Music Reviews
Pearl Harbour

Pearl Harbour

Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too

Liberation Hall

Pearl Harbor and the Explosions were a short lived San Francisco punk/New Wave band who released their only album in 1980. They had regional success with the songs “Drivin’” and “Shut Up and Dance.” As is often the case, artistic differences led to the band imploding shortly after. Singer Pearl Harbor wanted to pursue a more stripped-down rock and roll sound and took off for the UK with her buddy, Kosmo Vinyl, who happened to be managing The Clash and Ian Dury and The Blockheads.

In London, Pearl fell in with Rockabilly revivalists who were still very much underground at the time. She fell in love with the raw sound, the style, and the people. Before long, she was working up songs with Nigel Dixon of The Whirlwinds. Kosmo helped her put together a band to record the tunes, and Warner Bros. UK agreed to release them if she changed the spelling of her last name to Harbour (the correct UK Spelling). The core of Pearl’s backing band included Paul Simonon, Topper Headon and Mick Jones of the Clash with Nigel Dixon, Wilko Johnson (Dr. Feelgood), Steve New (Rich Kids). Other punk rock luminaries pitched in here and there. The project was produced by Micky Gallagher, keyboardist for Ian Dury and The Blockheads.

Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too was originally released in 1980 in the UK, but it sounds like it came from 1959. Harbour sings teenaged laments “Everybody’s Boring But My Boyfriend,” “Do Your Homework,” and “Out With the Girls,” that would have sounded great in a Grease-style musical. “Alone In The Dark” has the hiccuping delivery common to old Sun Records singles. I like how Harbour playfully touches on everyday anxieties, like “At the Dentist.” “I don’t want to go to the dentist / I don’t want him breathing down my neck… I’m scared of all the shots and needles.”

The original 13 songs are rounded out with some choice covers, “Filipino Baby” and “Fujiyama Mama,” which she sometimes played with The Clash as an encore. The expanded reissue has an additional six tunes that are as good as anything on the original release. “Nerves” is a sputtering frolic that would make The Cramps proud. Some of the songs show their debt to predecessors. I can’t hear “You Got Me All Wrong” without hearing “Heartbreak Hotel.” The lyrics about being searched at customs are hilarious, though. “She took me to a small room / had me take off all my clothes / she ran her fingers through my hair and checked between my toes / when she told me to bend over / …I knew if he tried to touch me there was going to be a fight.”

Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too didn’t get much of a push when it came out. It wasn’t a slick as The Stray Cats and it wasn’t as wild as The Cramps. With this expanded reissue, Pearl Harbour gets another chance to find her people and rock some house parties.

Pearl Harbour


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