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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Oi! The Albums' [6CD]
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, Oi! The Albums (released September 18th, 2020 via Captain Oi! / Cherry Red Records), is a long awaited 6CD Box-Set covering the first six volumes in the seminal Oi! Compilation series; and which features 68 artists across 121 tracks.

Initially launched in 1980 by Sounds journalist Garry Bushell, the first disc is Oi! The Album, which contained tracks from the likes of Cockney Rejects, Angelic Upstarts, The Exploited, The 4 Skins, Cock Sparrer, Slaughter & The Dogs and Peter & The Test Tube Babies.

Disc One: Oi! The Album
1. 'Oi! Oi! Oi!' - Cockney Rejects
2. 'Rob a Bank (Wanna)' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
3. 'Wonderful World' - 4 Skins
4. 'Have a Cigar' - The Postmen
5. 'Daily News' - The Exploited
6. 'Generation of Scars' - Terrible Twins
7. 'Guns for the Afghan Rebels' - Angelic Upstarts
8. 'Sunday Stripper' - Cock Sparrer
9. 'Last Night Another Soldier' - Angelic Upstarts
10. 'Chaos' - 4 Skins
11. 'Here We Go Again' - Cockney Rejects
12. 'Isubleeeene' - Max Splodge & Desert Island Joe
13. 'Beardsmen' - The Postmen
14. 'Where Have All The Bootboys Gone' - Slaughter & The Dogs
15. 'Bootboys' - Barney and The Rubbles
16. 'Intensive Care' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
17. 'I Still Believe in Anarchy' - The Exploited

1981’s Strength Thru Oi! featured the likes of Toy Dolls, Infa Riot, Cock Sparrer, Last Resort and (at the time) newer bands like The Strike and Criminal Class as well as the Oi! poet Garry Johnson.

Disc Two: Strength Thru Oi!
1. 'National Service' - Garry Johnson
2. '1984' - 4 Skins
3. 'Gang Warfare' - The Strike
4. 'Riot Riot' - Infa-Riot
5. 'Dead End Yobs' - Garry Johnson
6. 'Working Class Kids' - The Last Resort
7. 'Blood on the Streets' - Criminal Class
8. 'She Goes to Fino's' - The Toy Dolls
9. 'Best Years of Our Lives' - Barney Rubble
10. 'Taken for a Ride' - Cock Sparrer
11. 'We Outnumber You' - Infa-Riot
12. 'The New Face of Rock'n'Roll' - Garry Johnson
13. 'Beans' - Barney Rubble
14. 'We're Pathetique' - Splodge
15. 'Sorry' - 4 Skins
16. 'Running Riot' - Cock Sparrer
17. 'Johnny Barden' - The Last Resort
18. 'Isubaleene (Part 2)' - Splodge
19. 'Running Away' - Criminal Class
20. 'Skinhead' - The Strike
21. 'Deidre's a Slag' - The Toy Dolls
22. 'Harbour Mafia Mantra' - The Shaven Heads

The next album, Carry On Oi!!, hit #4 in the Independent Chart and introduced the likes of The Business, The Partisans, Blitz, Red Alert and The Ejected alongside veterans such as The 4 Skins and Infa Riot.

Disc Three: Carry On Oi!!
1. 'United' - Garry Johnson
2. 'Dambusters March' - JJ All Stars
3. 'Suburban Rebels' - The Business
4. 'Each Dawn I Die' - Infa-Riot
5. 'Arms Race' - The Partisans
6. 'East End Kids' - The Ejected
7. 'Transvestite' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
8. 'Nation on Fire' - Blitz
9. 'King of the Jungle"' - The Last Resort
10. 'Tuckers Ruckers Ain't No Suckers' - The Gonads
11. 'Evil' - 4 Skins
12. 'Product' - The Business
13. 'SPG' - Red Alert
14. 'Guvnor's Man' - Oi The Comrade?
15. 'Maniac' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
16, 'What Am I Gonna Do' - The Ejected
17. 'No U Turns' - The Partisans
18. 'Youth' - Blitz
19. 'Walk On' - Oi The Choir

'Disc 4 is 1982’s Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot. Reggae legend Judge Dread along with ‘one man Chas ‘N’ Dave’ Frankie Flame and established Oi! acts such as The Business and The Oppressed.

Added to the disc are five tracks originally recorded at the session for the LP, but later released on the Back On The Streets EP.

Disc Four: Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot
1. 'Real Enemy' - The Business
2. 'Dr Crippens' - Five 0
3. 'White Flag' - The Oppressed
4. 'Stick Together' - Sub-Culture
5. 'Liddle Towers' - Crux
6. 'Horror Show' - The Warriors
7. 'Big Brother' - Attak
8. 'Revenge' - Black Flag
9. 'Arthur's Theme' - Arthur and the Afters
10. 'On Yer Bike' - Frankie and the Flames
11. 'Getting Pissed' - The Magnificent Gonads
12. 'Willie Whitelaws Willie' - Attila the Stockbroker
13. 'The Belle of Snodland Town' - Judge Dread
14. 'Oi Oi Music' - Skin Graft
15. 'Away Day' - Attila the Stockbroker
16. 'Such Fun' - Coming Blood

Son Of Oi! is what you will find on Disc 5. An Indie Chart #11, it featured stalwarts like The 4 Skins, Angelic Upstarts, Cock Sparrer, The Business and The Gonads as well as introducing (at the time) newer acts such as Vicious Rumours, Prole and Maniac Youth.

