Many many years ago people used to buy music singles, nowadays they just download the track they want – B-Sides are a thing of the past, in fact I’d imagine the term B-side will mean little to a lot of younger people. The ‘Phonics were a band that I followed very closely during their first couple of albums, I picked up every single from the later end of the first album “Word gets around” and definitely bought all of them from “Performance and Cocktails”. This a time when I was massively into music, forming a band, reading NME every week and enjoying music in a huge way.
The Stereophonics always had good B-sides, covers that introduced me to various tracks, even famous songs such as Nirvana’s Something in the way, or the Rolling Stones Angie were first heard by me from the singing of Kelly Jones.
The moment my interest in the Stereophonics waned was when they put out an album the majority of which was made up of various B-Sides and I didn’t have much interest in the album having heard most of it, and most of them were average B-Sides at best, it fell like a lazy album of filler material. Whilst there were stand out tracks still to come from them I never got back into the groove of loving the Phonics as much.
So for me the first two albums are a great batch of tracks full of memories and multiple listens during my teenage years. The Bartender and the Thief probably stands out so much I think because it suited my playing style on the guitar at the time, loud, brash and reasonably simple – the tracks drives so well and was one we played many times live.
The single itself came with the B-Side of She Takes her Clothes off, another song on the same album and a cover of Fiddler’s green by The Tragically Hip, another great tune well worth a listen.