Various Artists

Punk Rock Classics

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Cleopatra's Punk Rock Classics features three previously released albums from Cleopatra Records -- Sham 69's 1997 X Files and the lone eponymous album from Urban Dogs (a renamed, 1982 incarnation of the U.K. Subs), along with the various-artists collection, Punk Rock Legends. It's a hodgepodge, to say the very least, and it's not very listenable, either, since none of the bands are captured at their best. As a matter of fact, Sham 69's effort is pretty weak and the Urban Dogs, although they have their moments, aren't very consistent. Which leaves Punk Rock Legends as the lone piece of interest for the average listener, and it does have a number of great songs, plus lost classics from the likes of the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Ramones, Pere Ubu, Suicide, the Heartbreakers, Flamin' Groovies, Dead Boys, MC5, and Wayne County. Of course, these aren't necessarily the original recorded versions of the songs, and they're often demos or live cuts, which means that it isn't ideal for casual fans. Nevertheless, it has more spark than its two companions -- but if you did want to check it out, you'd be better off picking it up individually. Even though this box is available at a bargain price, the music isn't much of a bargain.

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