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**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor : COMPACT DISCS

January 19, 1988|ROBERT HILBURN | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"The Best of the Runaways." Mercury. Here's a rarity: a packaging confusion that actually works in favor of the consumer. The cover photo and title of this CD are the same as a 1982 vinyl retrospective that was rushed out to capitalize on the post-Runaways success of the pioneer L.A. female rock band's co-leader Joan Jett. The album contents, however, are not the same. This budget release ($10.99 at one local retail chain) offers three selections (including the essential "Cherry Bomb") that weren't on the original vinyl LP. Because of the sexy, "jailbait rock" image of this teen-age band and the simplicity of its hard-rock approach, there was a tendency by much of the rock world to dismiss the group as a mere novelty. As this 46-minute collection shows, however, there was an enticing, youthful spirit to the group's energetic approach. ***

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