Originally released in 1976 on the tiny label RAM (fronted by Tommy Dean, who also owned Max's), Max's Kansas City is a great compilation of almost all the influential and charismatic bands that frequently played there in the early to mid-'70s. Recently re-released with four extra tracks not on the original, the album serves as a reminder and souvenir of punk's early days, featuring the known (Pere Ubu, Suicide, Wayne County) along with the lesser-known (the Fast, the Brats, Harry Toledo). Unlike many compilations of punk's early days, these rare tracks are all great-sounding studio recordings, with absolutely no lo-fi live tracks (which are usually commonplace on punk anthologies). You'll be treated to great, early versions of the classics "Final Solution" by Cleveland experimentalists Pere Ubu, as well as "Rocket U.S.A." by New York's confrontational electronic duo Suicide. Wayne County's title track lists just about every band that was playing the venue at the time of song's writing, many of them reaching legendary status (Talking Heads, Ramones, Johnny Thunders, etc.). If you want to re-experience the New York punk of yesteryear, Max's Kansas City 1976 is the ultimate ticket.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato