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Rock - Released October 12, 2018 | Parlophone UK

For diehard fans, 1983-88 was neither Bowie’s most fundamental nor most passionate period. It would, however, be his most fruitful, climaxing with the hit Let’s Dance. Three years after the excellent Scary Monsters album, Bowie plunged body and soul into the MTV era with one of his greatest commercial successes, packed with funky pop and new wave disco hits that are hard to grow tired of. Produced by Nile Rodgers from Chic and released in April 1983, Let’s Dance even welcomed on board Stevie Ray Vaughan and includes a few hidden treasures, such as the glamorous cover of China Girl (co-written five years earlier with Iggy Pop for The Idiot) or the energetic opening track, Modern Love. The Thin White Duke croons like he’s never crooned before and his single Let’s Dance got people up on the dance floors all over the world. Once again, the star caught his fans off-guard and released an album that was completely different from his previous ones. Even if some people reproached the genius for indulging in a little commercial or even opportunistic pop soul success, Let’s Dance perfectly embodies its carefree title and ages rather well. Driven by his single Blue Jean and containing an improbable cover of God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, the album Tonight which was released in 1984 climbed its way to the top of the charts in the UK and even went platinum in the States. In April 1987, Bowie carried on down this path of muscular pop rock with Never Let Me Down… This boxset Loving The Alien (1983-1988) includes three remastered studio albums, live recordings from Serious Moonlight (Live'83) and Glass Spider (Live Montreal'87), as well as a compilation called Dance that brings together contemporary remixes of tracks from this period. One of the highlights is a new version of Never Let Me Down with brand-new production and instrumentation, supervised by Mario McNulty. The album is replayed by guitarist Reeves Gabriel, drummer Sterling Campbell, bassist Tim Lefebvre (who also features on Blackstar) and composer Nico Muhly. The idea came from Bowie himself who thought that the work from 1987 had been a "bitter disappointment". This 2018 version features Laurie Anderson's participation on Shining Star (Makin' My Love). As with the three previous volumes of the complete Bowie collection - Five Years (1969-1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) and A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982) - this rich album Loving the Alien (1983-1988) also contains a new selection entitled Re:Call 4 as well as singles, remixes and some rare compositions such as Bowie’s contributions to the soundtracks of Labyrinth, The Falcon And The Snowman, Absolute Beginners and When the Wind Blows. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released February 25, 2011 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 29, 2017 | Parlophone UK

After Five Years (1969 – 1973) and Who Can I Be Now ? (1974 – 1976), to dive into the box set A New Career In A New Town (1977 – 1982), is to zoom in on David Bowie's Berlin period. In 1977, Ziggy moored up in the German city, then disfigured by a wall. With Diamond Dogs in 1974 and in particular Young Americans the following year, soul and funk were suffused with a rock’n’roll sound. But this Bowie was to be eclipsed by a colder, more cerebral, experimental Bowie. Always ready to re-invent himself, to follow trends (when he wasn't setting them himself...) and simply to question things, he flew to Berlin, where things were in motion. Alongside Brian Eno, formerly of Roxy Music, he wrote his famous Berlin trilogy, which opened with Low. On this bizarre record, everything begins with a weird baroque soul instrumental, with electronic textures (Speed of Light), then a balanced mix of songs and other instrumental tracks. Capable of delivering futurist soul (Sound And Vision), a sombre and mysterious symphony (Warszawa), new-wave minimalism that sounded like a Sci-Fi soundtrack (Art Decade) or disjointed, cubist rock (Breaking Glass), this was David Bowie revisiting his experiences with Krautrock from groups like Neu!, Can and Faust, playing with Kraftwerk's machines but remaining himself: a genially insane savant still ahead of his time. Heroes, which stands out from the crowd, essentially follows the same recipe, but in warmer tones. In the still-immured German city, his music recalled the halcyon days of the raging punk movement that was thundering in his native England. Flanked by mad machines (once again