The Inmates - The Albums 1979-82 album review

Three hard shots of rhythm and blues

Cover art for The Inmates - The Albums 1979-82 album

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The Inmates rocked. That’s all you need to know, really. ‘Maximum R&B’ is what it was once called, and that’s what these mean, lean London pub rockers played: blues-fuelled R&B, stripped back to the bare essentials.

This music was all about the riff. If the riff wasn’t there, the song was nothing. Think Dr. Feelgood, think Eddie & The Hot Rods (whom the Inmates later shared a singer with, when original shouter Bill Hurley became ill). It’s the kind of music you don’t want to meet down a dark alley.

The first three ‘classic’ albums, from before Hurley’s illness, are represented here – 1979’s First softwareuiphraseguid=“ead22ad9-0491-42c7-a379-205d639f6f79”>Offence, which spawned the near-monster hits The Walk and a blistering cover of The Standells’ Dirty Water; 1980’s poppier but still brooding Shot In The Dark; and 1981’s ‘eclectic’ Heatwave In Alaska.

With bonus tracks aplenty, this is brutal, beautiful music – the sort of songs made for those who felt the Stones peaked the day they stopped cramming their albums with blues covers.

Narrow ties, scuzzy suits, sharp shoes. The first album is dirty, raw, the latter two albums show some Stiff Records/Nick Lowe influence. The Inmates: men getting down to men business. Sweet.

Everett True

Everett True started life as The Legend!, publishing the fanzine of that name and contributing to NME. Subsequently he wrote for some years for Melody Maker, for whom he wrote seminal pieces about Nirvana and others. He was the co-founder with photographer Steve Gullick of Careless Talk Costs Lives, a deliberately short-lived publication designed to be the antidote to the established UK music magazines.