If London had a CBGBs it wasn't The Roxy or The Marquee Club, it was Islington's Hope & Anchor (of course it had to be a pub, right), and this seminal compilation substantiates that.
It's all here to be heard: the juxtapositions reveal all.
The old guard, represented by Steve Gibbons, The Pirates, and dear old Wilko; and those who retained an older style, such as The Pleasers, Dire Straits, and to a certain extent Sean Tyla's Tyla Gang - who never sounded more like an English version of Tom Petty and The Hertbreakers - are heard alongside the new young gunslingers and upstarts: X-Ray Spex (Poly Styrene being the only woman on the album!), The Saints, Suburban Studs, The Only Ones, 999 and XTC, a band who were already years ahead; already sounding post-post-punk.
And there's Steel Pulse, the then great ambassadors of the new wave of British reggae.
To have seen them at that time in a London pub must have been something else.
There wasn't much to the Hope & Anchor back in the nineteen-seventies.
No real stage as such, just a raised area in an airless, heaving, chamber-like bar.
But the historicity of the place is immense.
And this compilation is its ossuary.
Various Artists - Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival (1978)
Wilko Johnson Band - Dr. Feelgood
The Stranglers - Straighten Out
Tyla Gang - Styrofoam
The Pirates - Don't Munchen It
Steve Gibbons Band - Speed Kills
XTC - I'm Bugged
Suburban Studs - I Hate School
Wilko Johnson Band - Billy
XTC - Science Friction
Dire Straits - Eastbound Train
Burlesque - Bizz Fizz
X-Ray Spex - Let's Submerge
999 - Crazy
The Saints - Demolition Girl
The Only Ones - Creatures of Doom
The Pirates - Gibson Martin Fender
Steel pulse - Sound Check
Roogalator - Zero Hour
Philip Rambow - Underground Romance
The Pleasers - Rock and Roll Radio
Tyla Gang - On the Streets
Steve Gibbons Band - Johnny Cool
Wilko Johnson Band - Twenty Years Behind
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