piloted by Eno) and weird guitars (by  Robert Fripp, ex-member of King Crimson), Bowie channelled his experiments with electronic flavours (Neuköln) into compositions with more rounded melodies (Heroes, The Beauty And The Beast, Joe The Lion). Heroes is above all the cult album which would mark both new wave and the cold wave that followed… Released in May 1979, Lodger closes the Berlin period in a more consensual (but less passionate) spirit. Recorded at Montreux and in New York by Tony Visconti, with Brian Eno still to hand, it features a Bowie who is having fun taking a look into world music, and in particular at the work of the group Talking Heads. This is hardly surprising, when we note that David Byrne's group was then working with Eno... Nevertheless, the ensemble remains startling and less homogeneous than the two previous records. After this avant-garde trilogy, the British artist casts off some of his froideur, but not the madness, of his experiments with genre, with Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) which came out in 1980. Between self-assured modern funk (Fashion and its angular groove) and a re-visited new wave (Ashes To Ashes), he paints a new rainbow, as dense as ever, and still in step with the many currents of its time. A perfect marriage of the 70s and 80s, this brilliant neo-punk cabaret contains powerful compositions that are classic in content and daring in form. Forever in search of the unexpected, the Thin White Duke takes on board a post-Television song from Tom Verlaine (Kingdom Come), invites The Who's Pete Townshend to play on Because You're Young, and, on half of the tracks, offers Robert Fripp crazy, out-of-control guitar sequences. Alongside remasters of Low, Heroes, Lodger, Stage and Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), this box set offers Lodger remixed and co-produced by Visconti, Re:Call 3, a compilation of singles, B-sides and rarities including Heroes sung in German and French. © MZ/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 23, 2016 | Parlophone UK

Now is a reissue of a 1977 U.S.-only promotional release from David Bowie. The album features a selection of tracks from Heroes and Low and includes the promo's original artwork. ~ Rich Wilson
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Pop - Released September 29, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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After Five Years (1969 – 1973) and Who Can I Be Now ? (1974 – 1976), to dive into the box set A New Career In A New Town (1977 – 1982), is to zoom in on David Bowie's Berlin period. In 1977, Ziggy moored up in the German city, then disfigured by a wall. With Diamond Dogs in 1974 and in particular Young Americans the following year, soul and funk were suffused with a rock’n’roll sound. But this Bowie was to be eclipsed by a colder, more cerebral, experimental Bowie. Always ready to re-invent himself, to follow trends (when he wasn't setting them himself...) and simply to question things, he flew to Berlin, where things were in motion. Alongside Brian Eno, formerly of Roxy Music, he wrote his famous Berlin trilogy, which opened with Low. On this bizarre record, everything begins with a weird baroque soul instrumental, with electronic textures (Speed of Light), then a balanced mix of songs and other instrumental tracks. Capable of delivering futurist soul (Sound And Vision), a sombre and mysterious symphony (Warszawa), new-wave minimalism that sounded like a Sci-Fi soundtrack (Art Decade) or disjointed, cubist rock (Breaking Glass), this was David Bowie revisiting his experiences with Krautrock from groups like Neu!, Can and Faust, playing with Kraftwerk's machines but remaining himself: a genially insane savant still ahead of his time. Heroes, which stands out from the crowd, essentially follows the same recipe, but in warmer tones. In the still-immured German city, his music recalled the halcyon days of the raging punk movement that was thundering in his native England. Flanked by mad machines (once again piloted by Eno) and weird guitars (by  Robert Fripp, ex-member of King Crimson), Bowie channelled his experiments with electronic flavours (Neuköln) into compositions with more rounded melodies (Heroes, The Beauty And The Beast, Joe The Lion). Heroes is above all the cult album which would mark both new wave and the cold wave that followed… Released in May 1979, Lodger closes the Berlin period in a more consensual (but less passionate) spirit. Recorded at Montreux and in New York by Tony Visconti, with Brian Eno still to hand, it features a Bowie who is having fun