England's Beat Goes On (BGO) and Australia's Raven Records are among the finest reissue labels in the world. Both labels remaster their titles pristinely, and both are full of surprises. Thankfully, the former did these two albums by U.K. blues wranglers Nine Below Zero
. The guitar, piano, organ, and harmonica crew knew how to take it to the limit with the old tunes -- not only by blues artists, but country, soul, and early rock & roll yobs as well. These two offerings were issued in 1980 and 1981, respectively, when new wave, punk, and post-punk had taken over the music tabloids in Great Britain, and they were not even really heard stateside. That's too bad, because in the 21st century both albums -- though Live at the Marquee
more so -- are still loud, proud, and dangerous. Produced and engineered by Glyn Johns
, these things crackle with energy, grease, and spit. Anyone who is interested in the Fabulous Thunderbirds
, the Red Devils
, or any of the blues-rock mash-up crews that haunted the '90s and the early part of this millennium would do well to scope these bad boys out.