Sham 69

Kings & Queens

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Strange little CD. Singer Jimmy Pursey's brief liner notes fail to note anything about these recordings such as their previously unknown, excellent cover of Alternative TV's classic "Action Time Vision" (that band's singer, Mark Perry, was an early champion of Sham 69 and released their first proper single on the Step Forward label in 1977), other that all 10 songs date from their early 1976-1978 days. Pursey seems to suggest that he and guitarist Dave Parsons redid the songs recently, if that's what he means by "made to refresh the original ideals" -- that's my guess, since all ten songs here were recorded at Berwick St. Studios, but it's unclear. But it doesn't matter when -- these versions are better played and are way hotter than the original looks at formerly "Sham"-bolic recordings as "I Don't Wanna" and "They Don't Understand" (which also argues for a vastly superior modern rerecording). Though this collection misses out on some of their best work from the third and fourth LP era, what's here is classic, vintage, unpretentious, working-class punk and, The Game aside, Sham 69 and these songs have never sounded better. Shove this one down the throat of anyone who thought Sham were just a bunch of shouting louts.

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