Here we have another reissue from Liberation Hall, on both vinyl and CD, this time of the album recorded by Pearl Harbour in 1980. The vocalist began her career in San Francisco’s burgeoning music scene in the 1970’s, dancing on stage with the Tubes in 1976 before becoming part of another local act, Leila and the Snakes. In 1978, she adopted the stage name “Pearl Harbor” and formed Pearl Harbor and the Explosions alongside two of the Snakes. They recorded a well-received, self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. Records, touring extensively, but when it came time for the next album there were disagreements as Pearl wanted to move in a rock ‘n’ roll direction. Pearl was dating Clash associate and sometime manager Kosmo Vinyl, and they relocated to London where she was introduced to Nigel Dixon of rockabilly outfit Whirlwind, and they were soon writing material together. Kosmo put together a band and soon they were in the studio, and what a band it was, reading like a who’s who of the London scene. There is Wilko Johnson (Dr. Feelgood/Ian Dury & The Blockheads), Nigel Dixon (Whirlwind), Steve New (Rich Kids), Paul Simonon (The Clash), Topper Headon (The Clash), Steve Goulding (Graham Parker and The Rumour), plus guests Mick Jones (The Clash), Geraint Watkins (Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds), BJ Cole and Gary Barnacle (The Clash, The Ruts), while it was produced by Gallagher.

Given who was involved one might expect something far more rough and raucous than what has been delivered, as Pearl has a sweet vocal style which fits in well with the edgy rockabilly style rock ‘n’ roll. This is the year of ‘Sandinista!’, yet the members of The Clash are happily to follow the lead as if they were born to play this style of music. Wilko has long been recognised as one of the powering rhythm guitarists of our time, while having both Topper and Paul as the rhythm section brings together two guys who knew just how to set the foundation. The result is an album which is multi-layered with piano playing an important part, the sax adding just the right nuance, and plenty of wild guitars over the top of a strong base. This was probably an album out of time, as if it had come out earlier I am sure it would have had a much better reaction, as this is really very good. It would be very easy to just treat this as a rarity which fans of The Clash, in particular, will need to get not only due to the musical performances but also as Pearl was Mrs. Simonon for 7 years, but that would not be fair as this album is all about Pearl and the music she wanted to record. It feels genuine and honest, this was not music being created to fill some record company ideals but instead was something Pearl had envisaged and was determined to see the light of day. Fans of traditional rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly will get a lot from this.

Rating: 7/10