Cockney Rejects

  • Cockney Rejects
  • Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (UK EMI) 1980 
  • Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (UK EMI) 1980 
  • Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (UK EMI) 1981 
  • The Power & the Glory (UK EMI) 1981 
  • The Wild Ones (UK a.k.a.) 1982 
  • Unheard Rejects (UK Wonderful World) 1985 
  • We Are the Firm (UK Dojo) 1986 
  • Live and Loud! Bridgehouse Tapes (UK Link) 1987 

This obstreperous lot of working class kids from London’s East End were discovered in the early days of post-Pistols punk by Sham 69 leader Jimmy Pursey, who co-produced their first album with Peter Wilson. The Rejects gained immortality of a sort on Vol. II by coining a name for UK skinhead rock with the chanted refrain of the song “Oi Oi Oi.” Vol. 3 (reasonably subtitled Live & Loud!) was recorded in a studio with a unnaturally vociferous audience of fans adding background vocals to the quartet’s fast rock’n’roll noise. Besides songs drawn from the first two LPs (“Join the Rejects,” “Bad Man,” “The Greatest Cockney Ripoff,” “Hate of the City”), the album includes a sloppy rendition of “Motorhead.”

While retaining the aggressiveness and spunk, The Power & the Glory took a big chance by trying such experimental ventures as acoustic guitar, melodies, musicianship and semi-tasteful artwork. The album contains impressive moments, especially noteworthy given the Rejects’ prior blitzkrieg approach. Not stunning, but their best effort, and an LP of interest not solely to punk aficionados.

Having gotten “art” out of their systems (and switching labels), the Rejects’ next move (subsequently not such an uncommon gambit for punk bands) was into heavy metal. Produced by UFO bassist Pete Way, The Wild Ones is unfortunately terrible; although the distance from teen punk sludge to adult metal sludge is not very far, this lot was much better suited for numbers like “Greatest Cockney Ripoff.”

If the sound quality were even remotely adequate, the blistering 1981 London gig retrieved from the vaults for Live and Loud!! would be a real humdinger. What was originally planned as the group’s Vol. 3 live album is an intense explosion of classic prole punk, flat-out renditions of the Rejects’ early repertoire that are even more rousing than those cut live in the studio.

[Ira Robbins]