Disc Five: Sun Of Oi!
1. 'Chip on my Shoulder' - Cock Sparrer
2. 'Onwards' - Kraut
3. 'Generation Landslide' - Prole!
4. 'The Young Conservatives' - Garry Johnson
5. 'Tomorrow's Whirl' - Paranoid Pictures
6. 'Jobs Not Jails' - The Gonads
7. 'Violent Playground' - Clockwork Destruction
8. 'Joe Public' - Phil Sexton & Mick Turpin
9. 'Herpes in Seattle' - Alaska Cowboys
10. 'Lager Top Blues' - Gary & The Gonads
11. 'Made in England' - Terry McCann
12. '6.27 to London' - Mick Turpin
13. 'Sing Something Swindle' - The Orgasm Guerillas
14. 'Andy Is a Corporatist/Mindless Version' - Attila/Newtown Neurotics
15. 'On the Streets' - 4-Skins
16. 'Boy About Town' - Garry Johnson
17. 'Out in the Cold' - The Business
18. 'Make Mine Molotov' - Maniac Youth
19. 'I Understand (Live)' - The Angelic Upstarts
20. 'Manifestoi!' - Oi! The Robot
21. 'Top of the Pops' - Phil Sexton
22. 'This Is Your Life' - Vicious Rumours
23. 'Jerusalem' - L.O.L.S. Choir
24. 'Beano' - Oxo's Midnight Stumblers

The final disc is 1984’s Oi! Of Sex which reached #11 in the Indie Chart. Again a mixture of the established – Cock Sparrer, Gonads – and the new – The Burial, ABH and Rat Patrol.

Disc Six: Oi! Of Sex
1 . 'We'll Never Say Die' - Prole
2. 'The Suns Says' - Cock Sparrer
3. 'S.E.7 Dole Day' - The Gonads
4. 'Old Mans Poison' - The Burial
5. 'Vicious Rumours' - Vicious Rumours
6. 'Zombie Mind Eaters' - Jimmy Mack
7. 'Rat Trap' - Rat Patrol
8. 'Here We Go' - Crossed Hammers
9. 'The Sun' - Swift Nick
10. 'Friday Night' - The Burial
11. 'Destination Room 101 - 'Prole
12. 'Frankie Goes to Pot' - Orgasm Guerillas
13. 'Being Short' - Little Dave
14. 'Stiff With a Quiff' - Nick Toczek
15. 'Take the Blame' - Vicious Rumours
16. 'Don't Mess With the SAS' - A.B.H.
17. 'Murder' - Dogsbody
18. 'If Looks Could Kill' - Garry Johnson

As a whole, it is rather interesting that this various artists box-set compilation, that quite literally showcases who gave birth to the punk subgenre of Oi!, not only provides us the definitive introduction to the style and era, but also includes lesser-known, under the radar bands of the time and ilk too.

What we get, for the most part, is a magnificent glimpse of England's working class punk groups, especially at a time when the '77 punk explosion was dying down and/or being cleaned up and marketed as "new wave".

Just like the punk groups of 1977, most of these bands had distinct styles and, by today's standards, would probably not be grouped together under a single banner.

The Cockney Rejects (whose front man Stinky Turner adorns the album cover), Angelic Upstarts, and The 4-Skins are the most important (and easily the most representative of what is now Oi), with the first two having the classic rabble-rousing terrace chants, while the latter focused on a more aggressive (but still plenty chant-able) brickwall sound.

Both Slaughter and the Dogs and the almighty Cock Sparrer played a huge part in influencing the above bands, but their actual sound at the time was much closer to pub or glam rock.

Elsewhere Splodge, The Postmen, and most notably Peter and the Test Tube Babies set the stage for the "punk pathetique" style, which placed more emphasis on silliness and fun than anger and aggression.

While almost all of the tracks range from great to enjoyable (The Exploited contribute two tracks that were later re-recorded for the better), this quite magnificent 6CD Box-Set ay well still be construed by some as an overview of the style, but for me it is the nitty gritty of the genre and their origins therein.

Showcasing a quite fascinating viewpoint of the shifting punk rock movement circa 1980, and containing more than a few classic songs to make it worth picking up, these albums (and albums much like them) defined a British era of music perfectly.

Personally, the best track overall for me is probably Cock Sparrer's 'Sunday Stripper,' an otherwise hard-to-find song which sounds like a real striptease number, though punked-up by this superb boot boy squad.

This one is a delight to listen to, as are tunes by the Exploited, such as 'I Still Believe in Anarchy' and 'Daily News.'

The best album for me here would be the final one, Oi!! Of Sex, because, and even though Cock Sparrer was the only big name band featured, an outsider could be forgiven for assuming that Oi! - as a movement - was starting to wane.

Indeed, any doubts are swiftly allayed by Vicious Rumours, whose two tracks are pure fire. These songs, along with ABH's 'Don't Mess With the SAS', powerfully demonstrate that there was a whole new underground of bands waiting in the wings to forge Oi! into an organic scene of its own beyond the pages of Sounds.

Official 6CD Box-Set Purchase Link