The Tom Robinson Band straddled the border between pub rock and punk, turning out hard-driving rock anthems that were filled with attitude, if not venom. They were a stripped-down rock & roll band, delivering charging, catchy three-chord rockers at their best. Occasionally, as on the notorious anthem "Glad to Be Gay," Robinson dipped into social commentary, yet he was best at just rocking out, like on the lost classic "2-4-6-8 Motorway," one of the very best driving songs of all time. "2-4-6-8 Motorway" is the highlight on Rising Free -- The Very Best of the Tom Robinson Band, which proves that the group was a good band, but not great. Few songs on Rising Free have the intoxicating hook of "2-4-6-8 Motorway," and few are as acidic as "Glad to Be Gay." By and large, it's simply competent pub rock that's harder than average. As the years progressed, TRB's edge softened, and they began experimenting with disco. All of these progressions, and all of the group's best moments, are found on Rising Free, and while it doesn't reveal many hidden gems, there are enough good songs to make it worthwhile for pub and punk fanatics.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine