Category Archives: Crass

Penis Envy 

Crass Records 321984/1

Recorded at Southern studios, London Dec 1980. Design by Crass at Exitstencil press. B6 is an unlisted track which was originally released as a flexi disc (321984/1F). Cover Sleeve – Front “What Vision Is Left And Is Anyone Asking? No More Than £2.25 – Crass, Penis Envy” Run-out groove etchings: Side A: “In her hands she has seduction-you’ve heard it all before”. Side B: “In his hands he has destruction-make love not war”

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The third Crass LP, Penis Envy, was a radical departure from the first two albums and as such represents something of a milestone. It was released the same week as the Loving flexi scam, proving Crass were no idiots in the promotion department. Penis Envy is “the misuse of one of Freud’s more absurd theories”, as described by Penny Rimbaud to a radio interviewer in 1983.“When we first started, we were seen as a male boot band and this record certainly puts that straight – that our sensitivities are much wider than just that element.” In this respect, Penis Envy could be thought of as Crass’ first truly self-conscious recording. Having had plenty of time to reflect on the position they found themselves in, Penis Envy is the sound of the band trying to achieve something tangible and pre-conceived. The band heralded Penis Envy as their big feminist statement, though in truth it covered a broader range of topics, and with considerably more generosity to men than other feminist acts of the time. Indeed, it could be argued that the real theme of the record is love itself.The cover fea- tured a packaged rubber doll, none too subtly juxtaposed with back cover artwork of an animal being cut up in a slaughterhouse, and a collage of women in bondage.

Sounds Review

Other Pressings of Penis Envy have slightly different Covers

UK release pay no more than £3.00

pecover
Plastic Dreams Plastic instead of the pay no more

R-2679994-1405552254-4862-1.jpegBlank Side

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No More than $6.59 Dollars

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Poster

UpDate Dec 2012

Penis Envy Japanese release

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1982 saw Penis Envy  Released in Japan through a licensing deal with Rough Trade. (Japan RTl-25 (RTL-25 B) 1982. This Pressing is from from Tokuma Japan and the cover has a pink Obi

Penis Envy Test Pressing

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Test press of Penis Envy pressed by Waddell co. I always though it was rare to see a white label or Test press of Crass records as they kept costs down, but over the last few years quite a few have made it on to the auction sites.

Exit stencil card number 10

Exit Stencil postcard Number 10

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Love Songs Book

Crass

Pub. 14 February 2004                                                                                                             ISBN 1-904590-03-9                                                                                                                           Published by  Pomona Books

Iain Aitch

Friday 12 March 2004
The Guardian

Anyone who saw black-clad anarchist punks Crass play live, or took a cursory glance at their record sleeves, may be surprised that they considered their output to be songs of love rather than hate. It was easy to miss amidst the buzzsaw guitars and expletive-laden lyrics, but Crass never went about anything in an orthodox manner during their tenure as fomenters of dissent from 1977 to 1984. Living as a collective on the edge of Epping Forest, where growing organic vegetables was more important than tour schedules, Crass were on the end of a large amount of invective from the music press. This is why the likes of Garry Bushell and Tony Parsons come in for a fair bit of stick in this collection of the band’s lyrics set out as poetry and revealing which band member wrote which song. Previously the words were credited to the band as a whole, an important part of their “no celebrity” stance. Shorn of the music, the lyrics lose none of their power and act as an essential, insightful piece of social history. They also go a good way towards explaining how the band came to spawn the anti-globalisation and modern animal rights movements, as well as get up the nose of police, security services and politicians.

Update December 2012

LoveSongs1

Exit Stencil Press Gee and Pennys publishing  house have produced a beautiful  Hardback version of the book, Listed on the southern website as

Hardback, 304 pages, 12.7 x 19.5 cm. Litho printed, embossed heavy card cover bound with litho printed spine tape.

Love Songs is the book which compiles all of the words to all of the songs by Crass. Originally published by Pomona in 2004 as a paperback,  and out of print for a couple of years and so we felt it was time for a resurrection.  Love Songs seems a fitting endpoint to the Crassical Collection – the remastered and expanded CDs of Crass’ studio albums.

