This is a real patchwork quilt of an album, drawn from all sorts of sources and possibly still the best-loved era of that most enduring of punk bands, The Damned.
They celebrate their 40th anniversary next year, and this collection gathers some of their finest moments between 1977 and 1982, just before they ‘turned goth’.
Originally released as The Chaos Years – Rare & Unreleased 1977-1982 by the US Cleopatra label in 1997, it's been given a re-release on CD and vinyl, and, like the previous 2008 reissue, had a 13th track added.
It starts off with demo versions of their 1979 singles Love Song and I Just Can’t Be Happy Today, and then includes the three tracks from their 1984 transitional single Thanks For The Night, including the B-side Nasty, recorded for the BBC comedy show The Young Ones.
The next seven tracks are recorded live, at a variety of places, between ’77-’82, and most of them rarely rise above bootleg quality, which is where most of them were originally found.
There’s a ramshackle live version of Happy Talk, which Captain Sensible enjoyed a solo No 1 with in 1982, and a 1979 cover of Iggy Pop's No Fun, which was famously a B-side for the Sex Pistols, who were already no more.
The extra track added to the original compilation is an uncredited live version of Smash It Up, probably taken from the myriad of Damned live albums available (official or otherwise).
It’s a rare, decent quality highlight on an album which, it's must be said, is for the hardcore fan only. 4/10. GW