Hail to Captain Oi! for keeping great British punk/Oi! available to the masses, as they constantly reissue old and indispensable material from seminal bands such as UK Subs, GBH, Cock Sparrer, Vice Squad, the Adicts, and yes, the Partisans, to name a few. And if that wasn't good enough, they even add a slew of bonus, rare tracks to the releases more often than not.
With the reissue of the Partisans' second full-length originally released in 1984 on Cloak & Dagger Records, we get the entire LP, half of which is live, along with four bonus tracks that include "Change" and "Come Clean" off of the "Blind Ambition" single, and the original versions of "I Never Needed You" and "Time Was Right," bringing the total to seventeen essential tracks.
For those of you who don't know, the Partisans, who formed in 1979 in South Wales straight off the heels of the first wave of British punk, consisted of Rob "Spike" Harrington on vocals, Andy Lealand on guitar, Louise Wright on bass, and drummer Mark "Shark" Harris. They released their first LP in 1983, entitled simply The Partisans. However, on The Time Was Right, the line-up changed a bit: On the first six tracks, the studio side, Andy played bass and Spike sang and played guitar, while on the live side, Dave Parsons played bass and Andy went back to guitar. After this record, the Partisans pretty much disappeared until 1989 when Rob and Spike reunited to record a couple of tracks that can be found on Captain Oi!'s The Best of The Partisans. They reformed in 2000 and are still active, as they recently completed a US tour, and are actually putting out a new record in 2003.
Now back to this record. The Time Was Right starts off with a bang-"I Never Needed You," one of the best offerings, begs the listener to shout along with the chorus. Other great tracks off the studio side are the magnanimous "The Money Rolls In" and the equally impressive "Blind Ambition," which are both teeming with emotion and pleading vocals. Off the live side, some highlights are the entreating "17 Years," "Arms Race," with its Cold War commentary, and "Over Dose," with its memorable bass/drum intro and infectious beat. These songs, along with material from their first record, including "Police Story," "Killing Machine," and "Power and Greed," are a testament to their immense song-writing ability. They play killer street punk/Oi! dealing with important issues that are conveyed through intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics. For instance, some songs are introspective like "I Never Needed You" and "Come Clean," while others, like "Only 21," are nostalgic, and still others deal with politics, including "Arms Race," "Partisans," and "Anger and Fear," in which Spike belts out: "When the gunships roar, from the sky they'll fall/...From this hell you'll realize/That there's just one thing to learn/Your wounds will always bleed/And your secrets never heal. Alternately, "Change" is a fast, catchy tune with sage advice: "The tables are not turned until you find/A solution to a problem within your mind." Good lyrics, indeed.
All in all the Partisans are one of the major forces to come out of the late '70s/early '80s British punk/Oi! movement. If you haven't heard these guys by now, definitely check them out.