slide guitar), Rob Ritter (~26, bass) and Terry Graham (drums). If there was an easy way to describe them, it'd be to say that they were a faster, punkier version of The Cramps. On a self-declared mission to shock and to destroy everything, including the blues, the group gleefully set about “Preaching The Blues” (Robert Johnson, 1939) with controlled abandon, the front-man whooping and hollering as if leading a group of bloodthirsty drunken cowboys on the rampage.

This is followed by the mid-paced “Promise Me” which sounds kinda sinister due to the raunchiness of the blues, the tension of the repetitive chords and the monotone violin of producer Tito Larriva. “She's Like Heroin To Me” delivers on the mission-to-shock promise as does “For The Love Of Ivy”, which pays “tribute” to their mate, Poison Ivy, from The Cramps: “All dressed up like Elvis from hell… Gonna buy me a gun just as long as my arm, Kill everyone who ever done me harm… I was hunting for niggers down in the dark, When suddenly I got a better thought, Let's go hunt Ivy, oh-oh, Let's go get Ivy, yeah-yeah, For the love of Ivy, oh-oh”. This is proper psycho stuff man. I'm sure Ivy got it, but the lyrics would give them interview grief for years to come. All part of the shock manifesto.

Side two boasts the fantastic “Jack On Fire” where a psycho killer threatens at finger-clicking pace: “When you fall in love with me, We can dig a hole by the willow tree, Then, I will fuck you until you die, Bury you and kiss this town goodbye, It will be unhappy, it will be sad, But, it will be understood that I am bad!” Charmer. The second of the album's two covers, “Cool Drink Of Water” (Tommy Johnson, 1928), arrives near the end, although it may well be they're digging on the Howlin' Wolf's re-interpretation of 1956, “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)”. In any event, the spiritual authenticity within their own re-invented form is immensely impressive. “Goodbye Johnny” closes the album brilliantly, showcasing all that's been great with the whole set, the way the guitars and rhythms slip and slide, break it down and build it up. Pierce and his well-recruited players have been ace on this fired up debut statement.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:45] 7.5.png The Gun Club - Sex Beat (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Indie
A2 [03:58] 9.2.png The Gun Club - Preaching The Blues (Robert Johnson) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A3 [02:35] 8.6.png The Gun Club - Promise Me (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
A4 [02:33] 7.9.png The Gun Club - She’s Like Heroin To Me (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A5 [05:31] 8.4.png The Gun Club - For The Love Of Ivy (Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Brian Tristan) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A6 [02:52] 7.4.png The Gun Club - Fire Spirit (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Punk
B1 [02:43] 7.8.png The Gun Club - Ghost On The Highway (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B2 [04:40] 8.2.png The Gun Club - Jack On Fire (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Proto-Punk
B3 [02:11] 7.2.png The Gun Club - Black Train (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B4 [06:10] 7.5.png The Gun Club - Cool Drink Of Water (Tommy Johnson) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B5 [03:41] 8.1.png The Gun Club - Goodbye Johnny (Jeffrey Lee Pierce) Indie

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