"When you consider that Richard Hell's solo output was so small -- just two 'official' albums in the 70s and a collaboration with Thurston Moore in 1992 -- it's all the more astonishing that his influence has been so far-reaching. Credited with having created the punk look, Hell is often depicted as being some kind of emblem for the New York punk scene, complete with his penchants for existentialism and anarchy. His band, The Voidoids, certainly originated many sounds that were to become punk stylistic signatures, and many cuts on this retrospective can be enjoyed as microcosms of the era. Songs such as the seminal 'Love Comes In Spurts' are thrillingly raw and intense despite the passage of more than thirty years. For your money, this double CD compilation brings together Hell's highpoints from 1975 to '84 with live recordings from '77 and '78. This collection proffers a fuzzy, frenzied, fun-packed journey. "
--from Rough Guides
"The live fire on disc two of the Richard Hell treasury, Time (Matador, two CDs), takes me right back to the first time I saw Hell and his Voidoids at CBGB in 1978, shortly after I moved to New York. In fact, this raw data comes from almost the same time: a demon set from London's Music Machine in 1977 and four radio-broadcast tracks from another CBGB date in '78. Elvis Costello didn't show up on my night; he does here, belting Hell's 'Blank Generation' B side, 'You Gotta Lose,' and adding spit 'n' trashed guitar to the Rolling Stones' 'Shattered.' But I can feel the same spilled beer sticking to my shoes and Robert Quine and Ivan Julian's screaming-treble guitars spearing me to the bar. The rest of Time -- an enriched reissue of R.I.P., a 1984 outtakes cassette -- takes you to and fro: back to Hell's mid-Seventies spell with Johnny Thunders in their hooligan Stones, the Heartbreakers, and up to an '84 R&B fling in New Orleans, with Ziggy Modeliste of the Meters on drums and Hell putting the ragged hurt on Allen Toussaint's 'Cruel Way to Go Down.' If you have reservations about bootleg fidelity, stay with Hell's definitive studio LP, 1977's Blank Generation. But you'll be missing the heaven in this squawk."
--David Fricke, Rolling Stone
"There's something to be said for having Hell brought to you in a hand basket -- particularly a hand basket as well tricked-out as this compendium of oddities from first-wave oracle Richard Hell. While the two-disc set does pile on most of Hell's best-known material -- a live 'Blank Generation,' a gouging early demo of 'Love Comes in Spurts' -- Time is less a 'greatest hits' than a completist's wet dream. But by that measure, it's mighty wet indeed. A 1975 version of the oft-remade 'Chinese Rocks' comes across magnificently dissolute thanks to Hell's vocal delivery (and the slurry chugging of his band mates in the Heartbreakers) as does a gouging early demo of 'Love Comes in Spurts.' Best of all, however, is the clutch of live material that shows up on Time's second disc. Largely culled from a 1977 show that Hell's Voidoids staged in London, the fierce, borderline-choleric set finds the bafflingly underappreciated guitarist Robert Quine pinning the singer's embittered yelp to the wall with a shard after shard of angular riffage -- each fretboard run, like a snowflake, dazzlingly different."
--David Sprague, also Rolling Stone
"'Louder . . . LOUDER!! . . . You can do better than that . . . show a little bit of respect!' The sound of Johnny Rotten haranguing an audience for nearly three minutes to demand an encore at a 1977 Richard Hell & the Voidoids show in London is significant for capturing the anarchist in a rare moment of rock 'n' roll reverence and for serving quite nicely as Exhibit No. 179 in the case against punk rock mythically sprouting from that city's gutters earlier in the year. The London recordings on Time bespeak Hell's intensity as a performer and showcase his ragged genius, but the sound quality is lousy. So lousy, in fact, that their inclusion here is highly questionable, no matter the historical consequence. Some tracks taken from a CBGB's gig the following year -- one featuring guest vocals from Elvis Costello -- are better but hardly essential. The real reason to get Time is for the tracks originally compiled on the cassette-only release R.I.P. Hell's brief tenure with the Heartbreakers is well represented as are rarities from various Voidoid incarnations between 1977 and 1984. Throughout, Hell's smarts are unmistakable; he's desperate and therefore not pretentious, making his frequent consignment to the literary wing of the '70s N.Y.C. scene, along with the occasionally overblown Patti Smith and Television, a tad unfair. Even if songs like 'Time' or 'Betrayal Takes Two' do work just as well on paper, there's no mistaking that the edition of Hell captured here was always first and foremost a rocker at heart."
--Paul Font, Seattle Weekly
"I had always written Richard Hell off as an also-ran of NYC punk history: interesting enough to quit two seminal bands of the 1970s (Television and The Heartbreakers, both of which he co-founded), cool enough to only release two albums with The Voidoids, but not really worth a second listen or any serious research. This album proves I was wrong. Holy crap, does it ever.
"The first disc is a better-sounding reissue of the ROIR cassette R.I.P., and collects some really great performances: Hell premiering his best-known 'hit,' 'Love Comes in Spurts;' Hell with the original Voidoids kicking serious ass on 'Betrayal Takes Two' and 'Crack of Dawn,' and Hell with later incarnations of his group featuring, weirdly, The Meters' Ziggy Modeliste on drums. The sound quality is shite but the soul quality is high -- Hell's decency and vulnerability are on display just as much as his snottishness and anger. (His highly literate liner notes don't hurt, either.)
