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Entry date: 1-12-2024 – Phantom Titled Manacle – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


It feels like I have earned this Friday. Have you? I hope so. I hope the week can cram itself into our collective rearview mirrors and we can look back on it feeling good. There is a day to go, but I feel pretty darn good about it.




Phantom Titled Manacle

you spell it diff’rent

in another dead language

don’t shy away now


it creeps up behind

willing to wait, daring fate,

scary business wink


but not with a grin.

Don’t make eye contact today

and seal your fate.


It’s a day to talk about a record.



Part of me really wanted to be a mod when I was younger. Then I realized that I am a mod. I’m also a punk and a dad and a teacher and a…you get the picture. I wanted to dress the part, though, and even had a few nice things in my clothing collection including some boss black and white pointy shoes. They were even called “Jam” shoes.


One of the sharper decisions I made back then was to pick up Purple Hearts’ Head On Collision Time when I was a junior in high school. At the time, I hadn’t decided I loved the Who the way I grew to love them in my 20s and 30s. I mean, I loved the Who, but I wasn’t telling people they were my favorite band.


(That honor would have gone to either PIL, The Damned, The Cult, or the Cro-Mags depending on the day. Mostly PIL, but that’s for another day.)


I bring up the Who because I hear so much of what I love about the Who in Purple Hearts. There was a brashness conveyed in this live record that really spoke to me. It said, “These guys are having a fuckton of fun. They also kick ass.”


In those days, I had a Magnavox stereo that one of my parents had gotten me at some point. It had a couple little speakers and the cassette player, tuner, and turntable made up a small console. It made punk rock records sound great.


It also made Head On Collision Time sound great.


My taste when it comes to sound is a bit more educated and slightly more discerning now, but I still like the way this record sounds. Would it drive a few people I know crazy with it’s mid-80s  fuzzy hiss, probably, but they’re just delicate. I kid, of course.


Some records should sound a little rough. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, because it does sound great. I’m listening to it as I type this, and I keep getting sidetracked by the riffs. “Beat That,” for example, has a really great, really big guitar part that probably influenced bands like Oasis a little bit.


Mod music might not do it for everyone, but this record is worth a listen. The riffs, as mentioned, are excellent and the lyrics are even better. That could be another place where my brain connects Purple Hearts with the Who. I’m guessing those Purple Hearts guys listened to a lot of Who.


Back in the day, I really loved the cover of “Gloria” on this record. It kicks off side B. I’m a sucker for a cover of “Gloria” (and the original). It’s just one of those great songs. I’ve never been in the right situation to pull it off and I’m not sure I would even want to try.


They must have made a good amount of these because you can get it on discogs for less than $50 (including shipping from Europe). Head On Collision Time is a lot of fun. From “Gloria” the band goes into a fun and seemingly sincere cover of the Scooby Doo theme. The audience starts chanting “Scooby!” as “Gloria” fades out.


When the band gets back into their originals on the B side, its quality slips a little until you get to the end. The very Who-ish “Extraordinary Sensations” is a tad sloppy for a bar or two, but it works. I liked “Jimmy” a lot in the 80s. Now I would just rather listen to the Jam, but even then, it’s a good song…just very Jam-my.


“Plane Crash” and “Millions Like Us” are great songs, though. If the record reflects the actual flow of the set, they crushed it.



Try Head On Collision Time. See if you can collide with it.


(I think going with “Try” and not “Give” was the right way to end this.)




See you tomorrow.

Phantom Manacled AI

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