Review: Various Artists – Mystic Radio Presents Covers

Label: Mystic Records

Released: 1985

Punk covers albums are a dime a dozen these days, but back in 1985 this album was a pretty good novelty. Twenty mostly fine efforts were committed to vinyl under the tag line, “Our favorite bands mutilate your favorite songs.” How true that was.

Some of the covers are typical choices and some are more obscure. Some of the bands are still remembered and others largely forgotten. There are a few real oddities like Governemnt Issue covering the Seeds’ “Wild Blood,” Stukas Over Bedrock turning Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe Eugene” really crazy and Love Canal’s wild ride doing the Eyes’ “Don’t Talk.” A few others don’t really matter. Scared Straight would have done well to do something other than just speed up “Born to Be Wild” and Don’t No chose “Earache My Eye” which probably can’t be anything but generic. But for every one of these misses, there are several that the bands really nail. The Idiot Pills rip through the Runaways classic “Cherry Bomb.” Acid Head not only turn “Love Child” from Motown to punk rock, but also finish it off by tacking on the end of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” just for good measure. The Membranes keep some of the funkiness of “Super Freak” while infusing it with plenty of punk energy. Ill Repute tear “Taking Care of Business” to shreds. NOFX doesn’t abandon Black Sabbath entirely to put their signature on “Iron Man.” Even SWA’s “100 Bottles of Beer” and Plainwrap’s version of the Disney song “It’s a Small World” are a lot of fun.

This good time comp from Mystic Records may not be essential, but it’s a precursor to what has now become an exhausted punk trend. Not only did it come first, it’s also much better than any other collection of punk covers I’ve heard to this day.

Rating: 7/10

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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