taking a look into world music, and in particular at the work of the group Talking Heads. This is hardly surprising, when we note that David Byrne's group was then working with Eno... Nevertheless, the ensemble remains startling and less homogeneous than the two previous records. After this avant-garde trilogy, the British artist casts off some of his froideur, but not the madness, of his experiments with genre, with Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) which came out in 1980. Between self-assured modern funk (Fashion and its angular groove) and a re-visited new wave (Ashes To Ashes), he paints a new rainbow, as dense as ever, and still in step with the many currents of its time. A perfect marriage of the 70s and 80s, this brilliant neo-punk cabaret contains powerful compositions that are classic in content and daring in form. Forever in search of the unexpected, the Thin White Duke takes on board a post-Television song from Tom Verlaine (Kingdom Come), invites The Who's Pete Townshend to play on Because You're Young, and, on half of the tracks, offers Robert Fripp crazy, out-of-control guitar sequences. Alongside remasters of Low, Heroes, Lodger, Stage and Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), this box set offers Lodger remixed and co-produced by Visconti, Re:Call 3, a compilation of singles, B-sides and rarities including Heroes sung in German and French. © MZ/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 29, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released October 3, 2016 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

To be fair, this six-CD set is really for completists only, since the price tag is likely to put off anyone else. But if you've been hooked on the beautiful guitar work of Hank Marvin and the surprisingly muscularity of the band, delving deeper is a very good idea. Not only do you get all the big hits -- like "Apache," "F.B.I.," and "The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt" (or even the wonderfully named "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Arthur") -- you get literally everything. There's the obscure "Quartermaster's Stores," the traditional tune that would have been their first single if "Apache" hadn't proved to be so popular (it was relegated to the B-side), and some stuff that might have been better off left in the vaults, like "Lonely Bull" or "That's the Way It Goes," which were really little more than album-filler from back in the days when albums consisted of a few hits and anything else to fill up 40 minutes. What's most astonishing, however, is the fact that the Shadows produced consistently high-quality material, moving beyond the twang to dip their feet in the waters of Spain ("Tres Carabeles") and even some early music ("Lute Number"). Quite how they found the time for it all while keeping up a busy schedule behind Cliff Richard is another matter. Marvin's guitar work is a joy throughout, and the British king of the whammy bar uses it wisely and well. He might not have been the fastest or most fluent player around, but he knew how to work and develop a melody and what not to play -- no wonder he was a major influence on an entire generation of guitar heroes, who learned to play by copying his records. Add on top a great sense of pun ("Theme From a Filleted Place" anyone?) and you have an enjoyable collection. Yes, it can get a bit samey if you play all six discs one after the other. But, like all things, this is to be enjoyed in moderation, to realize that during these seven years, even as rock changed around them, the Shadows remained at the height of their formidable powers. ~ Chris Nickson
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 26, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released February 11, 2008 | Parlophone UK

Gerry & the Pacemakers are fated to eternal comparisons to the Beatles, their onetime Merseybeat rivals who rapidly eclipsed the quartet in popularity and accomplishment, leaving them as something of a pop culture punchline. In the wake of the Beatles, it was hard to look back at Gerry Marsden and his irrepressibly cheerful music and think it was in the same league as the Fab Four, or any of the British Invasion groups that followed. That may be true, but Gerry & the Pacemakers shouldn't be judged against such R&B-schooled rockers as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Kinks but rather against the stiff, starched rock & roll of pre-Beatles Britain. Compared to this prim, proper pop, the skiffle beats and bouncy melodies of Gerry & the Pacemakers seem fresh, almost serving as a bridge