The late '90s/early '00s saw open season declared on the Vibrators' archive and, while it'll take a lot to top the 100 Club punk festival tapes included on Overground's Live at the Nashville & 100 Club collection, Captain Oi's Punk Rock Rarities compilation -- culled from the private vaults of vocalist Knox and drummer Eddie -- does fill in a lot of gaps in the band's long history. The most important inclusions, of course, are those dating from the band's earliest days, the mid-'70s punk era when the Vibrators really were on top of their game. Included here are outtakes and demos from each of the original lineup's albums, including hot versions of "Automatic Lover," "Pure Mania," "London Girls," and "Judy Says," together with highlights from the projected (but ultimately canned) third album in 1978. A 1977 London radio session blisters with all the verve for which the band was renowned, and -- most intriguing of all -- the coupling that was originally intended as their second single, "Bad Time"/"No Heart," is finally revealed. Recorded for the RAK label in late 1976, it was abandoned when the band signed a long-term deal with CBS. A total of 17 tracks take listeners through the classic period; three more date from a flurry of renewed/re-formed activity toward the end of the 1980s and, it's safe to say, they're as fiery as anything that preceded them. An excellent collection for the Vibrators fan in everyone.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson