Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

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Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

The punk era tossed up -- threw up? -- some real oddities, few more unexpected than Wallis who was no spring chicken in the world of short haired rock'n'roll for angry 18-year olds.

He'd been in the music game for over a decade and in the Sixties had been in such household names as The Entire Sioux Nation and Shagrat. To be fair, Shagrat morphed into the Pink Fairies (which had ex-Tyrannosaurus Rex member Steve Took and former Deviant Mick Farren in the ranks).

Wallis later quit and did stints with blues rockers Blodwyn Pig (who'd enjoy small success with the single Hey Jill) and then briefly with heavy rockers UFO. He came back into the Fairies in '72 in time for their tough-minded Kings of Oblivion album and then had a brief stint in Motorhead.

He recorded a solo album (which went unreleased for almost five years) then started the Fairies up again and they recorded a single for Stiff, the home of Ian Dury, Jona Lewie, Elvis Costello and others.

While at Stiff he became their in-house producer and did albums for the Stiff Little Fingers, the Adverts and the Motors.

And along the way cracked this odd little single in late '77 which was produced by Nick Lowe.

It hardly set the charts alight, but it did get him a slot on the famous Live Stiffs tour alongside Wreckless Eric, Lowe, Costello and Dury -- and he even got two songs with Lowe on the resulting live album.

A man this adaptable was never going to go away quietly and he went on to produce albums from Farren and Wayne Kamer of MC5, he resurrected the Fairies, produced for Lee Brilleaux of Dr Feelgood (they'd covered his As Long As The Price is Right) and . . . 

He's in his mid 60s now . . . but we probably haven't heard the last of him. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

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Andrew Schmidt - Feb 18, 2010

Always loved this song. Came across it first on The Members' 1980 - The Choice Is Yours album. There is a stack of interesting London proto-punk recordings including Motorhead's On Parole album which was the (then unreleased) first Motorhead album. Interesting too to note the players on Johnny Thunders first (and best) solo album, So Alone, which provides further evidence that the line some punk commentators (and many fans) between old and new was largely a construction.

Graham Dunster - Feb 23, 2010

The Pink Fairies really came out of The Deviants. Those stories are well covered in the book 'Keep It Together'by Rich Deakin (Headpress) available on headpress.com. Another wortwhile read, not really related but with many laugh out loud moments, is 'Rhinos, Winos & Lunatics' by Deke Leonard (Northdown), the story of the Welsh band Man. The Pink Fairies' three Polydor albums all have merit although the many since then (many under the guidance of Larry) are not as compelling. Esoteric have rereleased most of Man's catalogue, most of which are great.

Jerro - Jan 19, 2013

Thank you so much for posting this. I had this song on a great compliation cassette which I sadly lost, but which in some small way, helped me survive uni at Toowoomba, QLD Australia in the early 90s (Google the place and you will understand why). Brilliant song, and as a big Flying Nun fan, terriffic website, thanks.

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