This 26-song CD is a very sensible and illuminating collection, despite the presence of nearly a dozen very familiar hits. If he wasn't the mastermind behind Petula Clark's mid-1960s career boom, producer and songwriter Tony Hatch was certainly the catalyst. Associated with her for a decade, he provided the singer with the mid-career opening "Downtown," as well as such follow-up successes as "Call Me," "Color My World," "Don't Sleep in the Subway," "A Sign of the Times," and "I Know a Place," along with a brace of the lesser-known but generally pleasing pop numbers included here: "After You," "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (a lost song intended for the film of that name, co-starring Clark), "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love," "You're the One" (later a hit for the Vogues), and "Look at Mine." The compilers have even included such pre-"Downtown" Hatch-Clark collaborations as "Valentino." This pretty but unchallenging, bouncy piece of pop music shows just how radically her voice and delivery changed in the space of only a year. The song also reveals how much Hatch's production and arrangements had changed as well, having traded a light-pop sound for a texture of heavy rhythm guitar and drums, like the best British rock & roll of the period.
The range of sounds and styles here is impressive, as Clark assumes several different musical personae, all of which work, from dramatic song interpreter to pop-rock vocalist extraordinaire. The finely eloquent and dramatic "Goodbye Mr. Chips," the impassioned "Conversations in the Wind," and the ethereal "Cranes Flying South" are the never-before-issued songs that top off the value on this budget-priced English import. The notes are very thorough, and the mastering makes use of the most recent and highest quality digital transfers of the recordings.