A welcome reissue of Lemmy and co’s barnstorming live album – now on lobster red vinyl with notes by Ted Carroll and photos on inner bag.
Recorded at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London on 18 February 1978, “What’s Words Worth?” captures Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor as their career was beginning its giddying ascent. For reasons long forgotten, Motörhead were billed as Iron Fist & the Hordes From Hell that night. Top of the bill was Wilko Johnson, with Chiswick Records’ Count Bishops providing support. Chiswick were using the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio to record the gig for a planned Count Bishops album, so were able to accommodate manager Tony Secunda’s request that Motörhead also be taped.
Shortly after the show, Secunda and the band parted company, and the tapes remained in limbo until 1983 when new manager Doug Smith remembered their existence. Seeing them as an untapped source of revenue to help fund the band’s constant touring, Smith and the band negotiated for their release on Big Beat.
In addition to rollicking performances of five numbers from the band’s eponymous debut (reissued on white vinyl on Chiswick last month), the album features blistering attacks on ‘On Parole’, ‘I’m Your Witchdoctor’, Eddie Holland’s ‘Leaving Here’ (a part of the Motörhead repertoire due to Lemmy’s love of a cover by “Honest” Ronnie Wood’s 60s band the Birds) and ‘City Kids’, the B-side of their career-igniting first single, co-written by original Bastard/Motörhead guitarist Larry Wallis of the Pink Fairies.
At the close of this now historic set, Lemmy, for some inexplicable reason, is heard to encourage the audience to “read plenty of Wordsworth” – hence the title of the album, which Ted Carroll describes in his notes “as a testament to a band with the balls to keep on keeping on in the face of almost insurmountable odds”.