I Thought You Wanted to Know: 1978-1981

Nov 22, 2021
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By Matthew Berlyant

Before The dB’s signed to UK-based Albion Records and released their debut LP, 1981’s Stands for Decibels, they gigged around New York City for years and recorded a ton of material, some of it at the offices of the now legendary magazine New York Rocker. Some of it, including both sides of their excellent first single and titular song to this collection, “I Thought You Wanted to Know” (released when they were still known as Chris Stamey and the dB’s and co-leader Peter Holsapple wasn’t the driving force he became later), has been already released on the early ’90s rarities collection Ride the Wild Tom Tom, but since that collection is long out of print, Propeller Sounds does fans a huge service by highlighting the best of that material.

Aside from that great debut single, most of the first half of the first LL of this double LP collection (or first half or the CD/digital version) consists of demo versions of songs that ended up on Stands for Decibels in slightly more polished form. Thus, this collection partly functions as an alternate take on their debut album and is great for fans who want to hear The dB’s at their rawest. Just like on their subsequent albums, this material consists of great songs that stick in your head for days, energetic playing, wonderful vocals, and so much more. While these versions don’t deviate much from how they ended up on record, it’s still a fascinating alternative and listen.

The second half includes covers of well-known ’60s hits like The Grass Roots’ “Let’s Live for Today,” The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today,” The Beatles’ monumental “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages,” showing off their ’60s influences. It also includes lots of songs not released on any of their albums, all of which are of interest. While the first two albums are where newbies should start, this is a collection (especially if one doesn’t already have Ride the Wild Tom Tom) that no serious dB’s fan should be without. (www.thedbs.com)

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