Black Flag – The First Four Years

ARTIST: Black Flag 220px-Black_Flag_-_The_First_Four_Years_cover

TITLE:  The First Four Years

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Lead tracks on the releases: Nervous Breakdown, Jealous Again, Six Pack, Louie Louie

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Wasted, White Minority, Damaged I

LINEUP: Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukowski, Robo on twelve tracks, Dez Cadena on seven, Keith Morris on four, Ron Reyes on four, Bran Migdol on four. 220px-Black_Flag_-_Nervous_Breakdown_cover

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Seminal West Coast punk rock releases a compilation of their first three EPs, a single and two compilation tracks. Classic.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Black Flag’s route to being signed by a major (yeah, they were for about a minute, more later when I get to that record) was rocky. From the start they were faced with personnel changes, the inability to find places to play, the cops, and all of those who thought punk destroyed society.220px-Black_Flag_-_Jealous_Again_cover

It’s reflected in these songs. All 16 of them have an energy, an edge, that only comes when your backs are against the wall and you don’t give a fuck. They played these songs like it was going to be the last track they recorded.

Yes, the sound quality is meh, and yes a few songs aren’t up to par with “Jealous Again” or “Nervous Breakdown”, and yeah Dez as a singer ain’t so great melodically. But the heck with it. Buy this and learn what LA punk was in the late 70’s.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Two of these tracks were on their first proper album, a220px-Black_Flag_-_Six_Pack_covernd many are featured on live recordings.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A-. If nothing else, for “Six Pack” and the other lead tracks.220px-Black_Flag_-_Louie_Louie_cover

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