Various Artists

Meridian 1970: Protest, Sorrow, Hobos, Folk and Blues Compiled by Jon Savag

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Jon Savage, author of the acclaimed punk history England's Dreaming, compiled this set documenting the music he loved as a teen during the late '60s and 1970s -- and from such simple origins an exemplary (albeit shaggy) compilation is born. According to Savage's liner notes, Meridian 1970 celebrates "The Four Tenets of Rock" -- raucousness, rudeness, banality, and aimless protest -- via psychedelic boogie, acid-folk, and country-rock, with a set list so defiantly unhip it's positively groovy. After all, when's the last time anyone of even marginal respectability canonized the Doobie Brothers ("Nobody"), Free ("Mouthful of Grass"), or the James Gang ("Ashes, the Rain and I")? Thing is, by avoiding those artists' overplayed, tired classic rock hits, Savage manages to restore some of their luster, and they fit in comfortably alongside muso-snob saints like Nick Drake ("Three Hours") and Skip Spence ("Cripple Creek") -- the cumulative result is the mixtape that your cool, draft-dodging uncle would have sent you from Winnipeg had he ever existed in the first place.

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