Okay how many of you remember the Fabulous Poodles opening for Tom Petty at the Warehouse in 1979? That was the band’s only New Orleans appearance, but frontman and principal songwriter Tony De Meur has played here numerous times in the ensuing years, including a residence at Melvin’s when that club first opened, several gigs at the Kerry Irish Pub and a legendary sit-in with the Tin Men minus Alex McMurray when Alex was on sabbatical as a Japanese pirate.
The Poodles arrived in the midst of the British punk rock conflagration of 1977, a loud and proud quartet with a bent for satire that pissed off many of the “we’re-so-serious, oh-so-serious” punks. It was an era of slam dancing and gobbing at the band, and the Poodles gave it back to the audience as good as they got it. De Meur performed with an oversized mock razor blade “slicing” his head in two. Nobody in the music industry except the brilliant British radio host and tastemaker John Peel seemed to get it, but the macabre humorist John Entwistle, on holiday from his duties playing bass for The Who, enjoyed the band so much he produced its first album and even played on it. Highlights of this snappy debut included the great on-the-dole anthem “Workshy,” the hard rocking “Bike Blood,” the marijuana anthem “Roll Your Own” and cameo pieces like “Pinball Pin Up,” “Mr. Mike” and “When the Summer’s Through.” De Meur’s sensibility was informed by the Everly Brothers, Ray Davies and Leiber-Stoller in equal measure, and his bite-size songs were all gems.
The band’s second album for Pye included the hit “Mirror Star” and more delectable cameos like “Chicago Boxcar (Boston Back),” “’B’ Movies,” “Tit Photographer Blues” and “Suicide Bridge.”
The Poodles eventually signed with Epic records in the U.S., which gave the group a big push but consolidated its first two albums into one disc, Mirror Stars. The third and last Poodles album, Think Pink, finally pulled their U.K. and U.S. identities into focus, unleashing such goodies as “Bionic Man,” “Suicide Bridge,” “Cossack Cowboy,” “Anna Rexia” and a terrific cover of the Everlys’ “Man With Money.”
This package includes all three albums, each on its own disc, with a lot of extra material, including some live tracks from the Bottom Line in New York which will certainly jog your memory if you happened to have been in the audience at the Warehouse the night they played there.