The Valves were an early punk group from Edinburgh, featuring the wonderfully-named “Dee Robot” (aka Dave Robertson) on vocals. In common with a number of artists from the 1976-77 period, (such as Joe Strummer, who scrapped The 101ers to form The Clash in 1977), The Valves climbed aboard the punk bandwagon, in a Road-to-Damascus fashion, having become inspired by the raw and revolutionary energy of punk music. They ditched their former high energy pub rock sound and incarnation as “Angel Easy”, (although they still looked like Eddie and the Hot Rods-esque former pub rockers), and signed to Zoom Records as “The Valves”. The band, chronicled in Henrik Poulsen’s book, 77: The Year of Punk and New Wave, duly released three singles, and eventually broke up in 1979. They reformed for a one-off gig in Edinburgh on 21 December, 2014.
This single, their debut, and indeed the debut recording of Zoom Records, (ZUM 1), was released in August 1977. It’s a bit of a minor punk classic. Both sides of the single are worthy of a listen, but it is the b-side, For Adolfs Only, which is the one that really grabs your attention. (The a-side is the comedic, but sinister, Robot Love). From the opening “Ein, zwei, drei, vier…” , this is a pounding, aggressive 1 min 46 secs of 1977 punk. It rips the piss out of Hitler, (hating Nazis, or comparing the powers-that-be to Nazis, being common themes of the time), and has a decent, spiky guitar solo in the middle. It’s not sophisticated music, but that’s not the point.
The band released their second single, Tarzan Of The Kings Road (ZUM 3), in December, 1977, but it had none of the punk energy of its predecessor, having a more watered-down R&B, surf sound. Their final, and third single, in 1979, It Don’t Mean Nothing At All, bombed. Nevertheless, the Zoom singles notched up sales of over 22,000, with very little promotion.