between formative English rock and the bright blast of the Beatles -- who were contemporaries of Gerry & the Pacemakers, so this doesn't quite parse exactly, but seen this way the band doesn't seem like a joke, so it's easier to enjoy what the group had to offer. Even armed with this perspective, sitting through the four-disc, 123-track set You'll Never Walk Alone: The EMI Years 1963-1966 can be a bit of a long slog, and not just because this contains a full disc of stereo mixes in addition to some songs showing up sans strings or in other variations. Discounting these variations, You'll Never Walk Alone still serves up far too much too Gerry & the Pacemakers for anybody but the dedicated, but that doesn't mean this isn't instructive. First, this does confirm that they were a good singles band with the best of their hits -- the quite lovely "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" and "Ferry Cross the Mersey," the infectious "It's Gonna Be All Right," and depending on mood, maybe "How Do You Do It" -- holding up quite well. Outside of the singles, there aren't too many hidden treasures. Every once in a while there's a surprise like Marsden's delightful Beatlesque rocker "Think About Love" or a chirpy cover of the early Lennon-McCartney trifle "Hello Little Girl," and the group shows some aptitude on covers of Jerry Lee Lewis and Hank Williams, but for the most part this is pleasantly cheerful Merseybeat and not much more. The exception is the live Gerry in California EP; culled from a concert at Oakland in October 1964, the complete show of which is released here for the first time, this live performance shows the band to be more energetic on-stage than on record, turning in a fun performance showcasing a band that's eager to please. That eagerness translated into politeness in the studio, where they were only too happy to follow the lead of their producers and create polite, well-scrubbed pop whether they were happily singing Merseybeat or singing middlebrow pop like "Strangers in the Night" just when their peers were branching out. Gerry dipped his toe into folk-rock with a not-bad version of Paul Simon's "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine," but that was an anomaly -- by the end of his run at EMI, soft pop like "Guantanamera" was more his speed, which may explain why Gerry & the Pacemakers faded from the view just when their peers got psychedelic. You'll Never Walk Alone proves that the band just wasn't made for those times. Nevertheless, there's an enduring innocence to their music that does make this a pleasant nostalgia trip (or piece of pop archeology, depending on your point of view), at least in small doses. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 4, 2006 | Parlophone UK

In 1989, not all major artists had their catalog available on CD, and one of the most notable absences was David Bowie. When the format was in its infancy, RCA had issued several of his classics, but those pressings were notoriously awful and were pulled from the market in 1985 when Bowie acquired the rights to the recordings. Sharp businessman that he is, he took the catalog to market, and after an intense bidding war, he chose to reissue his classic work through Rykodisc, an independent CD-only label that had earned acclaim for its work with Frank Zappa's catalog. Instead of dumping all the discs on the market at once, the titles were slowly rolled out, beginning with a series-encompassing Sound + Vision, a three-CD/one-CD-ROM box set released to great fanfare in the fall of 1989. At the time, box sets were all the rage, following the template of Bob Dylan's Biograph -- an exhaustive career overview that offered all the basics, peppered with some revealing rarities. Upon its release, Sound + Vision was reviewed as if it belonged to this tradition, when it really inverted the formula, offering a series, not career, overview by showcasing alternate versions and rarities, along with album tracks, with a few familiar hits tossed in here and there to provide context. This was a tantalizing way to begin a reissue campaign, and it did receive gushing reviews -- the CD-era publication Rock & Roll Disc breathlessly claimed "Suffice to say that the sound quality will give your ears an orgasm" -- but once the reissue series completed and once Ryko lost the rights to the catalog, Sound + Vision looked more like a curiosity, an artifact of its time, than a major statement. Much of the problem stems from its design -- it was intended to show off the sound quality, which was a marked improvement over the RCA discs, and to show the depth and breadth of