Frank Turner – ‘The Third Three Years’

Score

Bumper rarities collection from a man who knows how to spoil his fans

Fans of Frank Turner are frequently rewarded. When he’s not gigging, the 32-year-old is doing DJ sets, playing toilet circuit venues with lesser-known collaborators such as Billy The Kid and Beans On Toast or busking with famous friends like Billy Bragg. Then there are the endless EPs (the last of which was February’s ‘Polaroid Picture’), the tour diaries set for publication early next year, January’s appearance on Celebrity Mastermind and jam-packed compilations like this. ‘The Third Three Years’ is the latest in Turner’s Black Flag-inspired B-sides and rarities collection series. It’s a comprehensive dip into the hard-touring, hard-recording musician’s past 36 months, which have seen him headline arenas, play the Olympic Games opening ceremony and thrash John Cooper Clarke in a televised battle of general knowledge.

With 21 songs, it’s a hefty package, the bulk of which is made up of covers – starting with a bombastic take on Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’. But Turner is much more effective when he strips songs back to their bare bones. His acoustic version of Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ is sad and unnerving while Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’ is rendered with a similarly despondent beauty. Less impressive is the inclusion of a jaunty run through Noel Coward’s ‘There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner’. A reminder of the guitarist’s punk roots comes through a tender ‘Kiera’, a track originally by Tony Sly, the late frontman of Californian pop punks No Use For A Name.

Elsewhere, alongside a clutch of material from last year’s ‘Tape Deck Heart’ rendered in folksier, mandolin-accompanied incarnations, we get ‘Riot Song’, Turner’s fizzing take on the London unrest of 2011. Yet the real stand-out here is a live recording on ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ from Twin Cities, Minnesota. Capturing the energy of his live shows but also the passion of his dedicated, roaring audience, it shows that spoiling your fans never hurt anyone.

Details

Director: Frank Turner, various
Record label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Release date: 24 Nov, 2014