"The second disc, which is all new, compiles two amazing live performances which prove Hell's cruciality beyond all doubt. The first was done at the Music Machine in London in 1977 -- Hell was pissed off that everyone else was making money off the punk rock he thought he invented, and he is out to prove himself with furious renditions of 'Blank Generation' and 'Liars Beware.' (I love how he ends with The Rolling Stones' 'Ventilator Blues,' just because he knew the punks hated The Stones.) The second set is a CBGB show from 1978, a little mellower but not by much, and has a great Elvis Costello vocal cameo on 'You Gotta Lose' as well as Hell's well-known 'The Kid With the Replaceable Head.'
"This is absolutely essential if you fancy yourself any kind of music person. I'm not kidding."
--Matt Cibula, ink19
"New glimpses of the 'Blank Generation' man
"If punk was more about the ideas than the music, then Richard Hell can fairly confidently claim to hold the copyright. A former member of Television, he brought literacy and passion to the genre's three chords.
"This being a CD, however, we must concern ourselves as much with the music as the philosophy. Happily much here is brilliant -- raw demos of his time with The Heartbreakers in 1975, The Voidoids in 1977 and a live disc, too.
"Hell's unique, and highly poetic vision is tied to varyingly ramshackle accompaniments to give fleeting glimpses of his chemically flawed greatness. As a teenage runaway, Hell set a field alight, reputedly 'just to watch it burn.' His subsequent handiwork may not have had the same drama, but here even his misfiring talent still shines brightly."
--John Robinson, The New Musical Express
"Richard Hell is beyond many things. Reproach and comparison are two such things. Leader of the Voidoids, poet, bass player, and a man many call one of the founders of the punk movement, Hell has released very little music for a man of his acclaim and stature. In fact, he's reportedly only been in a studio once in the last 17 years. Luckily, the music he has released is so fantastic that it lasts, so much that any new music might pale in comparison. Add this one to the stack of records you must own. Time is actually part re-release/part never released live and studio material, and it shows how much of an influence Hell and the Voidoids have had on other bands, as well as a distinct style that cannot be denied. The first CD, labelled 'R.I.P.,' is a re-release of a cassette only retrospective -- Hell's self-proclaimed epitaph -- released on ROIR. It adds three songs, one being the title track, and features some near classics. It opens with 'Love Comes in Spurts,' a well-known track, immortalized in Pump Up the Volume with Christian Slater (it plays while he humps the wedding dress on the couch). After that, it never lets up. Song after song crackles to life, sometimes in the form of an all-out assault, sometimes as a slower and lower skip. The production values aren't that great, the performances a little far from perfect. But it's amazing nontheless. By the time you reach the Dylan cover 'Going Going Gone,' you're in awe. Good. It gets better. The second CD, 'Live,' starts with, in Hell's own words, 'one of the most aggressive sets we ever played.' Aggressive due to the band's strife on the tour leading up to that point, and good for them. The audience would never have complained. The last four tracks are from a second live show at CBGB where Elvis Costello joins them for two tracks. Nothing short of incredible, electric, and highly influential. Time is two CDs of amazing music: Richard Hell has a legacy, and it is captured brilliantly on this release. Get it without delay."
-- Rob Devlin brainwashed.com
Disc One: "R.I.P." [1984 R.I.P. expanded and remastered]
Heartbreakers (Hell, Thunders, Nolan, Lure) demos 1975
1. Love Comes In Spurts
2. Chinese Rocks (not on original R.I.P.)
3. Canít Keep My Eyes On You
4. Hurt Me
Voidoids (Hell, Robert Quine, Ivan Julian, Marc Bell) studio outtakes 1977
5. Iím Your Man
6. Betrayal Takes Two
Voidoids (Hell, Quine, Julian, Xavier, Morrison) five demos 1979
7. Crack Of Dawn
8. Ignore That Door
9. I Live My Life
10. Time (not on original R.I.P.)
11. Going Going Gone
[same band, same year, live:]
12. Funhunt (not on original R.I.P.)
Voidoids (Hell, Paumgardhen, Freeman, Wood) live in Atlanta 1983
13. I Can Only Give You Everything
Hell in New Orleans (Hell, Sanzenbach, LeBon, McCollam, Modeliste) R.I.P. sessions 1984
14. I Been Sleepin' on It
15. Cruel Way to Go Down
16. The Hunter Was Drowned
17. Hey Sweetheart
Disc Two: "LIVE" (previously unreleased live recordings)
Hell & the Voidoids (Hell, Quine, Julian, Bell) at Music Machine, London, 1977
2. Love Comes In Spurts
3. Liars Beware
4. You Gotta Lose
5. Lose Yourself
6. New Pleasure
7. Walking on the Water
8. The Plan
9 . Blank Generation
10. I Wanna Be Your Dog
12. Ventilator Blues
Hell & The Voidoids (Hell, Quine, Julian, Mauro, Antonius, Costello) at CBGB, 1978
13. Kid with the Replaceable Head
14. Donít Die
15. You Gotta Lose (with Elvis Costello)
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