Title - 'The Bronze Years' (Lemon Records UK)
Artist - Girlschool
Girlschool are (not was) one of the best female metal bands I ever chose to listen to growing up in the UK. All of them hot, all of them in tune, all of them playing their own instruments. And then they did that song with Motorhead and it just cemented in me how cool these rock chicks really were!
Not just great melodic metal the girls really rocked the sh*t out of any song they ever dared come in contact with. Having released a few latter days albums that haven't peaked the interest of the charts or the fans, in truth, they stil continue to record and tour. In fact, they are the longest running all-female rock band, still active after more than 30 years!
And so what we have here in the Bronze Years is a gathering of four of their incredible albums of best work. Having lost their original lead guitarist and singer Kelly Johnson to cancer in 2007, and despite frequent changes of line-up, other original members Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams and Denise Dufort are still in the band to this day.
Starting with their debut album Demolition it hit #28 on the UK album charts in 1980. Containing the three singles that came from it were 'Emergency / Furniture Fire,' 'Nothing to Lose / Baby Doll,' and 'Race with the Devil / Take It All Away.' The held intro chord to 'Emergency' before the run of guitar work followed by bass player Enid Williams' vocals is a gem of a track. The opening drum work from Denise Dufort bleeds perfectly with the vocals from Kim McAuliffe on 'Nothing To Lose,' before 'Race The Devil' brings Williams back to the mic. Amazingly, this song was actually written by Adrian Gurvitz; the softly-spoken singer who was a one-hit wonder with 'Classic'!
Next up was their sophomore album Hit N Run which reached #5 on the UK album charts in 1981. The singles released from this fantastic album, and a treue go-to for now-classic GS material were 'Yeah Right / The Hunter,' 'Hit and Run / Tonight,' and funily enough, 'C'mon Let's Go / Tonight (live).' The work on 'Yeah Right' is monster fun, but the bouncey vibe to 'Hit & Run' is just fantastic. They were starting to get their feet on the floor and have fun, which made for an album of slightly lighter-grade rock metal. And Kelly Johnson's vocals are just so fricken' lush! Oh, and the album also contains 'Tush,' which is a cover version of the famous ZZ Top song; 'Please Don't Touch' (with Motorhead); and two live tracks.
Next up is Screaming Blue Murder which charted at #27 on the UK album charts in 1982. It also featured one line-up change in bassist Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston, formerly of The Killjoys, replacing the recently departed founding-member Enid Williams. Title track 'Screaming Blue Murder' featured duo vocals from both McAuliffe and Johnson and was an all-out, balls-busting, faster-paced album all together. It also contains their cover of an old Rolling Stones track, 'Live with Me,' from their album Let It Bleed. 'Wildlife,' with Johnson on vocals is another stand out track, along with pounding of 'Hellrazor.'
Their final Bronze album was Play Dirty which charted at #66 on the UK album charts in 1983. Produced by Slade’s Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, it only produced two singles: '20th Century Boy / Breaking All the Rules' and 'Burning in the Heat / Surrender.' The former the classic Marc Bolan & T.Rex ditty, the latter another Johnson-sung powerhaus. This newly-remastered edition also contains new versions of 'Don't Call It Love' and 'Tush,' a 12" Extended Version of '1 2 3 4 Rock 'N Roll.'
Sadly, it was the first Girlschool album not to enter the UK Top 40 album chart and signalled a general downturn in their career. Then Kelly Johnson left the band soon after the release and their music, along with a change of label, began to arc towards a softer rock sound.
Also, you should know that these new editions come contained in a Clam Shell box with all four individual albums in wallets depicting original LP artwork and all featuring relevant bonus tracks. Also included is a 20-page booklet that features pictures of all their albums and singles, plus detailed liner notes on the bands career with Bronze Records. All have been remastered by Universal Studios.
Now, for added fun, if you love you some GS, check out the hard-to-find Live At Maple Cross 10-track album. My goodness, it is power-packed solid and features an incredible live cut of 'Tiger Feet' (Mud) that has to be heard to be believed, trust me!