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Photos curtesy of Southern.

There are still copies available from the southern web site

Stations of the Crass, Remastered reissue

Crass Records CC02

CD Re-Mastered  Stations of the Crass in box with booklet and mini version of the Crass Records Release cover.

Again with the Crassical Collection immaculately packaged, with a similar box as The Feeding of the Five Thousand, booklet and mini version of the original vinyl LP sleeve, done by Gee Vaucher and again a beautiful art work. The remastering again makes the sound totally contemporary and very very rich, not the thin sound of the 90s release. Stations was always always a favorite of mine and listening to it again after so many years is amazingly refreshing, Big Hands, The Gasman Cometh, Contaminational Power, Darling and White Punks On Hope all classics, and all sound amazing. Must say Crass’s Oi song I Ain’t Thick, It’s Just A Trick still makes me laugh out loud.

This release come with the John Peel Session recorded on 28th March 1979, Only ever having it on cassette recorded at the time of its broadcast it great to hear how Crass got on recording away from Southern, finally hearing the layers of sound that my little mono tape deck failed enhance, The sound is very full the guitars just cut through the base, and there are some great experimental noises in there to build the sound. One thing these re masters have highlighted to me is was a great  bass player Peter Wright was. Check out Gozonabit you can even hear Penny Laugh. The live tracks from Pied Bull, Islington, London, 7th August 1979 are not on this release but will be available for download from the Crassarkive

CD Cover

Best Before CD

Crass Records Cat. No. 5 CD

Yes Sir I Will CD

Crass Records 121984/2.CD

Gee Vauchers Cover design, original collage 32cm x 25 cm

Stations of the Crass CD

Crass Records 521984. CD

Stations Booklet

10 Notes On A Summer’s Day

Crass Records – Cat. No. 6

  • A) 10 Notes On A Summer’s Day (Vocal Mix)
  • B) 10 Notes On A Summer’s Day (Instrumental Mix)

From The story of Crass, As a swansong, Crass recorded the oddity 10 Notes On A Summers Day. The sleeve announced the band’s demise:“10 Notes represents Crass’s last formal recording.We shall continue to make statements both individu- ally and as a group, yet no longer feel obliged to be limited by the inward looking format of the ‘band’.”

10 Notes was written, appropriately enough, in the summer of 1984, while Penny Rimbaud was at Summerhill School, ‘working’ as the pool attendant. “It was written as a poem,” he says. “It describes where we’d ended up after all those years of frenzy and madness.You’ve put every- thing you’ve got into something, you’ve shouted and screamed; and then you suddenly find yourself on your own sitting under an oak tree, and you think, ‘Fucking hell, what was that about?’”

10 Notes was bereft of chainsaw guitars, shouting and swearing, again closer to Penny Rimbaud’s free jazz roots than anything remotely to do with punk rock.“I went in and said we’re going to do it completely the wrong way round.The drum track was put on last.The first track put down was the piano track, which I played. I can’t play piano but I just went in and played about 20 minutes worth of piano.The whole thing was based around that.”

Sounds

CRASS christ the album 

Crass Records BOLLOX 2U2

“Christ – The Album” was recorded and mixed at Southern Studios, London, between July 1981 and February 1982. The live recording was made on a 4 track machine on the 9th June 1981 at the 100Club, London by Real Time Music. The box was embossed with a small Crass logo (2.25 cm) and in addition to the two records it contained a 30 x 58 cm poster painted by Gee (G. Sus) and the 26 page leaflet: “A Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums”. Some copies contained the flexi disk ‘Sheep Farming In The Falklands’, and was released 19th August 1982

Christ – The Album is Crass’ fourth album, released in 1982. It was released as a boxed set double vinyl LP package, including one disk of new studio material and another, entitled Well Forked.. but not dead, featuring a live recording of their June 1981 gig at the 100 Club in London along with other studio tracks, demos and tape fragments.
The album also included a book, A Series Of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums (which featured Penny Rimbaud’s essay The Last of the Hippies [1], telling the story of the suspicious death of his friend Wally Hope) and a large size poster painted by Gee Vaucher.

