Various Artists

Webster Hall's Rock N Roll

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Tucked away from the throbbing dancefloors in New York City's notorious Webster Hall, a little old-fashioned rock & roll sometimes crept into the back rooms. The shakin' studio selections on this collection showcase several of the acts who blew a small portion of the roof off the historic downtown venue. Naturally, some high points (Speed McQueen [great handle] brings it home) overpower a majority of mediocrity (hangdog Enuff Z'Nuff winds up and balks). Lourdes lets flow more of that feminine angst so prevalent in the time period. Of course, this nominal femme will be remembered more for her Wilma Flintstone costumes rather than her Carnegie violin flourishes. Same goes for the lamented NY Loose, whose leader, Brijitte West, is not just another girl, but a lost trash rock treasure. Numb, Hot Water, and the Zeros all deserve mention, while Big Sister cooks up the most memorable song. The bouncing B-Fam doesn't fit the groove, but almost creates a new one. On the down side, this Secret Army number isn't particularly heavy, and comes off cool only through the gritty "Summer in the City" sample. "Smell My Finger" from Dad's Porno Mag somehow can't live up to its own gnarly promise. But all these ditties are rarities, making this a more interesting odds-and-sods roundup than most.

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