gullbuy music review

The Boys


The Collection


Taang! Records


The Boys CD coverOriginal '77 British punk rockers from London, The Boys' music has been reissued often in the years since their first few albums were recorded. But the 2 cd set simply called The Collection released on the US label Taang! Records in 2003 is probably the best way to hear The Boys' first two albums The Boys (from Aug 1977) and Alternative Chartbusters (from March 1978). Not only do you get both albums in their entirety, you get a bevy of bonus cuts including rare singles and unreleased tracks augmenting each disc. All of this at a really great price for a 2 cd set. This is the kind of collection that makes a one cd Best of a moot point, because the material is so great to begin with, it makes it worthwhile to have it all put together in a respectable 2 cd set.

The Boys punk rock sound is a powerful burst of punk rock energy with power pop melodies, all combined together with edgy, catchy guitars and vocals. They are the best of a breed combining shades of The Undertones, The Rezillos, and The Damned. The Boys self-titled debut album is non-stop energy, and it includes their first two singles I Don't Care (and its b-side Soda Pressing) and The First Time, which should be familiar to anyone who has collected punk compilations through the years. It's great to be able to hear things like the first singles b-side Soda Pressing which has a wall of sound guitar attack, along with the second single's b-sides collected here as bonus tracks. Other highlights from the first album (and it's extras) are The Boys' rocking take on The Beatles' I Call Your Name and The Boys' Christmas single Run Rudolph Run released as The Yobs at Christmas time 1977, as well as alternate versions of The First Time and I Don't Care.

The Boys' second album Alternative Chartbusters is a step above the debut album thanks to The Boys' heady ability to write and produce top-notch punk rock songs - improving upon and replacing the pub rocking moments on the debut with a punk pop sensibility which coalesced with the power pop of the day like The Police or The Cars. Not only were The Boys prolific songwriters, they'd improved upon their songwriting formula, and it's shown to perfection on the first single from Alternative Chartbusters. Brickfield Nights (and its b-side Teacher's Pet which is included on disc 2 as a bonus cut) was released in the spring of 1978. Brickfield Nights is another song which has been compiled on numerous punk and power pop compilations, and it's great the hear it in its place on the 2nd album. Also included on the cd version of the Alternative Chartbusters albums is The Boys take on The Hollies' Stop, Stop, Stop (which really fits the manic Boys sound) from the album proper, along with She's No Angel (a  slower, yet still powerful song featuring Zig Zag writer/Boys tour manager Alan Anger having a go on vocals which is an early unreleased version of The Rowdies song) and another Yobs' Christmas song that should be in every punk rockers collection, the classic reading of Silent Night.

---Patrick, February 17, 2004