Wednesday, September 4, 2013

CBGB Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2013) CD Review

The film CBGB tells the tale of the famous New York club started by Hilly Kristal, portrayed by Alan Rickman. As you’d expect, there is a lot of music in the film. CBGB Original Motion Picture Soundtrack contains twenty tracks, including songs by Talking Heads, New York Dolls, The Velvet Underground, Dead Boys and Joey Ramone.

This collection includes some music that came before the club, like the excellent “Psychotic Reaction” by The Count Five. It also includes The Dictators’ cover of “California Sun,” with some lyrics certainly not in the original version. Most of these tracks were previously released. But this collection does include a new version of “Sunday Girl” by Blondie.

Talking Heads

Talking Heads is a band I really wish I’d seen in concert. They recorded so many fantastic songs, including “Life During Wartime,” originally on Fear Of Music, one of their best albums, and included as the opening track of this soundtrack. “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco/This ain’t no fooling around.” And then the second time those lines come around, CBGB is mentioned: “This ain’t the Mudd Club, or CBGB/I ain’t got time for that now.”


Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” Yes, this collection includes that loud, messy, completely wonderful rock tune, “Kick Out The Jams” by MC5.


“Careful” is a fun tune with a good groove by Television, one of the first bands to play at CBGB. “Your wine is just sour grapes/Pour me a glass anytime I'm not there/I don’t care/It doesn’t matter to me/I don’t care/I never think about it.”  This song was originally issued on the 1978 record Adventure.

“Blank Generation”

One of the CD’s best tracks is “Blank Generation” by Richard Hell & The Voidoids. This song still has so much power. “I belong to the blank generation/And I can take it or leave it each time/I belong to the (pause) generation.” The vocals come at you like a declaration. And then it has a kind of sweet ending. I love this song. It was the title track of a 1977 release.

Wayne County & The Electric Chairs

“Out Of Control” is a high-energy song by Wayne County (who would soon become Jayne County). It has a very simple, but effective chorus: “Out of control/Here we go/Out of control/Go, man, go.” And that’s part of the appeal – the loss of control, the embrace of chaos, of the moment. Here, and gone. These lines still speak to us. “Everything is out of control.”

“All For The Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll”

“All For The Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” is a live track from Tuff Darts, originally on the album Live At CBGB's. It includes a spoken intro: “Coming to you from the Bowery, New York City. Welcome to CBGBs.” It starts, “I don’t care about the money/I ain’t seen none/And I don’t care about the women/’Cause I just need one.” This is certainly more firmly in the rock category than in the punk.

Dead Boys

Dead Boys play an important part in the film CBGB, and as a result they’re the only band to have two tracks on the soundtrack. The first is “Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth,” a fast-paced, somewhat wild rock number.

The second is “Sonic Reducer,” another wild, rocking track in which they start with the line, “I don’t need anyone.” The lyrics are sung angrily, defiantly. Both of these songs were originally included on the Dead Boys’ 1977 release, Young, Loud And Snotty.


“Sunday Girl” is the collection’s one new recording. And Debbie Harry still sounds fucking awesome. This is a cool track. The original version was included on Blondie's 1978 album Parallel Lines. It was also released as a single in UK, where it reached #1.

The Police

The Police enter the picture toward the end of the film, auditioning for a spot in the club with “Roxanne.” Of course, this would turn out to be one of their most well-known tunes. I hadn’t listened to this one in a long time, and it was great revisiting it. This is still a really strong track.

Hilly Kristal

The album ends with a song by Hilly Kristal himself, “Birds And The Bees.” This is a fun and somewhat silly tune. In the film, we’re also treated to a version of this song performed by Alan Rickman, and I wish that had been included too.

CD Track List

  1. Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
  2. Kick Out The Jams – MC5
  3. Chatterbox – New York Dolls
  4. Careful – Television
  5. Blank Generation – Richard Hell & The Voidoids
  6. Slow Death – Flamin’ Groovies
  7. I Can’t Stand It – The Velvet Underground
  8. Out Of Control – Wayne County & The Electric Chairs
  9. Psychotic Reaction – The Count Five
  10. All For The Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Tuff Darts
  11. All By Myself – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
  12. California Sun – The Dictators
  13. Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth – Dead Boys
  14. I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up) – Joey Ramone
  15. Get Outta My Way – The Laughing Dogs
  16. Sunday Girl – Blondie
  17. I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
  18. Sonic Reducer – Dead Boys
  19. Roxanne – The Police
  20. Birds And The Bees – Hilly Kristal

CBGB Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is scheduled to be released on October 8, 2013 on Omnivore Recordings. It's being released on vinyl as well, as a double album (on translucent pink vinyl).

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