rarities within the vaults. It was not a career-capper; it was a teaser. It was enticing upon its release, and some of it remains so. There's a clutch of early rarities that lead off the set -- the original demo of "Space Oddity," alternate single versions of "The Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud" and "The Prettiest Star" -- that are quite good, alternate takes on "John I'm Only Dancing" and "Rebel Rebel" that manage to be notably different without changing the feel, excellent outtakes from Diamond Dogs (a medley of "1984/Dodo"), Station to Station (a glittery, lush cover of Springsteen's "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City"), and Young Americans (the superb "After Today," a disco-rock song that should have been on the album and is hands down the best rarity here). These suggested the great unearthed treasures that lay ahead, and they remain necessary additions to any serious Bowie collection, particularly because they never showed up on another disc. If they were placed in a better forum, they would function like the rarities on either Biograph or Eric Clapton's Crossroads -- rarities that helped fill in the details of an artist's story -- but since they're in a set that's intended to showcase what the Ryko series would do, not what Bowie had done, they're the main attraction instead of feeding into the greater narrative. And that narrative, while certainly capturing the sometimes bewildering twists and turns in Bowie's career, is an alternate-universe narrative, lacking defining songs, from "Starman" to "Golden Years," and presenting many familiar songs in odd, not particularly interesting variations (a live 1974 version of "Suffragette City," a German version of "Heroes," presented in a 1989 remix). Though it succeeds in conveying Bowie's ever-changing moods, it lacks the substance and sense of a great box set, which this surely could have been. Instead, it's an interesting artifact of the early days of CDs, right down to its overly elaborate packaging, and only those who want to relive that time, or need those rarities, will need this in their collection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Classical - Released November 28, 2005 | Parlophone UK

Sometimes it's hard to understand why a work as entertaining as Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini isn't more popular. It's brilliantly orchestrated, fun, filled with good tunes and vivid, if stock, characters. But it's too-challenging-by-half for comedy, and too-light-by-half for grand opera, occupying a gray area between the two genres in which only a few works (like Wagner's Die Meistersinger and Verdi's Falstaff) have had much success. Benvenuto Cellini is loosely based on the life of one of the sixteenth century's most notorious figures. A celebrated artisan and sculptor, a writer, and an occasional murderous thug, Cellini led the ultimate scoundrel's life, producing jewelry and works of art that were coveted by royalty one minute, and skipping town on the heels of his own bad behavior the next. The casting of his best-known statue, that of Perseus holding the head of Medusa, provides the loose framework for the plot, which combines the raucous atmosphere of Carnival, a rivalry between Cellini and the rival sculptor Fieramosca, a romance between Cellini and the daughter of a local official, and the looming authority of the Pope into one of opera's more colorful stories. None of it is terribly original, but Berlioz's music for the piece is some of his best. Like most operas of the period, Cellini underwent several revisions. The version recorded here is an attempt to reconstruct the score heard at the original Paris premiere. The most notable, distinguishing feature is the overture -- a longer, and arguably better, version than is normally heard on recordings. Conductor John Nelson's reading of the score is well balanced between comedic lightness and lyric substance, attentive to orchestral detail, and deceptively clear for a score of such rhythmic subtlety and complexity. It manages to be both breezy and filling at the same time. The opening scene, in which the love-struck Teresa (our heroine), her curmudgeonly watchful father Balducci (the well-meaning heavy), and the mirthful Cellini and his serenading friends from the street below, are woven seamlessly into one musical fabric sets the ambitious tone for the entire work, and that tone rarely flags over the course of three discs. Colin Davis' earlier studio recording is of comparable quality, but the freshness and excellent sound quality of this version make it an easy recommendation.
