Polecats Are Go! The Polecats
Anagram Records, CDM GRAM 175
  

This album is one of the original documents that stood at the cradle of the re-birth of rockabilly. When I think back of the days when neo-rockabilly emerged, a few bands come to mind that influenced all that followed. Buzz & The Flyers, Blue Cats, Shakin' Pyramids, Stray Cats, and yes, most definitly: The Polecats. It was about time too that this fabulous milestone, produced by Dave Edmunds, was re-issued. Although there was a Japanese bootleg release of the original Polecats Are Go! album, this really is the first time this album is officially released on CD.

Polecats Are Go!  is the first and only album released on Phonogram's Mercury label. Also on Mercury were the singles "John, I'm Only dancing" b/w "Big Green Car", "Rockabilly Guy" b/w "Don't Cry Baby", "Jeepster" b/w "Marie Celeste" and "Make A Circuit With Me" b/w "Juvenile Delinquents From A Planet Near Mars". "Jeepster" & "Marie Celeste" were also issued on EP with 2 additional tracks, "Down The Line" and "Hip Hip Baby". All songs that were not originally on the Polecats Are Go! album were added to the CD.

So, a quick count shows that The Polecats released 20 songs on Mercury. If this re-release is to be a "Complete Mercury Recordings" compilation, something is definitly wrong, because there are only 19 tracks on the album. "Rockabilly Guy", maybe The Polecats greatest song ever, is missing...
A mystery? So what happened?

I can only conclude that a re-release of Polecats Are Go! without "Rockabilly Guy" is quite incomplete. Besides that annoying fact, I think that this album should be part of every rockabilly collection indeed, unless of course you have the original LP and all the 45s. As said before, it was, and still is, a landmark in the history of (neo-) rockabilly.

Tracklisting:
How High The Moon / Red, Ready, Amber / Don't Cry Baby / Marie Celeste / Black Magic / Don't Push / We Say Yeah / Little Pig / Running Back / Big Green Car / Baby Doll / All Night Long / John I'm Only Dancing / Jeepster / Make A Circuit With Me / Juvenile Delinquents From A Planet Near Mars / Down The Line / Hip Hip Baby / Make A Circuit With Me

The Polecats are:
Martin 'Boz' Boorer - Vocals, Lead Guitar, Sax, Piano
Tim 'Polecat' Worman - Vocals, Guitar
Neil Rooney - Drums
Phil Bloomberg - Slap Bass

[ Read more about the Polecats ]

Anagram Records is a sub-label of:
Cherry Red Records
3a, Long Island House
Warple Way, Acton
London W3 0RG
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)20 8740 4110

http://www.cherryred.co.uk 
http://www.revola.co.uk 

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2004

ALAN WILSON CLEARS UP THE MYSTERY:

Hi Mr. BlackCat,

It's Alan Wilson here from The Sharks and Western Star records/studio etc... let me clear up a mystery for you. I just read your Polecats review. I was partly responsible for that being re-issued as a CD album.

The Polecats Mercury stuff has been in great demand for re-issue for many years as you know. Everyone, even the Polecats themselves have tried and everyone has spectacularly failed to obtain the rights to release these tracks.

OK, well I do a lot of work in one way or another for Cherry Red (Anagram's parent company) and thanks to their contacts we managed to penetrate the massive Universal corporation (Universal own what was Mercury).

When I presented the Polecats tracks I wanted to license for Anagram they said they 'didn't think they still owned Rockabilly Guy'. Upon further investigation it seemed that Mercury had put a 'black mark' type query against the title, probably some confusion over publishing or copyright back when Mercury went to court with Nervous in the 1980's. Well anyway, it should have been easily resolved, but because they were such a huge company it just never was. Years later no one seems to understand the mess and therefore no one wants to untangle it. So they offered us every track except Rockabilly Guy as they couldn't 'confidently clear the track'.

Realistically, we were damn lucky to get the 19 other tracks so we were not going to blow the deal by arguing to much over Rockabilly Guy. So, I then contacted Nervous to obtain the ORIGINAL release of Rockabilly Guy (and Chicken Shack the flipside) and it was all set to go when Universal suddenly said that they would pull out if there were any 'Non Universal' tracks on the CD. So, we had to pull Nervous' track off. A shame, but what could we do?

I agree that the CD is incomplete, but we tried so hard for many months and eventually had to settle for the CD as it now stands. In fact there was also a 'US only' release of an extended mix of Rockabilly Guy too, but again I failed to get that track cleared. To have Rockabilly Guy included would have been perfect, but it just wasn't possible. I hope you'll agree though, this is a great album, an important album by a top band and the other 19 tracks sound great.

Oh, and the reason Nervous are thanked on the liner notes is because when I wrote the notes, Roy Williams was really helpful as always with some details, facts and dates - as was Boz Boorer.

Hope this clears up your mystery my friend, best wishes,

Alan Wilson
http://www.western-star.co.uk 
http://www.westernstar-studio.co.uk 
http://www.the-sharks.co.uk 

ROY WILLIAMS (NERVOUS) EXPLAINS:

Hi, I've been reading your page about the Polecats re-issue with great interest, as well as Alan Wilson's comments. Basically, he's correct in what he says, and I'm not sure why Rockabilly Guy isn't on this CD, although I have a theory. There WAS a US version called 'Rockabilly dub'. Nervous Records has NO problem with the Mercury Recordings being released. Here's what I THINK has happened, bearing in mind that we are dealing with a mega-corporation and in 20 plus years, people come and go.

There was a dispute with Polygram (Mercury) at the time between ourselves (Nervous) and Polygram. This dispute centered around the fact that Polygram wanted to remove our recordings form the market place. They found an obscure point of law concerning juveniles and recording contracts. When they applied this law to us, we in turn were able to apply the same law on them under the terms of 'unfair commercial competition'. Eventually this was settled. I am not at liberty to disclose the actual settlement.

As you may know, an record label must obtain a licence from the national mechanicals organisation to press a record. Here it's the MCPS and in Holland, STEMRA. Polygram refused to use the MCPS database, using their in-house system. Because they were at first considering a release of Rockabilly Guy on the Nervous label (we agreed to this), they had records of the publishing details for this song. The other song that was published by Nervous at this time was 'Marie Celeste', but Polygram didn't know about this. Although the song was registered wikth MCPS, ignoring that and using their own data meant that they didn't know that it was published by Nervous. Look at the original LP and you'll see 'Copyright Contyrol' against this song, and 'Nervous Publishing' against 'Rockabilly guy'.

Years later, they've pulled out the same data and someone has a vague memory about 'a problem with Nervous', so they 'pulled' Rockabilly Guy and Marie Celeste 'slipped through'. I'm sure that they would have blocked this, too, if they had realised. If only someone from Universal had contacted us!

Nervous has NO problem with the Dave Edmunds production of 'Rockabilly Guy' being released. Hey! I don't HAVE a copy of 'Rockabillly dub', and I'd like one. It's a shame for all of the record collectors, and I guess we can now expect to see loads of bootlegs with 'Rockabilly guy' and I'll have to spend lots of time chasing up mechanical royalties. How stupid!

I realise that this is probably a bit too 'technical' for the fans and for full publication on your website, but I'd appreciate it if you'd mention that Nervous is not the 'bad guy' in all of this somewhere on your site. I'm sure that it's of interest to you, too. Since you run such a brilliant website, it's only right that you have the 'full story' as best as I can give it to you.

Dank u wel, real gone,

Roy Williams
NERVOUS RECORDS
http://www.nervous.co.uk



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