The album took over a year to record, produce and mix, during which time the Falklands War had taken place. This caused Crass to fundamentally question their approach to making records, for as a group whose very reason for existing was to comment upon political issues, they felt they had been overtaken and made to appear redundant by real world events.

Subsequent releases, including the singles “How does it Feel to Be the Mother of A Thousand Dead” and “Sheep Farming in the Falklands” and the album Yes Sir, I Will saw the band strip their sound ‘back to basics’ and were issued as ‘tactical responses’ to political situations.

Re-releases of the album bear the line “With love to Steve Herman who died on the 4th of February 1989” on the back cover. Steve Herman was Crass’ guitar player during their first few months. wikipedia.

The booklet ‘A series of shock slogans and mindless token tantrums’

From George Berger ‘1982 saw the release of the Crass’ piece-de-resistance record, Christ – The Album, an ambitious double set, presented in a beautiful, all-black box. It comprised two 12′′ albums, an enormous – and wonderful – collage poster featuring Margaret Thatcher laying a turd, and an album sized 28-page pamphlet entitled A Series Of Shock Slogans And Mindless Token Tantrums. Of the two albums, the first was ‘the new album’ – all new songs that had clearly taken a lot of time to record in the studio.The addition of keyboards from (erstwhile Hot Chocolate man) Paul Ellis gave some tracks an almost orchestral feel, though the return of Steve Ignorant on vocals after his absence on Penis Envy meant a return to a punkier sound as well.

The second disc was more ambitious still. Ostensibly a live album fea- turing tracks from the previous year’s 100 Club gig, it featured all manner of cut ups and collages with Zen poems, random noises and the aural paraphenalia of everyday life. It was clearly more of a John Cage influenced avant-garde record than anything to do with punk; you cer- tainly wouldn’t have got this from an Exploited live album’.

On its release, Christ The Album felt in many ways like it was the bands final offering. The Token Tantrums booklet thanked all the bands that Crass had played with over the years and the Last Of The Hippies section read like it was looking back after the fact. Penny Rimbaud:“I think we were aware that within the framework we were working, we couldn’t have gone much further. It’s not impos- sible that had the Falklands War not started, that it would have been our final album. Artistically, that’s where I would have liked to have bowed out. If it hadn’t been for the Falklands, we wouldn’t have known what to do, because we’d said it all. And I don’t think the band – any of us – were about to start repeating ourselves.”

Sounds Review

Punk Lives review

Other versions of the LP are                                                                                             1982 Box with made in France down the spine.                                                                 2003 reissue gatefold sleeve, 180 gram vinyl housed in wide-spine sleeve. Includes poster and booklet named ‘Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums’. Ofter has a sticker top left.

CRASS nagasaki nightmare 

Crass Records 421984/5

Released 15th Feb 1981, from, the Crass Story :- The next single release was ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’/‘Big A Little A’, which was delivered in the traditional wraparound sleeve, covered in information carefully collated about the peace and war movements.

‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ featured Eve and Joy on vocals, mixing punk with cod-oriental sounds, again building on their avant garde twist to punk.The B-side (inasmuch as the concept applied) ‘Big A Little A’ was the most anthemic song they’d ever written. Dangerously close to rock- ’n’roll, it began with children singing the playground song of the title before crashing guitars announced Steve Ignorant:                                                                                                                                              “Big A Little A Bouncing B, the system might have got you but it won’t get me.” Half way through the song the power chords suddenly stop and we’re faced with Crass almost getting funky. Unlikely as it sounds, the whole thing works a treat, Crass proving they were still growing and reaching out to an ever-increasing audience without the slightest dilution of their ideas.Neither track appeared on an album. The single reached the #1 spot on the U.K. indie singles chart. There were three pressings of the single in 1981.

 

Main Sleeve Poster

This drawing was part of the inside sleeve, painting and collage 30cm x 21cm  done by Gee Vaucher.

The first pressing came with a black and white ‘Anti-War’ sew on patch which Crass printed at Dial House

Another version of the patch
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