Various Artists

Zonophone: The Punk Singles Collection

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The Regal Zonophone label has undergone any number of shifts over the years. Founded as an outlet for Salvation Army music and the like, it was first subverted in the late '60s, when it became host to the likes of psych warlords Procol Harum and Tyrannosaurus Rex. More recently, it provided an outlet for Morrissey; and, in between times, it flourished as a home to some of the Oi! movement's finest outfits. The Cockney Rejects, the Angelic Upstarts, Vice Squad and Jimmy Pursey protégé Honey Bane all rose to chart glory aboard the Zonophone label, and this well-hung collection picks up no less than 20 classic A-sides, to document -- and define -- the era. From the Cockney Rejects' turbulent "Greatest Cockney Rip-Off" to Angelic Upstarts' "Never Say Die," via "Last Night Another Soldier," "We Are the Firm," "Out of Reach" and "Turn Me on Turn Me Off," purists might say that the label was just a shade too late with most of its acts; that the bands' definitive statements ("Last Rockers," "I'm an Upstart") were made before they joined the Zonophone family. And that might be true. But still, there's no other label that could point to such a scintillating run of street punk anthems and, when you throw the Stiffs and the Toy Dolls into the brew as well, this emerges as a vivid snapshot of a fascinating catalog. Can we have a second volume, please?

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