Josie & the Pussycats' rare recordings have been esteemed as some of the best music of the bubblegum genre by aficionados. That might sound to many like damnation with faint praise. Even those who have no love for bubblegum, though, would have to admit that their records were better than they had any right to be, and were respectably fetching and accomplished soul-tinged pop in their own right. This compilation has everything known to exist by the band. There's everything from their sole and rare 1970 LP, 12 cuts from non-LP singles (some of them only available on cereal boxes and three of them different versions of songs that also appeared on the album), and six previously unreleased tracks (three of those alternate mixes). "Stop, Look, and Listen" still rates as one of the best early-Jackson 5 imitations ever, and "You've Come a Long Way Baby" isn't far behind in that regard. Those are the best songs, but other than a few covers of contemporary pop hits, the rest is also surprisingly enjoyable, good-natured period 1970 pop, often given a sheen of soul by Patrice Holloway's vocals. It's not major rock music by any means, but it has its merits, and some of the poppier numbers, like "I Wanna Make You Happy" and "The Time to Love," have a breezy mellifluous quality that's nearly sublime. The reissue is enhanced by lengthy and thoughtful liner notes, including detailed recollections by producer/songwriter Danny Janssen and songwriter/vocal arranger Sue Sheridan.
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