Roaring Jack - Discography

Ironically, the ideal starting point for Roaring Jack's discography is the latest release. Roaring Jack - The Complete Works was released by German label Jump Up Records in 2002. A two CD set, it contains all the albums mentioned in this discography, plus three b-sides and the 12" single 'Framed' / 'Criminal Justice'. Really, the only tracks missing from The Complete Works are 1989's 7" version of 'The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away' (different from the album version) and its b-side, 'Song of a Drinking Man's Wife (No Half Measures)'.

Let me say what a thrill it is finally to have the complete version of Street Celtabillity on CD. Previously, only three tracks were available: they came as extras on the CD version of The Cat Among the Pigeons. But now we get to hear 'Buy Us A Drink', 'Wild Rover Again' and 'The Ballad of 1975' on CD for the first time. The only downer is that Street Celtabillity has been lifted from a vinyl version rather than from master tapes. Therefore we get a small amount of crackle and slightly lower volume than the rest of the CD. Mustn't grumble: at least this seminal Roaring Jack release is finally available to a twenty-first century public!

The Complete Works enables the listener to trace the evolution of Roaring Jack, from the rawness of Street Celtabillity through the brilliantly produced The Cat Among the Pigeons and the eclectic Through the Smoke of Innocence to the polished folk-pop of 'Framed' (1991). The last single certainly makes one wonder just where the band would have headed if it hadn't broken up in 1992.

Alistair Hulett contributes the brief liner notes on the back of the CD package. In his notes, Alistair tends to concentrate more on Roaring Jack's political efforts than on the music, the fun and the drunkenness. Bloody typical, but it does head home the fact that Roaring Jack was a folk band in the common sense of the term, a band with motives in mind other than making a buck. Alistair also pays tribute to the cameraderie of the band, and dedicates this release to the two deceased members of the band, Steve Thompson and Rod Gilchrist.

It's wonderful to have the complete recordings of Roaring Jack in a single package. Even if you already have all the recordings on vinyl, just get out there and get a copy! Thank you so much Jump Up for giving a new audience the opportunity to hear why we oldies are so hung up on the band. And if you haven't heard any Roaring Jack yet, be sure to listen to samples of three Roaring Jack tracks (and loads of Alistair's great solo stuff) on Alistair Hulett's website. (Andy Carr)

Read Brian Gillespie's review of Roaring Jack - The Complete Works

The Cat Among the Pigeons (1988)

Released on LP (MBLP 7007), cassette (MBTC 7007) and CD (MBCD 7007) by Mighty Boy Records in November 1988.


Uisge Beatha
Love in the Modern Age
Lights of Sydney Town
The Day That the Boys Came Down
The Lass Behind the Beertaps
Go Leave
Destitution Road
The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away
Moving On
Playing For the Traffic
The Thin Red Line
The Cat Among the Pigeons
Lads of the B.L.F.

Bonus Tracks (CD Only):
The Old Divide and Rule
Shell Shocked Crowd
Honky Tonks in Heaven

Read Alistair and Rab's track by track analysis of the album!

Through the Smoke of Innocence (1990)

Released on LP (MBLP 7016), cassette (MBTC 7016) and CD (MBCD 7016) by Mighty Boy Records in November 1990.


Girl On a Gate
Song of Choice
Her Latest Affectation
Ways of a Rover
Lass from Yarrow
October Wind
Polythene Flowers
Child's Play
The Bonny Wee Well
Take-Away Love
A Stranger and a Friend
Shot Down in Flames.

Bonus Tracks (CD Only):
Just Like Cigarettes
The Ball of Yarn.

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