To paraphrase Sinatra: "When I was 19 / it was a very good year / it was a very good year / for punk rock boys / and their rude girl friends / with five dollars to spend."
What, you never heard that verse? Oh, trust me. It was there. He wrote it right before he died, because he couldn't stop listening to and thinkin' about Hellcat racords inaugural and incomparable introductory compilation, Give 'Em The Boot I. It's all ol' blue eyes listened to.
It's all I listened, to, also. That year, I let Hellcat's unbeatable 20-track label showcase monopolize my stereo. It had a ton of my favorite punk and ska bands, playing their trademark mutations on the genre. It also had a raw "don't fuck with me" spirit that absolutely summed up how my young mind was working at the time.
So, seven years and two additional compilations, why am I so fucking excited about Give 'Em The Boot IV? Because, of all the subsequent "boots" Hellcat has "given," none have recalled that unstoppable rawness and spirit of the first one until now.
26-songs long, Give 'Em The Boot IV runs that original gamut royally. All the mainstays are here-- Rancid ("Killing Zone"), The Slackers ("Propaganda"), Dropkick Murphys ("I'm Shipping Up To Boston"), and the late Joe Strummer & his Mescaleros ("Junco Partner" live)-- all coincidentally turning in previously unreleased cuts (though The Slackers did include that track on their recent EP).
There are also a handful of non-Hellcat bands stopping in, just as in that inaugural Boot disc. The Aggrolites bring their "Dirty Reggae", Brain Failure kicks the living shit out of your eardrums with "That's What I Know", the legendary Chris Murray turns in fan favorite "Let There Be Peace", and Westbound Train bring their honey-smooth soul-by-way-of-Jamaica to close the disc out with "Room to Breathe".
Don't disrespect The Chairman of the Board. If his dying verse means anything to you, slap a fiver on your record store counter and let yourself get booted!
By Vinnie Baggadonuts