The Great New York Singles Scene collects mostly otherwise out-of-print rarities from the mid- to late-'70s New York punk scene. It's not a very consistent listen, with a preponderance of obscure and nondescript acts, but the collection may prove extremely enticing to collectors because of its first three tracks: the original single versions of Patti Smith's "Piss Factory," and Television's "Little Johnny Jewel," and Richard Hell and the Voidoids' "Blank Generation," three of the defining early singles of the New York punk movement ("Blank Generation" is the only one of the three easily available elsewhere). The first two cuts perhaps aren't quite as revelatory as their reputations might suggest, but are still absolutely essential for New York punk collectors. Apart from these songs, most of the material ranges from unmemorable mediocrity to flat-out silliness, although the Mumps' "Scream and Scream Again" and a couple of other tunes do manage to rise above the rest. Regardless, though, the presence of "Piss Factory" and "Little Johnny Jewel" is probably more than enough to make The Great New York Singles Scene an essential collector's purchase.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey