Dave Berry

Greatest Hits

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Perhaps because this compilation was issued in Holland (where Dave Berry was bigger than anywhere else), its focus is both different than and inferior to the best compilation of this British singer's '60s work (This Strange Effect, on the See For Miles label). While This Strange Effect was divided evenly between his pop/rock tunes (which were often ballads) and his harder-rocking R&B-influenced sides, Greatest Hits concentrates totally on his pop/rock outings and ballads, à la "The Crying Game" and "Mama." Perhaps these 20 tracks were his biggest records in Holland and that's why they were chosen, though you won't get any help from the packaging, which has no liner notes, save songwriting credits and original years of release. Indeed, it's even missing a couple of his 1964 British chart entries ("Memphis Tennessee" and "My Baby Left Me"), though everything else that charted in the U.K. -- "The Crying Game," "Mama," "Baby It's You," "One Heart Between Two," "Little Things," and "This Strange Effect" -- is present. As for his fairly hard-nosed R&B-rock tracks, like "Don't Gimme No Lip Child" and "I Love You Babe," forget it -- there's nothing of the sort here. All that noted, this is still of some use if you already have a superior Berry compilation, as no less than 11 of the 20 songs don't appear on This Strange Effect, including many non-charting (at least in the U.K.) singles and non-45 tracks that have been hard to find on reissues. And while that material's on the softer side, some of it's pretty good, like his cover of Bobby Goldsboro's "If You Wait for Love" and the way-moody and obscure Gerry Goffin-Carole King tune "So Goes Love" (with eerie tone pedal guitar). Much of it's wimpy makeout music, for sure, but often in a period British Invasion way that makes it rather enjoyable, though "Soft Lights" has to be one of the most saccharine seduction tales committed to vinyl in Swinging London's heyday. Also of note is the latest item here, the brooding 1970 single "Chaplin House," written by future 10cc men Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.