VARIOUS ARTISTS: Strength Thru Oi!: CD

One of the most controversial compilations in punk history is reissued for a newer generation of hooligans and hellraisers. Twenty years on, it’s hard to remember why this was such a big deal. Charges of racism were leveled at those responsible and its release was met with a big hoopla in England, but anyone with half a brain could see that the contents within have nothing to do with racial hatred and everything to do with class divisions. Still, despite all the negative feedback it received, it’s hard to deny the quality of the tracks, which are still surprisingly good today. Featured here are mostly exclusive tracks from poets Garry Johnson and Barney Rubble, Infa-Riot, 4-Skins, Last Resort, The Strike, Cocksparrer, Toy Dolls, Criminal Class, and the irrepressible Splodge. Some mandatory listening here from a volatile era in British music history.

 –jimmy (Captain Oi)