Various Artists

Generations, Vol. 1: A Punk Look at Human Rights

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Oh, I know, I know, it's a good cause: A quarter of the stash this disc raises will benefit the human rights organization run by Jack Healey, of Amnesty International fame. But, like far too many compilations, the selections offered are inconsistent. True, this charity sampler should be commended for insisting on unreleased material, or, in the case of Bad Brains, rare stuff. (Here's the original version of "Don't Bother Me" from the highly collectable Best of Limp collection -- needless to say this sensational juggernaut makes almost all the other groups look like rank amateurs, now as then). And the spate of covers is at least interesting: Pennywise does Black Flag, Assorted Jelly Beans does the Vandals, the Vandals themselves do an obscurity by Jilted John, and, oddly enough, Pansy Division air out a song by Stan Ridgeway of Wall of Voodoo. Best of all, Joe Strummer's contribution is a strong incentive to ring up a sale for the world's oppressed -- the former Clash leader's outfit, Electric Dog House, scores big with the chilling "Generations." And the underrated Mr. T. Experience is typically spot-on. But interesting does not equal great, and the overall quality of this old, old punk genre is too low to compel repeated listens. All the more so considering how blatantly dreadful some of these outings are, from the likes of Good Riddance, Fetish, Swamp Dogg, and Exene Cervenka. However, as a free gift for a donation, you can do much worse than this LP, so why not get it anyway. Or better yet, reach for the checkbook and just send some money straight to Human Rights Action Center, c/o Jack Healey, Director, 451 1st St. SE, Washington D.C. 20003. Someone's freedom might depend on it.

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