Gang of Four | Photo by Jay Schwarz
Matador Records’ delayed Gang of Four vinyl box set has received a new release date — March 12 — and now also will be released as a CD edition, the label announced Tuesday, teasing the release with the premiere of a previously unreleased demo.
The limited-edition 77-81 box set originally was due out Dec. 11, but was delayed by production issues. The set — it can be preordered now via Amazon — features newly remastered pressings of 1979’s Entertainment! and 1981’s Solid Gold on vinyl, plus an LP on singles and a double LP titled Live at American Indian Center 1980.
The box set — which spotlights the original Go4 lineup of bassist Dave Allen, drummer Hugo Burnham, guitarist Andy Gill and singer Jon King — also includes a 90-minute cassette with 26 previously unreleased demos and outtakes from Entertainment! and Solid Gold, plus a 100-page, full-color hardbound book.
The release of the new box set comes a year after the loss of Gill, who died Feb. 1, 2020, from a respiratory illness now believed to have been COVID-19.
Though it was originally announced as a vinyl-only box set, Matador says a CD version will follow on April 23, though it will not include the badges that come with the vinyl set or the cassette tape — though those demos will be made available through a download code.
Matador is teasing the set with the demo of previously unreleased song “Elevator,” to be included on that cassette. Of that song, King says:
“Andy and I both lived in a shitty house in Leeds where we used to sing The Band or Muddy Waters songs, chugging disgusting homebrew beer that I fermented in a dustbin. We started writing songs — mostly homages to Dr. Feelgood or the Velvets — recording them on a crappy cassette player. Inspired by the New York scene and with UK punk rock on a thrilling rampage, Hugo, Gill and I formed a band.
“The first couple of gigs were those early songs and a fast Beatles cover. Dave joining us raised the bar. He was really good, and we quickly came up with new material we all wrote together, built on grooves from Dave and Hugo, over which Andy and I would improvise until we’d got somewhere.
“’Elevator’ always worked well live. It was a keeper until it wasn’t. By the time we got into the Workhouse studio to record Entertainment!, it was in the dumper. I’d forgotten ever writing it until it was dug up for the box set cassette. I like it: the jangly riff, propulsive rhythm, and dopey lyrics take me right back to the day.”
Listen to “Elevator” and check out the full tracklist for 77-81 below.
Gang of Four, 77-81
A2. Natural’s Not In It
A3. Not Great Men
A4. Damaged Goods
A5. Return The Gift
A6. Guns Before Butter
B1. I Found That Essence Rare
B4. At Home He’s A Tourist
B6. Love Like Anthrax
A2. What We All Want
A3. If I Could Keep It For Myself
A4. Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time
A5. Why Theory?
B2. The Republic
B3. In The Ditch
B4. A Hole In The Wallet
B5. He’d Send In The Army
A1. To Hell With Poverty
A2. It’s Her Factory
A3. Armalite Rifle
B1. Capital (It Fails Us Now)
B2. History’s Bunk!
B3. Cheeseburger (Live) *
B4. What We All Want (Live) *
* Live at Hammersmith Palais
Live at American Indian Center 1980
A1. Not Great Men
A3. Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time
A4. Damaged Goods
B1. He’d Send In The Army
B2. Guns Before Butter
C2. It’s Her Factory
C4. Natural’s Not In It
D1. At Home He’s A Tourist
D3. Return The Gift
Side A: The Early Demos
Rehearsal Room – Leeds, 1977-78
The Things You Do
What You Ask For
Love Like Anthrax
Silence Is Not Useful
Cargo Demos – Cargo Studio, Rochdale
The Tapes – Polydor Studios, Jan. 1978
Return The Gift
Corked Up With The Ether
Side B: Abbey Road Demos
From 5th January 1981 (Single track from cassette)
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Gang of Four ‘77-81’ box set collects 1st two albums, unreleased live set, rare demos
- Andy Gill, founding guitarist of post-punk legends Gang of Four, dead at 64
- Gang of Four sets North American tour in support of new album ‘What Happens Next’
- Vintage Video: Gang of Four deliver an electrifying set at Croatian festival in 1981
- Andy Gill debuts new song, album plans as Gang of Four moves on without Jon King
- Video: Gang of Four, ‘It Was Never Gonna Turn Out Too Good,’ off 2011′s ‘Content’
- Video: Watch Gang of Four’s 40-minute live set recorded for KCRW
Glad they decided to do a CD release as well. I’ve pre-ordered it. Looking forwarding to checking out the unreleased demos and live set, but especially curious to how much they can improve the remastered sound of Solid Gold over the old Infinite Zero CD re-issue.
Have to download the demos if you opt for the CD?
Demos behind the CDs.
They’re locked up in the ether.