May 18, 1981 12:00 PM

Various Artists

It is heartening to see musicians better known for their self-indulgence join in promoting a worthy cause. It was U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and Paul McCartney who put together these four London concerts in December 1979 to aid the people of Kampuchea (formerly Cambodia). Presumably the release was delayed because of the difficulty of sorting through tapes, mixing, and then negotiating waivers with the many record labels involved, but this double LP was worth waiting for. Among the highlights: a full side of The Who, opened by the stunning first chords of Baba O’Riley a great sax solo by Davey Payne on Ian Dury’s Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick; the sparkplug vocals of Chrissie Hynde igniting her band, the Pretenders, on Precious; Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant supplying vocals to the rock classic Little Sister, backed by the efficient band Rockpile; Queen’s Freddy Mercury carrying off a delightful call-and-response routine with the crowd on Now I’m Here; and McCartney singing Lucille and Let It Be. The Clash supply some revolutionary reggae with their Armagideon Time, The Specials contribute a rousing ska number, Monkey Man, and Elvis Costello & the Attractions sparkle through on The Imposter. The liner notes explaining it all are a little sketchy, but this is undoubtedly the best music buy in the stores today, and all proceeds go to UNICEF.

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