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Live At CBGB's 1988

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Album Review

Recorded in 1988, shortly after Sham 69 became one of the first of the original punk bands to re-form, Live at CBGB's is not, sadly, the kind of album that makes you glad that they did. Indeed, there's a distinct taste of desperation draped over the proceedings, as though frontman Jimmy Pursey is admitting that he wasn't getting anyplace on his own and needed the old brand name to help him make a living. Energetic but generally perfunctory renditions of Sham 69 classics go down well in front of a decidedly determined audience, however, and a clutch of new songs do point toward the brighter future that was awaiting the band this time around. Still, anybody seeking out an introduction to this most vital of 1977-era British punk groups would be better off starting with the studio albums.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

While most of the early British punk bands spoke of working-class concerns -- primarily unemployment and the shrinking U.K. economy, which was leaving a generation with nothing to do and nowhere to go -- many of the pioneering groups had working-class credentials that were suspect at best; the Sex Pistols' career was being molded by a haberdasher and would-be artist, while the Clash were led by the son of a diplomat. Sham 69, however, was different; proletarian and proud of it, Sham 69 was the voice...
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