Reviews Zone

Cock Sparrer: The Albums 1978 – 87 (Captain Oi!) Out now

 

 


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

 

 

Cock Sparrer were doing their punk thing in London some three years before the Sex Pistols and four years before The Clash.

Cock Sparrer formed in 1972 in the East End of London, and although they never enjoyed commercial success, they are one of the most influential street punk bands of all time.

They paved the way for the early ’80s punk scene and the Oi! subgenre. Their songs have been covered by many punk, Oi!, and hardcore bands.

They released seven albums between 1978 and 2017, four live albums, eight compilations, a 10 inch EP and nine singles between 1977 and 2012.

The band’s original line-up of Colin McFaull, Mick Beaufoy, Steve “Burge” Burgess and Steve Bruce – who had known each other since the age of 11 – is still together today, some 46 years after they started the band.

Today, with the addition of Daryl Smith on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, since 1992. Their name derives from their original greeting, Cock Sparrow a Cockney term of familiarity.

Captain Oi! Records has just dropped the bumper four CD, 53 track box set, which features all the band’s output from 1978 to 1987.

The first CD is the ultra-rare self-titled debut LP, previously only released in Spain, containing the singles “Runnin’ Riot” and “We Love You”, and now comes with five bonus cuts that effectively round up all of the band’s earliest known recordings.

Hailed as one of the greatest punk rock albums of all time, “Shock Troops” takes up the second disc. Re-mastered from the original tapes, here it is offered with the addition of the seminal “England Belongs To Me” single. Bands such as Agnostic Front and Dropkick Murphys have covered songs from this album.

The third disc contains the “Running Riot In 84” album, which featured the Oi! compilation album classic “The Sun Says”. The fourth disc is the band’s first ever official “In Concert” recording, 1987’s “Live And Loud!!”, which was originally released on Link Records. Again, re-mastered from the original tapes.

Sparrer guitarist Daryl Smith has overseen the whole project with full input from the band. The booklet features sleeve notes and pictures of all the relevant singles, many now ultrarare and expensive Punk collectors’ items.

The band met with Malcolm McLaren back in the 1970s, who was considering managing Cock Sparrer alongside the Sex Pistols. In 1977, the band signed to Decca Records.

The first Cock Sparrer single was “Runnin’ Riot”, released in May 1977. The follow-up was a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “We Love You”. Neither sold well and Decca dropped the band in 1978.

The band members had already recorded an album’s worth of material, which was only released in Spain as Cock Sparrer and wasn’t officially issued in the UK until Razor Records released it in 1987 as True Grit.

UFC fighter Dan Hardy has used the song “England Belongs to Me” as his walk-out music. “Take ’em All” has a long history of being sung by Major League Soccer supporter groups, including the Empire Supporters Club, Garden State Ultras And Viking Army Supporters Club for the New York Red Bulls and the Emerald City Supporters for the Seattle Sounders FC.

In 2012, Cock Sparrer marked their 40th anniversary along with Rancid who were celebrating their 20th anniversary. They played four sold-out concerts in the United States (two in Philadelphia and two in San Francisco) and headlined the Christmas Bash in Birmingham as part of the Rebellion Festival on 8 December 2012.

 

 

By Sally Fox

 

 

 


1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’

 

 

 

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