Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Nerves • Live! at the Pirate's Cove, Cleveland Ohio, May 26, 1977

Since there is only extremely scant recorded evidence of The Nerves' sound, nigh-on bootleg releases such as Live! at the Pirate's Cove... will have to do. This mid '70s pre-supergroup of Peter Case, Paul Collins and Jack Lee points directly to the bands these guys went on to form (The Plimsouls, The Beat), not to mention the superior but telling recording of The Nerves' "Hanging on the Telephone" by Blondie. Indeed, the gig on this recording is interesting: not a large crowd, not the greatest sound quality, but a freakin' awesome selection of songs. "Walking Out on Love," "Working Too Hard," "When You Find Out" and "You Won't Be Happy" all went on to appear in vastly superior form on The Plimsouls' and The Beat's debut LPs, while we all know the story of "Hanging on the Telephone." Along with these power pop gems, you also get some great soul/R&B style tunes. No wonder the post-Nerves groups did so well, with the talent they sported. (Guitarist Jack Lee continued to write songs but failed to record/release any of them himself.)

What this release is missing, of course, is sound quality. This must have been recorded on someone's cassette deck (I don't think it is a board tape), although the notes say it was "mastered from 1/4 track analog tape," which means someone either recorded it that way or it was transferred to 1/4 somewhere along the line.

On the plus side, as Alive Natural Sound did on their superior release, The Nerves' One Way Ticket (which features the three songs the band ever officially released back in the day), the packaging features lots of memorabilia from Paul Collins' personal collection... business cards, press releases, newspaper clippings, etc. Since the previous release contains the official recorded output plus early demos, I'd have to tell you to get that first if you're new to the Nerves. If not, then this is still a pretty valid release—as long as you can stomach sub-professional sound quality. Remember: it's all about the songs!
2.5/5 (Alive Natural Sound)

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