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 26, 2017 | Parlophone UK

The copious 3-D The Catalogue brings together Kraftwerk's 3-D concerts, remastered in a pretty startling way, thanks to the 3-D high definition and the Dolby atmos surround, new cutting-edge technological standards which fit nicely with the efforts of the pioneering German group led by founder Ralf Hütter. Here is a way to enjoy their gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork) in the comfort of your own home. 3-D The Catalogue covers the group's eight albums, played live between 2012 and 2016 at MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Tokyo's Akasaka Blitz, the Sydney Opera House, Norske Opera in Oslo, the Amsterdam Paradiso, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and Berlin's Neue National Galerie: Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour De France (2003). A vast repertoire, which could hardly have been more influential, is taken by the Germans and re-worked in often very original ways (the re-working of  Trans Europe Express, for example). Even if this treasure chest is aimed first and foremost at die-hard Kraftwerk fans, it can also serve as an introduction to one of the most innovative groups of their times, without which many artists on the electro scene (and even the rap scene) would never have seen the light of day. © CM/Qobuz
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Pop - Released October 2, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released May 24, 2010 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released May 13, 1996 | Parlophone UK

The Idle Race are a beloved band of British psychedelia collectors, because the music was rare, because the band was Jeff Lynne's first significant group, and because the music was, by and large, very good. There is a bit of a relative judgment there -- this is not music that stands among the very best of British pop-psych of the '60s, since it's not as innovative or consistent as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Move, or even Tomorrow, but it's certainly among the best of the second tier, as singles like "Impostors of Life's Magazine," "Big Chief Wooly Bosher," and "Girl at the Window" illustrate. Since this band itself is a collector's item, it only makes sense for collectors to seek out EMI Premier's 1996 collection Back to the Story, which was only available for a brief period (possibly a matter of months) the year of its release. This is the complete Idle Race, containing the three albums (Birthday Party, Idle Race, Time Is), the ten non-album tracks, three previously unreleased alternate versions and two songs from the Nightriders, Lynne's first band. This is a treasure trove for both British psych and ELO fanatics, and while the best of this is on See for Miles' The Best of Idle Race, the hardcore are going to seek this out. But they will pay a price -- just five years after its release, this was going for well over 120 dollars a pop on eBay. Is it worth it? If you have the cash and the inclination -- the pure bloodlust to own this, damn the cost! -- it probably is, but having that crazed collector mentality will is essential to shelling out that price. But if it can be found at an affordable price, by all means get it. [Finally, Back to the Story did show up in a much more affordable Zonophone edition in 2007.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released October 3, 2016 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released April 6, 2009 | Parlophone UK

This is the last word in collections of Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, with 116 songs spread over four CDs. That's probably 110 more songs than most listeners in 2009 know by Cliff Bennett and company, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a wonderful opportunity to discover the rest of that output, or that it all isn't highly worthwhile -- it is; in fact, Bennett's may well be the best undiscovered library in the EMI vaults. Bennett and his various bands recorded a massive amount of material and endured for years, consistently rated by their fellow musicians as among the finest R&B-based outfits working in England in the early '60s, without ever breaking through to major stardom. Even if you're familiar with much of their output before this set, you'll be truly amazed by the consistency of this set -- from the early '60s, doing some surprisingly authentic-sounding covers of Atlantic-style R&B and into the mid-'60s, covering Beatles material successfully, and right to the end of the decade with a harder sound, this was a first-rate outfit that boasted such luminaries as Frank Allen (later -- and still, in 2009 -- the bassist for the Searchers) in their lineup. The programming may seem a little strange, as the group's earliest singles, produced by Joe Meek, are relegated to the last disc; but those recordings (never mind the actual records) are so rare that people should take them anyway they can get them. Bennett and company are usually credited with introducing home-grown R&B to the clubs in England, and early on they show the influence of various Atlantic and Vee Jay artists -- the later material, officially the work of the Cliff Bennett Band (featuring ex- and future Pirates Mick Green and Frank Farley) or Cliff Bennett solo releases, also kept pace with the developments in soul on this side of the Atlantic, which makes disc three of this set every bit as satisfying -- and perhaps even more so -- than the first platter, as Bennett and company successfully assimilate the mid- to late-'60s Motown and Stax/Volt sounds. The last disc is given over to the group's Joe Meek sessions -- which present the group doing a leaner, more generic rock & roll sound, heavy on the guitars, which wasn't really what they were about -- and various oddities, such as stereo mixes of songs best known (and heard) in mono; but even this platter has its virtues, as a distillation of odd corners of Bennett's output that are every bit as rewarding as the rest of this set. In short, there's not a bad cut anywhere on this nearly 300 minutes of music, and the mastering is impeccable, making this the best airing that Bennett's work is likely ever to get. The only flaw, if there is one, is the relatively disappointing booklet, which features notes that could (and should) have gone a lot deeper into the group's history and recordings. ~ Bruce Eder