Sham 69

Cockney Cowboys: The Very Best of Sham 69

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The 20 songs collected on Cockney Cowboys indeed represent the best of the original Borstal Boys, Sham 69. Fronted by Jimmy Pursey, this is punk rock from the dark end of the working class as it strived to bust out and bust up provincial English society in the mid- to late '70s. Sham were a wildly inconsistent band, named after their fave football team, the Herhsam Boys, but they dealt out powerful singles, and all of the ones that matter are here, from their anthem "If the Kids Are United" and "Borstal Breakout," to "I Don't Wanna," "Ulster," "Rip Off," "Hurry Up Harry," and "Cockney Kids Are Innocent." Also here are seminal headbangers like "Angels With Dirty Faces," "Unite & Win," and their loopy cover version of "Mister You're a Better Man Than I." Good sound and decent notes underscore the value of the collection.

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