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The American In Me

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Album Review

The Avengers recorded very few songs and released even fewer. Apart from the out of print Avengers compilation CD from 1983, there are mostly live and demo recordings available by the legendary San Francisco punk pioneers. The American in Me offers more live recordings and demos. The live set was recorded at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco on June 13, 1979. It was taken from one of the band's last gigs and burns with the primal fury of a band with nothing left to lose and everything to prove. Lead singer Penelope Houston especially sounds like she is hanging on by just a thread. Unfortunately the sound quality is a little rough with Houston's raw vocals dominating, but that won't matter to most fans of the band. The demos are excellent. Alternate takes of the Steve Jones-produced "White N****r" and "Uh-Oh" sound very good and are devoid of Jones' ham-handed efforts to sweeten the band's sound with reverb. The version of "We Are the One" is an attempt at remaking the song a year after the original recording that falls short but is still good to hear. "The American in Me" is an early take of the song, rawer than the finished product. Basically any Avengers recording is worth hearing if you are a fan of the band or of punk rock. Hopefully someone will get on the ball and re-release the 1983 compilation, but until then this helps keep the fires burning.


Genre: Pop

Years Active:

One of the more successful New Zealand pop bands of the late 1960s, the Avengers were formed in Wellington in mid-1966. (Confusingly, another group with the same name -- a backing unit for singer Ray Woolf -- emerged in Auckland at much the same time.) The Avengers were formed at the behest of promoter Ken Cooper, who was seeking a house band for his nightclub the Place; he first approached guitarist Dave Brown, who in turn recruited guitarist Clive Cockburn, bassist Eddie McDonald and drummer Hank...
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