The Adolescents first, self-titled album (aka: the blue album) is among the all time hardcore greats. It came out over two decades ago, and is still as crucial a record as the day it was released. The band went on to record a few more records after it that were good, but they were never quite able to fill the giant shoes of that first album.
Like most bands, the Adolescents recorded a slew of demo tapes over the years that never saw a proper release. However, unlike most bands, the band and Frontier Records (the label responsible for releasing that classic first album) have decided to celebrate the band’s silver anniversary (25th) by releasing the complete demos from the first 6 years of the band’s existence! When I opened up the package in the mail, it was a most pleasant surprise to find this in there as it is something I would have run out and bought on the concept alone without even having heard these tapes before.
The CD is comprised of 16 tracks with only one song appearing on here twice (“Wrecking Crew”, which is among their best songs and has two different versions on the disc back to back). The first four songs are the most difficult to listen as the sound quality is pretty poor. This is because it was originally recorded on a Radio Shack mono tape recorder. While these four tracks won’t earn repeat listens due to the archaic nature of the source, it was a welcome move to have them included for historical purposes. They represent the band at its very infancy in 1980 and even then you can see that they were oozing with talent pretty much from day one.
The next four tracks were recorded a couple months later and feature different versions of tracks that would appear on the blue album. Some songs are faster, some have slightly different lyrics, all are rawer versions obviously, and the sound quality is quite good. If these were released on an EP back then, it would have been quite a popular record. The version of “Wrecking Crew is the best of the bunch, but they all warrant many repeat listens.
The next group of five songs were recorded two months following the previous group and were culled from collector’s tapes as the original master tapes were lost. The sound obviously isn’t as good as it should be but it is better than nothing and it is still very listenable. Included in this is a raw version of the classic, “Amoeba” that features slightly different lyrics than what would appear on the two well recognized versions of the song.
Track 14 is one that you may have heard of before, “Richard Hung Himself”. I did not know that it was originally an Adolescents song recorded at the same time as the classic Welcome to Reality EP. Musically it is similar to what D.I. did with it, but the lyrics are very different. While the D.I. version is a classic that can’t be bested, it is very cool to see the origin of this song.
The final two tracks were recorded in 1986. This would have been shortly before the Brats in Battalions album would be recorded. The sound quality is excellent.
The artwork is similar to that of the blue album, except this is black and red (as you can see in the picture). So I guess this will get nicknamed “the black album”. There are lyrics and some great liner notes from three of the band members inside. This thing has been on repeat since I received it and I have not grown tired of it yet. It is a pretty crucial piece of punk history that was thankfully preserved and released to the world. If you are a fan of the first album, it is a no-brainer that you should have this to go along with it.