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Review - Complete Punk!

By Paul Potts  


The exclamation mark is theirs, by the way, and I'm not sure what it is intended to infer.  Perhaps the title should have been, 'Complete Punk?  Certainly not, but a mixed 36-song bag of classics, chancers, and some utter shite'.


Yes, the 135th compilation album that claims to be an encapsulation of the period '76 - ''79, when the charts were infiltrated by a series of angry young men and women who, for once in their life had something to say; they wanted to say it now, and now is today.  The fact that a couple of tracks from 1980 have also sneaked in will clearly irk the purists, but the debate on just what 'Punk' is, or was (a state of mind? The New York Dolls? The Sex Pistols? Half Man Half Biscuit? SWINE? David van Day?), can wait for another day.


So to the songs themselves, and a real mixed-bag they are to boot.  Whilst someone's great track is somebody else's dross, as this is my review you will have to be subjected to my take on what has stood the test of time, and what should never, ever, have seen the light of day.  I mean, any punk retrospective that features Generation X, Bow Wow Wow, The Rich Kids (Midge Bloody Urrrggghhh), Dr Feelgood (! - my exclamation mark), The Vapors, and the Flying Lizards, has to be called into question.  Ah, the beauty of the 'skip' button'.  But, in fairness, the dross is far outweighed by some great singles (even though 'pop' would be a more precise definition, for most of them, than 'punk'). 


So, diving in, bit of Iggy ('Lust for Life' and 'The Passenger), Patti Smith ('Because the Night'), Buzzcocks ('Ever Fallen in Love' and 'What Do I Get'?), Stiff Little Fingers (rather bizarrely, 'Straw Dogs') and the classic 'Another Girl Another Planet', by The Only Ones.  I was also delighted to see two slices of classic 7-inch vinyl in 'Masquerade' by The Skids, and 'Sound of the Suburbs' by The Members.  All in all, then, enough quality amongst the 36 tracks on offer to be able to ignore the likes of The Stiffs, The Angelic Upstarts and The Cockney Rejects.


Interestingly, or not, I bought this CD in a well known supermarket.  The teenage checkout girl actually said to me, "Ever been had, sir, you rotter"?.  Following my stunned request for her to repeat the question, she said, "Need any help with your packing, sir"?  "No thank you", I said, as I pogo'd out of the store, "but it's nice to see Tesco turning rebellion into money".







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