Rough Trade Shops rock and roll 1 is the 3rd compilation in a series that also includes the Rough Trade Shops 25 years and Rough Trade Shops electronic 01 comps. Like these others, Rock and Roll 1 attempts to provide a microcosm of the best stuff from its genre, and, like these others, it fails.
Rough Trade will tell you that these comps are supposed to represent only some of the good stuff, but I say that if you're going to call your compilations 'Rock and Roll 1' and 'Electronic 01,' they'd better be damn good.
The theory behind the comps is that they do not 'claim to be 'genre-defining' greatest hits packages[s],' but rather that they simply 'bring together a bunch of records that capture the true spirit' of their respective genres. The result is that older, 'classic' bands are joined by newer acts, standards exist alongside more obscure tracks. I like this theory; I would rather compilations stay away from establishing certain songs as the holy grails or whatever of rock or electronic; I think it's about time this kinda stuff started happening.
That said, if you're gonna combine 'classics' like 'I Got a Right' and 'Nonalignment Pact' with lesser-known, newer stuff, you'd better make sure the more obscure stuff is damn fine. Otherwise you're back where you started; the cream rises to the top. It happens here that at least a fourth, maybe even a third of each of these two discs is just not good.
I can do without Red Red Meat, Guitar Wolf, The Gories, and J Mascis. Some artists, Trans Am for example, seem very out of place next to Crime and Royal Trux. Some newer acts, Clinic and the late Rocket from the Crypt and Make Up are pleasant inclusions, but most of the other recent bands included come off sounding, at best, tired repetions of the more established groups.
Wasn't rock n roll about breaking rules, doing something different? While it has its moments, this compilation seems to say good rock music ended a while ago.