There are so many collections of the Kinks' work out there that it's difficult to distinguish their merits -- thanks to the various owners and licensees who've had access to their catalog (especially their Pye Records library), they're probably the most heavily compiled and anthologized British group of the 1960s this side of the Who. That said, it's hard to criticize anything that provides an excuse for setting up 60 songs by the Kinks in the same place -- and this set did provide an implicit acknowledgement from Castle Records, which controlled the group's Pye catalog, that the earlier CD reissues were not everything that they ought to have been (which they weren't), so that was a step in the right direction. What makes this set unusual and fun is that it is so top-heavy with early material, circa 1964-1965 -- the first two CDs' 40 songs plus part of the third platter encompass the same period covered by the old ten-song Reprise LP Kinks' Greatest Hits. The last 15 songs on the third platter bring listeners up to late 1967 and "Waterloo Sunset," "Death of a Clown," etc., filled out with a couple of tracks off the Live at Kelvin Hall album and a jump forward to "Lola" and "Apeman," evidently just for the sake of putting them on the collection. The sound is good, and the annotation by Michael Heatley is more than full, in what amounts to an overview of the group's first three years' worth of music-making.
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