The Real Kids were the real deal as far as mid-'70s rock & roll bands went. Tough, tender, and loose, they paired the heartbreaker-tuff songs of John Felice, his swaggering yelp of a voice, and the rest of the group's no-holds-barred attack, and made one of the best albums of the era (1977's Real Kids) plus a handful of great singles and EPs. Though they are usually thought of as being part of the punk era, they got their start in the early '70s after Felice left the Modern Lovers. Known at the time as just the Kids, the group started writing songs and soon came up with a batch of red-hot rockers with all the attitude of punk and the riff-heavy power of the New York Dolls. This collection of demos and live stuff picks up the story right there as the Kids hit a church basement in Mattick, Massachusetts in the dead of winter to record their set. Of the eight songs they cut in a fever of flashing licks, pounding drums, and wailing vocals, they laid down raw versions of many songs that made it onto the first real Kids album, plus some gems that didn't. This session is a vital document for fans of the band and lovers of no-nonsense rock & roll, too. Three years later, they were going by the name the Real Kids and they recorded a four-song demo at MIT's student radio station that shows they had become tighter over the years, but hadn't lost any of their feverish energy. The updated version of their classic "Taxi Boys" shows how much they had streamlined and tightened up their approach. Fast forward a year and the next offering here is a ten-song set recorded in 1978 at Boston's legendary Rat nightclub. The recording sounds great, crystal-clear and full, with the band swinging for the fences and making contact on every pitch. Since they were promoting their debut album, most of the songs come from it, and they give it their all from start to finish. The ripping take on "All Kindsa Girls" is worth the price of admission alone, but the rest of the set is vintage punk & roll gold. There are other Real Kids live albums out there, but this is the band at its peak. This whole set is some kind of peak for reissues on CD. Not only did Crypt dig up some amazing sessions, then rescue and clean up a great live set, but they also include a booklet of over 200 pages of interviews, photos, and ephemera. It's enough to keep Real Kids fans busy for days just reading, and the music is good enough that they'll want to dip back in anytime they need a good rock & roll jolt.