Alona’s Dream Records and Regressive Films present: the Only Ones Live in Chicago 1979 – Sunday Morning Nightmare Vol 1. This live release documents Chicago performances of the Only Ones as originally aired on Chicago punk DJ Terry Nelson’s Sunday Morning Nightmare radio show in 1979. This no nonsense set was recorded by legendary mobile recording guru Timothy Powell of Metro Mobile Recording. This previously unreleased show finds the Only Ones at the peak of their early career. The set features a solid list of future classics drawn from their first three studio albums, deep cuts and influential hit singles.
The Only Ones were not a typical UK punk band. They evolved out of the pubrock scene and had a rich history in the UK music scene in general. Members previously played with classic groups including Spooky Tooth and Beatstalkers as well as, Peter Perrett’s now classic ‘Englands Glory’. Their UK chart single ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’, set the Only Ones apart from the new wave of English rock bands swarming out of the late ’70’s. They had the complexity, range, soul, and songwriting skills lacking in most of their punkier peers. They would cut three essential LPs in the late 1970s and are still considered one of the UKs foremost rock acts. Today they are praised by critics and fans alike for their enduring influence.
Terry Nelson’s Sunday Morning Nightmare Radio was a show devoted to punk rock on WZRD. It was the one radio program for Chicago punk in the early 80s.
Red vinyl pressing of 500 on 160g vinyl. Artwork features live photography from their Chicago shows by Brain Shanley and Neil & Bruce Dinsmor. Printed inner sleeve with liner notes by DJ Terry Nelson of Sunday Morning Nightmare.
Recorded & mixed in Chicago in 1979. Mastered, pressed and released in Chicago in 2019. Enjoy!
Our take: Over the past few years, I’ve gotten more interested in both live albums and the Only Ones, so I was eager to give this one a spin. Like many people, I used to hate live albums, but I’ve come around to them in a big way. At this point I’ve played in bands long enough to know the day you record the record is only one of hundreds of times you play a song, and lightning can strike (or not strike!) at any moment. Often, a live version of a song isn’t just a lesser version of a studio track, but a different beast, and often more interesting than the studio version. As for my interest in the Only Ones, I’ve loved “Another Girl, Another Planet” for decades, but a year or two ago I came across a copy of their brilliant second album, Even Serpents Shine, and got obsessed. Even Serpents Shine is a lush, delicate record, but this LP showcases a different side of the group, one that’s much heavier and more “rock” rather than pop. The Only Ones’ drummer, Mike Kellie, served time in 70s rockers Spooky Tooth, and it’s amazing how much the Only Ones sound like a 70s rock band here. They strip their arrangements down and sound like four people playing in a room, which is a stark contrast to the much more polished studio recordings. That being said, they all sound great, with Peter Perrett giving a particularly strong vocal performance. This set was professionally recorded for a radio broadcast, and according to the liner notes they recorded many other bands the same way, and hopefully we’ll see more releases. In the meantime, this LP is a great way to kick off the series.