21 years ago a compilation called "Avon Calling" was released. Named after the then famous advert for Avon, it was not the sort of album you expected the company to endorse. It was a compilation of 15 bands all from the Bristol region, all playing a collection of punk, new wave, post-punk and some just great rocking tunes. It went on to become one of the must have compilation albums of the time and even had John Peel describing it as "Truly superb, the compilation that all others should be judged by" and proceeded to play the entire album over a few shows. Then in 2005 it got re-released as a CD in a double album format, with some additions to keep everyone happy.
Now we see "Avon Calling 2" released, which is not to be considered an updated version of the previous compilation but more of a welcome addition to it. The bands are pretty much the same but they are all from the Heartbeat Records stable, which includes the likes of Europeans, Apartment, Sneak Preview, Joe Public, 48 Hours, Essential Bop, The Directors, The X-Certs and Social Security. All the 20 tracks are previously unreleased so would make the perfect record in any collection.
The sound quality on some of the tracks is not up to the standard you would expect these days but considering they were all recorded around 20 years ago and the punk style should sound a little rough around the edges it is all good. The fact that the majority of these songs have stood the test of time and sound just as fresh today as they did back then makes for about an hours' worth of listening pleasure. Many of these tracks, which, one can only assume, were considered not good enough for release back then sound head and shoulders above so much of the modern stuff that we hear today.
It is unfair to pick out tracks over others but then life is not fair, so special mention will go to Apartment's 'Retrospect', The X-Certs 'People Of Today' and 48 Hours 'Train To Brighton'.