GANG OF FOUR: 77-81 – LIMITED EDITION BOX SET

GANG OF FOUR: 77-81 – LIMITED EDITION BOX SET

2nd February 2021 0 By John Deaux

Initially scheduled for release last year, but delayed due to production issues, we are pleased to announce that GANG OF FOUR: 77-81 will now be out March 12 and available in LP and CD editions available at https://shop.thisisdig.com/uk/.

This stunning limited-edition box set gathers Gang of Four’s influential early work – including Entertainment! and Solid Gold (both remastered from the original analog 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-color 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.

The CD version of the box will be out April 23rd. It will not include the badges or the C90. The demo recordings will instead be made available through a download code.

Today, you can watch a lyric video for the song “Damaged Goods” and listen to the demo of the unreleased song “Elevator,” which is included on the cassette. 

Gang of Four’s Jon King on “Elevator”: 

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.

 

Yesterday marks the one-year anniversary of Andy Gill’s passing. 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.

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 — favoring 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 lineup 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).

 

Gill’s untimely death in February 2020 was cause for many to once again re-examine the group’s catalog and the legacy of these early releases was widely cited. Not only did Gang of Four’s music speak to the generation of musicians, activists, writers, and visual artists that emerged in the group’s immediate wake, but the generation after that. And the generation after that, even. 

 

In the last few years, their songs have continued to resonate with and been sampled by artists far afield from “post-punk,” including Run the Jewels (“The Ground Below”) and Frank Ocean (“Futura Free”). Now forty years since the original release of Entertainment!, Gang of Four’s legacy cannot be overstated. 

 

PRE-ORDER “GANG OF FOUR: 77-81” ON LP OR CD HERE

TRACK LIST:

ENTERTAINMENT!

A1. Ether

A2. Natural’s Not In It

A3. Not Great Men

A4. Damaged Goods

A5. Return The Gift

A6. Guns Before Butter

B1. I Found That Essence Rare

B2. Glass

B3. Contract

B4. At Home He’s A Tourist

B5. 5.45

B6. Love Like Anthrax
 

SOLID GOLD

A1. Paralysed

A2. What We All Want 

A3. If I Could Keep It For Myself

A4. Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time 

A5. Why Theory?

B1. Cheeseburger

B2. The Republic

B3. In The Ditch

B4. A Hole In The Wallet 

B5. He’d Send In The Army


SINGLES

A1. To Hell With Poverty

A2. It’s Her Factory

A3. Armalite Rifle

B1. Capital (It Fails Us Now)

 B2. History’s Bunk!

B3. Cheeseburger (Live) * 

B4. What We All Want (Live) * 

*Live at Hammersmith Palais

 

LIVE AT AMERICAN INDIAN CENTER 1980

A1. Not Great Men

A2. Contract

A3. Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time

A4. Damaged Goods

B1. He’d Send In The Army 

B2. Guns Before Butter

B3. 5.45

C1. Anthrax

C2. It’s Her Factory

C3. Ether

C4. Natural’s Not In It

D1. At Home He’s A Tourist 

D2. Rosanne

D3. Return The Gift

D4. Glass

CASSETTE

SIDE A -THE EARLY DEMOS (VARIOUS)

  1. I) REHEARSAL ROOM – LEEDS, 1977-78

The Things You Do

What You Ask For

Armalite Rifle

Love Like Anthrax

Silence Is Not Useful

Disco Sound

Damaged Goods

Elevator

  1. II) CARGO DEMOS – CARGO STUDIO, ROCHDALE

Song One

Song Two

 

iii) THE TAPES – POLYDOR STUDIOS, JAN 1978

Essence Rare

Tourist

Return The Gift

5.45

Corked Up With The Ether 

SIDE B – ABBEY ROAD DEMOS

FROM 5TH JANUARY 1981 – (single track from cassette)

Why Theory

Cargo

Trains

Army

Disco/Funk

Dog’s Breath

Asshole

Cymbal

Reverb

Cheeseburger

Ditch

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