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Jimmy Pursey - Imagination Camouflage (LP)

Jimmy Pursey - Imagination Camouflage (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars **
Title:  Imagination Camouflage
Company: Polydor
Catalog: 2442 180
Year: 1980
Country/State: Hersham, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: UK pressing, gatefold sleeve; minor ring wear on back panel
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6262
Price: $14.00

Sham 69 ... at least in commercial terms these guys were huge in England, scoring more hits than any of today's more highly regarded competitors (think along the lines of The Clash). In the States they were completely ignored ...

Following the band's 1979 collapse, singer/front man Jimmy Pursey's original plan was to be a collaboration with former Sex Pistols Paul cook and Steve Jones. On paper the Sham Pistols concept may have looked promising, but it only lasted a couple of months with Pursey quickly opting to strike out in pursuit of a true solo career. Co-produced by Pursey and Howard Massey, 1980's "Imagination Camouflage" made it clear that our man was interested in expanding his sites beyond Sham 69's blue collared repertoire - Pennie Smith's 'arty' cover photos underscored that feeling. Recorded with help from Generation X members Bob Andrews (aka Derwood) on keyboards and Mark Laff on drums, Brand X bassist John Giblin and others, I can't say he collection was great, but then maybe that wasn't the purpose. I guess I'd equate it to taking a shower after a long and tiring day at work. You could literally hear Pursey trying to wash away his Sham 69 vestiges. By the way, most of the lyrics were just way too 'English' for me to figure out ('Just Another Memory').

- Written by co-producer Howard Massey, 'Moon Morning Fundag' found Pursey seemingly dipping his creative toe in Krautrock,. The surprising instrumental opened the album with some atmospheric synthesizer moves; admittedly the opening section was far more delicate and tuneful than your typical Krautrock piece. rating: *** stars
- Pursey's snarling voice proved a surprisingly good match for the bouncy melody that propelled 'Have a Nice Day' (well at least until the squalling guitar solo exploded the song). rating: *** stars
- Built on a nifty guitar riff and showcasing Pursey's sing/speak voice, 'Freak Show" has always reminded me a bit of an Alice Cooper track - well, had Alice Cooper been English and spend a couple of years in an English punk band. Elsewhere Nick Turner's metallic sax (yes, it was the Hawkwind guy), snarling guitars, and aggressive synthesizers gave the song a bit of an early 1980s Bowie feel. rating: ** stars
- Falling back to his patented snarling vocals, 'Situations Vacant' found Pursey moving back to a more punk oriented sound. For what it was worth, the result was one of the album's more energetic performances with a nice guitar solo at the end. rating: *** stars
- Usually Pursey's speak/sing voice irritated the crap out of me, but on this Kinks-go-punk slice of life it wasn't bad. In contrast the Minnie Mouse of whippets female backing chorus was a source of never-ending irritation. Regardless, 'Your Mother Should Have Told You' certainly made for one of the album's weirdest songs, rating: *** stars
- Side one ended with the relatively conventional rocker 'Playground Soldier'. rating: ** stars
- 'Just Another Memory' had a great guitar-based melody, but once again Pursey's sing/song vocals undermined the performance. Is it just me, or does he come off sounding like the weird uncle mom's don't want to baby-sit their kids ? rating: *** stars
- Ah, 'White Trash' found Pursey diving headlong back into swaggering punk (complete with one of the album's funnies couplets - "I don't want to be no rock and roll prostitute". Literally sounding like he was tearing out his larynx, this was surprisingly one of the album's standout performances. rating: *** stars
- If it had been up to me, I would have tapped 'Fifty Fifty' as the album's single. The opening slide guitar coupled with Nick Turner's sax made for the album's most intriguing musical segment and the fact it was an instrumental made for a nice break from Pursey's occasionally trying voice. rating: **** stars
- Remember Tim Curry playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show ? Well, 'You Can Never Tell' would have been a perfect song for curry to cover. rating: ** stars
- I guess compared to the rest of he album 'Lucky Man' was the set's most commercial vocal which is obviously why Polydor tapped it as a single. There really wasn't much to the song; Pursey shrieking the title over and over on top of a anthemia melody that sounded like a Big Country throwaway. rating: *** stars

As mentioned, the album spun off a single in the form of:

- 1980's 'Lucky Man' b/w 'Black and White Rock Reggae' Polydor catalog number POSP 154)

Just don't buy this one thinking you're going to be hearing a Sham 69 set ...

"Imagination Camouflage" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Moon Morning Fundag (instrumental) (Howard Massey) -
2.) Have a Nice Day (Jimmy Pursey) -
3.) Freak Show (Jimmy Pursey - Bob Andrews - Mark Laff) -
4.) Situations Vacant (Jimmy Pursey - Bob Andrews) -
5.) Your Mother Should Have Told You (Jimmy Pursey) -
7.) Playground Soldier (Jimmy Pursey) -

(side 2)
1.) Just Another Memory (Jimmy Pursey) -
2.) White Trash (Jimmy Pursey) -
3.) Fifty Fifty (instrumental) (Jimmy Pursey) -
4.) You Can Never Tell (Jimmy Pursey) -
5.) Lucky Man (Jimmy Pursey - Payne) -

Pursey has a web presence at:
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