Blitzkrieg On Birmingham '77


Receiver, 1989

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Any early concert recordings of Motörhead, one would think, should be like the Holy Grail – tapes featuring Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and “Philthy Animal” Taylor when they were young, hungry and ready to kick the world's ass are always fun. Even if the material isn't the strongest, such as before classic discs like Overkill and my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bomber, they should be celebrated – case in point, What's Words Worth from '83, which has been re-released under a myriad of names.

And then, there's Blitzkrieg On Birmingham '77 – an album which sounds like it was recorded on a Walkman without the knowledge of the band. How else do you account for part of “Leaving Here” being cut off? Lemmy's vocals are often buried behind the sonic overload of guitar and bass, so you know this is one that didn't benefit from having someone mix the sound.

The band tears through essentially their entire debut album, with minimal chit-chat – though one has to wonder whether this was because it was cut from the release or Motörhead was simply an opening act and had limited time to hit the stage, smash some skulls and clear out before the headliner came on. Diehard Motörheadbangers will, at the least, appreciate the set list, while neophytes to the world of Motörhead will probably only recognize one or two songs.

The thing is, this disc suffers greatly from its terrible sound – I mean, I've heard bootlegs of Motörhead over the years, I even have some in my collection, and they don't all sound this bad. Okay, some do – some admittedly sound even worse – but when you dabble in that world, you know you're taking a chance with the audio quality. For a commercial release – even one done without the approval or knowledge of the band – this is unforgivable.

If you absolutely, positively have to own CDs of every single note Motörhead played or Lemmy growled into a downward-tilted microphone, then Blitzkrieg On Birmingham '77 is one you'll want to add, if solely for historical purposes. For everyone else, there are far superior live albums from Motörhead out there.

Rating: D

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