Glen Matlock – Good To Go (Mighty Village Records)

Glen Matlock is one of only four men who can legitimately lay claim to having been an original member of the Sex Pistols. His initial period with the punk rock legends may have only lasted for just over a year – let’s forget about all of those subsequent cash-driven reunions – but this time alone guarantees Matlock’s place in musical history. He went on to form new wave power-poppers Rich Kids, play with Iggy Pop, The Damned and Primal Scream amongst many others, as well as joining a reformed Faces in 2010 but his career will forever be seen through the looking glass of that initial stint with the Pistols. This is probably just as much of a blessing as it is a curse for Glen Matlock and you strongly suspect that everything musically he has done since can never quite compare to the exhilaration of co-writing the bulk of the songs on the Sex Pistols’ still incendiary debut album Never Mind The Bollocks and playing with a band who helped shape the teenage rebellion and political intent of that day.

Glen Matlock was famously ousted from the Sex Pistols by their manager Malcolm McLaren in early 1977 for liking The Beatles. Just like the Fab Four, Glen Matlock is a true rock’n’roller at heart and now 62 years of age his first solo album Good To Go affirms this. Recorded in both London and at Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, upstate New York, and with the help of a stellar cast of good friends including erstwhile David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick, The Stray Cats’ drummer Slim Jim Phantom and renowned English guitarist and longtime Bryan Ferry collaborator Chris Spedding, Good To Go embraces the evolving spirit of rock’n’roll as it travels along an endless highway from the pure authenticity of genre pioneer Eddie Cochran to the ragged majesty of early 70’s Faces and Exile on Main Street-period Rolling Stones.

‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ comes on strong like Cochran’s ‘C’mon Everybody’ (a song covered by a moribund Sex Pistols in 1978 and sung by Glen Matlock’s successor in the band, Sid Vicious). ‘Sexy Beast’ reveals the unmistakeable rockabilly influence of Slim Jim Phantom as he propels the melody along at a joyful rate of knots. ‘Hook In You’ is Matlock’s reworking of rock’n’roll wild man Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘I Put A Spell On You’. And on the album’s stand-out track, ‘Speak Too Soon’, Earl Slick unleashes some stunning EBow guitar which rolls back the years to some of his best work with Bowie.

Good To Go is undeniably derivative but the dozen songs on the album – including a fine cover of ‘Montague Terrace (In Blue)’, where Glen Matlock adds a far rockier edge to Scott Walker’s classic cut without sacrificing all of the original’s existential sadness – are nothing if not honest and played with the greatest of integrity and what feels like a huge smile on the assembled musicians’ faces. It may not reach those visceral heights of Matlock’s first outing with the Sex Pistols but Good To Go is the sound of a man who is clearly at ease with himself and the world around him.

Good To Go will be released on 23rd September 2018 through Mighty Village Records.

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