Cock Sparrer – the Albums 1994-2017 (CD Box Set)

While The Clash, The Damned and the Sex Pistols all justifiably get their due in just about any discussion around the origins of punk rock, Cock Sparrer is almost always inexplicably left off the list by many in this country. Which is odd considering the London band had several years head start on all of the aforementioned peers, dating all the way back to 1972. And as influential as the trio mentioned above clearly are, it’s hard to imagine the Dropkick Murphys, the Bosstones or even Rancid (especially Rancid!) existing without Cock Sparrer to firmly lead the way a generation earlier.

But Cock Sparrer are doing their part to cement their legacy. Though a little sporadic, since reforming in 1994, the band has put out four great albums of new material, their latest being last year’s brilliant Forever. Cherry Red Records and Captain Oi have pulled together a remarkably impressive box set that includes their last four records: “Guilty As Charged,” “Two Monkeys,” “Here We Stand” and “Forever”.

Guilty As Charged, the first in this set and their comeback album, is bolstered by the complete and hard to find “Run Away EP” (which includes four live tracks). The second, 1997’sTwo Monkeys,” includes the equally rare cover of the 1970 England World Cup’s anthem “Back Home.”

While both are great records, it’s the last two discs in this box set that show just how far the band has evolved from being another cool street punk band with plenty of credibility to one of the strongest pillars in the punk rock world. The career-defining “Here We Stand” (originally released in 2007) is enhanced with the 2008 single of “Because You’re Young” and a duet with British wrestler Dan Hardy on “England Belongs To Me” (not exactly a had to have it addition, but goes to show just how exhaustive this set is). The final CD is 2017’s amazing “Forever”; 16 tracks of irresistible gang vocal singalongs, distorted guitars and pure adrenaline. The box set comes with a detailed 20-page booklet and is a brilliant bookend to the recently released “1978-87 The Albumsbox set.

Cock Sparrer – the Albums 1994-2017/4 CDs/Cherry Red Records & Captain Oi/2018 / Facebook / Twitter 

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